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Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)

Cast: Bea Arthur, Bea Arthur, Bonnie Bedelia, more...
Director: Cy Howard, Cy Howard
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Studio: MGM
Genre: Comedies, Romantic Comedy, Dysfunctional Families
Running Time: 104 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Lovers and Other Strangers became a "sleeper" hit, based on a play by Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna. The story is essentially a series of vignettes and anecdotes, unified by an impending marriage. Father of the bride Hal (Gig Young) has problems with his long-suffering mistress, Cathy (Anne Jackson), who spends much of the film sitting on the toilet, crying her eyes out; Wilma (Anne Meara), the bride's sex-starved sister, can't wrest her husband, Johnny (Harry Guardino), away from the TV; and Frank (Richard S. Castellano), as the groom's father, slips comfortably into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations with his oft-repeated query "So what's the story?" Twelfth-billed Diane Keaton makes her film debut as a garrulous wedding guest. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Wonderful Artifact of the 70s by talltale April 3, 2006 - 4:21 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
A remarkable artifact of a time gone by, LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS stands up surprisingly well--if not always for the same reasons it proved so popular upon initial release (1970). Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna transferred their stage play to screenplay; the producers brought aboard an old-time writer/producer (Cy Howard) whose first directorial effort this is; and then they cast the film adroitly with just the right actors.

Here's the late Gig Young, doing his perfect quality-sleaze number; Anne Meara and Harry Guardino attempting to convince the other who is boss; Anne Jackson in nearly constant tears; Michael Brandon and Bonnie Bedelia, sweet and gorgeous as the about-to-be-weds; the late Anthony Holland as perhaps the first of the fluttery wedding planners; plus Bea Arthur, Bob Dishy, Cloris Leachman and--maybe most surprising--Diane Keaton in her movie debut, looking nearly unrecognizable in heavy eye make-up and 1970s hair (and she was good, right from the beginning).

While Taylor and Bologna overdo some of their routines, they are smart and sharp--and their intelligence about relationship of ALL kinds (except gays, who were just coming out of the closet about now) shines through fast and hard. Men take it on the chin more than women, but this was a time of changing mores, so why not? As funny as the film can be, it looks at marriage with eyes as dry and clear as they are sometimes sentimental. Audiences loved this movie in its day, and I think modern men and women might cotton to it, as well. The late Richard Castellano's line "So, uh, what's the story, Ritchie?" became commonplace parlance for awhile (deservedly so); the movie's wonderful song "For All We Know" won an Oscar that year; and whatever happened to the distinctive and funny actress Marian Hailey, who plays Brenda?

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.20)
5 Votes
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