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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nasty Habits (1977)

At an obscure convent in Philadelphia, a nun (Glenda Jackson) conspires to win the election as the new Abbess when the current Abbess (Edith Evans) passes away. She is aided in her plot by two other nuns (Geraldine Page, Anne Jackson). However, she must first defeat her competition, a younger nun (Susan Penhaligon). But an in house scandal may soon bring her reign to a crashing halt! Based on the novel THE ABBESS OF CREWE by Muriel Sparks (PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE), time has caused this movie to lose much of its edge. It's a satire on the Watergate scandal of 1973 and the eventual fall of Richard Nixon as U.S. President. Over forty years have passed and its topicality has faded to the pages of the history books. So, can one enjoy the comedy without a detailed knowledge of the Watergate scandal? I think so but it assuredly helps if you're familiar with it. But even in 1977, the movie was hit and miss in its humor. There's no lack of talent in the project and Jackson makes for an icy and ambitious power hungry leader. But the real scene stealer is Sandy Dennis who is hilarious as the John Dean fall guy stand in. While the other actresses try to keep it relatively subtle, Dennis gives an all out broadly comedic performance. Directed by Michael Lindsay Hogg. With Melina Mercouri (doing Henry Kissinger), Eli Wallach, Rip Torn, Jerry Stiller, Mike Douglas, Jessica Savitch and the late Anne Meara as Gerald Ford's parallel. 

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