Saturday, 30 June 2012

Cactus Flower (1969)

All the GIFs (moving images) in this post were made by me apart from the one credited with another source. Please can you not use them without crediting me and don't use them as your own.

I'm on a huge Ingrid Bergman kick right now (when am I not though?) but I've watched a few more of her movies and I started this new movie watching session with Gene Saks's hippy dentist creation Cactus Flower starring Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman! It's a strange combination of comedic situations and attitudes but they piece together to make a movie that's no masterpiece but is sure worth a watch :-D

Walter Matthau plays bachelor dentist Julian Winston who is in a relationship with Goldie Hawn's character, Toni Simmons. He has told her that he is married (a la Indiscreet) so that he won't get caught up in any long-lasting relationships. SO upset that he is "devoted to his wife" (yeah right lying idiot) so she attempts suicide.

She is interrupted by her Hippy-playwright-neighbour, Igor Sullivan who saves her and gives her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation which turns into a kiss. This sparks an awkward situation (obvs). Earlier that evening she sent a letter telling Julian that she is going to kill herself so she tells Igor to send a message to him telling him he's alive. 

Julian realises that he wants to marry Toni so he has to get someone to play his wife "who wants a divorce". Who better than his reliable Dental Nurse, Miss Dickinson (played by Ingrid Bergman)! 

She is very insulted at this suggestion but nevertheless goes on with the charade. 

It gets more and more elaborate as she realises there are many different parts to Julian's lie. It starts with Miss Dickinson talking to Toni in a record shop and ends in several dance-offs at a hip dance club. Julian calls Miss Dickinson as "prickly as her cactus", but is this blossoming out?

I'm kind of mixed about this movie. I loved Ingrid Bergman obviously - there's nothing this gal can't do. Overall I felt like the film just missed out on being completely unforgettable. It may be to do with the script, but ultimately and quite unfortunately I think it's down to Miss Hawn. I really wanted to like her - she's totally kooky and cute. I'm usually expecting someone that gimmicky and kooky to be a really down-to-earth actress but she was just a little too trixie for my liking. I really wish that they'd cast then rising star Barbra Streisand - in my opinion she would have been perfect. Overall though, I really enjoyed this movie and would love to watch it again sometime!

Walter Matthau was in total Odd Couple mode - he is very laid back - you'd don't feel like he's making the greatest of efforts but he is of course wonderful because he's Walther Matthau. His scenes with Ingrid Bergman are really cute and the two of them with their great comedic timing create great chemistry and atmosphere. Like Robert Montgomery who I talked about just a little while ago in my post about Private Lives he is one of those actors who need only stand on the screen and look vacant and be roaringly funny.

{probably the most pointless GIF I've ever made.}

Ingrid Bergman is perfect in everything. The way that she gives layers to all her character's is unsurpassed by any other actress in my opinion. In this character that might be played as a sort of stiff and boring "sterilised" old maid, Ingrid Bergman finds an imagination, an upbeat person who is interesting - yet simply doesn't enjoy mixing business with pleasure. 

When she let's go she's hilarious and it's a joy to watch her performance the whole way through. She's very physically free and brave - I always think this about her - and her delivery of some lines is so deadpan and funny. When her fake boyfriend says "Wanna dance?" and she just says, "I'd rather dance on hot coals."

Overall it's a fun film with good direction and a fair script and a couple of outstanding leads. It's a great laugh and I'd recommend it if you're looking for something visually pleasing, a bit silly and fun. Also, it's worth watching for Ingrid's new move "THE DENTIST" alone!



live sports said...

nice imagine show

silverscreenings said...

This is a thoughtful review. I will watch for this movie - Ingrid is always great, but W. Matthau is always worth it!

Hair Extensions said...

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lollipoopmonster said...

Goldie Hawn!!! I love her dearly. Doesn't she look pretty with that blonde hair extensions?

Hal Pritzker said...

My late aunt was born somewhere in eastern Europe. I know that Bergman was from Sweden---wonder if she knew of Ingemar Johansson. But my aunt sounded EXACTLY like Bergman. Or Bergman sounded just like my aunt. Everytime I see Bergman in this film and hear her talk, it's like I'm listening to my aunt again. Bergman, on the screen, often projected the personality of a wet fish. But my aunt really did have such a personality. Even her husband felt "uncomfortable" around her.

Anonymous said...

I recently watched the DVD again and I was more attracted to Miss Bergman than I watched the video for the first time. A google search brought me to this blog page. I am very impressed with Hal's comment. As I am not a native speaker of English, I can't imagine a true meaning of "a wet fish" character. Does the expression mean "boring" or "less exciting"?

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