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Ballerino e coreografo, Donen giunse al cinema come regista del
già famoso Gene Kelly. On The Town (1949),
inspired by Jerome Robbins's ballet "Fancy Free"
rivelò il suo frenetico senso del ritmo, che
giunse a fare di New York stessa una sorta di grande balletto naturale.
The musical was unusual in that it was filmed both on location and in the
studio. It also used the musical numbers to advance the plot, a technique
that Rodgers and Hammerstein had just pioneered in Broadway theaters.
The story was also entirely devoted to ordinary, low-class people, without
any dream for big money, big marriage, etc.
Con Donen il ballo diventa un fatto atletico, in spazi aperti e a velocità vertiginosa.
Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra) and Ozzie,
have a day of leave to explore New York.
They see the poster of the current "Miss Turnstiles",
Heide, an everyday girl who is
chosen out of the millions who take the subway every month.
They have just bumped into her at the subway.
Gabey is in love with her and decides to find her no matter what,
following the clues that are in the poster (they actually just narrowly
missed her at a subway station).
Since the posters says that Heide likes museums, they decide to start with
the city's museums.
They take a taxi and the driver, Brunilde, falls in love with Chip and
start following them. Gabey wants to look for Heide in the nearest museum
and Brunilde takes them there.
There Ozzie meets Claire, an anthropologist
who is interested in him for a research about males that she's doing
(and keeps kissing him). They accidentally destroy a dinosaur skeleton
and have to run away, while the museum calls the police.
Ozzie joins them in their search for Heide.
Brunilda has the idea to split in three groups to be more efficient.
Gabey is left with Brunilde, who immediately takes him to her place.
Since the poster mentions that Heide likes music, Gabey goes to the
symphony hall. Heide is in fact there, taking ballet classes.
In the evening Chip takes an unenthusiastic Brunilde to the top of a
skyscraper to admire the view of the city. Just then Ozzie and Claire
show up at the same place. Both couples pretend they have been looking for
Heide. Gabey also happens to arrive, because he has given Heide an
appointment there. Gabey tells them he found her. He doesn't know that
Heide's boss told her that she has to be back early, Cinderella-style.
The police shows up looking for three sailors and a female taxi driver,
but they hide Ozzie (hanging from the roof of the skyscraper).
When Heide arrives, they head for a night club. But Heide suddenly disappears
(because she has to go back to her inflexible boss). The guys decide to
find another date for Gabey but the only girl who is available is
the ugly and awkward housemate of Brunilde. When they leave the night club,
Gabey is still dreaming of Heide. They bump into Heide's boss, who, drunk,
tells them where she is: at an amusement park. Chased by the police that
found them again, they head in Brunilde's taxi to the amusement park.
It turns out that Heide works at night as a cooch dancer to pay for her ballet
classes. The police raids the amusement park looking for the sailors.
The sailors dress up like cooch dancers and start dancing in front of the
police officers, but they are recognized. As they try to escape, they hide
in the back of a car...: the police car. The girls win the hearts of the
police officers but it is time for the sailors to leave on their ship.
Royal Wedding (1951) e` un film per le danze di Fred Astaire.
Singing In The Rain (1952) è il capolavoro del nuovo musical.
La storia e` quella di
un gruppo di attori, cantanti e ballerini che
devono adattarsi alla nascita del cinema sonoro. Ma il film e` anche un affresco
sociale dell'età del jazz e un quadro satirico di Hollywood ai tempi del
muto. È un musical che accoppia nostalgia e ironia, una miscela esplosiva
che trascina il film di numero in numero (celebri quello del clown che canta
"Make them cough" inanellando gag dopo gag, il medley che parodizza sketch
dell'epoca), con Kelly e Charisse a far da mattatori. In realtà
gli attori non cessano mai di ballare e si esprimono principalmente tramite
i movimenti, perfettamente sincronizzati con le loro emozioni.
Molti balletti, colonna sonora a collage, effetti di ripresa. Brio comico, ma
Un produttore interrompe la registrazione di un film muto interpretato da due
star e decide di farne un film sonoro. L'attore non ha problemi ad adeguarsi,
ma l'attrice ha una voce orrenda e non sa cantare. Le prime prove con il
pubblico danno risultati scoraggianti. L'attore, che l'attrice considera
ovviamente suo, e` innamorato di una ragazza che fa lavoretti umili. Per salvare
il film, lei si offre di doppiare l'attrice. Grazie alla sua splendida voce e
al suo canto, il film e` un trionfo. Ma l'attrice impugna il contratto per
impedire che si riveli il trucco e il vero merito. Produttore, attore e
musicista approfittano pero` della sua ebete vanita': la lasciano cantare dal
vivo davanti alla platea, doppiata dalla ragazza, e sul piu` bello aprono
il sipario che nasconde la doppiatrice, in modo che il pubblico scopra da se` la
verita'. La ragazza diventa una star e sposa l'attore.
Kelly e la sua fidanzata scema formano una celebre coppia del cinema muto.
Quando giunge il sonoro, Kelly si sente in crisi soprattutto a causa della totale nullità della sua
partner; un amico ha l'idea di farla doppiare da una bella ragazza dotata di una bella voce e il produttore
decide di finanziare un musical. Quando il film è finito, la star scopre il trucco e si infuria, ma poi
si rende conto che a prendersi la gloria sarà soltanto lei e allora pretende che la ragazza continui a
doppiarla e rinunci alla sua carriera. Kelly, disgustato, la lascia e si mette con la ragazza; ma la star ha i
legali dalla sua parte. La incastrano facendola cantare, doppiata in pubblico e smascherandola a sua
insaputa. La ragazza viene acclamata e si sposano.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) parafrasa il ratto delle Sabine
ambientandolo nel Far West: sette fratelli pionieri rapiscono sette ragazze e devono poi conquistarne il
cuore. Ogni vicissitudine diventa il pretesto per un balletto acrobatico, che Donen riprende con la
macchina da presa più mobile della storia del musical, accentuando la sensazione di
It's Always Fair Weather (1955), co-diretto da Gene Kelly come On The Town, con musiche del giovane
Andre Previn, recupera la coppia Kelly-Charisse per
raccontare la storia di tre commilitoni che il giorno del congedo si danno un
appuntamento per dieci anni dopo e
quando l'incontro avviene non si sopportano piu`.
It's Always Fair Weather (1955) is reminiscent of On the Town.
The musical numbers are quite outdated and predictable (and almost spoil the
whole meaning of the film, for example when the heartless businesswoman dances
like a stripper), but the story's
balance of happiness and sadness is original enough to make it a populist
post-war fresco of some depth.
Three soldiers who are the best of friends promised to meet again in ten years,
because nothing can weaken their friendship. The ten years go by so fast that
each of them hardly remembers the promise.
Their reunion dinner is a disaster: they have changed so much that they
can't stand each other.
Ted is a failed man, a manager of boxers who makes deals with the mob.
Doug is a stiff business man and is about to divorce his wife.
The big-mouthed and vulgar Angie runs a small restaurant and has a big family.
Luckily, a business woman, Jackie, shows up at the restaurant
when they are about to leave each other forever. She is a business associate of
Doug, and Ted is mesmerized by her.
She is frigid and hates the attention of men,
but Ted is a stubborn womanizer. Ted grabs her and forces her to listen to
his sad story. She is unattracted, but her business instinct tells her that
there could be money to be made out of the story of these three losers.
Jackie is working on a tv show, run by the hysterical Madeleine, and
thinks of airing a special about the three soldiers' reunion.
Ted is thus shocked to see her walk into his gymn.
Now it's the scheming Jackie who tries to use her sex appeal to conquer Ted.
It works both ways: Ted risks his life by running away from fixing a boxing
match, and she falls in love with him for real.
