Rich and Famous (1981)

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EP Millstone
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Rich and Famous (1981)

Post by EP Millstone »

"Womens' Movies" are not my cup of tea.

For some odd reason, I saw Rich and Famous during its original theatrical release. I decided to watch it again on TCM On Demand, and enjoyed it -- primarily for the nostalgia it kindled within me. Sometimes I love movies not for themselves but for the memories of happier times that they evoke. In the case of Rich and Famous, Willie Nelson crooning the Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields (and perhaps "Fats" Waller) standard On the Sunny Side of the Street and the scenes at The Algonquin Hotel caused me to wistfully reminisce.

Notable as being a remake of Old Acquaintance (1943), the film debut of Meg Ryan, and the cinematic swan song of George Cukor, Rich and Famous is a "dramedy" that has a distinguished pedigree (based on a play by John Van Druten and directed by Cukor). Stars Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen (playing the characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins in the 1943 version), to me, acquitted themselves well and had a good "chemistry." Bisset, then in her late 30s, struck me as being too young and too attractive to be an "old maid" fretting about bedding younger studs (Hart Bochner and Matt Lattanzi ["Mr. Olivia Newton-John"]). By contrast, Bergen was a perfect fit, IMO, as the unlettered and less refined but surprisingly gifted Southern belle whose phenomenal literary prowess and lust for fame steamroll over her family and her friend.

Again, "Chick Flicks" are really not my cup of tea. But for me, Rich and Famous was satisfying and enjoyable entertainment that really hit the spot!



"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with." -- W.C. Fields
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HoldenIsHere
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Re: Richand Famous (1981)

Post by HoldenIsHere »

I also enjoyed RICH AND FAMOUS, EP Millstone. I actually enjoy it more than OLD ACQUAINTANCE. The Miriam Hopkins character in OLD ACQUAINTANCE is extremely annoying (I think she's supposed to be), and I don 't find Bette Davis's performance in the movie to be one of her best. I like both Hopkins and Davis much better in THE OLD MAID, where both give remarkably nuanced performances for such a melodramtic movie.

In RICH AND FAMOUS, Candice Bergen (in the Mriam Hopkins role) convincingly plays a character who is exasperating yet somehow sympathetic. I loved the scene where she pauses intimate relations with her husband when she gets an idea for one of her books.

I knew that RICH AND FAMOUS was an early movie role for Meg Ryan, but I didn't realize that it was her first.

Matt Lattanzi was quite fetching as the young hustler than Jacqueline Bisset takes to her hotel room. (I think he met Olivia Newton-John during the making of XANADU.)

The scene wher Jacqueline Bisset's character joins the Mile High Club was a hoot.

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Last edited by HoldenIsHere on November 12th, 2022, 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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EP Millstone
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

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I was surprised to learn that Matt Lattanzi was hetero. The instant that he appeared in Rich and Famous I presumptuously assumed that he was homosexual. If pictures of Lattanzi were plastered all over bedroom walls and inside gym lockers by gay men, I wouldn't at all be surprised.

Yeah, that vignette when Merry (Candice Bergen) cock-blocks hubby Doug (David Selby) to impulsively jot down her book ideas is a highlight, hilariously capped when she later tries to pick up where they left off only to be informed by "Doug-Bug" that he finished.

"WITHOUT ME?!" she exclaims.

According to the Internet Movie Database, RIch and Famous marked Meg Ryan's cinematic debut. It was also the final movie of character actor Joe Maross, who continued to act in television shows.

Joe Maross
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Maross

Memorable Moment in Old Acquaintance
"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with." -- W.C. Fields
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

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Bette Davis shaking Miriam Hopkins was the highlight of OLD ACQUAINTANCE for me.

I guess the equivalent in RICH AND FAMOUS is the teddy bear tug-of-war between Jacqueline Bisett and Candice Bergen.

In OLD ACQUAINTANCE, Miriam Hopkins ends up in tears.

In RICH AND FAMOUS, Jacqueline Bisett (the Bette Davis-like character) is the one who cries.

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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

Post by HoldenIsHere »

In RICH AND FAMOUS, Hart Bochner plays the equivalent of the role that Gig Young played in OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

Not only is Bochner good in the role, he's quite easy on the eyes.

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EP Millstone
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

Post by EP Millstone »

HoldenIsHere wrote: November 12th, 2022, 4:39 pm In RICH AND FAMOUS, Hart Bochner plays the equivalent of the role that Gig Young played in OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

Not only is Bochner good in the role, he's quite easy on the eyes.
Hart Bochner Turns 66 ... and it ain't pretty!

As you probably already know, Hart Bochner was the son of Lloyd Bochner who was quite active on television during the 1960s. For fans of The Twilight Zone, he is remembered for appearing in To Serve Man.

Last edited by EP Millstone on November 29th, 2022, 7:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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HoldenIsHere
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

Post by HoldenIsHere »

EP Millstone wrote: November 12th, 2022, 6:58 pm
HoldenIsHere wrote: November 12th, 2022, 4:39 pm In RICH AND FAMOUS, Hart Bochner plays the equivalent of the role that Gig Young played in OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

Not only is Bochner good in the role, he's quite easy on the eyes.
As you probably already know, Hart Bochner was the son of Lloyd Bochner who was quite active on television during the 1960s.
Hart Bochner also appeared in SUPERGIRL (1984), where he was coveted by the witch-wannabe Selena, deliciously played by Faye Dunaway.

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CinemaInternational
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

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I remember seeing it a little over a decade ago. I think I might have seen it illegally since I might have been a few months shy of my 17th birthday (which is the official age for solo watching of R rated films).

It is a flawed film, but mostly a good one. It offers one of Jacqueline Bisset's four best performances (the others are Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, Day for Night, and High Season) and, as always with a Cukor film, it is made with great care and an eye for strong performances. Some of the lines of dialogue though are a bit clunky.

The final scene is a wonderful capstone to Cukor's career, understated, elegant, and touching.
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Re: Rich and Famous (1981)

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RICH AND FAMOUS aired again on TCM recently and is available on Watch TCM.

I enjoy this movie more each time I watch it.
It is adapted from John Van Druten's play OLD ACQUAINTANCE, which was also the source for the movie of the same name starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins.

I think RICH AND FAMOUS (directed by George Cukor) is the superior of the two movies, possibly because it feels more honest and also because I don't find Bette Davis's performance in the earlier movie very convincing. (I much prefer the Davis-Hopkins pairing in THE OLD MAID, where Bette Davis gives a fantastic performance.)

Appearing in RICH AND FAMOUS as guests at the 1969 Malibu party thrown by Candice Bergen's character are author Christopher Isherwood and his life partner artist Don Bachardy.
Christopher Isherwood's BERLIN STORIES had bee adapted by John Van Druten into the play I AM A CAMERA, which later became the source for the musical play CABARET.


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