Friday, July 8, 2011

James Caan & Marsha Mason in Cinderella Liberty (1973)

Obscurity factor: 8

American Life Network strikes again! This film was on a few days ago as part of their "R to G" film series. Now aside from the fact that I think this is a particularly peculiar marketing concept - taking the teeth out of a film and trying to use that fact as a virtue - it really makes this film a bit of a confused mess, with almost half the dialog bleeped out and entire scenes removed. The intent and charm of the film still shines through though. John Baggs Jr. (Caan) is on leave from his ship because of a little medical problem. While in Seattle he meets Maggie Paul (Mason), a prostitute in a bar and is drawn into her chaotic, impoverished life with her illegitimate mixed-race son. As their relationship develops his Navy records are lost and he finds himself in limbo with no source of pay and no place to go. As he gets by on Navy relief funds, his connection to Maggie and her son deepens. Will he be able to pull himself and them out of the seedy life they find themselves in?
This film has a lot going for it. The acting and direction are first rate and the gritty story has a warmth and genuineness to it that rings true. James Caan, at the top of his game is adorable and Marsha Mason, in her first, big, featured role gives a powerful, yet subtle performance. Look for Eli Wallach as a burnt out old drill sergeant, down on his luck and Dabney Coleman as a heartless base commander.

Though not high in the public consciousness, this film is available on DVD. The scene above is the first meeting of John and Maggie. It was uploaded to YouTube by mistofoles.

Obscurity factor: 8 (not well known, available on DVD)


  1. American Life Network is owned by Robert Schuller (the tv preacher). This explains the odd marketing. This is a religious right network in sheep's clothing. The FAITHFUL must be shielded from reality at all cost, lest they stop paying for their snake oil and voting against their own best interest.

  2. Yes, and the head of programming there is Chuck Norris' brother... I just find it funny that they feature such wildly gay programming at times - I mean Bette Davis in Bunny O'Hare? That screams GAY at the top of its lungs. It's like they're still trying to live back in the days before the culture was aware of gay references and gay content was mainstreamed because the viewing audience was unaware of it.

  3. Which brother? I worked on an R-rated film directed by Aaron Norris - he helmed several of Chuck Norris's movies.

  4. That's him. Their other brother died in 1970 in Viet Nam.