Saturday, November 06, 2010

Auteur Watch - Elaine May

If you can't get something for the girl who already has everything, what do you get the girl with something like Ishtar on her resumé? Ouch. Of course, a nut like me has a special place in his heart for Ishtar... at least, the first thirty minutes of it before it makes that big creaky left turn into Hope/Crosbyville, as Maltin puts it. Being the girl half of the Nichols and May duo from the early... 60s? Doesn't she get to direct, too? She did her own Graduate which decidedly wasn't as good, but is it not worthy of a remake? Oh, right... But she did learn harsh lessons about Hollywood when working on A New Leaf, and that is: Paramount reserves the right to cut your film in half. If it's a 3 hour epic, too bad! And apparently Robert Evans is responsible! Naughty boy. But he is a handsome man, so he must be forgiven immediately, if not right away. But not for Kid Notorious. It was awful. Now available on DVD with commentary!
But after something like Ishtar, it's best to take a little break, and break she did. Back to work for Nichols, resulting in the screenplays for The Birdcage and Primary Colors. Apparently, the Joe Klein Curse and the Ishtar Curse were too much for even her to handle, as the trail goes cold after that. A toast to Elaine May's emeritus years!!!!!

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