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Bigamy is played for big laughs in director Blake Edwards' 1984 comedy Micki and Maude. Well-meaning television reporter Rob Salinger (Dudley Moore) ends up married to two different women, both of whom he loves. Micki (Ann Reinking) is a workaholic attorney with big career ambitions, while Maude (Amy Irving) is a slightly kooky classical musician who makes Rob laugh. When both women become pregnant at the same time, Rob is thrilled. However, running between the two takes a hilarious toll as Rob's double life quickly threatens to catch up with him.
In the early 1980s Columbia Pictures asked Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany's , The Pink Panther ) to read the script for Micki and Maude by Jonathan Reynolds believing that it would be a good fit for Edwards to direct. Edwards loved the story and quickly agreed to come on board the project. Edwards usually wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for his films. However, Micki and Maude would mark the first time in a decade that Edwards would direct a film for which he did not receive any writing credit.
Dudley Moore, one of the top comic actors at the time, was on a roll of successful comedies including the smash hits 10 (1979) and Arthur (1981). Micki and Maude reunited Moore with Blake Edwards with whom he had worked on 10 five years earlier. Edwards believed that the success of Micki and Maude would depend on the audience believing that Moore's character genuinely loved both women, and if anyone could make a bigamist seem sympathetic and almost romantic, Edwards believed it was Dudley Moore.
Moore suggested Amy Irving for the role of Maude. According to Barbra Paskin's 2000 authorized biography Dudley Moore: The Melancholy Clown, "he was a staunch admirer of the beautiful actress with the renaissance face, and had she not been married at the time to Steven Spielberg...he would have pursued her into a romance." Ann Reinking, the Tony Award-winning dancer and choreographer, was cast as Rob's wife Micki.
According to co-producer Tony Adams, Micki and Maude was a set full of laughter with everyone getting along beautifully. "Amy (Irving) was very enamored both with her role and with Dudley, and they hit it off immediately and spent a lot of time together," he says in Paskin's book. "Amy was a very warm and funny girl. So was Ann. She had a wonderfully wicked sense of humor and a deep, gutsy, throaty kind of laugh that Dudley loved."
Both actresses loved working with Dudley Moore. "Dudley made each of us feel like the most special person, the most beautiful woman, in the world," Irving is quoted in Paskin's book. "Dudley is tender and genuine," adds Ann Reinking, "and because he's funny, he makes you laugh. Laughter makes you feel good, and a man who makes women feel good is going to be very popular with them. I think Amy and I just sat and laughed for three months. It loosened us up so much that we did things I don't think we thought we could do."
Blake Edwards also enjoyed his experience making Micki and Maude. "I loved Dudley in the role," he said, "and the combination with Ann and Amy was just terrific. It worked so well, and we all got along wonderfully. We had the best time on that film." In fact, Edwards was fond of playing practical jokes on Dudley Moore during the filming of the movie. While shooting one particular scene with Moore, Edwards had arranged for a prop man to jump out of a closet and scare him. "It was hilarious," remembers co-producer Tony Adams. "Blake had set the whole thing up and had the prop man assume this guise. Dudley was absolutely shocked...The whole film was a constant state of Blake doing something to poor Dudley. "
The New York Times called Micki and Maude "never less than a delight" and "proof, if any were needed, that Mr. Moore's forte is Mr. Edwards' bluntly irreverent kind of comedy...The director, the star and the writer make a fine team in this often riotous tale...Edwards must also be credited with having had the good sense to give Ann Reinking and Amy Irving the comedy roles of their careers." Roger Ebert said, "Dudley Moore is developing into one of the great movie comedians of his generation. Micki and Maude goes on the list with 10 and Arthur as screwball classics...Edwards and Moore are working at the top of their form here, and the result is a pure, classic slapstick that makes Micki and Maude a real treasure." The Los Angeles Times added, "Micki and Maude delightfully reteams Blake Edwards and Dudley Moore, director and star of 10. They bring out the best in each other, and the result is a sparkling comedy in the classic style, seeming at once precise and spontaneous."
Despite the good reviews and high expectations, Micki and Maude was a disappointment at the box office. However, more than twenty years later the film remains funny and fresh, highlighting the remarkable comic talents of Blake Edwards and Dudley Moore at the top of their game. "The film was funny," said Blake Edwards in a later interview, "but I think middle America resented the fact that this guy was a bigamist...I still thought it was a charming movie, and I'd have bet anything that it would have done very well."
Producer: Tony Adams
Director: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: Jonathan Reynolds
Cinematography: Harry Stradling
Art Direction: Jack Senter
Music: Lee Holdridge
Film Editing: Ralph E. Winters
Cast: Dudley Moore (Rob Salinger), Amy Irving (Maude Guillory Salinger), Ann Reinking (Micki Salinger), Richard Mulligan (Leo Brody), George Gaynes (Dr. Eugene Glztszki), Wallace Shawn (Dr. Elliot Fibel), John Pleshette (Hap Ludlow), H.B. Haggerty (Barkhas Guillory), Lu Leonard (nurse Mary Verbeck), Priscilla Pointer (Diana Hutchison), Robert Symonds (Ezra Hutchison), George Coe (Governor Lanford), Gustav Vintas (Dr. Kondoleon).
by Andrea Passafiume