Liza Minelli is great in this film that is a manifesto for New York jazz and Broadway musicals. She has a deep and mysterious voice and her songs are highly poetic. Robert de Niro is an aggressive lover and a very self-centered musician, music-doubled by Auld. In fact he looks like a remake of Fred Astaire in his courting techniques, but without the light humorous dimension of Fred and with a deeply egotistic and melo-dramatic dimension. But the film goes beyond this and shows how two artists could work together if they accepted to step beyond the small difficulties of life. Small is a way of speaking since it is a pregnancy that does not come at the right moment, breaking up a band and endangering a career. Robert de Niro just rejects the problem and saves his own career by dumping the wife he had had so much difficulty to conquer. Liza Minelli recaptures her own career after this event with her talent and also with her easy-going friendliness. The film becomes sad and has no Happy Ending because the two hesitate to recapture the past and meet again for reasons that are not really made explicit in the film, but that we can imagine to be the fear to go back to a cannibalistic relation on the side of Liza Minelli and the fear to get penned up into limitations on the side of Robert de Niro, in spite of the attraction his own son exerts on him. This shows how difficult it is for two great artists to live together and to work together, especially when one is tyrannical and the other diplomatic. Napoleon meets Queen Victoria in some way. But the film is too much centered on the music and not explicit enough on the love affair and sentimental experience if not experiment the two go through. It makes it a litle bit cold and unsensitive. We have to imagine too much about the relations between the two. So it makes the film slightly shallow and slow, in a word long.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU