Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Two Weeks in Another Town

The opening moments of Vincente Minnelli's Two Weeks in Another Town shows Jack Andrus (Kirk Douglas) walking around the grounds of the sanitarium that's been his home for some time. Once a big movie star, now nobody would touch him with a ten-foot pole. Well, except for director Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson), and even that isn't without its own melodrama.

Temperamental actors, a movie going overbudget and way past schedule, snarled romances, and feuds on set and off. These are the things plaguing both Jack and Maurice in Two Weeks in Another Town. Jack's ex-wife Carlotta (Cyd Charisse) -- who was responsible for landing him in the sanitarium -- tries to seduce him back while Maurice's wife Clara (Claire Trevor) spends most of her time screaming at her husband. No wonder they're the way that they are.

This isn't the first time Minnelli and Douglas tackled Hollywood; in the previous decade, they had made The Bad and the Beautiful. (Snippets of the earlier film are shown as a previous work of Jack's.) But in comparison with the two, Two Weeks in Another Town is decidedly less jaded in depicting behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

And seeing as how their last two films resulted in Oscar nominations for Douglas, it would make sense to see if the third time's the charm. But in contrast to The Bad and the Beautiful and Lust for Life, it's not as focused on the story at hand. (Though Robinson and Trevor's scenes are an interesting reversal of their roles in Key Largo.)

Two Weeks in Another Town may not be quality Minnelli but it does have its good points. (Its running time is not one of them.) His films with Douglas are an underappreciated collaboration, making one wonder what it'd be like had it been a regular teaming...

My Rating: ****

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