A New Leaf

The extant material was, it may be presumed, all the studio could fit in its advertising department as the love of the ages.

Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca are the plain ideal of the feckless playboy, a supremely tasteful man, and the unconfident botanist whose specialty is ferns.

Enough has been excised to recall the depredations of RKO, what remains is too much for Canby (“a charming, slightly nutty film with some awkward moments”), who admired it.



The Heartbreak Kid

Neil Simon’s An American Comedy. A notable dryness is applied to The Graduate (dir. Mike Nichols), from Il Boom (dir. Vittorio De Sica) for example, with echoes in The Last Tycoon (dir. Elia Kazan) and Lost In America (dir. Albert Brooks), mutually. Simon wins the bet on sheer exactitude.

“I’ve learned that decency doesn’t always pay off.”


Mikey and Nicky

The absolute structure is a gangland contract. Whatever is revealed or thought to be revealed under the stress and strain of it constitutes the film (perceptibly a variant of Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, among other things).

This is probably the closest thing to seeing Peter Falk on stage, in a commanding, detached performance (you can also see him demonstrating his two-shot technique, “I look at the other actor’s face, maybe there’s a drop of sweat on the tip of his nose, I look at that”).

Criticism has been entirely inadequate. “That mishigas I leave to the Catholics,” says Mikey.

Canby thought he was knocking the film by comparing it to Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Variety scented a drama of reversals.



The legendary disaster, yet another, that brought down Hollywood and ended a great directorial career, is nothing but amusing (cf. Rydell’s Harry and Walter Go to New York).

The point of departure might be Gene Kelly’s The Cheyenne Social Club joke that Henry Fonda is a Democrat and James Stewart is a Republican. But audiences that balked at Mikey and Nicky could not be expected to appreciate this, to say nothing of the critics.

Vittorio Storaro’s pictures are worth whatever it cost.

Because it is written that two messengers of God shall come to Ishtar and remedy the oppression of the people, Rogers & Clarke do just that by converting a Commie Pocahontas from the party line and fending off the CIA, which is supporting the Emir against a coup.

That’s half the film, the rest in an epilogue describes their fame, Simon & Garfunkel of a latter day, Rogers & Clarke, the worst songwriters in Tin Pan Alley.

A mysterious allegory of the Cold War, to be sure, and one that particularly left blank stares on folks who live by song albums and political causes of one sort or another, it would seem.

This arrangement exists, be it known, so that the prophecy is not made public for fear of “a Shiite rebellion”, or sold to the KGB.

An obscure allegory, to be sure, but there at the end is Rogers & Clarke’s first album, recorded by the U.S. Army live at Chez Casablanca, produced by the CIA, distributed and promoted under Government auspices.