Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Farrah Fawcett & Charles Grodin in Sunburn (1979)

I love this film. It's a great combination of glamor and action, even if the plot is outrageously convoluted and hard to follow. After a man in Acapulco dies, an insurance company hires Jake Decker (Grodin) to investigate. He enlists the help of a model named Ellie to pose as his wife as they go under cover among the chic, monied ex-pat set. He also calls on a friend (Art Carney), another investigator living down there for information and assistance. The investigation leads them into a hornets nest of organized crime, exiled Nazis and a very lusty Joan Collins. Farrah Fawcett changes clothes every five minutes, to great effect and Charles Grodin and Art Carney nimbly handle the comedy. There's a wonderfully choreographed car chase toward the end that finds Farrah tearing around a bull ring in a yellow Datsun hatchback. All this is set to a soundtrack of great 70's top 40 hits from the likes of Wings and 10cc.
In addition to Grodin and Carney, the cast has a great collection of character actors including John Hillerman, William Daniels, Keenan Wynn and Jack Kruschen. It was based on a book called The Bind by Stanley Ellin and was not a huge commercial or critical hit.
It's difficult to find this film. The trailer is above, uploaded to YouTube by Surfstyley4. It's not available commercially on DVD, at least not domestically, though there is a Japanese release out. This was released on VHS and a few are available on Amazon. I discovered it on TV years ago, but haven't seen it on lately. I did, however, find a reliable source for it on iOffer.com. The poster above is available at MoviePosterShop.com.

Obscurity factor: 8 (available on VHS, but not on DVD, rarely screened on TV, not on YouTube)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben - why have you not posted on this wonderful blog in such a long time?? I just found it and it is DIVINE!!

    I too LOVED Sunburn...I was, as a teen, obsessed with Farrah and when she left Charlie's Angels, eagerly awaited her first major feature, which is even more obscure than Sunburn: Somebody Killed Her Husband with Jeff Bridges...but it was terrible, one of the worst movies I had ever seen. Sunburn came next, and it was a delight!! I was so disappointed when Farrah turned out not to be a big box office draw, after all...but she did great things on TV, and on the Broadway stage. (I actually got to see her onstage in Jupiter Florida at Burt Reynolds's theater, where she did Butterflies Are Free opposite Dennis Christopher, and was REALLY good.)

    Farrah is at her most beautiful here in Sunburn...I think she's also iconic in her small but showy role in Logan's Run as Holly. Forever a Farrah fan, here, so thanks for the memories, Ben!!

    Hope you will start updating this amazing blog again soon, but I have hundreds more of your posts to keep me busy in the meantime.