Sunday, January 12, 2014

Film Classics of the 20th Century

So far in this series, we've looked at Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

movie montage

Martin Scorsese is one of the 20th century's great directors and he is responsible for many classics of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

1985's After Hours is his first comic masterpiece.  With a script by Joseph Minion (and some would add "and an uncredited Joe Frank), Scorsese fashioned a world around a lat night and early morning trapped in Soho.

Data processor Paul Hackett finds nothing on TV, so he grabs a paperback copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and heads for an all night cafe.  There he meets Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) who is beautiful and flirtatious.  She mentions a friend, Kiki Bridges, makes plaster of Paris paperweights and gives Paul Kiki's number if he needs to reach her.

Shortly after, Paul calls Kiki (Linda Fiorentino) who puts Marcy on the phone and he's off to Soho with twenty bucks . . . which flies out the window of the cab.

Things go incredibly wrong for Paul and Marcy -- even more so for Marcy -- and Paul can't take the subway home (the fares have gone up and he only has 95 cents) so he's trapped in Soho trying to get home.

At various times, it appears help may have arrived.  Such as when the diner waitress Julie (Teri Garr) takes him home.

She dances to "The Last Train to Clarksville" but fails to cheer him up so puts on "Chelsea Morning" instead but all he wants to do is get out of the rain.

Help us appears to arrive  when he bumps into Gail (Catherine O'Hara) who even offers him a ride home in her Mr. Softee Ice Cream Truck.

But instead, he will be pursued through Soho by an angry mob convinced he's the local burglar.  The cast also includes John Heard, Cheech and Chong, Will Patton, Verna Bloom and Bronson Pinchot.

We'll note one of the key scenes.  Paul is attempting to figure out if he's attracted to Marcy enough to make it worth enduring the craziness.

Marcy:  Franklin is my husband.

Paul:  Really.  Is that his loft then?

Marcy:  He owns it, yes.

Paul:  Well do you live with him?

Marcy:  No, he's in Turkey.  Look, I stayed with my husband for three days.  I was very young when I got married.   My husband was a movie freak.  Actually, he was particularlly obsessed with one movie.  The Wizard of Oz. He talked about it constantly. I thought it was cute at first.  On our wedding night -- I was a virgin -- when we made love -- you've seen the film, haven't you?

Paul: The Wizard of Oz?  Yeah, I've seen it.

Marcy:  Well, when we made love, whenever he -- you know, when he came, he'd just scream out, "Surrender, Dorothy!"  That's all.  Just "Surrender, Dorothy!"

Paul:  Wow.

Marcy:  I know.  Instead of moaning or saying "Oh God," or something normal like that. You know, it's pretty creepy.  And I told him I thought so but he just, he just couldn't stop.  He just, he just couldn't stop.  He just, he just couldn't stop.  He said he didn't even realize it was happening.  He just couldn't stop.  So I just broke the whole thing off.

This is a hilarious film with Griffin Dunne at his most appealing and a triumphant Rosanna Arquette reminding you how much joy a great performance can provide.

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