One of the curious things about S.O.B. is that while it has an incredibly good name cast, there is no real star of the film. Julie Andrews gets first billing because she's the director/producer's wife and after her William Holden has the biggest marquee name so he's second. But if there's a star in this film it's Richard Mulligan because it's on his troubles that the plot of S.O.B. turns. Mulligan came in for a lot of criticism as the frantic film producer who after a string of hits, totally loses his mind. So much so that his movie star wife, Julie Andrews, is leaving him. The first half of the film involve some hilarious attempts at suicide, the best being when he falls through the floor of his beach house trying to hang himself and flattens nosy gossip columnist Loretta Swit. Julie Andrews is basically cast as a movie star like Julie Andrews who gained her fame and popularity with wholesome entertainment like Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. During an orgy/party that his good friend, cheerfully hedonistic director William Holden has at Mulligan's house while on suicide watch, Mulligan gets a brainstorm and decides to redo his last G rated film as soft core porn with Julie Andrews displaying her glockenspiels. Mulligan gets crazier and crazier as the film now becomes a battle between him and studio head Robert Vaughn for control of the film. It all ends quite wildly indeed. A lot of people say Richard Mulligan overacts and chews the scenery. But that's what the part calls for. He no more does it here than Robin Williams or Jonathan Winters at their zaniest. A little fine tuning in his performance might have helped, but the director who should have done this was busy elsewhere. Instead of Blake Edwards doing it himself, he should have begged Billy Wilder to do this film. S.O.B. is the greatest Billy Wilder film that Billy Wilder never directed. Besides those mentioned such luminaries as Shelley Winters, Robert Webber, Marisa Berenson, Stuart Margolin, Craig Stevens, Paul Stewart, Larry Hagman and Robert Loggia play various Hollywood types. But the best by far in the cast is Robert Preston as the Doctor Feelgood to the stars. It's a variation on the conman Harold Hill he played in The Music Man only he's far more cynical. When Preston is on screen, he dominates the film. S.O.B. was the farewell performance of William Holden. Knowing the senseless way Holden died after completing the film, you twinge when you hear him cheerfully tell Richard Mulligan how he drank enough booze to kill a dozen healthy livers. Still S.O.B. was a good film to leave on for him. I enjoy what Blake Edwards did with the talented bunch he assembled for this film. It would have been perfect if Billy Wilder had done it though.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
A movie producer who made a huge flop tries to salvage his career by revamping his film as an erotic production, where its family-friendly star takes her top off.
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April 7, 2019