The three are taken to the tv studios without being told why. Then they are
introduced live on tv. Ted tells the truth: the reunion was a disappointment
and they dislike each other. The show goes on, but Ted is met by the gangsters
at the exit. Jackie realizes what is happening and broadcasts it live
nationwide, thus exposing the mobster. Ted's old buddies join him in fighting
the gangsters. For one last fistfight, they are best friends again.
Funny Face (1957), loosely based on
a 1927 Gershwin musical,
racconta in una Parigi da cartolina una favola
moderna in un diluvio di esuberanti coreografie.
The middle-aged woman who leads a fashion magazine for women is dissatisfied
with the magazine and decides to refocus the entire line of clothes
around a novel theme: pink.
She and the photographer (Fred Astaire) are looking for a more realistic
setting to take pictures of their models. So they decide to invade a
regular bookstore, that happens to be run by a regular librarian-looking
girl (Audrey Hepburn). Ignoring her protestations, they make a mess of the
bookstore. When they leave, Astaire helps Hepburn clean up and takes
advantage of her naivete to kiss her.
Back at the magazine, he convinces the boss to try the humble bookseller
as a model for the new line of clothes, that targets the every girl.
Again, despite her mild protestations, her modeling career begins.
They all fly to Paris, where Astaire takes wonderful pictures of Hepburn.
But she is also courted by an existential philosopher, and her bookseller's
soul is attracted by his lifestyle more than by the lifestyle of the diva.
Astaire and the magazine's boss try to expose the philospher for what he is,
a womanizer, but fail. The big night that the collection is going to be
presented Auburn finds out the truth, and runs back to Astaire. But he has
already taken a taxi to the airport to fly back to the USA.
Auburn is in time, however, to save the fashion event.
And, of course, Astaire returns to conquer her definitively.
La stagione dei grandi musical termina con The Pajama Game (1957),
commedia battibeccata protagonisti il direttore di una fabbrica e un'operaia esuberante durante una lotta
Con Indiscreet (1958), tratto dalla commedia "Kind Sir" di Norman Krasna,
ha inizio la sua carriera di commediografo, acuto e
malizioso. La prima commedia dell'alta società ha un canovaccio classico.
Anna, a famous actress (Ingrid Bergman) who can't find the man of her life
is invited by her elder sister to a banquet. She reluctantly accepts, expecting
a boring event. Instead the speaker, Philip (Cary Grant), an American political
expert, is love at first sight. Their love story is very romantic, but Philip
tells her from the beginning that he is married and can't get a divorce.
Anna accepts being only a lover, and the love story continues.
Anna's brother-in-law, who is also a diplomat, confronts Philip: the
report filed by the secret services state that he is not married. And so
Philip confesses his strategy: he tells women that he is married so they
will not ask him to get married. Anna's sister has seen the same report
and can't resist: she tells Anna. Anna is furious (she was happy to be the
lover of a married man, now she's unhappy to be the girlfriend of a bachelor)
and decides to take her revenge. She makes him jealous by accepting the
courtship of another man. She engineers a way to be caught by him in the
arms of that other man, with the purpose of breaking Philip's heart and
then break up. But her plan backfires, because Philip shows up with a
marriage proposal. Now it's Philip who feels betrayed, because he found
her with another man. But then they finally clarify the situation and
The film is mostly a series of dialogues between Bergman and Grant; and not
terribly entertaining ones.
The Pajama Game (1957) and
Damn Yankees (1958) are adaptations of
George Abbott plays.
Surprise Package (1960) is a mediocre and often tedious comedy that
parodies the international spy thrillers.
Mobsters from all over the USA gather at the mansion of boss of all bosses
Nico (Yul Brynner) where they pay their dues. But Nico has been ordered to
leave the country and sent back to his homeland of Greece. He decides to
leave his money and his girl behind. He is deported
and confined to an island, where he is welcomed by a friendly police chief,
who takes him to a humble inn while a deposed king is renting the whole luxury
hotel next door.
He befriends local thief and the former king.
