Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Broadway Theatre Archive
Actors: Stephen Elliott, Bill Bixby, Herb Edelman, Neil J. Schwartz, Patrick Spohn
Director: Burt Brinckerhoff
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Studio: Kultur Release Date: 10/08/2002 Run time: 90 minutes
Steambath was pretty steamy for its day!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 10/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this TV adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman's offbeat off- Broadway play on PBS Channel 28 in 1973 and was impressed not only by Valerie Perrine's nude shower scene but by the rest of the cast (Bill Bixby, Herb Edelman, Jose Perez, Shirley Kirkes, et al) and the bizarre story line -- an odd assortment of strangers find themselves in a Steambath, not knowing how they got there or why. The attendant seems to be the only one who has a purpose there. A terrible purpose, we learn as the plot unfolds! I saw this TV play twice back then and as far as I know it has never been shown since. But at least it's available now on DVD. I recommend it to all who enjoy a good comic fantasy with some serious overtones. The image quality is good, though a little soft (perhaps because it's in a Steambath?) but there are no bonus features except for some trailers for other Broadway plays available. Enjoy this effort from the early days of PBS when it was bold, daring and innovative -- you never saw anything like this on network TV back in those days!"
Very entertaining with talented cast.
Trevor William Douglas | Gorokan, NSW Australia | 03/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A fine transfer of a classic television film. Bill Bixby shines as Tandy, a man who refuses to believe he has died and tries evereything to convince 'Morte', the excellent Jose Perez, to send him back for another chance. He is well suported by the gruff Stephen Elliott, the demure Valerie Perrine. Ken Mars does well as the stockbroker and Herb Edelman is also at his best. Full of quoteable dialogue, this is highly recommended."
Irreverent and Very Funny
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This a very funny, irreverent and sharp-edged filming of the off-Broadway show written by Bruce Jay Friedman. A young guy named Tandy (Bill Bixby) wakes up in a steambath. He doesn't know how he got there, and neither do any of the people around him -- an old taxi driver, a gorgeous, somewhat dim-witted young woman (Valerie Perrine), a couple of aging gays, a slob, a gambler who is also a stock broker. The only person in the place who seems to know what's going on is the skinny, Puerto Rican bath attendent (Jose Perez). It slowly dawns on Tandy that he's dead and so is everyone else, except the attendent. Turns out the attendent is God, and the steambath is a holding room while God decides where to send them. He doesn't have a lot of time because there's always new people due to show up.
God turns out to specialize in lame magic tricks and philosophical chatter. He likes the people to tell about their lives and explain why they shouldn't be dead. Perez is great as God who is skeptical of good intentions, has a load of disbelieving come-backs, and who has to keep things moving. Bixby does a first-rate job as a guy who has never done much with his life but who always intended to. And Valerie Perinne does an outstanding job as a sexy young lady sort of unaware of her effect on people. Other excellent actors are in the cast...some of them are Herb Edelman, Kenneth Mars, Stephen Elliot.
Steambath is a dialogue-driven play, and the dialogue is very, very funy. This production was broadcast once by PBS and as far as I know was never repeated. I think it's highly unlikely that the PBS of today would ever take a chance on something like this. It has some nudity and some funny but strong situations. Mostly, it's food for thought while being irreverent...God as a Puerto Rican steambath attendent?
If you're interested in American theater, the American Theater Archive is the place to look. They're saving a number of plays that appeared on television years ago. This is the only place to go if you're interested in seeing how gripping and sad Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Natwick were in Death of a Salesman (they recreate their stage roles), the incredible performances of Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst in A Moon for the Misbegotten, or why Robards was one of the great American actors as he stars in The Iceman Cometh. Most of the Archive is now available on DVDs and you can probably get them, among other places, at Amazon.
The DVD is in color and is a respectable transfer."
Steamy in many ways
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 08/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The basic story has been told in many ways and also some variation. Much more popular when purgatory was a real place. This is a story of a hand full of characters that find them selves at a crossroads or a steambath in their afterlife. Seams that the deity (José Pérez) is the attendant who replaces towels and enjoys a good story.
The attraction on an esoteric level is how the people get along with each other. Then we have individuals contemplating past present. The steamy part of the play is Valerie Perrine; the first woman to show off her accoutrements on U.S. TV (4 May 1973) being in the altogether and filmed showering from the side.
The hinge point of this story is watching Tandy (Bill Bixby) who refuses to believe that the Attendant is the deity and is determent to get back to his former life. One can believe if he does not perturb the Attendant, Tandy just might pull it off.