Sunday, October 16, 2011
THE RITZ (1976)
Directed By: Richard Lester
Written By: Terrence McNally (Play & Film)
Cinematography By: Paul Wilson
Editor: John Bloom
Cast: Jack Weston, Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Jerry Stiller, Rita Moreno, Kaye Ballard, John Ratzenberger
On his deathbed Carmine Vespucci's father tells him to "get Proclo". With "the hit" on, Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can't find him. He arrives at the Ritz, a gay bathhouse where he is pursued amorously by "chubby chaser" Paul B. Price and by entertainer Googie Gomez who believes him to be a broadway producer. His guides through the Ritz are gatekeeper Abe, habitue Chris, and bellhop/go-go-boys Tiger and Duff. Squeaky-voiced detective Michael Brick and his employer Carmine do locate Gateano at the Ritz, as does his wife Vivian
This film took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting much and was pleasently surprised. The film is Reminisent of a certain era in hollywood when they used to turn hit broadway plays into film instead of vice versa (Why no one has tried to make bad films like tht one into hit broad way show i will never know. Maybe it would improved the film to have song and dance routines to lighten the already ridiculous story.) Some of the jokes fall flat and the film is a bit homophobic by presenting so many stereotypes, But ti's not cruel about it. After all this is a gay farce really at heart.
There are so many jokes both visual, physical and spoken sinc ethe film is is fast paced. the just come at you so fast. yet they are witty and i like films like this. They remind me of the screwball comedies that i love. So it's a joy discovering this one when you think you have seen all the great ones worth watching. then this gem comes along. The film is definately a farce as you can't take anything in this film seriously.
It Stars Jack Weston who with Allen Garfield were great go to guys as supporting actors of the 70's especially in comedic roles. Always were solid and funny but rarely got to play leads ad when they did the films were usually bombs. They yhtemselves were usually good.
This is a unappreciated gem. Hilarious from the beginning to the end. The whole cast steal scenes from one another. This is John Ratzenberger's film debut. THe show originally began on broadway and the show's cast all reprise there roles except Stephen Collins who in the film is replaced by Treat Williams
The Films fast pace flows well but i would not expect anything lest from director Richard Lester. Who always seems to make chaos enjoyable and somehow make sense in the end. He seems to bring out the beauty in it. From his films with the beatles to here. He always injects the preceedings with a certain amount of boundless energy and joy which is always very welcome.
Go out and rent it. Though it is worth buying and will be a good inclusion into your home library and a goodsuggestion for the friend who claims to have seen everything. I can see how this film might not be for everybody.