Sunday, July 11, 2010

One Night Stand

(Allan King, 1977)
You know all those horror movies that are predicated on the innate, mind-numbing stupidity of the heroine? Imagine how much worse they would be if you took away all the scary scenes. This is an inert adaptation of a two-character stage play - you know the kind, where ninety percent of the action takes place on a single set, the other ten percent looks perfunctory and lost, and the actors still seem to be pitching their performances at theatrical volume. A director best known for his cinema verite documentaries is clearly doomed when pitted against lead actor Brent Carver's showboating egotism. Reprising his stage role, Carver's twinkly fast-talking minstrel is such obvious trouble from the word go that you could predict the ending within two minutes even if you hadn't seen "Zoo Story", under whose shadow writer Carol Bolt shamelessly toils. You won't believe the tortured logical knots Bolt ties herself in just keeping idiot date Chapelle Jaffe in the room. The shockingly sloppy re-editing of the single incident of note into a late-movie flashback does nothing to turn this into cinema, and the attempt to funk things up with the Rough Trade score/cameo runs smack into Bolt/Carver's dubious folkie originals, which somebody should have sassed up or deep-sixed. I barely got through it.


  1. Brent is an acquaintance of mine - I had no idea he had worked with Allan King. I'm looking forward to asking him about his experience with this film. I'll know within a moment how he feels about it! I saw A Married Couple for the first time last year and it freaked me out. Had I seen it in highschool I never would have gotten married at all!

  2. I also just remembered a friend of mine acted that part in high school. It's a very drama-festival kind of script, and it got a lot of attention at the time. Mr. Carver originated the role...King is on record as switching to drama because it paid better ;)