Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Movie Review: "A Touch of Class" (1973)

Director: Melvin Frank
Year: 1973
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

A married American insurance salesman begins having an affair with a British divorcee and has difficulty balancing his new relationship with his marriage.

A Touch of Class 1973 George Segal
"It's getting awfully late, why don't ypu just get on top and hope for the best?" (Image Source)
Some people want to have their cake and eat it too, and they are willing to jump through hoops to try to make the impossible happen. Such is the case with "A Touch of Class," which is directed by Melvin Frank, who is known for films like "Knock on Wood," "The Facts of Life," and "Strange Bedfellows." He also helped write the screenplay along with Jack Rose which is based on Marvin Frank's "She Loves Me, She Told Me So Last Night." The movie revolves around an American insurance salesman named Steve Blackburn (George Segal). One day, he meets a divorcee named Vickie Alessio (Glenda Jackson) and tries to begin an affair with her. She eventually agrees to go with him on a getaway to Spain, and everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong. Despite a spat early on in their trip and despite wanting to maintain a simple, casual fling, the two eventually overcome their anger and fall in love. Though they know it is both risky and wrong, they continue their affair back home in London. Steve finds it challenging to juggle his responsibilities at his job, his domestic life with his wife and kids, and his tryst with Vickie. What's a guy to do?! *sarcasm*
A Touch of Class 1973 Glenda Jackson Paul Sorvino
"Get stuffed, you big schmuck!" (Image Source)
In the last few years, Academy Awards Best Picture nominees and winners have included introspective and moving arthouse films, biographical dramas, and vast epics. Needless to say, it's a little odd to go back and see that a goofy comedy like "A Touch of Class" was nominated for Best Picture, though romance films and romantic comedy receiving nominations was much more common in the earlier years of the Academy. In many ways, this film is little more than a male fantasy with a comedic edge. It's a movie that would be entirely forgettable if it weren't for Glenda Jackson and her Oscar-winning performance as Vickie. Jackson's Vickie is a charismatic woman who takes charge of her sexuality early on in that she wants to have unattached, casual sex, though she loses that edge as time goes on. Still, Jackson gets to deliver a lot of witty dialogue with precise, pointed delivery. Also great in this movie is Paul Sorvino as Walter Menkes, a movie producer who interjects himself in much of Vickie and Steve's business. Beyond that, there is a bit of humor here and there, but it does fall into a lot of slapstick silliness, which can be cute at times but isn't all that funny.
A Touch of Class 1973 movie
"You missed your profession: a worm. Crawling and humping its way through life, and badly." (Image Source)
"A Touch of Class" was nominated for five Oscars and won one trophy (the previously mentioned best actress award). It is a frequently forgotten Best Picture nominee with a couple of redeeming qualities. Despite being a mere 106 minutes in length, it somehow still manages to overstay its welcome a bit. If it weren't for Glenda Jackson and her quick delivery and believable chemistry with George Segal, we wouldn't have been so forgiving about this one, although it did provide us with the knowledge that the line "get stuffed, you big schmuck!" exists, so there's that!

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
RT Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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