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Drama - Musical

All That Jazz (1979)

Duration2h 3m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, Spain: 14, Argentina: 18
Source of storyA semi-autoboiographical rendering of the life of the director
DirectorBob Fosse
Writers/ScriptBob Fosse, Robert Alan Aurthur
StarringRoy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Ann Reinking, Leland Palmer,  John Lithgow, 
RatingsIMDb:  7.9 by 27,832 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 85% by 41 critics.

Elevator Pitch: Joe Gideon is a dancer and director who is working on a film of a comic performing and dealing with the production of a stage show, at the very least similar to “Chicago”. He is in trouble with his health taking drugs and smoking until he is hospitalised with heart problems and has open heart surgery. He interacts with his wife, and sort of ghostly muse and one or two lovers. Meanwhile the show’s backers meet and decide that they would be better off if Joe died, rather than survived and continued with the production.

Content: There is a bit of female nudity and a lot of dance routines featuring unfeasibly slim dancers, sometimes discarding their clothing. The film opens with what is apparently know as the “cattle call” where hundreds of dancers are gradually whittled down to the twenty odd  required for the show. Joe not only deals with real people he also has hallucinations of dance routines. He is hospitalised and has open heart surgery. 

A View: This film won four Oscars and was nominated for more and has been nominated for preservation by the US National Film Registry. If you thumb through the reviews you find that the critics were poles apart in their criticism. I am with the ones who thought it was a ridiculously self indulgent, the director’s real life leaking into the celluloid one, even including his current squeeze as his current squeeze, and the sexualised presentations of waiflike young women being a bit unsettling at times. But Stanley Kubrick though it was wonderful, so obviously an important film which you may or may not like.

Additional info: The film went so far over budget that a second studio stepped in to rescue it, but in the end it made some money.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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