Now With More Than 3600 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 3600 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


On stage, this near-operetta, charmingly adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s witty sex farce SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT/’55, was an enchantment. The book by Hugh Wheeler juggled five romances to Stephen Sondheim’s three-quarter time score and the brittle character comedy was lightened when seen thru Boris Aronson’s airy painted-glass panels. Yet, the film version, with Harold Prince moving from stage to screen as director, is a leaden atrocity. It’s true that half the music is gone, and lyrics refitted, but how did the sparkle curdle into pointless cleverness, the counterpoint turn joyless and the plot shrivel into a Farce For Dummies manual? Prince shoots just about everything from the ‘wrong’ angle, so when nothing cuts together properly, he tosses in rhythm killing close-ups and hopes for the best. The cast doesn’t look bad on paper, but only Diana Rigg, as an unhappy Countess, makes something out of her role. Sadder still, the film spelled finis to Liz Taylor’s career as leading lady. A mere 45 at the time, she’s still got the figure for the role, but her face no longer takes light. With blobby cheeks & swollen eyes, she gets zero help from Arthur Ibettson whose work is less cinematography, than sabotage. Someone must have noticed, because they finally pony up for a suitable dress & make-up that give La Liz a fighting chance in the last act. But it’s too little, too late, and capped with one last insult, a poorly lit portrait shot from Ibettson in day-for-night mode for E.T. to go out on.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Bergman’s SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT is the obvious choice, though you might want to try one of those delicious early Paramount musicals starring Jeanette MacDonald in her pre-Nelson Eddy days when she was decidedly naughty and sexy as hell. Or maybe THE SMILING LIEUTENANT/’31; with Miriam Hopkins, Chevalier & Colbert, it's especially nice.

No comments: