Loves a dream to a hostess in a seedy new york dance hall. From the neil simon play. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 03/04/2003 Starring: Shirley Maclaine John Mcmartin Run time: 149 minutes Rating: G Dire... more »ctor: Bob Fosse« less
Frances S. from PUNTA GORDA, FL Reviewed on 9/15/2010...
This is a really great movie. The musical numbers are outstanding.
Shirley MacLaine in her greatest musical performance
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 05/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This new DVD release of SWEET CHARITY is a welcome addition to any classic movie collection. Shirley MacLaine stars as Charity Hope Valentine in the celebrated film version of the Broadway hit.Charity (Shirley MacLaine) works at the Fan Dango Ballroom, a dingy dime-a-dance hall where the girls give a lot more away than dances. Charity runs her heart like a hotel, and gives her love to one undeserving man after another. Her two best friends Nickie and Helene (Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly) are the ones who help Charity when she is ultimately betrayed by each boyfriend who comes into her life. Ever-hopeful (sometimes impossibly-so), Charity goes through life with wide eyes and wide dreams...When Charity meets the mild-mannered Oscar Linquist (John McMartin re-creating his Broadway performance), she believes that she will finally be able to leave her sordid past and profession behind her. But will Oscar be as understanding?Shirley MacLaine colors Charity more vividly than Broadway's Gwen Verdon did (or was permitted to do). MacLaine is especially affecting and heartbreaking in the final 15 minutes of the movie, and sings a plaintive "Where Am I Going?".Bob Fosse's first big Hollywood film, SWEET CHARITY was a big, if not huge, success when it was first released. The choppy editing and artistic touches that audiences failed to appreciate then make much more sense now, following the success of MOULIN ROUGE. The impressive supporting cast includes Ricardo Montalban, Sammy Davis Jr. and Stubby Kaye.This beautiful new Special Edition DVD presents the complete 'Road-Show' version of the film including Overture and Intermission. There are also many extras including the trailer, the original 'Making-of' featurette, a featurette where designer Edith Head takes us through her colorful costumes, and the alternate ending that was never used. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc)."
The Best Odds I Ever Had
zapasnik | New York, New York United States | 06/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1966, Bob Fosse scored one of his greatest personal triumphs when he directed and choreographed the original Broadway production of "Sweet Charity." But when he made his directorial debut with the film version three years later, things didn't go as well. Most critics felt he wasn't so much an auteur as a kid who'd been unleashed in a cinematic candy store, going overboard with zoom shots, montages, and cross-cuts, basically clobbering the delicate, whimsical tone of his Broadway show with slam-bang, razzle-dazzle overkill. And despite a few positive reviews, the film failed at the box office; it would be years before any studio gave him the chance to direct another movie - but as we all know, he would rebound with a vengeance, snaring Academy Award nominations for "Lenny" and "All That Jazz," and winning the Oscar for "Cabaret." And now that it's been released on DVD, a second look at "Sweet Charity" is in order. Were the criticisms directed at the film justified? In some cases, yes. Is it worth buying? Well, if you're a connoisseur of the movie musical - ABSOLUTELY.To start with, you've got some seriously talented women working at peak form here. Shirley MacLaine may not entirely fill Gwen Verdon's dancing shoes - who could? - but she makes a delightful Charity nonetheless. If you're looking for proof, simply watch the opening credits; not since Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast At Tiffany's" has an actress so thoroughly nailed a character in her first few minutes of screen time. There may be some overly cute moments here and there (for which the director and/or screenwriter must share resposibility), but there's no denying MacLaine gives a very real and touching performance. As for Chita Rivera, she's so hot in "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" she practically burns a hole in the screen. Paula Kelly has some pretty hot moves too, not to mention a great way with a one-liner ("Oh girl, do you know how many guys are running around this city carrying pocket books?"). And though Suzanne Charny may not be a household name, she dances her way into silver screen immortality with "Rich Man's Frug" - after you've seen her in this number, I doubt you'll ever forget her (and keep an eye out for a dynamic young Ben Vereen in the ensemble).Which brings us to the musical numbers, most of which are dynamite - which isn't too surprising, considering Fosse was not only a great choreographer, but also a veteran of the hallowed MGM Movie Musical era. The aforementioned "Rich Man's Frug" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" are both showstoppers, as are "Big Spender," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," and "I'm A Brass Band" (imaginative use of NYC locations like the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, Lincoln Center, and Wall Street make the latter number truly spectacular). "The Rhythm Of Life" and "I Love To Cry At Weddings" are still a chore to sit through (despite Sammy Davis Jr.'s presence in the former), but with a click of your DVD remote you can easily skip those sequences.Finally, one of the best reasons for buying the "Sweet Charity" DVD is that it contains the film's alternate ending which, as far as I'm concerned, is far superior to the one used in 1969. I know there are many who feel that concluding the movie with Charity being dumped yet again is truer to the spirit of the Fellini film on which its based ("Nights Of Cabiria"), but using flower children in the finale was a ghastly, self-conscious idea that looked out-of-date within hours of the film's release (at least the Broadway show displayed some wit when Charity encountered the Good Fairy, who turned out to be an advertising plug for a TV show). Fosse was right in wanting to avoid sentimentality and the happily-ever-after cliche, but I don't think he took into account the unexpectedly strong chemistry between Shirley MacLaine and John McMartin (their courtship scenes are genuinely charming), or how much the audiences wanted Charity to cop a break - even if it didn't last forever. The alternate ending, therefore, is a suprisingly shrewd one; not only does it add a nice touch of symmetry (with another plunge in the lake), but it manages to bring Charity and Oscar together without creating any illusions about their future. As the dialogue makes clear:OSCAR: The odds against us are at least a hundred to one.CHARITY: Those are the best odds I ever had.And so they walk off together - maybe for a few months, maybe for a few years, maybe forever - who knows? But at least they have some hope, and I think they deserve it. I think the audience deserves it, too.But alternate ending or not - that's your call - "Sweet Charity" is one of the better film musicals you'll find."
