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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Goodbye Girl (1977)

The Goodbye girl was a movie released in 1977, a urban comedy about an odd-beat romance set in Manhattan (centered about an apartment over there). The twist in the making of the movie was that it was supposed to be starring Robert DeNiro and Marsha Mason (the wife of the screenplay writer Neil Simon (they later divorced in 1981)). The screenplay for the movie was called 'Bogart Slept Here'; but guess what, the movie never got made based on that screenplay. A bit later, Robert DeNiro got written our, and Richard Dreyfuss was brought in, and then the screenplay was dumped; however, Dreyfuss and Mason were kept on as the leading couple and the screenplay was re-written. The movie proved to be very lucky for Dreyfuss, since it led to a Best Actor Oscar for him (in fact, at the time he was the youngest actor to win the Best Actor award).

The Goodbye Girl (1977)

The movie got 4 other Oscar nominations:
- Best Picture nomination - Ray Stark
- Best Actress nomination - Mason
- Supporting Actress nomination - Cummings
- Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen nomination - Simon

The movie is rated both as a great comedy and as a bitter-sweet romance where the couple initially hate each other's guts, get into many scenes with each other, but slowly over a period of time, learn to appreciate each other (or a single incident can also do that in some cases); and finally realize that they do love each other.
The movie is about these 3 characters - Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason), her 10 year old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings), and a young actor Eliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss). Paula and Lucy are staying with Paula's boyfriend Tony, an actor, and he has promised that the next week they will all move to Los Angeles. After a long day shopping, Paula and Lucy come home and realize that this was not to be, like previous cases where Paula has been dropped by other men (many of them actors), Tony has left them high and dry and gone off to Italy.
Paula realizes that they don't have money and she needs to resume dancing, but soon realizes that things are not so easy. She needs to get back into dancing form, and while returning from the class, she is told by the building manager (Mrs. Crosby) that Tony (to add insult to injury) had sublet the apartment and Paula can't do anything about it since Tony owned the apartment. She is by now not terribly fond to actors; so imagine the shock when she finds out that the apartment has been leased to Eliot (another aspiring actor). However, she has to keep her anger and scorn under control, and agrees when Eliot proposes that they share the apartment. Eliot is here to play the title role in the stage production of Richard III (but in the nature of a stereotype homosexual), not something that seems likely to succeed.
They have many clashes, but slowly start adjusting to each other, and Eliot also starts getting closer to Lucy, likely to warm any mother's heart. And they start to fall in love, and then the inevitable, he gets a call for a great opportunity in another city, a very important chance. This has happened to Paula many times, and so it seems like destiny repeating itself; what happens to their relation now ?

The movie also had a song with the same name, and that was super hit (performed by David Gates).



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