Foul Play


1h 56m 1978
Foul Play

Brief Synopsis

An innocent woman stumbles onto a plot to murder the pope.

Film Details

Also Known As
Killing Lydia, Tjejen som visste för mycket
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Crime
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1978
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Miller-Milkis Productions, Inc
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Francisco, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

A recent divorcees attempts to start life fresh in San Francisco are derailed when she is inadvertently swept up in an assassination plot against the Pope. With the help of a bumbling, San Francisco detective, she turns the tables on the criminals.

Videos

Movie Clip

Foul Play (1978) -- (Movie Clip) Open, Archbishop San Francisco appears, the Archbishop (Eugene Roche) gets killed, divorcee Marion (Goldie Hawn) makes eye contact with cop Tony (Chevy Chase) who bumbles, in the opening to Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) -- (Movie Clip) Like To Take A Shower? Still in the opening sequence, San Francisco hostess Sylvia (Janet Wood) encourages divorcee Gloria (Goldie Hawn) to mingle, as policeman Tony (Chevy Chase) eavesdrops, their first conversation, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) -- (Movie Clip) Beware Of The Dwarf Gloria (Goldie Hawn) decides to enter the revival house (with imaginary movies) alone, and barely catches on when her impromptu date Scotty (Bruce Solomon) reappears, uttering his famous clue, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) -- (Movie Clip) My Place Or Yours? Still not knowing why she's being pursued, San Francisco librarian Gloria (Goldie Hawn) ducks into a bar fleeing her albino assailant (William Frankfather) where she turns to baffled Stanley (Dudley Moore, in his Hollywood breakthrough role) for protection, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) -- (Movie Clip) Monica Drowned This Morning Suave and accident-prone San Francisco detective Tony (Chevy Chase) brings fragile witness Gloria (Goldie Hawn) to his Sausalito house-boat for protection and whatever, and deftly explains about "Monica," in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.

Trailer

Film Details

Also Known As
Killing Lydia, Tjejen som visste för mycket
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Crime
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1978
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Miller-Milkis Productions, Inc
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
San Francisco, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Song

1978

Articles

Foul Play - Foul Play


Foul Play was a fair treat for film audiences in 1978. Its combination of Hitchcock-style thrills and loopy comedy resulted in sweet box office to the tune of about $30 million, enough to place it among the year's ten top-grossing films.

The film represented writer Colin Higgins's first shot as a director. He had recently graduated from film school when he expanded a student short into the script for the acclaimed off-beat comedy Harold and Maude (1971), starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in an unlikely May-December romance. He followed that with the hit suspense comedy Silver Streak (1976), the first film to team Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. He then offered Paramount the script for Foul Play at a reduced fee in return for the chance to direct. With a light romantic plot about two screwballs fighting a plot to assassinate the pope and scenes inspired by such Hitchcock classics as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Notorious (1946) and Rear Window (1954), the studio couldn't resist.

Also irresistible were the two stars. In a role she said required very little acting at all, a divorcee sucked into the investigation of a threat against the pope just as she's ready to take a chance again on love, Goldie Hawn was at her goofy best. After rising to stardom on NBC's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In in the late '60s, she had won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her first major film role in Cactus Flower (1969). Despite her prodigious talents and a knockout performance in Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (1972), however, Hawn had trouble finding a niche as a film star. Foul Play marked her first hit since Shampoo three years earlier and put her in a position to market Private Benjamin (1980), one of her biggest successes.

Chevy Chase had just scored a breakthrough hit as one of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players on Saturday Night Live when he got the chance to break into feature films in Foul Play. His combination of pratfalls, lechery and romantic bumbling had reviewers comparing him favorably to the young Cary Grant. He and Hawn clicked so well as a romantic team that they would co-star again in Seems Like Old Times (1980).

Also getting a big boost out of Foul Play was Dudley Moore, who made his U.S. film debut as the amorous conductor who keeps coming on to Hawn while she's on the run. The role had originally been written for comic Tim Conway. When he turned it down, it became a personal triumph for Moore, particularly when his performance caught the eye of writer-director Blake Edwards, who cast him in his 1979 comedy about mid-life crisis, 10.

Production values for Foul Play were impeccable, most notably the location photography of San Francisco. Cameras ranged from a Sausalito marina, where Hawn and Chase share their first date, to the San Francisco Opera House, where the action comes to a head during a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (actually performed by members of the New York City Opera with Julius Rudel conducting). Also helping was the hit theme song, "Ready to Take a Chance Again." Sung by Barry Manilow, it was on the charts for 16 weeks and captured an Oscar nomination for Best Song (it lost to the disco number "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday). Songwriters Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel had previously worked for Foul Play's producers, Thomas L. Miller and Edward K. Milkis, when they wrote the theme song for their hit series Happy Days.

Foul Play's success was a boon for everyone involved, particularly writer-director Colin Higgins. With that hit under his belt, he scored an even bigger success with the office-politics comedy Nine to Five (1980), starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, the subsequent failure of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), with Parton and Burt Reynolds, put the brakes on his career. Before he could find a comeback, he died from complications of AIDS in 1988 at the age of 47.