"Without love, life would have no purpose."
zapasnik | 04/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sweet Charity" will never be regarded as a classic, and that's a damn shame. While most musicals are sugar-coated and meaningless, this is a rare exception. Not only are the musical numbers downright sexual, but they are thrilling to watch. And it's amazing how such a simple storyline could be given so much depth with MacLaine's strong character development. The film is well-paced, and the camera work is amazing. The script is brilliant. At times it came be funny and light hearted, and then be dark and depressing. If you see the film, be sure and see the version with Fosse's orginal ending. The alternate "happy" ending was way too Hollywood and really gave no point to Charity's personal journey. The original ending, however, is one of the greatest conclusions in film history. While some viewers may see it as a downer, it is so inspiring and bestows the overwhelming feeling of hope to both Charity and the audience. With that in mind, isn't that a "true" happy ending?Reading the poor reviews of this film can only lead me to believe that those reviewers did not watch this film with an open mind nor an open heart.This is truly brilliant filmmaking."
zapasnik | 03/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Universal has really done a spectacular job on this DVD, giving this underrated musical film the presentation it deserves. The transfer is excellent, with vibrant colors and detail, and rich 4.0 Surround sound. The Overture and Intermission Entr'acte are included in their entirety. And in the supplement department, they give us the unused Alternate Ending, and TWO original featurettes: one revolving around Bob Fosse directing the film, and the other Edith Head and her costumes for the film. Both have lots of behind-the-scenes footage, including costume tests, rehearsals and filming on the New York locations. Universal could have easily charged twice the price for this DVD. Highly recommended. For a DVD NOT marked "Special Edition", this is, at a minimum, the way ALL classic films should be treated on DVD. Bravo, Universal!"
Drag queen chic!
bowery boy | seattle | 01/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sweet Charity is very, very Fellini-esque and rightfully so as it is based on Fellini's stellar film Nights of Cabiria. If you've never seen Sweet Charity I would suggest that you view Nights of Cabiria first to get the full effect of the story, then immerse yourself in the sinuous, sexy world of Bob Fosse.
If you're a drag queen or an aspiring drag queen or just like drag queens then Sweet Charity is the film for you. The art of exaggeration is what drag queens are all about and Sweet Charity is an overly exaggerated stylized 60s musical. Edith Head's costumes are outrageous (there's also a behind-the-scenes extra entitled the art of exaggeration featuring Head), the set designs are stupendous and the music, most of it anyway, is phenomenonal.
There are a few faults with the film however. The main fault is its length at two plus hours. That's a lot of singing. Some of the musical numbers go on a bit longer than necessary although Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, . . . Something Better Than This and Sammy Davis Jr.'s number Rhythm of Life are the highlights for me. Who knew Sammy Davis Jr. was such a hip cat? Rich Man's Frug is one of the coolest numbers but it's also one of the overly long numbers. Chita Rivera is fabulous as always and McClaine camps it up in a very over the top manner but that's only because she's trying emulate the essence of Guillietta Masina's brilliant Cabiria.
The extras are cool. It's nice to see the alternative "happy" ending although I for one am glad that it wasn't used. The tragic realism of the original ending remains true to Fellini's vision although the continuity of the alternative ending maintains a similar continuity to Fellini's film as well. I still highly recommend Nights of Cabiria as a precursor to Sweet Charity for nothing else than to view the tragic/comic performance of Guillieta Masina. All in all this is a classic.