Now With More Than 3000 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 2500 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 MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

FEDORA (1978)

Meant as a wry companion piece to SUNSET BOULEVARD/’50, his classic Hollywood noir, Billy Wilder’s penultimate pic was always going to be a tough, out-of-its-time sell. But it really didn’t stand a chance after Wilder failed to sign up his dream-team leading-lady double act of Marlene Dietrich & Faye Dunaway.* As stand-ins, Hildegard Knef & Marthe Keller at their best couldn’t pull off the story’s requisite glamor & Golden Age Hollywood hauteur . . . and they’re hardly at their best. (The film barely got a Stateside release.)  William Holden, weathered but fit, has a role similar to BLVD.’s debt-drowned scripter, but he’s crossed over union lines to play a debt-drowned film producer betting on his charm & a shared romantic past to get Fedora (a reclusive Greta Garbo type) as star for a new ANNA KARENINA. In her late 60s, but fabulously well preserved, Fedora just might go for the deal, if only she weren’t surrounded by an entourage of ‘protectors:’ the Countess, her nurse, a personal physician & the chauffeur/bodyguard. Are they keeping her safe, or just locked up? Wilder must have known audiences would guess the secret to Fedora’s eternal youth, so he reveals it halfway thru (a la Hitchcock), then runs a series of flashback ‘reveals’ to fill in the missing pieces. Problem is, there’s really not much left to learn. As a late admirer, Michael York is a good sport playing himself, especially standing in line to view the open casket. If only the film weren’t also embalmed.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Wilder’s luck turned in the mid-‘60s. Whereas SUNSET BOULEVARD lost Montgomery Clift only to gain William Holden in his breakthrough role, Billy had no such luck recasting IRMA LA DOUCE/’63 with Lou Jacobi after Charles Laughton died; replacing Peter Sellers with Ray Walston after a heart attack on KISS ME STUPID/’64; or making up lost star power on THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES/’70 when both Sellers and Peter O’Toole declined, even with so superb a duo as Colin Blakely & Robert Stevens.

DOUBLE-BILL: SUNSET BLVD. seems the likely choice, but a better match might be Joe Mankiewicz’s equally flawed THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA/’54.

No comments: