46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
One Sunday, in Cleveland, Peter Bogdanovich came for a talk to the Cleveland Public Library downtown. It was about a book he'd just written. This had to be about twelve or so years ago. I brought my original movie poster of At Long Last Love & my original LP soundtrack of Paper Moon. I not only wanted to get his autograph on both (which I did), but I just wanted to tell him EXACTLY what I thought of At long Last Love. I said how this film was a brilliant amalgamation of both the RKO-Pandro S. Berman musicals of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, and relations between the sexes circa the sexual reveloution of the 1970's. This film is one of the best I've ever seen about intrapersonal communication between and amoungst the sexes, using the lyrics of Cole Porter (a brilliant composer and closeted homosexual who had lyrics with hidden meanings rampant throughout his entire career--lyrics designed to express true feelings and yearnings without being too too literal). In spite of this, the film appears to be, superficially, a light and frothy period piece. I love all the performances, but, let's be frank, they are uneven at best. There are those who feel Cybill Shepherd can sing and dance, and those who do not. There is NO inbetween! I feel she can...As I do about Burt Reynolds--but he really can't. I feel his charms work in spite of this, some people do not (I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder)...The rest of the cast I feel is stellar, in particular the byplay between Eileen Brennan & John Hillerman. Brilliant! Madeline Kahn is her usual magnificent self. And, about Mr. Bogdanovich's brave and foolhardy decision to spend approx. $6 million of 20th Century-Fox's money to film his cast LIVE singing and dancing before the camera...? In hindsight, I will forever be sorry it changed his career the way that it did, but I always felt, and will always feel, it made for a more real and feeling finished product. I hope this will be revisited and re-evaluated now for the great auteur piece this truly is, but I'm sure there will be those who will find it the ghastly mess that history would like them to believe it is (like "Cleopatra"...?). That's ok too...I'm just happy it has a second chance...
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
I love this movie! It introduced me to Cole Porter. I wore out the album and still have two LP's left. Of all the movies I have had on my list to get since DVD came out, this is the only one that was not released. I could understand why at the time it wasn't attracting audiences. Musicals were dead. They sung live! Like in Les Miserables (fortunately they had much better equipment to use for that). I feel bad the director never got to know how many people actually loved this movie. I can't wait to finally see this in widescreen! Burt Reynolds was a hoot singing and dancing. Cybil Shepard was absolutely adorable. There aren't too many movies with the late great Madeleine Kahn, so that alone is worth the watch. Eileen Brennan with that deadpan delivery - priceless! "Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love" is on my list of all the great movie showstoppers. "But baby if I'm the bottom, you're the top". I had no idea what that meant at 11, but it started a life long love and admiration for one of the great composers of all time and all the shows and movies that showcased his work. This gem deserves to be among them! UPDATE: After finally getting it in the mail I don't think I ever enjoyed it this much! I am so glad for the subtitles to finally clearly know the lyrics. I was singing along! The long shots of live performances really impressed me. I never looked at them at how difficult it must have been. It's like music is playing at a party and someone just starts singing along, but does it very well. Roger Ebert was my favorite critic and it is nice to see a positive excerpt of his review on the box. Final analysis after all these years is that this may be one of the most underestimated movies of all time! Look at the reviews on Amazon! It is a thoroughly enjoyable light hearted musical. At long last I finally have a great copy and the perfect version to view for the rest of my life! Now I just need to transfer the LP to CD so I can sing along in my car!
31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2013
At long last, At Long Last Love! This hugely under-appreciated gem is finally released, on blu-ray. Unseen by millions, an absolute joy, with a superb cast, stunning production design, and of course, Cole, all the way. Long before all the fuss about Les Mis and the 'groundbreaking' live musical recording, Bogdanovich used this method for absolute spontaneity, employed in the earliest musicals. In his own words, taken from the movie soundtrack album, he states 'I didn't want to make a musical that was about singing and dancing: I wanted to make a musical about some people who sing and dance instead of walk and talk'. What a fantastic movie, and i can't wait to recapture the excitement, on seeing it several times on its original release. The LP soundtrack album has kept the memories alive since 1975!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Obviously, I was of the first of the two opinions in my title. I saw "At Long Last Love" in its premier at Radio City Music Hall, and again in my then home town of Jacksonville, Florida, a few weeks later.
I've been following the progress of this Blu-ray release for about 18 months now, and word on the street was that it is a superior cut and has been restored the "right" way. Having just watched it, the transfer is not pristine, but it does match up to a number of Blu rays I own, for example "The Man from Snowy River" and "Stardust", both of which show a lot of grain and actually look better if I don't wear my glasses when watching them. LOL However, once the horrible looking 20th Century Fox intro is done, nothing about the look of the film will distract you from enjoying the story.
