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Chilly Scenes of Winter

John Heard , Mary Beth Hurt , Joan Micklin Silver    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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John Heard plays Charles, a sardonic civil servant who can't seem to get over his breakup with Laura (Mary Beth Hurt). While listening to his mother describe how she's thinking of killing herself, Charles begins to reflect on how the relationship started. From there, the movie flashes back and forth between his present obsessiveness and the ups and downs of his two months with Laura. The rambling but entertaining progress of Chilly Scenes of Winter is sprinkled with sharp, satirical portraits of the other people in Charles's life, including his mother (the great B-movie actress, Gloria Grahame), who wallows in her offhand madness, and his roommate, Sam (Peter Riegert), an unemployed womanizer. But the movie's greatest strength is its warts-and-all portrait of Charles himself. He's funny, but his humor often slides into hostility; he's affectionate, but his attentions sometimes turn neurotic and possessive. The movie doesn't condemn him, but it doesn't let him off the hook, either, and Heard's performance manages to be both charming and dismaying. The result is a gentle, sometimes painful, but always honest comedy about the messy details of relationships that has developed a passionate cult following. Chilly Scenes of Winter is based on the novel of the same name by Anne Beattie, who has a cameo as a waitress. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked Head Over Heels ending better! March 17 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw the original(Head Over Heels) on cable in 1981. I loved the original ending when Charles returns from the park and finds Laura in the kitchen making the famous dessert. He was amazed that she kept the house key. "You kept the key", he repeated while she tried to excuse herself for being there. He wanted so much for her to want him while he nearly went insane waiting for her to come back to him. Yeah, I can sympathize with Charles; been there done that. But the original ending gave us romantics some hope. When my "Laura" closed the door, I never looked back and I never saw her again [that was 19 yrs ago]. When I saw the re-release in 1982 I was a bit disappointed in the ending. If I remembered correctly, the ending in the book was similar to the original cut. Why did they change it? According to a review in the NY Times, Ann Beattie requested the change. Why? Who knows.
I searched the web for the video with the original ending and found a copy that listed listed "Woman in Park" as one of the characters. The scene in the park was cut so I thought I had found it. When I opened the video at home I found it was the re-released version. I continued my quest and emailed MGM/UA and several other places without response. By chance I tried a newsgroup. I got a reply from someone who said the re-released ending is the only version available on video because the original was made before videos were existed. So, unless someone at the studio picked up the 16mm film from the editing room floor we will never see the better ending.
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Format:VHS Tape
"What do you have?" asks the blind man. "I don't have Laura!" answers the young executive.
These are the first lines of the film "Chilly Scenes of Winter" and a line which had me saying things to myself like 'Good beginning' and thinking if the guy was depressed or just being sarcastic.
"C'mon, what do you have?" booms the blind man. "Baby Ruth," answers the young executive. "That's 50 cents," he answers as the executive walks off.
I know "Chilly Scenes of Winter" and its lines/dialogue like the back of my hand. The one-liners might be even superior to a Woody Allen movie (they at least tie each other). I, myself, am very interested in seeing the original "Head Over Heels' like many of the critcs below me. I'm with you, everyone and I love "Chilly Scenes..." just as much as you. If some MGM big-shot ever reads my review (which is slim-to-none) please take my advice- there are many people out there wanting to see the original cut of Joan Micklin Silver's masterpiece "Chilly Scenes of Winter" (apparently entitled "Head Over Heels"),so if you can pull some strings for us, please release it on video. It at least deserves a place in MGM/UA's Home Video collection of "Contemporary Classics". This is one of my personal favorite movies and I've seen plenty. John Heard and Mary Beth Hurts' performances are magnificent and the characters really are colorful enough to the extent that they come alive. For anybody who hasn't seen it, purchase it on Ebay used or get it new on Amazon. Either way you have to see it. It's a real treat!
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN OVERLOOKED CONTEMPORARY CLASSIC March 22 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of the best films few people have heard of! I don't know about some people, but I LIKED the new ending of the re-edited version. I mean, happy endings are nice and all that, but sometimes things just don't wrap up neatly and I thought this ending really fit the film as a whole. Although I would be interested in seeing Silver's original cut. You know, MGM could prepare a special DVD containing Ms. Silver's original cut on Side 1 and the re-edit on Side 2. But it will never happen. And it's a shame. It would be the perfect candidate for MGM's "Contemporary Classics" series.
John Heard, where are you? You seemed to disappear from film. Such a good, understated performance deserved Oscar recognition. But of course, unless the pic is a hit, you don't get nominations. How else to account for this year's lackluster selection?
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the original ending Sept. 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Although I can't find the reference now, I recall hearing that the ending in this version was the original, but that it didn't test well and was replaced by the wholly improbable sappy ending of "Head over Heels" for theatrical release. I recall seeing it in the theater when in was released and just saying "huh?" as it ended, because the conclusion was so clearly not of a piece with the rest of the movie. When I saw that it had been re-issued with the original ending as "Chilly Scenes of Winter," I had to laugh at the way the two titles perfectly represented the disparity between this original version, presumably faithful to the book, and the pathetically castrated version I saw. I still remember the cutesy logo for "Head over Heels" - it was like something from a vicious satire of Hollywood.
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Format:VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. That's because all of us can clearly relate to being obsessed with a member of the opposite sex, and this movie's tremendous humor and well-developed characters keeps what could be a depressing subject watchable. A group of friends and I have seen it at least a dozen times and are fond of quoting the movie's best one-liners to each other .. i.e. "very sharp, Betty!" and "I've got an unemployed jacket salesman living in my spare room!". We do wish we could see the original version, just because none of us have, and I haven't been able to find it on video.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars love ain't easy or sensible or lasting but it still is love
this main character has the fairy tale romance all worked out in his mind but somehow reality just won't let it happen so he becomes lovesick to the point of being in a trancelike... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2001 by chubby
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lesser or Two Endings
I fell in love with this film in it's original form as "Chilly Scenes of Winter." I admit the new truncated version is more "realistic" in an worldly sort of... Read more
Published on Dec 6 2000 by "bandoman"
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorite movies!
This is the only American movie I have ever seen that captures the rhythms & nuances of a real "relationship" with perfect pitch. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2000 by inframan
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to start a website about it! My favorite film!
This is my favorite movie of all time. You must see it. Go to my web-site about it. Peter Riegert's performance is not to be missed.
Published on Sept. 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ending
For those reviewers wishing to find the original "Head Over Heels": don't bother! The final five minutes of "Chilly Scenes" separate it from your average happy... Read more
Published on May 23 1999 by Bill (wkmul@aol.com)
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, dead-on performances - almost painfully true-to-life
John Heard and Peter Reigert give such effortless performances - the one-liners are great. It's just a great movie for anyone who's ever "been there". Read more
Published on Feb. 5 1999 by sclark@dcccnet.dccc.edu
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and outrageous
The characters in this movie were so fantastically developed ... John Heard's, Laura's, the mother's, the unemployed jacket saleman, the candy salesman, the boss ... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 1998 by Valerie Harris
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