Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Divorce American Style|
Actors: Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds, Jason Robards, Jean Simmons, Van Johnson
Director: Bud Yorkin
After 17 years, married life has become predictable and stale for Richard and Barbara Harmon. After splitting up, they discover divorced life is even worse! Stars Emmy ® winner Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds!
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Another modern classic chopped up in stupid standard screen!
Edmond Gauthier | USA | 12/24/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Thank goodness Dick Van Dyke's brilliant Never A Dull Moment recently got the classy widescreen treatment it so richly deserved, but Divorce American Style? Nope! They threw it into the crummy standard screen bin, like it was a piece of trash!
I mean it only starred Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds, was directed by Bud Yorkin, with Conrad Hall as the Director of Photography. So I guess the studio (Columbia/Tristar) just didn't think these people were GOOD enough to deserve a widescreen release!
I will gladly buy this DVD, because the theatrical version was GREAT, but only IF it ever comes out in its original widescreen aspect ratio. Continue to boycott all standard screen butcher jobs, everyone!
AVOID FULL FRAME BUTCHER JOB
Edmond Gauthier | 03/14/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"yet again...a studio "dumbs down" a release by not giving us the full image. Teach them a lesson by boycotting these "butchered" releases...Conrad Hall (the cinematographer) deserves better."
PLAYTIME American Style
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the day, as Dick van Dyke stumbled over a hassock in the Petrie living room week after week, somehow managing to rescue himself from ignominy and tumble right side up again, in triumph, the kids who watched him thought of him as their generation's version of Chaplin. He seemed to take these comparisons to heart, however, and how painful it was to see Van Dyke tackle serious roles, the kinds of parts they gave Jackie Gleason when he got the serious bug as well. It was horrible and, though we loved him deeply, that love only lasted for about a minute, replaced by a frantic indifference that sought to minimize even his obvious gifts. He had an easy way about him, and he seemed to break into song as easily as falling off a log: not such a simple gift, for many stars never got the hang of it, even Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, you watch them inhale uncertainly right before the music starts up on the soundtrack. They're panicking, and Van Dyke was always Mr. Cool, even when he wasn't cool. His attempts at "characterization" were always, like Olivier, built on some physical trick, like playing Caracactus Potts the inventor in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG with that unsightly squint, as though he were going blind instead of driving through the clouds. And yet the sincerity he brought to Potts, and to Bert in MARY POPPINS and to Albert in BYE BYE BIRDIE, though bland and unexceptional, guaranteed the success of those pictures. But in DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE the unexpected thing happens and Dick Van Dyke gets sexy on us. And in addition he displays some of the gift for comedy not of Chaplin perhaps, but of the revered French genius Jacques Tati.
In fact PLAYTIME, which must have premiered around the same time as DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE, hasn't a patch on the latter when it comes to that strange, misty cinematography--its mise en scene, nothing less than everything in modern life including romance. The great setpieces of DIVORCE are so reminiscent of those in PLAYTIME that one would be hard pressed to decide which came first. The celebrated sequence in which Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds, furious spouses who aren't speaking to each other and in loud closeups, prepare for bed by getting in and out of each other's way, is just like the PLAYTIME sequence in which the hero enters the glass-walled apartment in Paris and encounters all the modern appliances. How about when Debbie Reynolds and her girlfriend try to close down a savings account at the bank while Van Dyke and his buddy empty the safety deposit box, the camera cross cutting between the two groups of action like invisible arrows of distress and Eros.
And when Dick Van Dyke, stung by Reynolds' intention to divorce him, winds up on the darkened lawn of Jean Simmons, gazing up at her window, trying to make up his mind, stretching and lean in a pair of slacks and a windbreaker, he's like John Cusack with the radio over his head in SAY ANYTHING, except, yes, he's sexy. I'm looking at him in profile and marveling, like a perve, my God, he's got some butt on him! And then to top it all off there is the insane hypnotist sequence at the end where all the main characters assemble at a club while Ms. Pat Collins, an adult hypnotist of the era, goes through highlights of her notorious act. She's from Fellini--they seem, eerily, and possibly in contrast to her, like real people in a real world of grief, pain and hope.
And how about Tim Matheson as the older of Van Dyke and Reynolds' two kids. Has there ever been a more natural teenager in the movies--I don't think so.
Gorgeous mid-20th century design spoiled by full frame relea
K. Burke | Washington, DC | 04/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie, besides being extremely well acted by all its stars (including the magnificent Jean Simmons in her mature prime) is also a beautifully designed and shot time capsule. What a shame that it was disrespected by a worthless "full frame" release."