The soundtrack is nothing special. In fact it is apparently Mono (listed as 1.0). Once again, while it does not have the full, rich sound that we've come to expect from most DVDs and Blu rays, the charm in this movie is in the acting and the story, and you won't be displeased.
This Blu ray version runs 123 minutes, which is 5 minutes more than the theatrical release (according to IMDB.com). Most likely an extra song sequence was added back in.
The story essentially relates one long social engagement concerning the four stars. It is light-hearted and cheerful, and filled with great Cole Porter songs. It has a wonderful throwback look to early 30s style, with highly artistic use of stark black and white in scenery and costume, accomplished with an excellent flair. I've always thought that was an homage to black and white films of that era without actually presenting the film in black and white.
Contrary to what some have written about this movie, none of the stars do embarrassing work with their singing. Reynolds certainly isn't known for singing, but his performance is competent in this film, as is Cybil Shepard's. What you absolutely DO get here are the actors "acting the songs", and in a very entertaining fashion. It adds an air of authenticity and charm that doesn't come across in absolutely flawless dubbed performances.
Madeline Kahn was of course a wonderful singer. Eileen Brennan and John Hillerman not only sing well, but provide unforgettable stretches of comedy ... she as Cybil Shepard's maid, and Hillerman as Reynold's chauffeur. Duilio Del Prete is charming and amusing as the romantic foreigner with a bit of a gambling problem.
One thing that disposes me towards good memories of this film is that I had a fun date with a great looking young lady when I saw it in Jacksonville ... a girl named Anita (So for any of you Anita's who saw this that spring in Jacksonville with a freshman from Ga Tech that year, Hi Anita!).
Letting actors with no "singing chops" do their own vocals had not been done a lot by the time this film was made ... "Paint your Wagon" comes to mind ... so maybe that was one of the reasons that critics panned this LIKE the gold pans in "Paint Your Wagon" when they came up all sand. It has been done a LOT more since this film, and with many more misses on the singing quality.
As my wife and I watched this Blu ray, we found ourselves frequently chuckling at both clear dialogue and physical bits, especially from Burt Reynolds, who has always been adroit at mugging and showing off for the camera in amusing ways.
If you don't like light romantic comedies which segue into song from time to time, just don't buy or watch this film. Otherwise, it is definitely worth taking a chance on. Cybil and Burt never looked better. John Hillerman gives you a peek at what would become the role of his career on "Magnum PI". Madeline Kahn is simply the great Madeline Kahn, and Eileen Brennan is a riot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2013
Having seen this film many times over the years in its broadcast TV incarnations (three to be exact - the 121 min. complete cut, the 115 min. theatrical release that begins with "Which?" and the hasty 98 min. re-edit following the yank from theaters), a few things blew me away when viewing the Blu-ray.
First, the absolutely unexpected reprise of "From Alpha to Omega," which I never even knew existed. Having two more minutes of Kahn to treasure was too much to expect. It's a joy.
Second: how absolutely charming Duilio Del Prete is in this film. His name has always gotten lost in the shuffle when people discuss the movie, for reasons easy to understand, but Del Prete is a sprite of good humor and effervescent charm in a film dependent on these traits. So little is known of his life, and the remainder of his career was spent in Europe, so AT LONG LAST LOVE is precious to me because Del Prete was a special performer, incredibly endearing, and this film captures his essence so beautifully.
Finally, there is a revelation that had never occurred to me until now: I had always assumed, like most people, that the project was simply done at the wrong time, with a cast ill-suited to the genre, but that's simply not the case. In retrospect, Cybill Shepherd is the only fish out of water among a cast that is pitch perfect and to the era born. Despite any lack of musical gifts, Reynolds glides through his role with a sense of fun that could only be mustered by a man coasting on his position as the top box office star in the world. Kahn and Brennan were rooted in musical theatre, so their bountiful contributions are to be expected. Del Prete, as aforementioned, glows. And Hillerman and Natwick bring years of memorable character work to the table. In high-def, restored and resplendent, it is Shepherd alone whose tone is off. Her every instinct is mistaken, and one gets the feeling that Bogdanovich was so blinded on a personal level that he couldn't see her with objectivity in the rushes. The role of Brooke is not as fleshed out as the others, and Shepherd's reading of it is best summed up by the scene in which she raps Reynolds with her fist and he cowers, "You're strong, do you know that?" She's actually right for the role physically, and if Brooke had been written and Cybill directed with a sure and steady hand, one gathers she could have tapped into the same pool of charm as her fellow performers did. But she's the one wrong note, and the sheer amount of footage in which she appears ends up setting an unfortunate tone for the whole enterprise. It's a shame, because she has some terrific moments - anything having to do with the eyeglasses, the "I Loved Him" duet with Kahn, and "You're the Top" with Del Prete. While her colleagues have accessed the time machine to venture back to 1935, she seems left behind in the 1970s, in look, in style, in appeal. And I speak as a fan of hers.
