Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE,  MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE,  THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRT WATER FOX,  NEVER BEEN KISSED, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADERTEA WITH MUSSOLINITHE LATE SHOW, SUMMER STOCKTHE FULLER BRUSH GIRL,  The Net,  Your Friends & Neighbors,  Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  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.


FOUL PLAY.  The film Wilson Phillips loved.  Actually, the film so many love.  It stars Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.  But that’s not how it was supposed to be.  It was actually supposed to star Farrah Fawcett and Chevy Chase (they would finally team up with DISNEY’s MAN OF THE HOUSE).  But ABC said no, they said Farrah had to honor the contract she never signed.  (Things have gotten a little better for TV performers.)  So they had to find another actress to play the lead.  Goldie?  She had to parade before the studio because they were concerned she might have ‘pregnancy weight.’  (No, things have gotten much better for actress in regards to that.)


Colin Higgins wrote the screenplay for the film classic HAROLD AND MAUDE and he wrote the screenplay to SILVER STREAK.  He would move into directing with FOUL PLAY.  As with his later comedy classic 9 TO 5, he both directed and wrote the screenplay to FOUL PLAY.

Goldie was already an established movie – an Academy Award winning movie star, in fact.  Chevy Chase was coming off the hottest comedy show on TV at that time: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  Rounding out the cast was Burgess Meredith, Dudley Moore, Rachel Roberts, Marilyn Sokol, Billy Barty and Brian Dennehy – all providing excellent work.  And it should be noted, it was this film, FOUL PLAY, that made Dudley a movie star, not 10 which came later.  The film was a huge hit and Golden Globe nominations went to Goldie, Chevy, Dudley while the film was nominated for Best Film, musical or comedy and the song that played over the opening titles,  “Ready To Take A Chance Again” (written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel) was nominated for Best Song.

At a party, Gloria (Goldie) meets Tony (Chevy) who is too much of a smart mouth.  Her problem, he tells her, is that she doesn’t pick up strange men.  She suggests he try it.

Leaving the party, she takes the scenic route back to San Francisco in her yellow VW bug convertible.  Along the way, she passes a stranded motorist, Scotty.  Scotty’s got a secret – which includes someone following him.  She gives him a ride into the city and they make small talk which leads to the plan that they will meet at a theater to see a film noir double feature and, in the meantime, Gloria will hold his cigarettes because he’s trying to cut back – actually, he’s hidden some microfilm in the pack.  As he gets let off, Gloria doesn’t notice (as she pulls away) that he’s being chased on foot now.



She waits outside the theater in the rain for him before finally going inside.  He eventually joins her but she doesn’t notice that he’s bleeding on the popcorn, he’s been shot.  He tells her, “Beware the dwarf.”  When she does notice, she screams and gets the manager to turn the lights up but Scotty’s dead body is gone.






This happens again with Gloria, dead bodies disappearing, and this is how Tony comes back into the picture, he’s a police lieutenant.  The basic plot?  An assassination of the pope, carried out by the tax the church league.  Will Gloria and Tony be able to save the day?


Of course they will!  While providing multiple laughs along the way.


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