Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts

Choreographer-turned-director Bob Fosse (Cabaret, Lenny) turns the camera on himself in this nervy, sometimes unnerving 1979 feature, a nakedly autobiographical piece that veers from gritty drama to razzle-dazzle musical, ...  more »


Movie Details

Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Format: DVD
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A visual feast even for an only lukewarm fan of Broadway
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 02/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Soon after its 1979 release, curiosity impelled me to see ALL THAT JAZZ. I say curiosity because anything smacking of a film musical didn't then attract my attention much. Not yet an old dog, and apparently still capable of learning a new trick, I remember being impressed. Recently, I saw it presented on the Big Screen once again as part of a classic film revival. I'm reminded what a truly superb production this is.

Roy Scheider, in arguably his greatest role ever, portrays Joe Gideon, a work-obsessed Broadway choreographer and director existing on cancer sticks, booze, sex and uppers. Directed by the preeminent choreographer Bob Fosse, ALL THAT JAZZ was purportedly semi-autobiographical.

Joe is struggling to put together a new dance production and, simultaneously, edit a behind-schedule film, all the while juggling the three principal women in his life: ex-wife, current significant other, and teenage daughter. Talk about stress! In periodic visual sidebars, we watch as Joe rationalizes his self-destructive behavior to a glamorous Angel of Death, coquettishly played by Jessica Lange.

The film's dance sequences, products of Bob Fosse's brilliance, and sets by Phillip Rosenberg and Tony Walton, are visual extravaganzas not to be missed. (Oscars were awarded for Art Direction and Set Decoration.) Perhaps the cleverest is the solo routine performed by the ex-wife character as she rehearses a number to be performed in Gideon's latest production, all the while debating with him the course of their failed relationship. Positively engaging is the "impromptu" number performed for Joe at his apartment by his current mistress (played by the strikingly long-legged Ann Reinking), along with his daughter. Then there's the sexually suggestive "Air Otica/Come Fly With Us" ballet sequence, Gideon's attempt to energize an otherwise stodgy production. ("Well, we've lost the family audience.")

Another nice touch for the uninitiated is the revelation that performer selection and training for a polished dance routine is a hard, sweaty, merciless process. The faint-hearted best not show up for the audition.

Perhaps the film's only flaw is its length as it unwinds to its foregone conclusion. Although ALL THAT JAZZ won an Oscar for Film Editing, the Ben Vereen-assisted toe-tapper should have been considerably shortened. However, that said, it must be emphasized that the movie is richly entertaining throughout. Perchance you ever have the opportunity to see it on the Big Screen, don't pass it by. As Gideon so expressively states in front of the mirror each morning after he girds himself (with Dexedrine and Visine) for another grueling day , "It's show time!""
R. Penola | NYC, NY United States | 07/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With a typically sardonic and vicious glare, Bob Fosse examines his own obsessive life as a creator/director/choreographer -- and womanizer, drinker, druggie. While this movie has its shamelessly over-the-top qualities (Jessica Lange as Death, for one), the musical sequences are so dazzling that they instantly make this move a must-see, if not must-have, for any Fosse fan. The opening, a wow-you-in-the-gut audition sequence set to On Broadway (Benson's stunning version), does more in four minutes than the film of Chorus Line does in its entire running time to convey the show biz world of Broadway. And the then-gamine Ann Reinking is on hand to literally play herself, as well as dance in that feline way. The musical number Take Off With Us is at once amusing, sparkling, sensual and spectacular, featuring an explosive ensemble of dancers. Fosse's bitter take on his own mortality may slow things down (the Lenny-inspired sequences bore into your brain) a bit, when the music is playing you are in for a revved-up treat."
All That Music, All that Drama, ALL THAT JAZZ!!!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you have very little knowledge of the life and work of Bob Fosse, you'll probably see this movie as dark and pointless. But for anyone who knows anything about this legend, you'll agree that "All That Jazz" is nothing less than a MASTERPEICE! Fosse was nothing short of a genius. That fact that he could actually predict his own death and face his vices head-on proves what an intelligent, strong, sensitive, and brilliant man he was. Yes, this film is very depressing, but life isn't always a Walt Disney film. Like his other musical triumphs, "Sweet Charity" and "Cabaret", the film is dark and sexy, but has plenty of heart. And like all of his film work, it is visually stunning and truly original. This is one guy who didn't do stuff by the book, and the results are always unique and dynamic. Roy Scheider and Ann Reinking give the best performances of their careers. Fosse is an icon who will never be forgotten, and this film does justice to the virtuoso he was.If you aren't familiar with Fosse, I would recommend one or both of the excellent books "Razzle Dazzle: The Life and Works of Bob Fosse" or "All His Jazz: The Life and Death of Bob Fosse". It will give you appreciation for this hauntingly poetic piece of contemporary cinema.A true work of art."
It's showtime, Folks!
Dave Beards | Sydney Australia | 05/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Bob Fosse is a name that, in the minds of Broadway enthusiasts, is paralleled with images of breathtaking and original choreography. Those who have seen live versions of Cabaret, Chicago and Sweet Charity will know what a major talent he was in the Broadway world. In 1979 he directed and co-wrote All That Jazz - a 'fictitious' autobiographical account of his work and life.Whilst a little long and some over indulgence occurs, All That Jazz is a remarkably original movie. It is not only a fascinating insight into the mind and life of a brilliant and talented man, but a captured record of the 1970's Broadway scene.What is so remarkable about All The Jazz is that we actually enter into Fosses' mind to explore his thoughts, feelings and emotions. Two vehicles are used to achieve this - conversations with death (in the form of a white laced Jessica Lange) and stunning Broadway musical sequences. We explore his feelings on women, death and his art.Roy Scheider brings a considerable amount of charisma and emotion to the role of Joe Gideon (who is based on Fosse). Another standout is Anne Reinking - ex lover of Fosse and seasoned Broadway performer. It would have been nice to see her film career take off so we could have seen more of her work. All the cast perform brilliantly in their roles, and a few surprises pop up with some early performances of some now well known actors.All That Jazz contains wonderful performances, brilliant music and a story that not only captures the essence of a significant man in the history of Broadway, but also the vibrancy and originality of Broadway in the 70's. Watch this movie and go back in time to a wonderful world during a colourful era."