Two Weeks in Another Town Reviews
Few would agree but I feel this superior to the 1952 film. There's something beautifully melancholic about this movie. In 1962 Hollywood was undergoing a radical change, competition was coming from TV, Rock & Roll, and from Europe where movies could be made for a relative pittance. A whole new breed of performers were changing the craft of acting. Realism was becoming key, audiences wanted to see movies shot in a glamorous location rather than a warehouse in Los Angeles. If any movie can serve as a farewell to old Hollywood it's this one. Douglas, Robinson and Charisse all play characters who know the game is up, all three on the verge of becoming dinosaurs. Douglas is the only one who faces up to it with dignity. He ends a brief May to December fling with the stunning Daliah Lavi, pushing her back to the handsome but troublesome young actor Hamilton who she claims was her first love. In doing this Douglas is speaking for Minnelli's generation, passing the reigns onto the new young Hollywood which would emerge over the following decade.
Relapsing into alcoholism after a wild night with Charisse, Douglas speeds off in his Maserati with her in tow, threatening to kill both of them by driving wildly. Minnelli filmed this on stage in front of a rather obvious projection screen which gives the scene another level. Douglas at this point doesn't want to face reality so subconsciously is trying to escape into the movie world, the only place he ever felt safe. It recalls a similar scene from "TBATB" where Lana Turner sped off after being rebuked by Douglas.
This is probably the last great role for Robinson before he was swept away in a sea of TV bit parts and he's on fire here as the bitter director who can't accept his time is up. Douglas is great as always and really generates sympathy as he attempts to keep his dignity while all around him lose theirs.
It makes sense that this was a commercial failure as it legitimizes the movie's theme. What I can't understand is the overwhelming critical bashing it took. Perhaps it was Minnelli's undeserved stigma as a director of musicals. I can't help think if this had been made by Wilder or Sirk it would have far greater standing. Don't believe the anti-hype, this is one of the best movies of the sixties and a must see for fans of old school melodramas.
While the film ends on a happy note, it isn't without it's dark spots, and even it's ending doesn't tie everything up in a bright bow. This is a fantastic film on Hollywood at an awkward time in its life, transitioning from grand spectacles showcasing gorgeous actors to creating more "realistic" and "relatable" characters and stories. It's old Hollywood cinema telling a newer, more conflicted story. At times it's breathtaking, but mostly, it's entertaining.
Another one of Vincente Minnelli's films that stayed under the radar. I have'nt watched too many of Kirk Douglas films, but i will say that he has a strong presence on screen. And given the period (1962) when this film was made, he gives a surprisingly subtle performance compared to the more melodramatic by most actors of that time. Though watching this film now, the overplayed score used throughout might seem unusual to many, and be a put off. But we must respect that it was the style of movie making of that era and accept it for what it is. It does come across at times like a bit of a soapie in certain scenes, but more importantly its a well written film that keeps one interested in the narrative. Rome is as always the perfect setting, and Daliah Levi must have been one of the most beautiful woman in the world at that time, and makes this film even more the reason to watch it.
Franchement, quand le réalisateur dans le film parle de sa peur de perdre sa capacité à s'émouvoir, c'est poignant. Et quand Cyd Charisse, en blonde, fait des propositions indécentes à Kirk Douglas sur des draps en satin, c'est... autre chose...