Reassessing The Only Game in Town (1970) +The Staircase (1969)

August 14, 2013 | By

Impression of original ad campaign: Not Impressed.

Instead of filming Frank Gilroy’s play in its natural setting of Las Vegas, Vegas was rebuilt in Paris at a cost of $11 for The Only Game in Town so Liz Taylor could be closer to husband Richard Burton as the filming of Staircase was winding down.

Both films proved to be costly duds for studio Fox, but they’re neither the disasters nor full-blown embarrassments one would expect. Taylor was too old for the role of a leggy Vegas chorus dancer, but director George Stevens didn’t make a mess in what was his final film before an unnecessary retirement. Burton and co-star Rex Harrison were actually tolerable being theatrical in Stanley Donen’s filmed version of Charles Dyer’s play as a cruel couple whose 30-year relationship is further taxed by a looming court date.

As I often do at, I try and pair the available with the should-be-available, so alongside a review of Twilight Time’s The Only Game in Town [M] Blu-ray is a review of Staircase [M]. TT’s BR features a separate (mostly) stereo music & effects track of Maurice Jarre’s jazzy score, while Dudley Moore’s original music for Staircase has yet to appear anywhere. Rather surprising no one’s assembled a compilation CD pairing Bedazzled (1967), his prior score for director Donen, and Staircase on one CD.

Now we come to a slight pause whilst I switch to rendering the Big Head Amusements logo in After Effects so the BSV 1172 teaser trailer + a film festival entry have classy intros.

Coming next: a review of the bloody Hands of the Ripper from Synapse Films.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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