New Yorkers Ouisa and Flan Kittredge are upper-class private art dealers, pretentious, but compassionate. Their prized possession is a double-sided Kandinsky: one side represents control; the other, chaos. They relay a story to their friends and acquaintances that becomes legendary over time: their encounter with a young black stranger who came stumbling upon their front door one evening as they were courting Geoffrey Miller, an important investor who could make them wealthy beyond their dreams. The young man, Paul Poitier, had just arrived in the city when he was mugged outside their building, he sported a minor knife wound to the abdomen. He was a friend of the Kittredges' children, who are attending Harvard; more importantly, he's the son of actor and Director Sidney Poitier. Tomorrow, Paul is meeting up with his father, who is in town directing a movie of "Cats". Beyond the attraction of talking Paul into getting them roles in the movie, Ouisa, Flan, and Geoffrey all end up being ...Written by
To make the movie acceptable for television showings, the nude hustler (Lou Milione), has been digitally altered. In the scene after he is discovered with Paul (Will Smith), he is chased around the apartment. In the original version, he is completely naked. But in the television version, white jockey underwear has been added digitally. See more »
Flan's hand hold the wine glass as Paul pours changes between shots. See more »
Is anything gone?
How can I look, I'm shaking!
I want to know if anything's gone!
We could have been killed! Oh, my God! The Kandinsky!
It's gone, oh my God! Call the police!
Oh, no, there it is. Oh! The silver Victorian inkwell!
[...] See more »
I saw Stockard Channing do this play on Broadway, and it remains one of the best theater experiences ever. It's really the story of her character Ouisa gradually seeing that her life is just pretty surfaces, and in meeting this young con-man with whom she makes an intense emotional connection, that she wants more than her marriage, her friends, her life. The dialogue goes like the wind and you barely get a chance to catch your breath; some of the dialogue is spoken as a soliloquy. It's John Guare's mastery of the language at its best, better than "The House of Blue Leaves." I'm much more of a movie person than a theater person, but this play really sang.
Unfortunately the translation to film is only partially successful. Whereas the play is a spoken confessional of Oiusa Kitteridge, the movie emphasizes Paul (Will Smith). Smith does a good-to-great job with this character. The transition from a verbal to a visual medium robs the language of much of its power, and rather than re-write it as a movie, it's sort of a 'half-transition,' which doesn't really please anyone. The other problem I had with it was Donald Sutherland; who wasn't half-bad. But John Cunningham, who played the role on Broadway, was sharper, harder, a GAMBLER...Sutherland just comes across as a nice guy that gets a bit upset that he's been conned. And the emotional blow that comes at the end of the play when you realize that Oiusa's perfect marriage is falling apart just doesn't come across.
Still fascinating for its premise and worth a look; even this watered-down version never fails to entertain.
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