The king wants to sell the crown that he took with him when he was overthrown,
while an agent from the new government warns Nico that the crown belongs to
Nico sends a telegram to his associates in the USA demanding that they send
him the money. Instead they send him his girl, Gabby. Broke, Nico decides
to steal the crown using the girl to dupe the king. In the meantime he has
been approached by a Hungarian spy, Tibor, who is desperate to sell him atomic secrets
for a few dollars. The envoys of the king's country think that the girl
brought him the money to buy the crown. Somebody tries to kill him.
Nico comes up with the perfect plan to steal the crown during a party at
the king's mansion, using the thief and the spy, but a young student
alerts the girl that there is a curse on the crown and that it belongs to
the monastery from which it was stolen. She tries in vain to dissuade Nico.
At the party the government agents knock Nico off and steal the crown, but then
lose it to Tibor who is waiting outside. Both the king and Nico are desperate
that the crown is lost, but Tibor is glad to give it to Gabby.
Except that the government agents chase them and shoot Tibor. Tibor dies,
Gabby gives the crown to the monastery, Nico proposes to Gabby, Nico and the
king open a casino.
Once More With Feeling (1960), based on a 1958 play by
Harry Kurnitz, is a hilarious screwball comedy.
victor is a symphony conductor. His wife Dolly leaves him alone on a night when
she has to play the harp and he has to audition a child-prodigy. The child
turns out to be
a gorgeous girl, Angela, and the wife catches them while they are making love.
Dolly leaves him. Victor cannot quite find the concentration for his work.
In order to heal Victor's depression and stir expectations, his manager Max
tries to engineer a reconciliation with Dolly. The arrogant Victor is
confident she will rejoice (he is willing to "forgive" her) but instead Dolly
tells him that she is filing for divorce. Victor has also a well-deserved
reputation for a violent temper, frequently attacking the musicians of the
orchestra. The symphony needs the financial
support of the chairman of the board. Alas, the mother of the chairman remembers
Max as a scoundrel. She instructs her son to deal with Dolly in person.
victor despises the spineless tycoon but Max makes sure he behaves.
Dolly does show up just in time, although for a different purpose: to tell
him that she is in love with a scientist. She has a small problem: she cannot
divorce him because... they never got married. Everybody thinks that there
was a marriage, but actually there never was one. Therefore she cannot divorce
him, therefore she cannot marry the scientist. Max the manager, who prides
himself as being the greatest liar in the world, realizes that he can blackmail
her into giving her support to Victor even if she hates him.
They get secretely married in an empty church. Then she agrees to sleep in
his house till the concert. Then he will divorce her and she will be free to
marry the scientist. After the ceremony, Victor is horny and seduces his wife.
The moment she undresses, the scientist arrives and, despite Victor's lies,
finds her there and undressed. Dolly believes (correctly) that Victor invited
the scientist on purpose to spoil her engagement to her. Victor is frustrated
because the scientist spoiled his wedding night that was going so well.
Max is desperate again, looking for more lies and more scheming.
The scientist forgives Dolly, but Dolly does not forgive Victor: she decides
to leave immediately. Right then the tycoon arrives with a three-year contract
that Dolly extorted from his mother. Victor, spiteful, tells the tycoon the
truth: that Dolly is divorcing him. Dolly, even more spiteful, tells Victor
to shut up and sign. Victor hesitates again when he sees that the tycoon's
mother requires him to play a military march that he finds debasing.
It is time to go on stage for the big concert. Victor opens with the military
march, a sacrifice that makes even Dolly cry (and probably conquers her heart
Dopo The Grass Is Greener (1960), traspozione della commedia di
Hugh Williams and Margaret Vyner, in cui un nobile inglese difende nel proprio castello
con visita a pagamento il proprio matrimonio da un affascinante americano, Donen inventa la commedia
Charade (1963) inaugura questo filone giallo-rosa che fonde il brivido
della suspense e la leggerezza dei sentimenti. E rimane il capolavoro del
È un thriller ingarbugliato, alla Hitchcock, con continui capovolgimenti
di scena, inseguimenti spettacolari, acrobazie, gags, omicidi atroci, e un
livello inesaurabile di deceits.
