"Here's two dollars; go get me a map of the world and a good
vonXero | Tanelorn | 09/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nick's Bar is a place where you can "come in and be yourself."
The sign says so; and everyone does so.
For Joe, being himself is drinking champaign all day while teaching Tom all the skills he'll need in life, defending Kitty Duvall's honor from a bullying policeman (some things never change!) and humoring an old cowboy with more stories than he can remember having told.
"Did I ever tell you about the time I was married to a midget weighing thirty-nine pounds?"
I've noticed that at least three other reviewers drew comparisons to the teevee show Cheers, which I found vacuous and shallow. Nick's is the bar that the cast of Cheers WISHES they were in.
Remember the sign ["Come in and be yourself"]?
In the final scene, Nick himself takes the sign out of the window and tears it up, saying, "Enough is enough!" reminiscent of BobGod's great stage play "Ronald Smith's Closet" used as an improvisational training tool at Ned Mandarino's School of Transpersonal Acting in the seventies and eighties."
James Cagney knows your name
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 03/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(Please note that the DVD version I am reviewing is the Laserlight edition of THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. This budget release pretty much defines the concept of "no-frills".)Other reviewers have pointed out the fact that this movie skimps on plot and I cannot help but completely agree with that sentiment. But for what the movie lacks in action, it more than makes up for in the presentation of fascinating characters. Each person's story is interesting and unique. And the movie manages to give us enough detail so that we can find these people intriguing, but leaves enough unsaid so that no one overstays their welcome. We're left liking these people and wanting to hear more about them.Since the characters are at the forefront of this movie, it's certainly a relief to have such splendid actors playing them. The Cagney siblings are wonderful. Jeanne Cagney does a wonderful job at becoming the streetwise blonde who stands up to gangsters and James Cagney is a compelling, gentle enigma. While so many of the roles could have easily fallen into stereotypes, the actors are strong enough to keep them as individuals.Although I haven't experienced the original play that this film is based upon, I can only imagine that there weren't too many script changes between the stage and the screen. The movie is heavily performance-based, with the interesting material coming from the conversations and the soliloquies. The action is completely centered on a single barroom, as during the entire length of the movie only one short sequence takes place outside the bar's swing doors. Even a fight scene inside the same building occurs off-camera so that all we view are people in one room hollering at the unseen people in another. As some characters leave the action, they are immediately replaced by other people beginning conversations of their own. In fact, if you pay close attention, you'll probably notice that the amount of real time that people spend off-camera isn't nearly long enough to do all the things that they claim to have done in that span.Fortunately, none of this affects one's enjoyment of the film at all. In fact, it gives the entire production a great sense of the theatrical nature of the performances. Unlike some other translations from play to movie, this one never feels as though it's being limited by the theatre. It retains the trappings and atmosphere of a stage production, while never feeling claustrophobic. What makes for good theatre doesn't always make for a good film (and vice versa), yet it's a testament to the skills of the director and the cast that they manage to make the transition here without a hitch.The image quality on this Laserlight DVD is perfectly watchable. It's scratchy in a few places, but never so much that it becomes distracting. The picture is a bit bright and slightly washed out, but this is really only a problem in one scene where the audience is expected to read something that's a character has written on a piece of paper. The sound quality is variable, but mostly falls on the good side of variable. As the DVD itself is absolutely dirt cheap, it's well worth putting up with these slight imperfections."
Come in and Be Yourself.
tvtv3 | Sorento, IL United States | 09/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE was based upon William Saroyan's Pulitzer Prize-winning play and was brought about, in part, by a collaboration of the Cagney siblings (James, Jeanne, and William). Except for one brief shot of the Salvation Army singing outside the establishment, the entire movie takes place inside Nick's, a saloon, restaurant, and entertainment palace on the waterfront in San Francisco. James Cagney plays Joe, a man who has a lot of cash and spends his time observing, listening, and helping people and fulfilling his every whim. Wayne Morris plays Tom, Joe's gopher man; Jeanne Cagney plays Kitty, a former "burlesque queen" who falls for Tom; and William Bendix plays Nick. The floating characters at Nick's also include, among others, a lovesick young man, an out of work fellow, a drunk, a cowboy who calls himself "Kit Carson", a pinball wizard, a dancer who is a comedian that has no funny jokes, a police officer, and a couple of socialites.There really isn't much plot in THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. However, neither the movie nor the play it was based upon are about "plot". There may not seem to be a lot going on, but actually there is. The plot of the story is it's characters. Each person that comes into Nick's has a story and some of them we learn, some of them we don't. However, while listening to each person (just as Joe does) we learn something about them and in the process we discover things about ourselves. THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE is art in it's highest form because it entertains, yet also enlightens.The quality of this DVD isn't all that bad, especially considering how inexpensive it is to purchase a copy (the Laserlight edition can be purchased for less than $5). The sound is good through most of the film except for the occasional scratch and the picture is great (the one scene where you can't read what is on the piece of paper was filmed that way intentionally because you are not supposed to see what's written on the paper because it's too small).Overall a good movie well worth the time to watch it."
Dorian Morian | United Kingdom | 09/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this film - eccentric people show up at a bar in San Francisco - Cagney's character just watches them come and go, listens, helps them along. That's it. If you're looking for action - go elsewhere. The scene never leaves the bar. Originally a play by William Saroyan.
My favourite quote from the play/movie is "Living is an art, it's not bookkeeping. It takes an awful lot of rehearsal for a man to get to be himself." -"