Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Stockard Channing in The Fortune (1975)

This delightfully dizzy film was part of a two film package deal Warren Beatty made with Columbia Pictures. The second film was Shampoo (1975). This film was supposed to be the hit of the pair. It had a lot going for it - a wacky, likable script, two very bankable stars, and a sensational director (Mike Nichols), however, when push came to shove, Shampoo walked away the winner.
The film tells the story of Frederica Quintessa Biggard (Stockard Channing), an eastern heiress, lured away from home by sexy, but less than swift Nicky Wilson and his equally dimwitted friend Oscar Sullivan. Nicky is married, but loves Frederica... well, he loves her money, actually. Oscar isn't married, and because of the Mann act, which made it illegal to transport a woman across state lines for immoral purposes, Nicky convinces Freddie to marry Oscar, so they can flee to Southern California without risking arrest. Upon arrival, they set up housekeeping in a depressing little hamlet outside LA and Nicky and Oscar start to plot Freddie's demise. There's a wacky, screwball quality to this film and the promotional tag line hits the nail right on the head: "Sexier than the Marx Brothers, Handsomer than Laurel and Hardy, but not as smart as The 3 Stooges." The delightfully clueless quality to the comedy in the film is largely due to Stockard Channing, in her first big screen role.

Though not commercially available on DVD in the USA, copies can be found in the PAL format, which requires a region free DVD player. The whole film is above, uploaded in parts by Beatty001.

Obscurity factor: 9 (not available on DVD in USA, hard to find, available on YouTube)