Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
This is Bob’s film about the Institute where, as Alice explains in the punchline, an “orgy” of sybaritic emotionalism goes by another name. The sanctity of marriage is the springboard of the humor, the basis of the satire is rather the privacy of marriage so violated.
From the Writers Guild, Best Comedy.
Billy Wilder takes up the material from another angle in Buddy Buddy.
Harry and Tonto
The director’s King Lear, an introduction to Santa Monica presented for the edification of Shel Silverstein’s rubes.
A New York architect finally wearies of building an Atlantic City casino for a gangster and walks out on his wife, the gangster’s mistress, for the Greek isles.
More of Mazursky’s Shakespeare, a real work of genius despised by Vincent Canby of the New York Times, who couldn’t recognize Harry and Tonto the other way around.
Moscow on the Hudson
A large-scale conversation about a big joke at the end of The Conversation, brutally adept at large-scale comedy effects in the big city.
Moon Over Parador
The brilliant thing was to develop the gag step by step from The Prisoner of Zenda (or The Great Dictator) by way of Lubitsch, and then cast it. This secure way of working, like Frank Capra’s, gives you all the freedom you need on the set.
The casting is as rich and dense as Ginastera’s Bomarzo, Sonia Braga and Charo, Raul Julia and Fernando Rey, Jonathan Winters... and Dick Cavett (as himself)... Sammy Davis, Jr. with a sublime poker face.
For once, the pertinent theme is dealt with exhaustively rather than perforce as a supplementary gag. The cinematography is characteristic of the best films of this period, in which it might be argued color moves as fast as black and white.
A fine, giddy thing, in which the director appears as the dictator’s double’s mother, with an ending that proposes a solution to the crisis of Mephisto along the lines of Atlas Shrugged (a variant concluded The Final Cut for the Beeb and WGBH).
“Genius is an exit,” says Sartre. “A way in,” says Beckett.
Call it a pirouette on A Doll’s House, directly fabricated to express a spiritual dilemma and resolve it functionally in an image (but see also How to Murder a Millionaire).