A kind of masterpiece. I love this film so very very much. It really captures adolescence.
It does: a period akin to madness or love.
It also captures New York. As I posted at “The Forgotten” I went to school with a girl who ran around in a ratty fur coat exactly like Tippy Walker’s.
And speaking of Tippy, it was recently revealed that George Roy Hill was the Roman Polanski of his day re his lovely and lively star.
Seems to have been. Though at least she was a bit older than she’s cast. Still, if it were today, that would’ve been a bit of a scandal.
The thing to keep in mind is tat the girl’s “love” of Henry isn’t real, it’s an acting -out. Once they see his silly performance they decide he’s an ideal object on which to project an imaginary passion — and attack adult authority which they find silly overall.
A rather clever Broadway msuical was made of the film, Henry Sweet Henry starring Don Ameche in Seller’s role. A minor character in the film (a slightly creepy classmate seen on the bus) was turned inot a major supporting character in the show, played by the great Alice Playten. Here’s her big number.
That girl in the original movie is SUPERB! I was trying to work out who played her.
Interesting article about the movie and Tippy Walker here
Thanks, yes! There’s a really striking DVD extra to make about those girls, if the studio decided to take the trouble…
I’ve always loved the movie, but just to vaguely disagree with our host, I think George Roy Hill almost specialized in, as you call it, ‘quasi-comedy,’ and I think that most of it, at least at his peak, which this is the very beginning of, he was very successful with. I know I watch Hill movies with an eye towards the way he seems to deftly handle comedic and dramatic elements, even when they tip farther into either end. This may be a perspective I hold being a straight man from central Pennsylvania, but my favorite film of his is Slap Shot, which I think does a wonderful job riding a sloppy tone to the finish line. In fact, any of the three films he made with Paul Newman I feel are pretty tip top in this regard, probably because Newman during the same period matured into a very confident and natural comic performer as well as a good intense dramatic lead.
Though Hill was certainly all over the place, I stand up for him as a bit of an auteurist, because even at his most stylized, this movie comes to mind, Slaughterhouse Five as well, he has a very natural way with both dialogue and comedy that I think shines through immediately.
I found this film quite likable the first time I saw it. Unfortunately, TCM ran it at least four times in the Spring/Summer of 2010. I don’t like anything that much. TCM does this too often, rerunning certain films in a short period to the point of irritation.
Also, sweet new banner.
Ah, but TCM are so good in nearly every other way. Even their station idents and intersticials are things of beauty.
Harry K, yes! Maybe the key is to reject William Goldman’s claim that Hill was great because he could do any kind of film, and focus on the films he did WELL. In the same way that Sidney Lumet worked really hard to show he was an all-rounder, but really excelled at cop & crime movies. Both were such rebels against auteurism, and yet they kind of embodied it, from that perspective.
In terms of tone, then, a strong case can be made: in terms of style Hill is still a little amorphous. Though I guess we see the cartoonist’s eye at work a little in Slap Shot.
Well, Sidney Lumet was interesting, and there you go again, bringing up someone who naturally is very close to any Pennsylvanian cinefile’s heart. I think his gift with actors shows through in all of his films, in that the performance of the ensemble invariably is better than what you would get if you just threw his cast into a room with a script and locked the door. It’s his visual style that seems to falter whenever he steps away from the crime genre. Network’s one of those great films, but even with the oft-discussed increase in lighting and color, I don’t think it’s nearly as visually striking as things like Dog Day Afternoon or the Verdict. There’s something about people being sweaty under dirty florescent lighting that Lumet understood. I’m just not sure that Lumet knew how to frame a shot on something cleaned by a well paid janitorial staff or someone in a good suit.
Lumet’s book Making Movies is a treasure trove of ways of thinking about film-making craft. And yes, something of his skill shows through in all his work, for sure. Hard to think of a genuinely bad performance in any of his films, though there are certainly bits of casting that don’t come off, especially latterly.
Making Movies is incredible, and obviously effective. The process he outlined in that book made Vin Diesel rise to at least mediocre in what is a mindblowingly miscast role.
Still to see the last two Lumets. Old VD is pretty effective within a certain range, but he’s obviously a real Piece of Work too…
Oh I LOVE Find MeGuilty ! It’s a coutroom drama that ONLY Lumet could have made. He was as at home in court every bit as much as he was on the city streets. And don’t forget Just Tell Me What You Want which evidences a well-nigh Cukor-like sophistication few would have expected of him.
I met the great man a number of years back when the Los Angeles Film Critics Association give him our “Career Achievement” award.
Got a chance to chat with him during the cocktail hour and he was most entertined by my remarks re <i.Dod Day Afternoon as I knew “the original cast” and why Littlejohn robbed that particular bank (something not dealt with in the pocket masterpiece.)