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Drama - Romantic

Frankie and Johnny (1991)

Duration1h 58m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: 
Source of storyA play “Frankie and Johnny in Claire de Lune” by Terrence McNally
DirectorGarry Marshall
Writers/ScriptTerrence McNally
StarringAl Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hector Elizondo, Nathan Lane, Kate Nelligan, Jane Morris, Greg Lewis, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.8 by 28,527 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 66% by 29 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Frankie works as a waitress in the Apollo Café in New York and lives in an apartment with a couple of gay guys. One day Johnny, recently released from prison where he had been incarcerated for passing dud cheques, but trained as a cook applies for a job and gets it, thought by the boss to be worth a second chance. Right from the start he is attracted to Frankie, and feels, even if only due to their names, they are destined to be together. But despite his enthusiasm, and constant wooing of her, Frankie resists his advances although she is gradually worn down. Will she, won’t she?

Content: Cora, Frankie’s friend, has sex with Johnny but there is no revelation except for Cora’s tattoo. There is some drinking and a bit of smoking. There is a lot of time spent in the café, which is full of old codgers, mostly having two fried eggs, sunny side up, with hash browns. Also in Frankie’s apartment (the only set in the play) when by herself she looks out of the window and sees dramas going on in the building opposite, and a major scene at a bowling match where the cafe employees take on another team, for some reason featuring identical twins. 

A View: I am with the critics who felt that despite Frankie’s prickly character, it was not really feasible that, played by the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer, she had not had a date for ten years. Really both she and Johnny were nothing more than clichés who together became another one. I actually liked many of the scenes, but somehow they did not seem to go anywhere. For instance, Frankie was the only one who could unscrew the lids of difficult jars, but why? Had she improved her grip so as to be able to strangle an attacker? So all in all unless you are a died in the wool fan of either of the stars not really a watch, even for nothing.

Additional Info: Garry Marshall had, for years been a writer on the staff of numerous soaps, but had become well known as the director of “Pretty Woman” in 1990.    

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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