Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach. His long-time lover, Albert, stars there as Starina. "Their" son Val (actually Armand's by his one heterosexual fling, twenty years before) comes home to announce his engagement to Barbara Keeley, daughter of Kevin Keeley, US Senator, and co-founder of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val, his father and "mother." What ensues is comic chaos.Written by
Randy Goldberg <email@example.com>
Director Mike Nichols had to be covered by a sound blanket during the toast scene because he was laughing too loud. See more »
When in Katherine's office, a beautiful view of the mountains is seen through the windows. This is clearly not shot in Florida, which has no hills over 345 feet. The mountains are in fact clouds. However as it is a painted backdrop they never move which makes them appear like mountains. See more »
[singers are performing "We Are Family" on-stage]
[backstage, into a telephone]
Agador! Where is Starina? She goes on in 5 minutes!
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In the November 12, 1998 ABC-TV network airing of The Birdcage (1996), approximately 13 minutes of added footage was restored to the film:
After Albert and Armand have discussed the upcoming marriage with Val, there is a scene where the cake Albert had ordered earlier is delivered. Albert shrieks because the cake says "To My Piglet From His Uncle" instead of "...From His Aunty" like Albert had requested. Then Albert and Armand have an amusing discussion of what it will be like to have Val and his wife live with them and what it will be like to be grandparents.
After Armand initially refuses Val's request to "tone down" the apartment, there is an extra scene later where Armand has a conversation with the bartender that eventually convinces Armand to prepare the apartment for the Keeley's arrival.
During the long roadtrip, the Keeley family is seen leaving a rest-stop at the Florida border. There is a huge fiberglass orange on top of the yellow and white striped rest-stop. Lettering on the orange reads, "Welcome to Florida".
There is an extra scene where TV network executives decide to send their news team to Florida on the basis that The Enquirer is already there.
Armand's dinner speech about the origins of Guatamalan "Peasant Stew" is longer in the TV version and he refills the guests bowls while explaining that the stew is the main course.
Albert's speech about his parents's search for a cemetery plot is longer.
There is a short scene included where Katherine Archer asks a TV news van if they will be leaving their parking spot which happens to be in an intersection.
After the Keeleys have learned that they are stuck in the apartment and everyone is sitting around drinking, Katherine is shown eating the "Peasant Stew" in Albert's and Armand's bedroom. Katherine and Agadore have a brief exchange in which Agadore admits to having made the stew and Katherine compliments him on it.
In the version broadcast on ABC, swimming trunks were electronically painted over the skimpy thongs worn by Agador and other male inhabitants of South Beach, Florida.
Though nothing can beat "La Cage aux Folles," the film on which this American version is based, I still found "The Birdcage" delightful fun and hilarious at times, thanks to the comic geniuses of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Lane is the dramatic Albert, an over the top drag queen who has lived for years with Robin Williams, Armand, the owner of The Birdcage, where Albert performs. Armand once had a liaison with a woman, which produced a son, Val, who now wants to be married to the daughter of a conservative politician. In order for that to occur, Armand has to become butch, all gay art work, etc., needs to exit the apartment - and Albert must disappear for a few days.
Williams is hilarious - my two favorite scenes are his rehearsal with Albert and a young man appearing with him on stage, and the scene where he coaches Armand on being macho - priceless. Nathan Lane's shtick is familiar to me, as I've seen him in "The Producers" and "The Odd Couple" - he's a riot as the insecure, jealous, easily hurt Albert.
The role of Val is problematic, because how does one keep him from looking like a complete bastard as he shuts out Armand, who raised him. But Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart as Barbara make a lovely young couple. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest are very funny as Barbara's befuddled parents.
It's been a long time since I've seen the French "La Cage aux Folles," and I saw the musical on Broadway as well. The French is superior to any version. The musical is quite poignant and emphasizes its statement in the song, "I Am Who I Am." The joy of the French film is that the actors playing the lovers, Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault, play their roles very seriously, and the humor and poignancy come out of the situation and the outrageousness of the Armand character (Albin/Zaza in the French). In "The Birdcage," it's played for comedy all the way. That's okay. You'll still enjoy it. But see the original.
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