While appreciating the blu-ray, the finished product sets up two glaring mysteries: why Bogdanovich didn't (a) include Natwick and Brennan's excised numbers in some capacity on this release and (b) do an audio commentary, when he seems to pop up, ascot in tow, hat tipped in tribute, in the special features of every disc on the market. It would seem this whole experience may have been too painful to relive with the world at large, frame by frame. But I am thankful for his recent blogs about this film. It's hard to explain - those of us who are attached to it to such an extent when it continues to be reviled by the greater population. Maybe you had to be there. AT LONG LAST LOVE remains a brave experiment by a man who loves movies, but who loved Cybill just a little more.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2013
I think AT LONG LAST LOVE is Bogdanovich's CITIZEN KANE. Both were panned by most critics when first released and failed to recoup their costs at the box office. It is truly an innovative masterpiece, unlike any movie before or after. No other movie has so many great songs used in such a sophisticated manner to tell a story. In addition to this all the actors sing very well including Burt Reynolds, and the film's soundtrack is another rare treasure.
I have seen the movie at least fifty times. First at the theater and then I paid to have a 35mm print converted to 3/4 inch video tape in 1976. Over the years I have shown the film to dozens of people - many of whom also now count it among their favorites. The updated version of the movie which was shown on Cinemax in about 2000 contained three additional songs "Tomorrow" and "Down in Depths" at the start of the film, and "I Love Him But He Doesn't Love Me" right before the last scene. This also seems to be the same version that we now have on BLU-RAY. I really wonder why "It Ain't Etiquette" which was supposed to come after the racetrack scene is not included. You can see how wonderful it is by viewing it on YouTube.
A classic movie is one that holds up after repeated viewings, and this film certainly does so. While it may always be too sophisticated to appeal to a broad audience it is a treasured and unforgettable cinematic experience. I think it is more fresh and vital today than it was in 1975, and its seven primary cast members have more chemistry and emotional connection than I have seen in any other film.
My big regret is that Peter Bogdanovich does not do a commentary with the film. There is so much that is intriguing about this movie and no one does better film commentaries than Bogdanovich. Perhaps we can start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds to induce him to do one. I would certainly make a substantial contribution. Then we could have the definitive version of AT LONG LAST LOVE.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2013
WOW! I Have Been Wanting To See This For Such A Long Time And When It Was Finally Announced That Fox Where Releasing The Definitive Version, I Was Over The Paper Moon, I Ordered As Soon As I Possibly Could,
When The Disc Arrived In The Mail, Could Not Wait To Put It In The Player, And Let Me Tell You.....
IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
How Anybody Human Could Hate This Film Is Beyond My Means Of Understanding, Peter Bogdanovich's Work Of Genius Is Finally Available For All To See, And I For One Completely Adored It, I Watched It 4 times In A Row! It Is Has Now Shot Up My List Of Favorite Films All The Way Into My Top Ten!
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED INDEED!
I LOVE MADELINE KAHN!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
Don't let the the original reviews and box office returns affect you seeing this film. A booklet contained in the movie goes into the history of the film and why it received such bad notices. This movie has never been previously released on video or DVD so this is an exciting release as a Madeline Kahn fan. If anything the film is worth seeing for Madeline alone. She is a trained soprano opera singer who studied voice in college so she knows what she is doing. She is such a joy to watch especially in this. Of course she is very funny. The black and white color scheming is such a great nod to 1930s musicals of which I also love. If you just want a fun movie with song and dance buy this. It never fails to make me smile. The Blu ray looks beautiful. Thank you for finally releasing this!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2013
I have loved this film since its initial release in 1975. The music and originality of the production is alot of fun to watch. It may have been somewhat ahead of its time, and as I recall , was given very little advertising, I remember seeing it at the Cleveland Circle Theater outside of Boston, The songs are familiar, and the performances are at times awkward, but fun to watch. I purchased the Blu ray version since no other version was ever released. It is not the film I remember seeing way back when, The song "Which" is not the opening number and has been replaced by 2 others, which is good as it does introduce the other characters. Cybill Shepherd is so elegant and although her voice is rough at times, she comes through on the songs. Cybill can belt out a song, and has a great jazz voice (see her CD releases), Burt Reynolds is great at comedy, and the entire cast works. I love this movie, and it takes me back to a happier simplier time in our country's history. Buy this DVD, its a great escape! ONE OTHER THING! Why did'nt Peter Bogdanovich not do a commentary on the Blu Ray release?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2013
Talk about "At Long Last"! I saw AT LONG LAST LOVE in the movie theater when I was a junior in college in 1975. And I have been waiting years for it to come to video. (Was it ever released on video tape?) And now it's available in, not only Blu-ray, but in the Director's Cut! Up to now, all that's been available has been pirated copies. It's wonderful to have the real thing. It will look great next to my vintage soundtrack recording (which, incidentally, is in stereo).