L'atmosfera è però sempre
quella della commedia sofisticata. I momenti di maggiore partecipazione si hanno quando la vedovella
ingannata a tutti nn sa più a chi credere. Le molteplici personalità di Grant sono un
precedente di cui Donen approfitterà in futuro.
An American woman, Reggie (Audrey Hepburn),
wrapped in black is sipping her tea at a sky resort when
someone points a gun at her: it is only a water gun and the hitman is a child.
She is telling her French friend, Sylvie, the mother of the child,
that she has decided to divorce from her Swiss husband Charles.
She meets Peter (Cary Grant), an American who is also divorced.
Back in Paris, where she lives, she finds a detective in her condo: her
husband has been murdered.
The detective interrogates her, but it turns out she knew nothing of her
own husband. She has no idea why he was killed. She has no idea why he sold
all their possessions the day before he was killed. She has no idea why
he was trying to leave for South America. She has no idea why he was carrying
Peter reads of the murder in the papers and goes to visit her in her empty
At the funeral, three odd men pay their tributes to Charles, but each seems
more interested in making sure he is dead. The French detective is the only
other person at the funeral.
A member of the CIA (Walter Matthau) invites the widow to his office to
tell her that her husband (whose name was not the one she knew) was wanted
by the CIA for stealing a huge sum of money.
She is in great danger because three men who were with Charles in
World War II, the same three men who came to the funeral
(Tex, Leopold, Herman) want the money too, and are willing to kill for it.
On top of the CIA and the veterans, she is followed by Peter who is courting
her, and by the French detective who still suspects her.
Sure enough, each of the three veterans show up to threaten the widow.
She is defended and consoled by Peter, who behaves like a real gentleman.
But it turns out that he has his own agenda. He visits the three veterans,
to remind them that they have an agreement, and that the girl trusts him,
so he is more likely to succeed than them.
But Herman (the rude one, who has an iron arm) does not trust him, so he calls the widow warns her against
Peter (whose real name is not even Peter), who has taken the room next to hers.
Terrified, she calls the CIA Agent (Matthau). He meets her and
tells her that her husband's fortune originated
from a dirty loot: five people stole a gold cargo from the partisans, one died,
Charles disappeared with the money, and the other three found Charles
(who was about to flee the country) and killed him, but didn't find the money.
The dead man, Carson, would be Peter, if Herman is right, but the CIA agent
believes that is impossible.
Herman ambushes Peter and the two fight on the roof until Herman almost
crashes to his death.
Peter confesses that he is Carson's brother, Alexander, and that he is on
a mission to clear his brother's reputation. The widow has fallen in love
with him and is ready to believe anything he says.
When the three veterans kidnap her friend's child, they reach an agreement:
the widow and Peter/Alex give them the keys of their rooms, while the three
veterans give them the keys of theirs, so they can search other rooms.
Someone kills Herman while he is searching Peter's room, and, again,
everybody sispects of everybody else. And, again, the French detective is
Reggie is still flirting with Peter/Alex, who seems a lot more interested
in the money than in sex. When she traps him in her room against his will,
he takes a shower with his clothes on. The phone rings:
The CIA agent tells her that he researched Peter's claim that he is Carson's
brother: Carson had no brother. Peter finally confesses that he is just
a thief, and is name is Adam.
Despite being lied to for the second time, and despite knowing that
his real motive is just money, she continues to trust him.
Another veteran (Leopold) is killed, and the third one (Tex) behaves like
the widow must have the money. So Peter and the widow double their efforts
and search again the belongings of the dead man. They come up with all sorts
of clues, but they all fail to deliver the money.
And finally she gets it: the stamps her husband used for his last letter
to her. They are worth a fortune. But she doesn't tell anyone.
Tex and Peter reach the same conclusion while they are strolling in a
stamp market. They both rush to Reggie's apartment to look for the letter.