Foul Play also inspired a television series starring Barry Bostwick and Deborah Raffin in the roles created by Chase and Hawn. Unfortunately, the series folded after only a few weeks. Television continued to be unfriendly to the film when a 1981 primetime airing was canceled at the last minute because of an assassination attempt on the pope, an event that came too close to the film's comic suspense plot.

Producer: Thomas L. Miller & Edward K. Milkis
Director: Colin Higgins
Screenplay: Colin Higgins
Cinematography: David M. Walsh
Art Direction: Alfred Sweeney & Robert R. Benton
Music: Charles Fox
Principal Cast: Goldie Hawn (Gloria Mundy), Chevy Chase (Tony Carlson), Burgess Meredith (Hennessey), Rachel Roberts (Gerda), Dudley Moore (Stanley Tibbets), Marilyn Sokol (Stella), Brian Dennehy (Fergie), Marc Lawrence (Stiltskin), Chuck McCann (Theater Manager), Billy Barty (J.J. MacKuen).
C-117m. Letterboxed.

by Frank Miller
Foul Play  - Foul Play

Foul Play - Foul Play

Foul Play was a fair treat for film audiences in 1978. Its combination of Hitchcock-style thrills and loopy comedy resulted in sweet box office to the tune of about $30 million, enough to place it among the year's ten top-grossing films. The film represented writer Colin Higgins's first shot as a director. He had recently graduated from film school when he expanded a student short into the script for the acclaimed off-beat comedy Harold and Maude (1971), starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in an unlikely May-December romance. He followed that with the hit suspense comedy Silver Streak (1976), the first film to team Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. He then offered Paramount the script for Foul Play at a reduced fee in return for the chance to direct. With a light romantic plot about two screwballs fighting a plot to assassinate the pope and scenes inspired by such Hitchcock classics as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Notorious (1946) and Rear Window (1954), the studio couldn't resist. Also irresistible were the two stars. In a role she said required very little acting at all, a divorcee sucked into the investigation of a threat against the pope just as she's ready to take a chance again on love, Goldie Hawn was at her goofy best. After rising to stardom on NBC's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In in the late '60s, she had won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her first major film role in Cactus Flower (1969). Despite her prodigious talents and a knockout performance in Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (1972), however, Hawn had trouble finding a niche as a film star. Foul Play marked her first hit since Shampoo three years earlier and put her in a position to market Private Benjamin (1980), one of her biggest successes. Chevy Chase had just scored a breakthrough hit as one of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players on Saturday Night Live when he got the chance to break into feature films in Foul Play. His combination of pratfalls, lechery and romantic bumbling had reviewers comparing him favorably to the young Cary Grant. He and Hawn clicked so well as a romantic team that they would co-star again in Seems Like Old Times (1980). Also getting a big boost out of Foul Play was Dudley Moore, who made his U.S. film debut as the amorous conductor who keeps coming on to Hawn while she's on the run. The role had originally been written for comic Tim Conway. When he turned it down, it became a personal triumph for Moore, particularly when his performance caught the eye of writer-director Blake Edwards, who cast him in his 1979 comedy about mid-life crisis, 10. Production values for Foul Play were impeccable, most notably the location photography of San Francisco. Cameras ranged from a Sausalito marina, where Hawn and Chase share their first date, to the San Francisco Opera House, where the action comes to a head during a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (actually performed by members of the New York City Opera with Julius Rudel conducting). Also helping was the hit theme song, "Ready to Take a Chance Again." Sung by Barry Manilow, it was on the charts for 16 weeks and captured an Oscar nomination for Best Song (it lost to the disco number "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday). Songwriters Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel had previously worked for Foul Play's producers, Thomas L. Miller and Edward K. Milkis, when they wrote the theme song for their hit series Happy Days. Foul Play's success was a boon for everyone involved, particularly writer-director Colin Higgins. With that hit under his belt, he scored an even bigger success with the office-politics comedy Nine to Five (1980), starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, the subsequent failure of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), with Parton and Burt Reynolds, put the brakes on his career. Before he could find a comeback, he died from complications of AIDS in 1988 at the age of 47. Foul Play also inspired a television series starring Barry Bostwick and Deborah Raffin in the roles created by Chase and Hawn. Unfortunately, the series folded after only a few weeks. Television continued to be unfriendly to the film when a 1981 primetime airing was canceled at the last minute because of an assassination attempt on the pope, an event that came too close to the film's comic suspense plot. Producer: Thomas L. Miller & Edward K. Milkis Director: Colin Higgins Screenplay: Colin Higgins Cinematography: David M. Walsh Art Direction: Alfred Sweeney & Robert R. Benton Music: Charles Fox Principal Cast: Goldie Hawn (Gloria Mundy), Chevy Chase (Tony Carlson), Burgess Meredith (Hennessey), Rachel Roberts (Gerda), Dudley Moore (Stanley Tibbets), Marilyn Sokol (Stella), Brian Dennehy (Fergie), Marc Lawrence (Stiltskin), Chuck McCann (Theater Manager), Billy Barty (J.J. MacKuen). C-117m. Letterboxed. by Frank Miller

Eugene Roche (1928-2004)


Eugene Roche, the marvelous character actor who had a knack for shining in offbeat roles, such as Edgar Derby, ill-fated prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and the murderous archbishop in Foul Play (1978), died in Encino, California of a heart attack on July 28. He was 75.

