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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MICKI & MAUDE (1984)

This Blake Edwards’ pic, from a wickedly sly original script by Jonathan Reynolds, is a sunny, L.A. vamp on French farce, the ones where the randy married man mistakenly makes two assignations for the same night at the Hotel Tryst, then spends most of Act Three running back & forth between two desirable women. (Substitute food for sex, swap the inn for a restaurant and you’ve got a classic Sit-Com episode.) Here, the man who loves two women is Dudley Moore, a news-feature reporter married to powerhouse Ann Reinking, and slipping into an affair with ‘cellist Amy Irving. Suddenly, after years of baby-lust, he’s got two pregnant gals on his hands . . . and he's married to both. Edwards manages not only to make the whole thing hilarious & believable, but to play two-thirds of the film in comic crisis mode without exhausting the possibilities for fun . . . or us. Pauses for breath come in a series of brilliant scenes played in long-take two-shots between Moore & his producer (the hilariously sensible Richard Mulligan) which may look realistic, but are shot in a subtly stylized manner typical of Edwards at his best. Look for one halfway thru where Moore & Mulligan play straight out at us for what must be a five or six minute take. Without these ‘calms between the storms,’ all the set pieces of Edwards’ patented elegant slapstick, airily caught by lenser Harry Stradling, Jr., would never take off. And the last of them, the inevitable double birth labor sequence, is as funny as anything in the Edwards canon.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Except for his underrated spy drama, THE TAMARIND SEED/’74, with music from JAMES BOND regular John Barry, Edwards had been partnered with music man Henry Mancini as far back as tv’s PETER GUNN/’58. So, it’s surprising to see Lee Holdridge as composer here, especially since Mancini did Edwards’ pics before & after. Odd. Maybe Blake had mistakenly scheduled two composers in for the same studio time?

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