Lauren Bacall brings poise, dignity, and steely defiance to this entry into the 1980s slasher film genre. Her aging silver-screen and Broadway star is so stressed by her musical theater debut and jealous of her ex-husband'... more »s (James Garner) marriage to a lovely young thing that she misses all the stalker warning signs. Before she knows it, one obsessive fan (Michael Biehn) lets his fantasies spill over into psychosis. "We will become lovers very soon, my darling. And I assure you I have all the equipment," he writes before slicing up her friends. It calls for the elegance of Brian De Palma, which dutiful but dull first-timer Edward Bianchi can't provide. The pleasures come from sassy gal Friday Maureen Stapleton and Ms. Bacall, whose grace under pressure and cinematic confidence lend dignity to the proceedings. Pino Donnaggio's ominous score recalls Bernard Hermann's work with Hitchcock. Marvin Hamlisch and Tim Rice provide the show tunes. --Sean Axmaker« less
"I was hoping to get a video of this movie but it's not available. It was wonderful watching Bacall as a highly successful middle aged Broadway singer/dancer. Michael Biehn as her stalker is great and he's been in lots of action movies since this first movie. I've seen "The Fan" several times since it came out and I've never been disappointed. James Garner as her former husband does a fine job too. All in all, I think it's well done and superior to most first run scary movies I've seen in the last decade."
Suspense filled drama with bite
Simon Davis | 08/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Quite a while before "stalking" as such was as widely known and reported on as it is nowadays this taut little suspense drama "The Fan", came along which I feel for the time, told an original story and filled it with good performers and edge of the seat situations.At the time of its release "The Fan" based on the thriller novel by Bob Randall got alot of flak about some of the bloody scenes and the unnecessary violence but I feel it tells the story well and really is not excessive in its depiction of an ardent fan who loves an actress and slowly becomes obsessed to the point of hatred when his advances are ignored.The real strong point of "The Fan" is in its perfect casting in all departments with both old and new performers. Central to all of the story and action is veteran actress Lauren Bacall in one of her rare starring roles in the 1980's. She portrays Sally Ross, one time Hollywood actress now successful Broadway actress who becomes the unwilling object of one fans over the top adoration. Bacall brings a great deal of style to her performance here and it really is a performance that comes from the old school of Hollywood acting , with glamour, witty lines and lots of cigarette smoking!! All the insider lines about fan letters and publicity and nerves about the next career move are all interwoven into the script in a naturalistic manner which makes you feel that Lauren Bacall could have been using her own experiences to build up the script. She makes Sally a multi dimensional character with elements of bitchiness, insecurity and confidence all rolled into one. She really makes the film and there's alot of insider bits about Hollywood and Broadway ups and downs to make the performance just a trifle auto - biographical. James Garner also makes a welcome return to mainstream acting in the role of Jake Berman, Sally's ex husband and still best friend who finds himself having to literally protect Sally as the tension of the story mounts. While his is a supporting role he makes the most of his scenes . His and Bacall's interplay is really a pleasure to watch as two old style performers really show what screen chemistry in the old Hollywood was all about. The really star making performance in this film however absolutely goes to Michael Biehn in the role of the obsessive fan Douglas Breen. I think he was sensational in this performance as a lonely young man who develops an obsession on star Sally Ross which goes from interest in her, to love, and then through frustration, to hatred and attempted murder. He brings all the right qualities to his performance and is at times both pathetic and scary. His violent scenes where he attacks Sally's personal assistant Belle Goldman (beautifully played by veteran actress Maureen Stapleton)and Sally's leading man in the swimming Pool are harrowing but really add to the high drama of the piece. I'm surprised that after such a great performance in his first feature film after numerous television acting roles that Michael Biehn went into action flicks when he had such great talent for drama.The overraul look of "The Fan" is great and it really captures that exciting atmosphere of the Broadway world very well. The one major failing of the production however is the absolutely God Awful musical production that Sally is rehearsing while being stalked by Douglas Breen. It is atrocious and I couldn't imagine it ever entertaining a New York audience for more than one second little alone becoming the hit of the season.The well staged climax of the story as Douglas traps Sally in the dark and empty Broadway theatre is terrific and really brings the story to an exciting climax as Sally is first pursued and then cornered by her former admirer and has to turn the tables on him by pretending to want to be with him to be able to get away. This climax is taut, has minimal dialogue, and really uses all the elements of the theatre to great effect in creating an edge of the seat finale to the story.Lauren Bacall really has a star role here and I feel she brings all her decades of great acting experience to the fore to make a great impression as fading star Sally Ross. Matched all the way by Michael Biehn it is a unique blending of old and new acting and the two really lift "The Fan" up to being a great little thriller to engross you as it does me with each screening."
PARAMOUNT HAS MADE MORE EDITS ! ! ! !
Simon Davis | 10/08/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount should not release DVD's anymore if they continue to
edit them. ... This time they have edited the scene where the killer reads a letter in voice-over where he originally makes reference to raping a woman using a "meat cleaver." ...."
Finally, Paramount are releasing this gem on DVD...
Mark Gainsley | Dunstable, Bedfordshire United Kingdom | 03/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whilst many would argue that Bacall and Garner's talents are wasted in what appears on the face of it to be an average thriller, on closer inspection, you will see that they are perfectly cast. "The Fan", unlike it's successor, is high on suspense and is truly edge of the seat stuff. This is a film that, although very much an 80's piece, has not lost anything in it's power to grip you and keep you entertained, right up to the finale. It is a great shame that Paramount appears to be releasing the DVD format in a shorter 95 minute length, when the UK VHS copy runs to the full theatrical time of 111 minutes approx. This film is definitely worthy of greater acclaim - see it!"
Not the original
L. Michael | 05/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I will add another complaint about the editing of this film. The "meat cleaver" line was a genuine shocker at the time, but is certainly mild compared to what is seen and heard in films today, or heard in music, for that matter. Shame on Paramount for editing this movie in both the VHS and DVD versions."