Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1989. Morgan Creek Productions. Screenplay by Paul Mazursky, Roger L. Simon, based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cinematography by Fred Murphy. Produced by Paul Mazurksy. Music by Maurice Jarre. Production Design by Pato Guzman. Costume Design by Albert Wolsky. Film Editing by Stuart H. Pappé. New York Film Critics Awards 1989. Academy Awards 1989.
Ron Silver survives the Holocaust and begins life anew in 1940s New York City. Having lost his first wife (Anjelica Huston) in the camps, he marries his Polish housekeeper (Malgorzata Zajaczkowska) while carrying on an affair with his sexy mistress (Lena Olin). When Huston shows up, revealing herself to have survived against all odds, he makes certain that she isn’t a ghost before realizing he is legally married to two women. But what can a man do with two wives that he can’t do with three? Eventually he succumbs to Olin’s pressure and marries her too. “Don’t worry, she won’t divorce you,” Huston tells him. “If she does, you can always go to the other one, if she throws you out, you can come to me.” Based on the story by Isaac Bashevis Singer (who also wrote the story upon which Yentl is based), this delightful film by Paul Mazursky features fantastic acting (especially the divine Huston) and hilarious dialogue (“if every man had his way, every woman would lie down a prostitute and wake up a virgin”). Mazursky and Roger L. Simon’s screenplay is excellent, and the period flavour tangibly accurate.