They find the letter without the stamps, and understand that they have both
been fooled by the woman.
But the woman has made a mistake herself: she gave the stamps to the child,
who is at the stamp market and has just traded them for worthless stamps.
Luckily, the stamp collector is honest and returns them to Reggie.
Reggie runs home, and found Tex dead in her apartment.
He wrote Peter/Adam's last name before dying, and Reggie figures
that means that Peter/Adam is the killer.
Terrified, she calls the CIA agent and tells him about the stamps.
He gives her an appointment. Peter sees her leave the building and
runs after her all the way to the subway. Convinced that he is the killer,
she hides from him in a phone boot, after calling the USA embassy and
leaving a message for the CIA agent. Reggie doesn't see the man who receives
her message at the embassy: it's another man.
It turns out that the CIA agent is no CIA agent, but just someone who wants
the treasure. Peter is chasing Reggie who is running towards the fake CIA agent.
Peter pulls the gun and warns Reggie that the man is Carson,
the fifth thief, the one whom everybody believed was dead.
Reggie stops between the two: she is paralyzed and doesn't know who to believe.
When they start shooting at each other, she runs and hides in an empty theater.
Peter chases Carson who chases her, and (in a very Hitchcock-ian scene)
he gets there just in time to kill Carson before Carson can kill her.
The following day, Peter/Adam takes her to the USA embassy, as she desires,
to return the precious stamps; and is shown to an office where she finds...
Peter! His real name is Brian, and he proposes to her.
Una giovane americana (Audrey Hepburn) a Parigi rimane vedova del marito. Matthau si presenta come un agente della CIA e le rivela che il defunto era ricercato per un'ingente somma di cui si era appropriato. Lei non sa nulla, ma viene perseguitata da tre criminali (uno con un braccio meccanico) che vogliono sapere da lei dov'è nascosto il denaro. L'unico a difenderla e consolarla è Grant, che però è sulla stessa pista, ma per conto proprio. Matthau le rivela che si tratta di un tesoro rubato da cinque persone ai partigiani durante la guerra: uno morì e suo marito fuggì con il malloppo, finché gli altri lo raggiunsero e lo uccisero. Grant rivela di essere il fratello di quello che morì e che il suo fine è dimostrare l'innocenza del fratello. Convinta e sedotta, la vedova semina zizzania fra i tre complici, che cominciano a sospettare l'uno dell'altro. Matthau telefona alla donna che Grant mente e infatti questi confessa di essere un ladro. Ciò nonostante lei continua a collaborare e di indizio in indizio risale ai francobolli dell'ultima lettera del marito. Ma il terzo complice prima di morire ha scritto il nome di Grant e lei, convinta che sia lui l'assassino, fugge terrorizzata da Matthau, che si finge agente americano ma non lo è. Grant lo ferma in tempo, dopo un lungo inseguimento. Matthau estrae la pistola e rivela di essere il quarto complice, creduto morto e tornato invece a far giustizia. Grant lo bracca e lo uccide in un teatro deserto. La vedova va a restituire i preziosi francobolli all'ambasciata americana e scopre così che l'agente è proprio Grant. Si sposano.
In Arabesque (1966),
based on the novel "The Cypher" by Alex Gordon,
uno studioso, chiamato a decifrare un geroglifico,
s'innamora di una bella e misteriosa orientale al punto da trasformarsi in uomo d'azione e salvare il suo
primo ministro da un complotto.
It is fundamentally a Hitchcock-ian adventure thriller, reminiscent of
North By Northwest, centered on an innocent and ordinary individual
who gets caught up in an international intrigue.
The film is also notable for John Whitney's pioneering computer effects.
An eye doctor kills one of his patients, then breaks his glasses and pulls out
a piece of paper on which a cryptic message is written.
The same killer attends the lecture of an expert in hieroglyphs,
David (Gregory Peck). The man offers to hire David to decipher the message
(an ancient Hittite inscription) on
behalf of a retired general, but David replies he is busy.