Born on September 22, 1928, in Boston, Massachusettes, Roche began his career when he was still in High School, doing voice characterization on radio in his native Boston. After he graduated, he served in the Army, then studied drama on the G.I. bill at Emerson College. Concentrating on acting, he found much stage work in San Francisco in the early `50s, then headed for New York in the early `60s and began appearing on televison (Naked City, Route 66) and on Broadway. 

It wasn't until he was in his forties did Roche began to get really good parts. His open, friendly face and stocky build made him the ideal choice to play the likable POW, Edgar Derby in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. His role as Edgar who saves an intact porcelain figurine from the ruins of Dresden only to be executed by his German captors for looting, may have been brief, but it was instantly memorable. Fine roles continued to come his way in films throughout the decade, the highlights included: They Might Be Giants (1971), Mr. Ricco (1975), The Late Show (1977), Corvette Summer (a deft comic performance as a high school auto shop teacher who is secretly running a car theft ring), and Foul Play (both 1978).

Yet, it would be on television where Roche would find lasting success. He became a household face when, as Squeaky Clean, he became the spokesman for Ajax household cleaner. Then he struck gold in sitcoms: Archie Bunker's practical joking nemesis, Pinky Peterson on All in the Family (1976-78), the madly romantic attorney, Ronald Mallu on Soap (1978-81), and the lovable landlord Bill Parker on Webster (1984-86).

Roche is survived by his wife, Anntoni; his brother, John; his sister, Clara Hewes; nine children, one of which, a son Eamonn, is a successful working actor; and nine grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Eugene Roche (1928-2004)

Eugene Roche, the marvelous character actor who had a knack for shining in offbeat roles, such as Edgar Derby, ill-fated prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and the murderous archbishop in Foul Play (1978), died in Encino, California of a heart attack on July 28. He was 75. Born on September 22, 1928, in Boston, Massachusettes, Roche began his career when he was still in High School, doing voice characterization on radio in his native Boston. After he graduated, he served in the Army, then studied drama on the G.I. bill at Emerson College. Concentrating on acting, he found much stage work in San Francisco in the early `50s, then headed for New York in the early `60s and began appearing on televison (Naked City, Route 66) and on Broadway.  It wasn't until he was in his forties did Roche began to get really good parts. His open, friendly face and stocky build made him the ideal choice to play the likable POW, Edgar Derby in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. His role as Edgar who saves an intact porcelain figurine from the ruins of Dresden only to be executed by his German captors for looting, may have been brief, but it was instantly memorable. Fine roles continued to come his way in films throughout the decade, the highlights included: They Might Be Giants (1971), Mr. Ricco (1975), The Late Show (1977), Corvette Summer (a deft comic performance as a high school auto shop teacher who is secretly running a car theft ring), and Foul Play (both 1978). Yet, it would be on television where Roche would find lasting success. He became a household face when, as Squeaky Clean, he became the spokesman for Ajax household cleaner. Then he struck gold in sitcoms: Archie Bunker's practical joking nemesis, Pinky Peterson on All in the Family (1976-78), the madly romantic attorney, Ronald Mallu on Soap (1978-81), and the lovable landlord Bill Parker on Webster (1984-86). Roche is survived by his wife, Anntoni; his brother, John; his sister, Clara Hewes; nine children, one of which, a son Eamonn, is a successful working actor; and nine grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers - Dudley Moore


DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002

Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.

Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)

Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.

However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.

By Lang Thompson

A FOND FAREWELL TO ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST GIFTED DIRECTORS - BILLY WILDER, 11906-2002

Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.

Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft).

Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck.

Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory.

As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules.

By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy.

In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide.

Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed.

By Jeremy Geltzer

TCM Remembers - Dudley Moore

DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002 Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall. Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.) Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win. However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made. By Lang Thompson A FOND FAREWELL TO ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST GIFTED DIRECTORS - BILLY WILDER, 11906-2002 Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers. Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft). Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck. Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory. As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950). Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules. By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy. In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide. Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed. By Jeremy Geltzer

Quotes

Do you have any binoculars?
- Gloria Mundy
What's that? Binoculars. Are you into that, too? Me, as well. I read about it in Penthouse. Just a second.
- Stanley Tibbits
Here it is, my own little beaver trap.
- Stanley Tibbits
Take me home.
- Gloria Mundy
What?
- Stanley Tibbits
Take me home, please.
- Gloria Mundy
Uh, sure. Um... my place or-or, yours?
- Stanley Tibbits
Which is closer?
- Gloria Mundy

Trivia

The name of Goldie Hawn's character, Gloria Mundy, is taken from the Latin phrase "Sic transit gloria mundi," which translates as "So passes the glory of the world."

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States July 1978

Released in United States Summer July 14, 1978

Released in United States July 1978

Released in United States Summer July 14, 1978