Thursday, February 18, 2010
Hoping that she is in a stronger place, Georgia allows her daughter Polly (Kristy McNichol) to come to live with her. She is in high school and has been living with her father. Georgia was in such a state that she never even fought to try and keep her, something that Polly has never forgiven her for.
Written by Neil Simon, and adapted from his play “The Gingerbread Lady” that starred Maureen Stapleton, the film has a lot of great lines. The first twenty minutes are just about perfect. Not having seen this since the 90’s, I thought I had underrated it quite a bit.
But, the second half becomes a bit unfocused. There is an incident that happens to Georgia that is handled way too lightly, enough that it takes you out of the film. In the play, this was done a bit differently and isn’t quite as unsettling.
That said, there is a party sequence where there is as much tension created with Mason holding a glass of champagne that it is as suspense filled as any Hitchcock film. Mason is flat out terrific in this film.
Everyone is fine, though. Coco is one of those 70’s / 80’s actors that every time I see, I still miss. Same with McNichol. She was the main reason I wanted to see this when it came out in 1981, but due to it being R-rated (for one use of the F word), I wasn’t able to.
This was director Glenn Jordan’s first theatrical feature. He is still primarily a TV director. He would go on to direct THE BUDDY SYSTEM, MASS APPEAL, SARAH PLAIN AND TALL, and the brilliant BARBARIANS AT THE GATE among many other films. He also later adapted Simon’s JAKE’S WOMEN.
Released by Columbia, the rights are with Sony which means that it is doubtful this will turn up on DVD any time soon. Seeing it at all in recent years has been difficult. The VHS has been out of print since the early days of video. In the 90’s, I found a used laserdisc of the film. It does show up on TV, although rarely. It recently played on TCM in a letterboxed print.