Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Critical Reactions #10 (Unfaithfully Yours)
Nastassja followed up her most controversial film, THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, with one of her most low keyed and charming. 1984's UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, despite being a very funny and sweet film, suffered from the same thing that had plagued CAT PEOPLE. Namely that as a remake it wasn't viewed on its own terms, and was only compared (mostly negatively) to the classic Preston Sturgis original.
I like the remake of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS very much, and think it is one of the brightest comedies of the mid eighties. Unfortunately critical reaction was mixed at best. Here is a sampling of some of the reviews.
"The remake of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS is just a shadow of its source, using the basic plot and characters, but diluting Sturgis' ideas...Dudley Moore gives a nice low key performance...Kinski is appropriately elegant."
-David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor-
"a cleverly written, very derivative concoction...the romantic pairing of Moore and Kinski doesn't generate a chemical reaction...these generally minor criticisms should not deny the true comic expertise exhibited here..."
-John Nangle, Films In Review-
"opens with charm and confidence...sad to say, the charm runs out long before the film does...Moore's puckishness makes him seem much younger, Kinski's sophistication lets her seem any age...the picture's photography is exceptional."
-Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times-
"Successful...commercially astute...a product of considerable merit and distinction."
-Nick Roddick, Monthly Film Bulletin-
"Kinski is entirely out of her element in this trifle. Called upon to act fey and breathless, she seems merely strained. It is difficult to tell whether she is too intense a personality-or untalented an actress-to act against her grain...her screen presence is heavy and less dexterous."
-Daphne Merkin, New Leader-
"Hollywood (has) forgotten how to make comedies..."
-John Coleman, New Statesman-
"isn't all that bad, but it's a depressing experience for those of us who love the original...the new film is a sweet, ingratiating, conventional romantic comedy...Kinski's bouncy, volatile, even funny...we feel for her."
-David Denby, New York-
"exceedingly funny...piles talent on talent on talent...give yourself a treat with UNFAITHFULLY YOURS."
-Archer Winston, New York Post-
"Kinski is vacuous...Funny? Yes and no."
-Joseph Gelmis, Newsday-
"Kinski reveals the comic bubble between her solemn sultriness...a full head of comic steam...a good chuckle is not to be scorned in any era."
-David Ansen, Newsweek-
"Amiable but half-baked remake of what was anyway one of Preston Sturges' least satisfactory comedies. Moore plays the old Rex Harrison role of the egocentric conductor convinced his beloved (Kinski at her most coquettish) has been cheating on him with the devilishly good-looking lead violinist. The mood here is far less menacing or unsettling than in the original. Instead of the sleek and murderous elegance of Harrison, we have to put up with cuddly Dudley's gooey, Arthur-like grimaces. He's trying so hard to ingratiate himself that it's impossible to believe he could ever really entertain the idea of killing Kinski."
-Time Out Film Guide-
"scores a clean win over nostalgics sentiment for the old master's original...consistently inventive staging and better dialogue (than the original)...Kinski too is back within her best range, cheerfully sexy instead of glumly sultry."
-Richard Schickel, Time-