Written for The Unquiet American: Transgressive Comedies from the U.S., a catalogue/ collection put together to accompany a film series at the Austrian Filmmuseum and the Viennale in Autumn 2009. — J.R.
On the Riviera, an American multimillionaire (Gary
Cooper) with many ex-wives meets and romances the
daughter (Claudette Colbert) of a ruined Marquis
(Edward Everett Horton) and proposes marriage;
after she accepts, she learns about his former wives
and refuses to consummate their marriage, baiting
him with a string of pretended infidelities (including
one with a very young David Niven). This is an uncharacteristic
comedy of Ernst Lubitsch by virtue of its relative cruelty
and unpleasantness, both of which seem ascribable in
part to the writing team of Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
-– who would later show similar traits in their scripts for
such noncomic films as The Lost Weekend (1945) and
Sunset Boulevard (1950) -– adapting here a not-very-
well-known French farce by Alfred Savoir, La huitième
femme de Barbe-Bleue. Paradoxically, 34 years later,
working with I.A.L. Diamond, Wilder would remember certain
aspects of this film -– above all, the depiction of an
obnoxious and wealthy American abroad and a tense
romantic dialogue conducted on a float in the Mediterranean
— in the much sweeter and clearly Lubitsch-inspired
Avanti!… Read more »
From Monthly Film Bulletin, April 1975 (Vol. 42, No. 495). — J.R.
Great Britain, 1975 Director: Ken Russell
Cert-AA. dist-Hemdale. p.c—The Robert Stigwood Organisation.
exec. p-Beryl Vertue, Christopher Stamp. /;Robert Stigwood, Ken
Russefl. assoc. p-Harcy Benn. p. manager-John Comfort. asst. d-
Jonathan Benson. sc-Ken Russell. Based on the rock opera by Pete
Townshend and the Who. addit. Material–John Entwistle, Keith Moon.
ph–Dick Bush, Ronnie Taylor. In colour. sp. ph. effects–Robin Lehman.
ed—Stuart Baird. a.d–John Clark. set dec–Paul Dufficey, Ian Whittaker.
sp. Effects–Effects Associates, Nobby Clarke,_Carygra Effects. m/songs–
“Captain Walker Didn’t Come Home”. “It’s a Bov !” “’51 is Going to be a
a Good Year”, “What About the Boy ?”, “See Me, Feel Me”, “The
Amazing Journey”, “Christmas”, “The Acid Queen”, “Do You Think
It’s All Right?”, “Cousin Kevin”, “Fiddle About”, “Sparks”, “Pinball
Wizard”, ‘Today It Rained Champagne” ,”‘There’s a_Doctor” , “Go to the
Mirror”, “Tommy Can You Hear Me !’” “Smash the Mirror”, “I’m Free”,
“Miracle Cure”, “Sensation”, “Sally Simpson”, “Welcome”, “Deceived”,
“Tommy’s Holiday Camp”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Listening to
You” by Pete Townshend and The Who [Roger Daltrey,John Entwistle,
Keith Moon, “Eyesight to the Blind” by Sonny Boy Williamson. m.d–
Pete Townshend. musicians-Elton John, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon,
John Entwistle, Ronnie Wood, Kenny Jones, Nicky Hopkins, Chris
Stainton , Fuzzy Samuels, Caleb Quayle, Mick Ralphs, GRaham Deakin,
Phil Chen, Alan Ross, Richard Bailey, Dave Clinton, Tony_Newman,
Mike Kelly, Dee Murray, Nigel Ollson, Ray Cooper, Davey_Johnstone,
Geoff Daley, Bob Efford, Ronnie Ross, Howie Casey.… Read more »