S. O. B. (1-Jul-1981)|
Director: Blake Edwards
Writer: Blake Edwards
Music by: Henry Mancini
Producers: Tony Adams; Blake Edwards
A once-successful film director is on the outs after the flop of his most recent movie, Night Wind. He buys the rights to the film and reshoots portions of it, releasing a new version as an artistic soft-core pornographic feature. Unique satire of Hollywood that remains edgy 30 years after it was made. Multiple viewings recommended.
Review by Walter Frith (posted on 7-Jun-2007)
Blake Edward's intention, aside from entertaining audiences in 1981 with his
movie 'S.O.B.', was to get back at the cut throat Hollywood
establishment that uses people and then throws them away like garbage.
Marilyn Monroe once said "Hollywood is a place where they'll pay a
million dollars for a kiss... and fifty cents for your soul." What we
see in 'S.O.B.' is a string of unscrupulous characters who try and win
control of a film that is re-shot and prepared and envisioned to have
much greater success than its initial bomb at the box office. Edwards'
motive for wanting to get back at Hollywood is a little strange and
uneven, like most of his films I imagine. On the one hand there is no
question that the Hollywood establishment is not exactly a charitable
affair, but on the other, Edwards has had a very successful career so
why lash out at the system that has made him his fair share of money.
From 'The Pink Panther films that ranged from 1963 to 1993, to 'Days of
Wine and Roses' (1962), to 'Victoria/Victoria' (1982) which is regarded
by many as his best film. It earned him his only Oscar nomination for
anything, in the category of best screenplay adaptation to be exact,
and the film garnered six other nominations, winning one for music. In
'S.O.B.' Richard Mulligan plays Felix Farmer. He's a big shot Hollywood
producer who always made money for the studios. He then produces the
biggest and most expensive film of his career, and it flops. Along for
the ride in this disastrous situation are his wife (Julie Andrews), the
back stabbing head of the studio in question (Robert Vaughan in a
deliciously slimy and villainous performance), and three of Felix's
best friends, a movie director (William Holden), his wife's press agent
(Robert Webber) and the family physician who has all of the best lines
in the film (Robert Preston). After the film takes its time to get
going, Felix then has the brilliant notion that if they make the film a
sex epic, that it will bring people in to see it by the millions.
Felix's wife Sally Miles (Andrews) is a wholesome movie star who has an
image that is family oriented and safe. Felix feels that if he can cast
her as a sexual deviant, then people will want to see it for the shock
and awe of things. Julie Andrews bares her breasts in the film and this
certainly came as a surprise to many who still see her as Mary Poppins.
Felix makes his film and the powers to be behind the scene try and win
control of the film's financial rights and Felix has made himself very
vulnerable by using questionable tactics, both legally and morally that
raised funding for the film's re-shoot. What 'S.O.B.' has going for it
are some very funny moments that any fan of slapstick comedy would
enjoy. But the film is wildly uneven, going from tranquil moments of
dialogue to raunchy moments of sexual parody and semi-comical violent
jabs. There are obvious portraits of real life people in the film who
will remain nameless here. The term 'black comedy' is perfect when
describing things in this film that pokes fun at some serious things
like sexually transmitted diseases, gun play and even death. Perhaps a
bit too much for some, but others will embrace this film as a look at
what it takes to make it in Hollywood if you're prepared to sell your
soul to the devil. A great companion piece to this film is 1992's 'The
Player', so rent them both on a rainy afternoon and enjoy yourself.
Other noted members in the cast of 'S.O.B.' are Larry Hagman, Robert
Loggia, Stuart Margolin, Marisa Berenson, Shelly Winters, Craig Stevens
and Loretta Swit. This would be William Holden's last film. He died in
1981 at the age of 63 from head injuries he suffered from a fall while
he was intoxicated and Holden was a truly great actor. One of the
greatest in film history who suffered the tragic effects of alcoholism
which plagued him for a good part of his life. [Visit Film Follow-Up by
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