Sunday, September 18, 2011

FILM FOCUS : THESE OLD BROADS .. 2001

COLUMBIA TRISTAR
Presents
An ABC Production
THESE OLD BROADS
Starring
SHIRLEY MACLAINE as Kate Westbourne
JOAN COLLINS as Addie Holden
DEBBIE REYNOLDS as Piper Grayson
ELIZABETH TAYLOR as Beryl Mason
JONATHAN SILVERMAN as Wesley Weston
PETER GRAVES as Bill
GENE BARRY as MR Stern
PAT HARRINGTON as Tony
NESTOR CARBONELL as Gavin
HINTON BATTLE as Pete
PAT CRAWFORD BROWN as Miriam Hodges
JUNE ALLYSON as Lady in hotel lobby
CARRIE FISHER as Hooker
TODD FISHER as Timothy
TRICIA LEIGH FISHER as Hooker 2
Director of Photography - Eric Van Haren Norman
  Art Director - Gaston Wurth
    Music by Guy Moon / Steve Tyrell
      Teleplay by Carrie Fisher / Elaine Pope
        Costumes by Nolan Miller
          Edited by Casey O' Rohrs
             Produced by Lewis Abel
               Directed by Matthew Diamond
                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Take three legends of the silver screen, who hate each other. One tough agent, who attempts to get them together again, to do a reunion show to celebrate the re-release of their classic movie "Boy Crazy!" The scene is set for bitching of the highest order! They all share the same past, with the same man! Throw in a dead mobster, a gay son and a dotty mother and you will find a lot going on for These Old Broads!!
  (c) 2001 ABC 89MINS  REG 1 DVD COLUMBIA TRISTAR

This 2001 TV movie is a must for lovers of classic Hollywood glamour, as it stars the last of it's legendary ladies. With an all star cast, headed by Shirley, Joan and Debbie, it is a joy to see them all together in one film, with the added rare appearance by Elizabeth Taylor. The film was also due to star Ann Miller, but unfortunately she became too ill. It would have been a reunion for Joan, as June Allyson makes an uncredited appearance as a hotel guest. Both June and Ann appeared with Joan in the glamourous MGM release 'The Opposite Sex' in 1956. The film does reunite Debbie and Elizabeth, as they both had a stormy friendship over the years, ever since Elizabeth lured Eddie Fisher away from Debbie, back in the heyday of Hollywood! They do make references to the incident in the film, albeit in a disguised version! The screenplay was written by Debbie and Eddie's real life daughter Carrie Fisher, who turns up as a hooker in the film!

Carrie originally planned the screenplay to be sold as a theatrical release, however she could not find anyone interested in the project, finally selling it to ABC. She said about the process..
"To get a film made in Hollywood is hard enough.. To find backing for a film starring a bunch of near seventy year old's is impossible!"
                                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~
To befit a legendary cast, the costumes were created by the legendary couturier of Hollywood glamour, Nolan Miller. Most famous for his over the top, 'Dynasty'  costumes, he has designed for every major Hollywood legend. It was Joan who persuaded Nolan to do the clothes for the film, while he was visiting her St Tropez villa.
"Nolan was the obvious choice! He is the only one left who really knows about glamour!"


But it was not all plain sailing with the legends as Nolan recalled..
"The ladies loved the wardrobe so much that they wanted to keep them. Usually actresses have it in their contracts, to take some of them. However nobody had in this movie! But Elizabeth took hers home and never asked. Joan also wanted some of hers and it all became such an issue with them, that the producers came onto the set. They agreed that each lady could take three outfits each, plus accessories. Well! They took the lot, there was nothing left on the hangers! The producers gave up and couldn't be bothered challenging them about it."
Joan had the most glamorous outfits in the film, however they all looked fabulous. The film however was not the ratings success that had been hoped, with mixed reviews....
VARIETY ....
'A send up of everything Hollywood, from cat-fighting actresses, to over the top demands.. These Old Broads, is simple, nasty, fun! Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins are the ultimate good sports here, playing downtrodden divas, who bicker non stop about nips, tucks and failed marriages. Nostalgic viewers tired of sweep schedules packed with overblown minis and true crime tell-alls will surely appreciate this uncomplicated telepic, full of class acts and sass!"



THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER...
'They're icons, says the evil TV exec in the movie. People would just tune in to see if they are still alive! Joan plays sexy Addie Holden, oh, forget it! Joan plays Joan, Debbie plays Debbie and Shirley plays Shirley, all of them as if on East German level steroids and double martinis! They turn out to be far better sports than imaginable! You will be surprised to learn that Dame Elizabeth, does not play Elizabeth, she plays a stoned, nymphomaniac agent, by way of Shelley Winters and Mike Myers, Linda Richman! It's her greatest acting stretch in years. By my count the great Dame gets off her rump once! Whomever smeared Vaseline on the lens for her performance, is in line for a special Emmy|! Her hairdresser however, should be charged with felony. It's not hair, it's debris! But it's great to see Joan back, who is not giving enough credit as a delicious comedienne."
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS....
'These Old Broads, a crude, bawdy, intermittently amusing comedy penned by Reynolds daughter, Carrie Fisher and former 'Seinfield' writer Elaine Pope. Restraint isn't their strong suit. Not unfortunately, is taste. The quartet's most scandalous feature films cant match some of the ribald goings on here, where anatomical references are piled higher than Reynolds hairdo! Joan Collins still looking alluring enough to handle the entire male cast of 'Dawson's Creek'. 'These Old Broads' also weaves in a by now almost obligatory gay storyline, several pratfalls, a cat fight, some production numbers and throwaway roles for Peter Graves and Gene Barry. ABC perhaps merits nominal credit for going against the grain and giving these four mature stars another chance to shine. Taylor easily fares the best, in part because she's not around long enough to let the film collapse around her. The rest are fated to go the distance, still looking marvellous, but very seldom showing us their best sides.'
The film is an entertaining ninety minutes in the company of Hollywoods legendary ladies. A reminder of a more glamorous era in entertainment, that sadly they don't want to make them like that anymore!
(c) 2011  Mark McMorrow..

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