Thursday, October 24, 2013

Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance

I had seen Tough Guys Don't Dance years ago on VHS. Directed by Norman Mailer around the same time that Charles Bukowski wrote the script to Barfly. Both movies were made by Golan-Globus and Bukowski and Mailer almost got into a fight when they attended Menahem Golan's birthday party. But Mailer's movie was----well. It ended up on the dollar rack at the video store I went to, there among the Brooke Shields movies.

Based on Mailer's novel of the same name, starring Ryan O'Neal, Isabella Rosellini, Debra Stipe, Lawrence Tierney, Wings Hauser. With Penn Jillette. Linc from The Mod Squad. Some other people.

Should perhaps be of interest to no budget film-makers----a mystery/thriller/noir. It had only one fight, no car chases and no stunts that I can remember. Had one cop in uniform and one police car. A few guns. And it did have a Rolls Royce. The performances were a little odd. There were blatantly fake southern accents. The plot was actually sort of interesting.

If you can write it, you ought to be able to do something along those lines on a tiny budget.

One thing we learn is the importance of not humiliating your actors. The movie contains what is regarded as the worst line reading ever. Ryan O'Neal reads a letter and gets some upsetting news.

"Oh, man!" he exclaims. "Oh, God! Oh, man! Oh, God! Oh, man! Oh, God! Oh, man! Oh, God! Oh, man! Oh, God!"

It sounded like Ryan O'Neal saying "Oh, man! Oh, God!" several times. You can find it on YouTube easily enough if you want to see it.

People begged Mailer to cut it out of the movie, but he liked it, and I can see why. It was memorable. But Ryan O'Neal felt his reputation as an actor had been damaged by it and was mad at Mailer with whom he had been friendly before this.

I thought the music was terrible.

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