Friday, August 17, 2007

They All Laughed (1981, Peter Bogdanovich)

"A mad cap private-eye caper about a team of detectives who are following, and are being followed by, a group of beautiful women."

I have always been a great admirer of Peter Bogdanovich. The life he has lived has always fascinated me and would make for a great film or book one day. His sudden rise to fame at a young age and his subsequent sudden downfall seems like something out of a film that he himself would admire when he was young.

Anyways I still have lots to see in Bogdanovich's filmlography but from what I have seen there are a lot of underloved works of pure brilliance that seem to get no mentions at all from anyone.

So because of this I was finally able to see one of the most infamous films of all time, They All Laughed. This is the film which was supposed to give Bogdanovich his huge comeback but instead fell into a very odd controversy when it was about to get released because of one of the stars, and Bogdanovichs girlfriend at the time, tragic murder. People were so shocked and depressed by this news that they refused to go watch the film and it instead ruined Bogdanovichs career at the time.


In Easy Rider and Raging Bulls there is a chapter which mentions Bogdanovichs amazing early sauces in the 70s. In this small mention in the book one director (cant remember his name) says that he hated Bogdanovich because he just kept making other peoples pictures. By this he means that Bogdanovich would do his "John Ford film" and then his "Howard Hawks film" etc... but would never really do something of his own. Although it kind of hurts me to say it, the man is somewhat right. Bogdanovich always seemed to be capturing someone elses style of directing and writing with every film he would do and this once again shows in They All Laughed.

They All Laughed has Bogdanovich in "Howard Hawks mode" but is really more centered in a "30s screwball comedy mode" than anything else.

The film which tells the screwball antics of 2 private detectives falling in love with the woman that they are supposed to be investigating is far from original but it still contains enough sweet charm and delightful characters that it becomes a very fun film.

The only main flaw the film has is that it all feels slightly unreal. It feels like something out of a screwball comedy from the 30s, of course, but it feels odd seeing all these characters in a modern New York setting. The plot also becomes very loose and a little bit messy in the final couple of minutes but is still a very fun little film that is another addition to the underrated list of films from Bogdanovich.

- B+

Sidenote: I was surprised to see Wes Anderson pop up on the special features and talk about the film as well as Peter Bogdanovich's films. It nice to see someone pay their respects to someone that they admire as well as trying to get more people to watch his stuff. Great job on this one Wes Anderson.

No comments: