Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1970. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Frank D. Gilroy, based on his play. Cinematography by Henri Decae. Produced by Fred Kohlmar. Music by Maurice Jarre. Production Design by Herman A. Blumenthal, Auguste Capelier. Costume Design by Mia Fonssagrives, Vicki Tiel. Film Editing by John W. Holmes, William Sands, Pat Shade.
Vegas showgirl Elizabeth Taylor stops at a divey bar for a drink and is charmed enough by the joint’s pianist (Warren Beatty) to take him home. She’s looking to alleviate the loneliness of her crappy motel room as she waits for her married lover to leave his wife, while Beatty explains that he is waiting to raise five grand to leave Vegas and his gambling addiction behind him for good. A night of bitter truths leads to days of love and romance, ruined by Beatty’s falterings when he’s flush with cash and tempted back to the roulette tables, while Taylor’s former man shows up and throws a wrench in the works for her as well. The last feature film from the great George Stevens, this is a melodrama in the classic Hollywood vein: between Henri Decae’s stunning cinematography and Taylor’s hairdos (why is Alexandre de Paris doing your hair for when you come home from dancing in a chorus line?!?), it’s impossible to believe you’re watching anything other than glamorous movie stars trying to approximate the lives of real and unfortunate people. The chemistry between the leads is wonderful, and they give great performances, but Stevens seems to not know when to let things rest and the film is a good twenty minutes longer than it needs to be. It does have a lovely low-key glamour about it, though.