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ALL NIGHT LONG
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Screen legends Gene Hackman and Barbra Streisand star as the oddest couple ever to beat the odds in this offbeat comedy that proves a man can lose everything and still love happily ever after. After successful executive, George Duplier (Hackman), is demoted to managing a seedy all-night drugstore, he decides to totally change his life. Leaving his wife, he takes up with Cheryl (Streisand), a sexy but ditsy neighbor - who's already had an affair with his son (Dennis Quaid)! Now his hands are full with his wild new woman by day and his weird and crazy customers by night and this screwball romantic comedy.
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As mentioned before, the film has it's problems. It's paced too leisurely (it's only 90-minutes in length, but feels more like two-and-a-half hours), Jean-Claude Tramont's direction is too light (the film needs more of a thematic punch in several scenes), and much of it's humor is surprisingly too subtle (odd seeing that most film comedies have the opposite problem). Having said all of that, the film is still worth checking out. Though Tramont's direction may be a tad too limp, his skewed perception of the American dream gives the film a dreamy, almost art house-like feel that makes the film more inherently interesting than the screen play would merit alone.
Also, the varied cast is a lot of fun, almost all of them playing against type. Gene Hackman brings a equal mix of unusual serenity and touching pathos to his role of the would-be inventor who manages to find his true self by losing nearly everything that was once-important in his life. In an early role, Dennis Quaid throws himself completely into part of Hackman's airheaded son, making the intelligent personae he would develop in later films like DREAMSCAPE and THE BIG EASY even more impressive. Barbra Streisand is clearly miscast the role of the bimbo housewife who woos both Hackman and Quaid (Streisand replaced Lisa Eichhorn, who was fired from the film after two weeks of production), but her performance is still worth catching. Though she's never totally believeable as Cheryl (a role that was poorly-defined in the screenplay to begin with), she is still a very likable, always watchable, and occasionally endearing presence in a unusual little film that deserves a second chance.
About the DVD: The picture quality, though dated-looking, is surprisingly crisp and clean. The sound is fine, but there are no extras.
is the biggest surprise and delivers an excellent acting job. For once she becomes the character she is playing and discards all the typical Streisand mannerisms. Why, she even sang off-key!
It's really a vehicle for Gene Hackmann (who actually gets billing OVER Babs). But of course as with any Streisand movie,
it is Barbra who holds our interest. Even as great an actor as Hackmann is, it would be a pretty safe bet that it would have never been made (much less re-released on DVD) without Streisand.
In short, it's a story about man (Hackmann)going through a mid-life crises. The movie opens with Hackmann's teenage son (played by a young Dennis Quaid) having an affair with the older married next door neighbor nymphette (played by a bleach blond, very soft spoken, and sexy Streisand). Hackmann is rather unhappily married to Dianne Ladd and going through a major midlife crises. Streisand is unhappily married to Kevin Dobsen (Mack from Knots Landing) who is basically a control freak, if not wife beater. Soon Streisand dumps young lover Quaid for mature Hackmann and Hackmann quits his ho hum but stable job as
a graveyard shift drugstore manager. All hell breaks loose when not only Hackmann's wife finds out, but so does bully Dobsen, and even Quaid who now wants to kill his father for stealing his woman. This movie is worth seeing if not for anything else, but
for Streisand's very underrated performance. It's a role unlike anything we had ever seen from her. Her character is very child-like, slightly dim-witted, and even rather pitiful. Talk about casting against type!
Here, Barbra Streisand is Cheryl, an unhappily married aspiring country music songwriter who has one incomplete tune, "Carelessly Tossed," to her credit. Gene Hackman is George, a corporate failure whose single act of irrational violence gets him demoted to Siberia: overnight manager of one of the company's seedier drugstores. George too has dreams, of inventing something marketable. To date he's built a self-running vacuum cleaner and a mirror that allows you to see yourself as others do.
George meets distant relative through marriage Cheryl when he asks her about an affair she's having with his 18-year-old son (Dennis Quaid). What began as a confrontation develops quickly into love. George leaves his wife (Diane Ladd) and later discovers she's having an affair with her divorce attorney (William Daniels). Cheryl has several fights with her fireman husband (Kevin Dobson) and must decide does she want to work on her marriage or leave him for George, who has now quit the drugstore job and is a waiter at night and a gadget tinkerer by day. George's renting of a warehouse floor for a home also worries Cheryl, so she's got much to consider.
The best comic moments are within the few drugstore scenes that occur early on. These include a shoplifter (Mele) that gets away from the pharmacy's bumbling security guard (James Ingersoll), and a giantess (Faith Minter) who steals the uniformed dummy's pistol to attempt a register robbery.
Musically there's two film references that occur with frequency: the romantic "La Violetera" theme from Chaplin's CITY LIGHTS (1931), and Il Trovotore's Anvil Chorus, reminscent of the Marx Bros. comedy A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935). Although it's no classic, this story's got a bit of charm and it concludes satisfactorily. If you're a Babs and/or Gene fan, your time will be well-spent here.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(6.0) All Night Long (1981) - Gene Hackman/Barbra Streisand/Diane Ladd/Dennis Quaid/Kevin Dobson/William Daniels/James Ingersoll/Ann Doran/James Nolan/Hamilton Camp/Tandy Cronyn/Faith Minter/Nicholas Mele/Richard Stahl