Saturday, January 15, 2011


Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1972 (8.1*)
This engaging mystery play by Anthony Shaffer becomes an acting tour-de-force for it's two stars, Laurence Olivier, as a man whose wife is having an affair with a younger man, and Michael Caine, as the wife's lover. Olivier invites Caine to his home for a drink and what follows is an intellectual game of oneupmanship as the two battle wits in what is perhaps the best performances of each actor as they skillfully play off each other and the incisive repartee.

You could call this an experimental play, as it's an all dialogue piece for two actors, and it's underlying uniqueness is also perhaps it's major weakness. Rather lengthy at nearly three hours, if one tires of the one room setting or the voices of Olivier and Caine, then there's really no escape within the film. However, there are enough twists in the plot puzzle to keep more mental movie fans riveted throughout as the film is basically a crime mystery.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz is the brilliant director of 1950's best picture and director winner All About Eve, which also featured two actors sparring throughout, Bette Davis and Anne Baxter but also a terrific supporting cast.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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