Cactus Flower [Import anglais]
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Cactus Flower is a delightful comedy sparked by crazy, mixed-up situations and the kooky, Academy Award®-winning film debut of Goldie Hawn (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, 1969). Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple, 1968) also stars as Julian Winston, an easygoing bachelor dentist whose delicately balanced scheme to get married crumbles under some unexpected circumstances. Winston is stringing along his dizzy blonde mistress, Toni (Hawn), by telling her that he has a wife and children. But when he learns that she has tried to commit suicide over him, he promises to marry her. Toni, refusing to be a home wrecker, insists on first meeting Winston's wife, so he convinces Stephanie (Ingrid Bergman) - his starched and no-nonsense nurse - to pose as his wife. Winston's scheme leads to unforeseen twists and surprises for everyone.
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Ingrid Bergman en assistante, coincée mais sexy est à hurler de rire et ses dialogues avec Walter Matthau sont truffés de jeux de mots osés et irrévérencieux, pour l'époque, bien sûr. Quant à Goldie Hawn, sa paire d'yeux immenses vous fera craquer instantanément... ou alors, faut mettre des lunettes de toute urgence: votre vue baisse! LOL
Certe le scenario n est pas tres original, mais les situations comiques et le jeu des acteurs, tous aussi bons, emportent notre adhesion
le tout dans une atmosphere joyeuses, et acidulé Pop...pour passer un bon moment
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Anyway, I wasn't expecting much when I finally watched it, especially after reading Leonard Maltin's review. However, I quickly found myself thouroughly enjoying the scenarios unfolding. Lighthearted, yes...but very fun. It is very much in line with the Neil Simon plays/film of the era, having also been derived from a Broadway play. I have to say that good old Leonard is wrong on this one, as are many other critcs. The most astonishing error is the claim that Ingrid Bergman was miscast and has no comedic timing. She was a riot to watch in a role like this; I'll say the best moments in the film are hers. To my eyes, Bergman appears to be having a blast with this role and it is quite apparent. At this point in her career, her mid 50's, it is wholly enjoyable to see the still beautiful Bergman having some lighthearted, carefree fun.
I am surprised that the Academy chose to honor Goldie Hawn for her performance. I found her to be a tad too cooky, even for a '60's go-go girl. Walter Matthau, however, plays the role of a sneaky dentist quite well and is fully enjoyable.
Apart from the actors' performances, I did also enjoy the look and feel of the film. While many films from the 60's and 70's appear, to me, to be hopelessly dated in both of these aspects, I found that the "1969" in this film looked great. It was actually very appealing...oranges,browns, flowers, and miniskirts, et.al.
All in all, a very satisfying, simple little romp. Look folks, I'm not saying this is a masterpiece by any stretch, but I definately found this worthy seeing. The DVD has no extras to speak of...just a trailer of the film, as well as trailers for two other completely unrelated film (?) However, the transfer of the film to DVD is surprisingly satisfying...colors are rich and vibrant, with minimal artifacts, film dirt/damage. Also, and thankfully, the Widescreen is anamorphic. Of course, there is the obligatory inclusion of the Standard (aka butchered)Version on the flipside of the disk, for those who haven't made the transition to the CORRECT way that is widescreen. (ok...so maybe that was a little unnecessary)
So if you've possibly not seen or heard of this film and are interested, don't listen to the critics on this one. Give it a try, it's a good time.
The film demonstrates another point: the great comedic actors don't try to be funny. They just act. I don't know if Walter Mathau ever won an Oscar, but if he didn't he would be, like Cary Grant, one of the greatest actors never to have done so. He was not only a great comedy actor ("Cactus Flower", "Odd Couple" and "A New Leaf"), but could quite convincingly play a thug ("Strangers When We Meet") and a tough, no-nonsense cop ("The Laughing Policeman").
In this film, he's brilliant as always. With all respect to the new 20 million dollar a film generation, could Adam Sandler play the role of Julian Winston without simply playing, oh, Adam Sandler?
Ingrid Bergman is incredible. And by that, I mean incredibly sexy. You have no difficulty whatsoever seeing why Walter Mathau eventually picks her over a 21 year old Goldie Hawn. And you fully understand why the much younger man nuzzles her neck while dancing with her. While watching the film, I kept reminding myself that it had been made 25 years after "Casablanca" and yet there she was, still looking smashing.
So yeah, it's "dated". Were that more contemporary Hollywood comedies, maybe even one, were so dated.
As bachelor dentist Dr. Julian Winston, Matthau tries to convince his mistress, Toni, (Goldie Hawn) that he has a wife who won't divorce him because they have children. Toni's had enough: she fires off a letter (yes, actually walks across the street in her nightgown to deposit the letter in a mailbox)to Julian, telling him she's committed suicide. Her young writer-neighbor, Igor (Rick Lenz), smells gas in the apartment hallway, breaks in & saves Toni.
When Julian receives the letter at his office, he storms off to Toni's apartment, only to find her alive & in the company of Igor. This little stunt persuades Julian to ask Toni to marry him -- he'll get a divorce no matter what. The catch is now Toni wants to meet Julian's wife, she has to get to know her so that Julian's wife won't think of Toni as a home-wrecker. Enter Ingrid Bergman as Miss Stephanie Dickinson, Dr. Winston's long-suffering, never-married dental assistant. Julian convinces Stephanie to pose as his wife for Toni.
What ensues is a calamity of coincidences & misunderstandings that cause true feelings to be revealed. Ingrid Bergman is such a joy to watch, she effortlessly steals the show.
If you want light-hearted entertainment that will leave you with a smile on your face, this film is for you.
So imagine my delight to learn that amazon.com has old movies available for sale, new and used, and that I have been able to begin buying many. The "Pink Panther" series, the first "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (wasn't as wild about the two following), "Tootsie," and Cactus "Flower" are on my list of best comedies.
P.S. Only one reviewer above didn't understand the plot or the choice of Ingrid Bergman. He might wish to view it again to "get it."
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