A little later, a sheik kidnaps him, but only to explain that he needs his help:
the general is plotting to destabilize his country and he needs David to find
out more. Thus David accepts the invitation to the sinister general's,
who offers him a carrot (money) and a stick (he is basically kerp prisoner) to
solve the enigma of the message. The general's exotic mistress, Yasmin
(Sophia Loren), warns David that the general has killed a previous professor who
worked on the same secret. Yasmin helps him escape but then delivers him to
another group of men, who drug him to obtain the cipher from him.
Still under the influence of the drugs, he manages to escape (and cause a
massive car pile-up). She finds him again and tells him a pathetic story
that she needs the cipher to free herself from the general's cruel tyranny.
Unfortunately, the gangsters found the cipher. Another series of acrobatic
adventures leads the professor to recover the cipher. He puts it in an
envelop and mails it to himself.
He is now wanted for a murder that he did not commit,
and has to elude also the police. In the meantime, the general tell Yasmin
that he wanted David to recover the cipher, so that he can decipher it.
Yasmin is in charge of finding David again and bringing back to him
(the general) the solution. David visits the widow of the professor who
first tried to decipher the Hittite inscription: she tells him that Yasmin
is the general's daughter. When Yasmin makes contact with him again, David
pretends to give her the message and then follows her.
He saves her from someone who tries to assassinate her with a bulldozer.
Yasmin tells David that the widow is an agent working for the enemy:
David can't figure out who is telling the truth and who is lying.
But David has not deciphered the message yet. When he does, it turns out
it is not ancient Hittite at all, but a childish riddle. David realizes that
the real message is not the cipher, but the paper itself. They find a
microscopic message inserted in the piece of paper that warns about a murder
about to be committed that very day: the murder of the sheik.
They have barely time to rush to the venue where the sheik is holding a press
conference to save his life. But a second bullet does kill him in front of
David. David is desperate that they failed to save him, but Yasmin has two
news for him: the "sheik" was only an impersonator, hired precisely to
lure the killers away from the real sheik, and... she is a spy.
She now has to find the real sheik, who has, in fact, been kidnapped
by the general. David and Yasmin manage to liberate the sheik and then to
avoid the general's men who chased them on a combine and on a helicopters.
La serie delle commedie riprende con
Two For the Road (1967), sui bisticci di una
coppia avventurosa, il mediocre e quasi caricaturale Staircase (1969), adattamento della commedia di Charles Dyer del 1966 sulla vita "coniugale" di due omosessuali,
Two middle-aged homosexual hairdressers, Charlie and Harry, live and work
together. They argue all the time. Their relationship is further complicated
by Harry's sick mother, who lives with them. Charlie's mother lives in a
Charlie's wife writes that his daughter Cassie is coming to visit him.
Charlie is summoned to court for an act of depravity (he dressed like a woman
But most of the movie is a verbose and tedious description of two intertwined
Eventually, Charlie sleeps with another man in the very bed where he usually
sleeps with Harry. Harry, humiliated, locks himself in the kitchen and turns
the gas on to die. Charlie saves him and they reconcile. The morning of his
trial Charlie gets ready to leave. Harry asks him if he should go along.
Charlie says no. But the moment he walks outside the house he starts screaming
Harry's name. Harry runs and they walk towards the court together.
Bedazzled (1967), parafrasi bonaria e un po' psichedelica del Faust con un Mefistofele che non ha il coraggio di esigere l'anima
vendutagli da un povero cuoco caduto innamorato della bella che doveva invece aiutare Faust a
The Little Prince (1974) is an adaptation of
the novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Lucky Lady (1975)
è una satira bonaria del proibizionismo e dei
gangster, ovvero della mitologia dei ruggenti anni Trenta. Il menage a trois fra una chanteuse rimasta
vedova (Liza Minnelli), un fuorilegge disoccupato pavido e raffinato (Burt Reynolds) e un duro
malinconico pregiudicato che dapprima lei tratta con astio (Gene Hackman) si trasforma in una
società per il contrabbando di alcolici dal Messico agli Stati Uniti. È Hackman il cervello
della banda. Dopo una missione miseramente fallita, riescono impossessandosi di un carico di alcool e
prendendo il largo su un loro battello a beffare un boss che li insegue su uno yacht corazzato rispondendo
alla sparatoria con bottiglie molotov che lo incendiano. Devono poi liberarsi dell'inseguimento di un
guardiacoste fanatico che li attacca con mitra e cannoni.
