Thursday, December 1, 2011

Love Among the Ruins

George Cukor, 1975, tv (8.6*)
This wonderful UK comedy that takes place in I believe the Edwardian era is another reminder of just how far ahead their tv productions are compared to the U.S. – over there these are just as good as feature films with tenfold budgets and huge pr campaigns.

Katharine Hepburn plays an aging actress who is being sued by a younger man for breach of promise. The lawyer she unwittingly hires, Laurence Olivier, is actually a former lover from several decades back, who she has forgotten but who is still in love with her. In fact, her new lawyer never really got over his youthful attachment. There are some classic scenes of them alone as he tries to stir her memories.

As this involves a court case, in which Hepburn’s estate and reputation both are on the line, we get to see a different side of both characters than we see in private – here the two are acting in Hepburn’s best interest, so the two actors involved are now giving us a performance within another performance, pretty classy indeed.

Everything about this production is top quality, you might say sublime. Cukor won an Emmy for his direction, as did the writer, James Costigan, also the costumes and set design. Both Oliver and Hepburn won primetime acting Emmys, as the tv film won six overall. It's nice to see the two actors beyond their prime but obviously still better than just about anyone else alive.

This is the perfect type of G-rated comedy they should and could make much more often than once a decade or so. Cukor also directed the classics My Fair Lady (1964) and The Women (1939).


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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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