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Friday, March 27, 2015

Fedora (1978)

A film producer (William Holden) who has seen better days attends the funeral of the legendary film actress Fedora (Marthe Keller). At the funeral, he reflects how only two weeks earlier he went to Greece in an attempt to lure the actress out of retirement to star in his film. But what he discovers there is a more startling story than anything she played out on the screen. Based on a novella by actor turned writer Thomas Tryon (THE OTHER), this is a rather silly film. It's been decades since I've read Tryon's book but I don't recall his story being so foolish. If one didn't know that Billy Wilder was one of Hollywood's greatest film directors, from this film you'd assume he was a hack. I can't help but compare it to Aldrich's LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE since both films are very similar thematically. Aldrich's film isn't very good either but it has a sense of the absurd and it's much livelier. And it takes a star to play a star and Marthe Keller isn't a star. You can't believe she was a Hollywood legend. At least in LYLAH CLARE, they had a real star (Kim Novak) playing a Hollywood legend. No one is at there best here, even Miklos Rozsa's score sounds warmed over. With Hildegard Knef, Jose Ferrer, Frances Sternhagen, Arlene Francis, Stephen Collins, Mario Adorf and as themselves, Henry Fonda and Michael York.

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