Al termine di tante disavventure riescono a consegnare la merce al cliente. Sono
ricchi e iniziano una vita lussuosa. Prendono una stanza in hotels del jet-set, in tre nella stessa stanza
perché si è innamorata anche di Hackman e non vuole escludere nessuno. Il ragazzino
timoniere osserva divertito, più maturo di tutti.
Lei vuole fare un altro viaggio, ma i due uomini sono riluttanti perché
sono consci della fortuna che li ha assistiti fin lì. Ma alla fine, prendendoli per l'orgoglio, li
convince. Riprendono con successo, costruiscono un piccolo impero. Ma il boss decide di attaccarli.
Uccide il ragazzo, ferisce i due, distrugge tutto. Liza torna a fare la chanteuse. Questa volta è lei a
non voler rischiare, e sono loro decisi a vendicare il ragazzo. Aderiscono al piccolo esercito di
contrabbandieri che hanno deciso di sfidare la gang del boss. Cammuffati da guardia costiera, irrompono
in un deposito del boss. Guidano un vero e proprio esercito di battelli indipendenti. Nella battaglia fra gli
yacht degli indipendenti e i motoscafi corazzati del boss trionfano i due.
Movie Movie (1978) è un altro tuffo semiparodistico nella nostalgia
degli anni Trenta, accentuata dai due film dentro il film, uno gangster e un backstage musical,
perdipiù in un'atmosfera strappalacrime alla Capra.
Il film entra in una sala dove stanno per
essere proiettati due film. Nel primo un giovane, per pagare una costosa operazione chirurgica alla sorella,
decide di interrompere gli studi da avvocato e di darsi al pugilato; il vecchio allenatore ne fa un campione,
ma, quando lui rifiuta di truccare un incontro, viene ucciso dai gangster; lui prende la laurea da avvocato
e manda l'assassino alla sedia elettrica, mentre la sorella, guarita, sposa un altro gangster, quello redento.
Nel secondo film un impresario di Broadway, condannato da una malattia mortale, decide di dedicare i
suoi ultimi giorni ad allestire uno show capolavoro. Durante le prove vengono reclutati una ballerina
sconosciuta e un giovane contabile musicista a tempo perso; la diva alcolizzata amante del padrone
semina zizzania, al punto che l'uomo licenzia la ballerina che lo aiuta segretamente con i propri risparmi.
Alla fine però la diva si rompe una gamba e viene sostituita dalla ragazza, la quale porta al
successo il musical e si rivela essere la figlia dell'impresario, che muore felice.
Un collage di impeccabili stereotipi. La seconda parte è il suo canto del cigno nel campo dei
balletti sfarzosi e scatenati.
Saturn 3 (1980) è un film di fantascienza ambientato in un'astronave
che somiglia alla scenografia di un musical: un perfido omicida, portando con sé un robot, va a
raggiungere un anziano professore e la sua bella assistente; i tre maschi, uomini e macchina, si
contendono la donna fino a autodistruggersi; prima il robot impazzisce e i due uomini cercano invano di
distruggerlo, il robot uccide il suo capitano assorbendone le sembianze, poi prende il comando
finché lo studioso si sacrifica per trascinarlo in una voragine, liberando se non altro la donna. Un
Kammerspiel cosmico straniato dall'estro figurativo che diventa una feroce lotta ad eliminazione, con il
robot nei panni dell'essere più umanamente bestiale Una parabola complessa sul destino