Rich And Famous (1981)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1981, Screenplay by , based on the play by Cinematography by Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by

George Cukor went out with a bang on this highly enjoyable, soapy comedy adapted from the play Old Acquaintance by John Van Druten (previously filmed under that title with Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins in 1943).  Candice Bergen and are both superb as two women whose friendship begins in college, continues through the early years of Bergen’s turbulent marriage to while Bisset begins her career as a celebrated novelist.  Years later, Bergen has become a Jackie Collins-esque sensation herself, while Bisset thaws her frozen love life when handsome young comes to interview her for Rolling Stone magazine and they fall in love.  Despite the fact that their lives progress in their own spheres for most of the plot, the two women come together at important junctures to fight about the friction they cannot resolve between them: Bisset overanalyzes everything and ends up preventing her own happiness, Bergen goes after everything without thinking about it and can never find fulfillment.  Cukor never lands on the middle-ground between intellectual character examination and Dynasty indulgence that he’s searching for, there are times when it’s too obvious that it’s based on a play and other times when it’s trying too hard not to be, but the end result is a pleasurable mix of the two and watching these ladies work off each other is a treat from beginning to end.  Bisset is particularly effective in a rare role that allows her to show off the intelligence behind that stunning beauty, while Bergen’s southern drawl isn’t always successful but juicily enjoys making hay of the role all the same.  makes her on-screen debut as Bergen’s daughter.

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