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Julie Messinger, a bright and attractive Manhattan wife and mother of two small boys, yearns for personal and sexual validation after seven years of marriage to successful, handsome magazine editor Richard. At a party celebrating the publication of Richard's first book, a children's fiction addressing melancholia, Julie surprises her husband by wearing a see-through mesh top without a bra. Fantasizing that her attire will drive the men around her wild with desire, Julie is taken aback when Richard introduces her to aging author Bernard Kalman and she visualizes him naked, flabby and unattractive. Later at a private party, the Messingers join their friends, photographer Cal Whiting, his girl friend, aspiring actress Miranda Graham and physician Timmy Spector. Richard reveals that he is having minor surgery the next morning to remove a mole on his neck. Surprised to discover that Richard will be anesthetized, Julie learns from Timmy that the procedure is a precaution as the mole is near a major artery. That night at home, Richard rebuffs Julie's attempts to have sex and when she explains that she is offering herself to him as a gift, he frankly tells her a gift has to be wanted to have any meaning. The next morning after dropping in at his office to oversee Cal's photo layout for the magazine's next issue, Richard goes into the hospital, making numerous jokes about dying. After the surgery, Julie visits Richard in his room, where he expresses concern that he is receiving a blood transfusion, but Timmy assures the Messingers that this is a common post-operative procedure. That night, however, Timmy contacts Julie to tell her that Richard has developed unexpected complications. Arriving back at the hospital, Julie is stunned to find Richard in a coma in the intensive care unit. Timmy admits that during surgery, the surgeon accidentally nicked Richard's artery, requiring the transfusion to which Richard had a rare reaction. When Timmy gives Julie Richard's wedding ring because it is cutting off his circulation, she recalls their wedding night and Richard's physical and emotional insensitivity to her virginity. As Timmy calms the anxious Julie, she remembers her insecurity over her looks as a teenager and the reassurances of school friend Emily Lapham. Timmy asks Julie to contact as many of Richard's friends as possible to give blood to replenish the hospital blood bank and within an hour, the entire waiting room is filled with the Messingers' friends and family, gossiping and chatting over the harried nurses. That night, as Julie settles into the couple's king-sized bed alone, she remembers her mother telling her as a teenager that despite her plain looks, her ample breasts would surely attract the attentions of men. Reflecting on her sexual relationship with Richard, Julie wonders why he began rejecting her intimacies just as she became sexually confident. The next day, Timmy introduces Julie to three medical specialists who confuse her by explaining that although Richard has overcome the reaction to the transfusion, his liver has sustained damage requiring serious treatment. At the ICU, Julie finds her mother and several friends. Startled to see Emily, Julie recalls that they once had a brief affair just after the Messingers' marriage. Disturbed by Timmy's pointed questions about Richard's health insurance, Julie sits with her comatose husband and mulls over his recent numerous nights away from home and exasperated explanations that he cannot tolerate their raucous sons. The next day, Julie gives Timmy Richard's insurance information and he tells her that Richard must undergo dialysis as his kidneys are now affected. Unsettled, Julie agrees to go to breakfast with Cal, and is concerned when he begins drinking heavily. Cal then reveals that he and Miranda have quarreled because she admitted to having an affair for over a year. When Julie expresses surprise, Cal stuns her by adding that Richard was the man with whom Miranda was having the affair. Although Cal tries to mollify Julie, she is deeply distressed and seeks out her mother who is having a spa treatment. Unable to confess Richard's infidelity directly, Julie simply asks her mother for advice on depression and her mother recommends a full beauty treatment. Later, Julie visits Miranda who is rehearsing with a Shakespearean acting troop. Miranda admits the relationship with Richard, acknowledging that knowing Julie makes the betrayal difficult. When Julie coldly asks what future Miranda wanted from the relationship, Miranda reveals that she and Richard are deeply in love and although he has promised to marry her, she remains unsure. Disgusted, Julie visits Cal where she gets drunk and agrees to pose nude for him. When Cal's attempt at seduction fails, he swears that he has never been impotent with a woman before. Returning to the hospital later, Julie ignores financial advice from her uncle Eddie and, sitting with the unconscious Richard, vows bitterly never to divorce him and do her best to ruin his reputation. Timmy offers to console Julie by taking her for drinks at his apartment, where Julie relates Richard's affair with Miranda. Realizing that Timmy has not only been aware of the relationship, but knew of others, Julie lashes out at him. Timmy angrily defends himself, reminding Julie that as Richard's friend, he owes him his loyalty. Julie agrees and, to Timmy's surprise, tries to seduce him. Embarrassed to have Julie see that he wears a girdle, Timmy staves off the seduction briefly, then gives in. That evening at home, Julie finds a black book in Richard's desk and quickly deduces that the initials, dates and numbers indicate the women Richard has slept with and the times they have had sex. Realizing that most of her friends have been Richard's partners, Julie takes the book to Cal, who is dismayed that Miranda has also been betrayed by Richard's promiscuity. Julie considers giving the book to Miranda, but then changes her mind. The next day at the hospital, as Julie and her friends wait, Richard goes into cardiac arrest. As the doctors work on him, Miranda arrives with the black book given to her by Cal and asks why Julie told Cal about it. Julie explains she did it for the same reason that Miranda admitted the affair with Richard to Cal. As Richard is wheeled down the hall to have further tests, Julie acknowledges to her friends and family that despite Richard's hurtful actions, she desperately wants him to survive. Soon after, Timmy returns to announce that Richard has died. Collecting her two sons, Julie takes a walk in Central Park.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||R||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 16 Dec 1971; New York opening: 21 Dec 1971|
|Release Date:||1971||Production Date:||
An Otto Preminger Film
|Color/B&W:||Color||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Sigma Productions, Inc.|
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Such a Good Film!
Jarrod McDonald 2011-12-27
This film aired on FLIX this morning. I have to say that it is completely outrageous. I think director Otto Preminger's later films are an acquired...
Still remember this movie
Made 1971 and although cant recall particulars in generalit stands out.Viewers of TCM would enjoy.