Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1979. Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Alan Alda. Cinematography by Adam Holender. Produced by Martin Bregman. Music by Bill Conti. Production Design by David Chapman. Costume Design by Jo Ynocencio. Film Editing by Evan A. Lottman. New York Film Critics Awards 1979.
Alan Alda‘s Joe Tynan is thrown into a crisis of conscience when he is asked by an old friend (Melvyn Douglas) to back a candidate from the South for the Supreme Court, then finds out that the candidate is actually a documented racist, which goes against Tynan’s own politics. The crisis of whether to keep to his word or go where his heart lies creates more problems than he could possibly handle, especially as he’s also trying to balance his career with his life at home with wife (the marvelous Barbara Harris) and children. As if that wasn’t enough, he has also started a flimsy affair with the beautiful labour lawyer (Meryl Streep, the same year she appeared in Manhattan and Kramer Vs. Kramer) who brought the candidate’s past to his attention in the first place. The witty screenplay and sparkling performances will make it memorable if nothing else does, though it could use a little more steam, particularly in the last third.