Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rosalind Russell in Rosie! 1967

What do you get when you combine Rosalind Russel and King Lear? You get Rosie! The 1967 comedy/drama Produced by veteran Ross Hunter and starring Russell as the matriarch of a family who has an unusual way of doing things. She wants to buy an old vaudeville theater to save it from the wrecking ball. Her granddaughter (Sandra Dee) is all for it but her daughters (Audry Meadows and Vanessa Brown) and son-in-law (Leslie Nielsen) are dead set against dissipating their future inheritance, and take measures to make sure it doesn't happen.


The betrayal of a figure head by their children is a powerful story whether its a medieval monarch or a mod matriarch. What starts out as a fun romp through a sexagenarian's last fling at life - driving recklessly, wearing outlandish clothes, standing on her head - turns suddenly dark with an oppressed Russell held captive in an insane asylum. Her realization of what's happened to her results in a powerful dramatic scene as only Roz could do it. The end is a little loopy, but it's worth it for the fun of the rest of the film. Look for a young James Farentino as Sandra Dee's love interest. The poster above is available at MoviePosterShop.com.

There is no footage of this one on YouTube, but if you're obsessed by it, it can frequently be found on iOffer.com.

Obscurity factor: 10 (no DVD or VHS, Rarely screened on television, no footage on YouTube)

12 comments:

  1. Very good, but I remember watching it on NBC back in the day which use to show a lot of Universal Pictures.

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  2. Yes, I saw it for the first time on some cable channel back in the late 80's or early 90's. The shift from light comedy to heavy drama was a bit disconcerting to the casual viewer.

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  3. I wonder why this was never released on VHS or DVD. Rosalind Russell has enough of a fan base to warrant that. Most, if not all, of her other movies of the time have been on VHS and/or DVD. I did see it on TV about 20 years ago, but do not remember it in detail at this point. It is interesting to note that at the time of its release, Roger Ebert gave it a fantastic review, while the New York Times critic (I forget which one offhand) thought it was awful. It was dumped into New York theaters on neighborhood double bills a couple months after it opened in Chicago. That must have been a real slap in the face to both Ms. Russell and Ross Hunter.

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  4. Yes, it's really Roz's forgotten film. There isn't even any web video of it available. It's a shame, really.

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  5. Here are links to the Roger Ebert and "New York Times" reviews of this movie that I mentioned in my previous posting: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19671128/REVIEWS/711280301/1023

    http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9904E7DA1430EE3BBC4053DFB4668383679EDE&scp=3&sq=Rosie!%20Rosalind%20Russell&st=cse

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  6. Unfortunately, the links I just posted have to be copied-and-pasted. I did not realize at the time I posted them.

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  7. Roger Ebert frequently goes against the grain in his reviews, and is often times proven right by time. Rosie stands up...

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  8. Now available on Youtube (not by me)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2GqVqnWdNo

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  9. Great news! Thanks for the update...

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  10. It's based upon a play by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin entitled "A Very Rich Woman" that had an extremely short run on Broadway in the early/mid sixties. I beleive that Roz did her own singing in it of "Everybody Loves My Baby " . It doesn't deserve its obsurity but it ain't great.

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  11. Huh, I didn't know about the play. Thanks for the background. Yes, it's not a great film by any standards, but it does have some great moments in it.

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  12. One great moment in the film is when Roz's bitch daughter (played by Jayne Meadows) is complaining about her mother's servants and says "As for that Mae (the maid) she could fly away on a broom!" A wonderful joke considering that Mae is played by Margaret Hamilton, the wicked Witch of the West in person! I've often wondered if the line was in the original play, and that's why they cast Hamilton, or if they added it because she was playing the role.

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