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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Weeks In Another Town (1962)

A washed up, alcoholic movie star (Kirk Douglas) recovering from a nervous breakdown is summoned to Rome by a director (Edward G. Robinson) who had collaborated with the actor on their best films. But when arrives, he discovers not only does the director have ulterior motives but that his toxic, promiscuous ex-wife (Cyd Charisse), who precipitated his breakdown, is also in Rome. Comparison to the 1952 film THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is inevitable. Not only because of the same director Vincente Minnelli but the same leading man (Douglas), producer (John Houseman), screenwriter (Charles Schnee) and composer (David Raksin). With the Rome setting and la dolce vita in full bloom, Minnelli uses the exotic backdrop to go beyond the typical "dog eat dog" Hollywood tableau and a portrait of how poisonous an atmosphere pervades the art vs. business dilemma (an Italian producer has no interest in the film he's making beyond profit). The film is not without its flaws. George Hamilton is seriously miscast as a James Dean type and Minnelli recycles the hysterical Lana Turner car out of control scene from the 1952 film and that's what it looks like ... recycled though the poor rear projection shots don't help any. Still, despite its flaws, its Minnelli's last great film. The cast includes Claire Trevor as Robinson's shrewish wife, Daliah Lavi, James Gregory, Rosanna Schiaffino, George Macready, Leslie Uggams and Vito Scotti.

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