Baltimore, Fall 1954: Schools implement the new integration law. Ben finds the "colored" girl in his class cute - upsetting his Jewish mom and granny. Ben talks to her while his brother looks for his WASP dream girl.
Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and rock and roll is pushing the Four Lads off the Hit Parade. Ben, a high school senior, and his older brother Van are exploring "the other": in Ben's case, it's friendship with Sylvia, a Black student; with Van, it's a party in the WASP part of town and falling for a debutante, Dubbie. Sylvia gives Ben tickets to a James Brown concert; Dubbie invites Van to a motel: new worlds open. Meanwhile, their dad Nate, who runs a numbers game, loses big to a small-time pusher, Little Melvin; a partnership ensues.Written by
Director Barry Levinson wanted someone with a Grace Kelly appeal to play the role of Dubbie the Blonde. Model Carolyn Murphy was cast, although she was dubbed "The Blonde-Haired Gene Tierney" by Elle Magazine. She auditioned for the role after her agent encouraged her to do so and, unlike many other models turned actress, was praised for her work. See more »
The car driven through the pumpkins and crashing into the barn during the Halloween party sequence appears to be a 1960s Austin Healey. This car did not exist during the 50s period of the movie. See more »
[after Trey has crashed his car]
This is very unfortunate.
You know, it's obvious the smiling pumpkins distracted me.
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DVD release has a "music-only" version of the film with no dialogue and only music and score. See more »
I saw all 4 of the so-called "Baltimore Quadrilogy" in sequence, and, while the first three were fantastic, Diner still rose to the top for me. It was the most real, most heartfelt, and most memorable. I put on LH thinking it would be "okay", and was shocked to see it just about right up there with Diner for all the same reasons. If you've seen Scorsese's "The Bronx Tale" with DeNiro, you might notice a resemblance, down to the "forbidden" teen interracial love plot. In Bronx Tale, the "mob" has a part, but with nothing terribly eventful. In both, the family and everyday storyline take precedence, as if the mob aspects were afterthoughts.
I can't say that the Jewish Mob background did LH justice, as Montagna just seemed too wishy-washy to be a front-line mobster. Montagna is a great actor, but I think he should have brought a little harder edge to the mob-orientated moments. He did fine as a father, though he could have had any occupation and the movie would not have been any the less for it. I strongly feel that if the movie did not have the mob element in it, and Montagna had a conventional occupation, the movie would have been perfect, and even more realistic than it was. The burlesque scenes again were a drag on what otherwise would have been a perfect "coming of age" film.
This movie comes very close to "Diner" quality, if not for the somewhat flawed "mob" subplots....well worth seeing though!
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