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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Competition (1980)

Set during an international classical piano competition in San Francisco, out of twelve contestants, six finalists compete against each other for $20,000 and a two year concert contract traveling around the world. But for one of them, an ambitious but aging prodigy (Richard Dreyfuss), it's his last chance at a professional career. But when he becomes emotionally involved with one of his competitors (Amy Irving), it may prove destructive for the both of them. I don't know why I love this movie and have since I first saw it almost 32 years ago. Some of the dialog is groan inducing and Dreyfuss' performance is miscalculated and he's overly made up (you can actually see the make up on his face) and his self absorbed character is awfully hard to warm up to. But there's a certain verve to the film that's consuming and the uniqueness of building some suspense during a classical piano competition is rather winning. Still, I realize others may not take kindly to it. Directed by Joel Oliansky, a TV director whose only feature film this is. There's a haunting Oscar nominated theme song People Alone sung by Randy Crawford at the end credits. With Lee Remick as Irving's glamorous teacher, Sam Wanamaker in a showy performance as the competition's conductor, Joseph Cali, Ty Henderson, Vicki Kriegler, Priscilla Pointer, James Sikking and Adam Stern.

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