Thursday, November 12, 2009

S.O.B. is a Huge Departure for it's Star

We've all seen Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, and as Maria in "Sound of Music" (one of my personal favorites). A loveable, seemingly magical nanny, a mischevious nun who is sent to govern seven children, and ultimatley falls for their milataristic erotic film star?? Yes, that's right.

The film opens with a musical number starring Andrews. Cut to a gentleman and his dog running on the beaches of Malibu. He drops, clutching his chest. He then crawls up the beach, towards a house to let someone know of his dire condition. Ultimately, he doesn't survive. Throughout the film, we are continuosly shown the body of this man, whom we later find out is a popular actor, his loyal dog remaining by his side. This is among the very strange events that unfold throughout a very strange film.

Andrews plays Sally Miles, one of the most popular movie stars in the world. Miles is married to Felix Farmer (played excellently by Richard Mulligan) one of the most successful directors in the business. Together, they've formed an unstoppable team, making hit after hit film...until one. In fact, the latest film is such a monumental flop, it sends its director into a nervous breakdown, one that he seemingly will never come out of.

During the first half of the film, the supporting players, played by William Holden, Robert Loggia, and Robert Preston, are trying to stop Felix from killing himself. As unfunny as this situation would be to any of us, Felix fails several times, each attempt more comically inept than the last. Probably the most comedic of the events is when Felix gets into his running Cadillac in a closed garage. When the groundskeeper finds him, he reaches in to pull the keys out of the ignition, but instead nudges the gear shift into drive, sending the car through the wall of the garage, down the dune, and into the Pacific Ocean.

Nearly half way through the film, Felix has an epiphany. He's going to buy his flop back from the studio, and re-cut the movie. The only caveat; his squeaky clean movie star wife must do a scene in which she appears topless. Understandably, she has serious morality issues with doing this. What will her fans think of her? What will this do to her career? And so on. But in the end, and with the help of a little liquid courage, she does it.

The fallout begins. The studio executives refuse to allow Felix to re-cut the film, claiming it will lose them millions of dollars. So he takes matters into his own hands. He leads the police on a high speed car chase, and ends up dying at their hand. His friends decide that a proper send off for the unconventional director is an unconventional one; a viking funeral.

I had many mixed feelings about this film. At first, I really didn't care for the movie. Do you ever have the urge to yell at the screen, because the hero is in peril, or the actors play their inept characters so well, that you can't help but to hate them? Well, that's how I felt at the beginning of the film. How the hell can so many people ignore a dead man on the beach? How can so many people be so careless? About half way through the film, I had a change of heart. The comedic happenings throughout the film were just too much to ignore. Probably one of my favorite actors in the film was Robert Preston, in a HUGE departure from his iconic role as Professor Harold Hill in the "Music Man". He plays a somewhat inept, slightly alcoholic doctor to Felix Farmer. His lines from the well-written script are delivered in such a way, it's hard not to follow his sometimes backward reasoning.

There were many surprises during this film. Obviously, one of the biggest is it's star, Julie Andrews, the squeaky clean Disney icon, is not squeaky clean. She swears like a sailor, drinks like a fish, and appears topless, albeit very briefly. But nonetheless, if you see this film, it will shock and entertain you.

1 comment:

  1. Julie Andrews topless O.O - but she's soo old! I never saw this film though. The one thing I did learn though was that I never knew Julie Andrews played Mary Poppins.