Saturday, June 7, 2014
LORD LOVE A DUCK (1966)
Directed By: George Axelrod
Based on the novel By: Al Hine
Written By: George Axelrod & Larry H. Johnson
Cinematography By: Daniel L. Fapp
Editor: William A. Lyon
Cast: Roddy McDowell, Tuesday Weld, Ruth Gordon, Harvey Korman
High-school senior Barbara Ann Greene has a lot to overcome to reach her dreams to be popular, get a job, find a husband, and maybe even be a movie star: she's poor, her parents are divorced, and her mother is a cocktail waitress. Right beside her, though, is her best friend and Svengali, Alan. He helps her get 12 cashmere sweaters, a job in the principal's office, spring break at Balboa, and more. Along the way, the satire bites teen mores, beach-blanket bikini movies, adults in charge, the country-club set, Christian-youth programs, older men's fantasies, and teen girls' innocence. How popular will Barbara Ann become, and what lengths will Alan go to get her there?
This is a movie where the title is nowhere near what you might think that the film is about.
The film began as a novel seeking to satirize teen and California culture. The book is more dark then the film supposedly. This film is dark and plays up it's disturbing elements with intentional comedy and scenes of slapstick.
The film seems outdated. You could see it being fun and revolutionary at the time even controversial. Now it feels like a bunch of the humor goes over the head. It also feels like a youth film made by an older gentleman that tries to get it, but clearly doesn't as he seems to only give his examination of them as subjects not real characters.
The film has a great cast Roddy McDowell, Tuesday weld, Ruth Gordon, Harvey Korman and Max Showalter who some will remember as one of Molly Ringwald's loud obnoxious grandfather's in 16 CANDLES (His last film performance). It's a shock to see him so young. Roddy McDowall, playing a high school senior, was 38 years old when the movie was filmed, opposite a 22 year old Tuesday Weld, but the same age as Harvey Korman (as the school principal) and only 3 years younger then Lola Albright (Weld's mother)
The film has a bunch of bizarre scenes like Tuesday weld's father taking her out to shop and she talks orgasmic ally about food while her father eggs her on excitedly. there are also plenty of hilarious scenes like when Tuesday weld's mother tries to commit suicide.
The driving problem I have with the film is that Roddy McDowell is so in love with Tuesday Weld, but we never know why. Sure she is good looking, but she is nothing special. She's a stereotypical teen dumb, immature. Has a bad home life. That is all we know and here he is this teenage prodigy who devotes and deviates himself to her. Though never explained or shown why.
He also never makes a romantic move or pass on her. Which makes me believe that his character might be homosexual a taboo for the screen at the time. Other that or still emotionally stunted as far as his feelings for women as he never seems to act on his hormones as many of the other characters do for her. Throughout the film he just stays dedicated.
If she were a total innocent all through the film. The film might have made more of an impact, but as it plays here. She is a complete accomplice albeit not a too active one although She knows what is going on.
The film is beautifully photographed and has a lot of good sight gags and physical comedy. In the end the film comes off as a disappointment.
A film that seems like a big broad production for why should have been a strong story and production. It comes off as an independent film. A peculiar oddity of a film that I am shocked never found an audience as it seems ripe to be a cult film.
Tuesday Weld told film critic Rex Reed that this was her favorite film and that she thought she gave her best performance in it.