Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1977. Chartoff-Winkler Productions. Story by Earl Mac Rauch, Screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch, Mardik Martin. Cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs. Produced by Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler. Music by Ralph Burns, John Neal. Production Design by Boris Leven. Costume Design by Theadora Van Runkle. Film Editing by Bert Lovitt, David Ramirez, Tom Rolf. Golden Globe Awards 1977.
This film is Martin Scorsese’s tribute to the good old days of Hollywood musicals. Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro are two performers, she a singer and he a musician, who meet at the end of World War II and enjoy a long and difficult relationship. The plot goes back and forth between their romance and the musical numbers as Minnelli tears up the screen with her impressive energy, fighting Scorsese’s lack of coherent direction and the completely unmotivated screenplay (not to mention De Niro’s sore miscasting). The film features beautiful sets and costumes, as well as some lovely music (mostly by Kander and Ebb, who wrote the title song for Minnelli years before Frank Sinatra made it famous), but Scorsese is so obsessed with paying tribute to his favourite old movies that he forgets to make an original one of his own. The story never knows where to go next and the running time (whichever version you’re watching) is far too generous. A shame, because a lot of great potential is wasted here.