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Critic's Choice

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1963 comedy pairing Lucille Ball and Bob Hope. Broadway fans will enjoy the inside jokes of this movie based on a play by Ira Levin. Ball is a young playwright while Hope is her husband - and a drama critic.

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With a light touch of New York sophistication, Critic's Choice is a smartly grown-up vehicle for Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, making their fourth appearance as an on-screen duo. Adapted from the Broadway play by Ira Levin, it's a fitting follow-up to the pair's previous comedy (1960's The Facts of Life), with its upscale story about top-ranking theater critic Parker Ballantine (Hope) and the trouble he gets into when his second wife Angela (Ball) decides to write a play. Given Parker's snobbishly influential reputation for writing scathingly negative reviews, it's only a matter of time before he's forced to confront the issue of reviewing "Sisters Three," the comedy that Angela has written, rewritten and polished with the help (and romantic advances) of Dion Kapakos (Rip Torn), one of Broadway's hottest young playwrights. Complicating matters even further is Parker's touch-and-go friendship with his ex-wife (Marilyn Maxwell) and the disapproval of his young, intelligent son John (Ricky Kelman), who serves as his father's much-needed voice of conscience. Add it all up and Critic's Choice is an easygoing comedy that occasionally falls flat (veteran TV director Don Weis can't decide if he's directing an all-out comedy or a marital melodrama), but Bob & Lucy make it surprisingly enjoyable, and Levin's source material has a lot to say about marriage, divorce, and the foibles of playwrights and critics in the high-pressure world of New York theater. It's also interesting to see Rip Torn so early in his long-running career, and the fine supporting cast includes such '60s stalwarts as Jim Backus, Richard Deacon, and John Dehner. Also available in The Lucille Ball Film Collection, this DVD includes two noteworthy short subjects from the Warner Bros. archives: "Calling All Tars" is a 19-minute Vitaphone comedy short from 1936, starring Bob Hope in one of his earliest screen appearances, and "Now Hear This" is an Oscar-nominated "Looney Tunes" cartoon from 1962, directed by the great Chuck Jones in the kind of innovative, abstract design style that was in vogue among animators in the early 1960s. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Vintage comedy short "Calling All Tars" with Bob Hope
  • Oscar-nominated cartoon "Now Hear This"
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Maxwell, Rip Torn, Jessie Royce Landis
  • Directors: Don Weis
  • Writers: Ira Levin, Jack Sher
  • Producers: Frank P. Rosenberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Color
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O76ZRG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,943 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Critic's Choice" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is a must see for Lucy fans! If you enjoy "I Love Lucy", then you'll enjoy this movie. Lucille Ball is fantastic! I admire her very much. She is my idol. No other actress, or person for that matter, has left such a legacy. She shines in this movie. I don't care what the professionals think. If you love Lucy as much as me, then you'll love her in this movie. It reminded me in some ways of "I Love Lucy", because in this movie Parker Ballentine(Bob Hope), doesn't think that his wife, Angela(Lucille Ball)has enough talent to write a play, similar to the way that Ricky doesn't think that Lucy has the talent to be in his shows. This movie is great for all the Lucy fans!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "mandybreann" on April 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This movie doesn't really fit in well with the other Ball-Hope movies; it's much better. There is a lack of slap-stick comedy and a presence of realism that I found refreshing. If you are looking for a typical Hope movie, try "Fancy Pants," but if you are looking for a great semi-dramatic movie, try this. Just try to remember that the characters are not Lucy Ricardo and the usual Bob Hope: they are the Ballentines. Highly Reccomended!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on August 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Bob is cast in his usual one-dimensional character as theatre critic Parker Ballantine - who must review his wife's new play!...With the comfort of booze, analysis, and the comfort of his first wife (Marilyn Maxwell), Bob labouriously decides to pen a review...Arriving drunk at the opening, and himself immediately being the center of attention, Lucy takes the expected measures, which lead to a comical - if routine - conclusion. A funny comedy which was even a more successful Broadway play. Implausible as it is, the great talents of Hope and Ball will undoubtedly please their many admirers. The costumes by Edith Head are above par and the supporting cast is excellent: Jessie Royce-Landis, Jim Backus, Lurene Tuttle, Jerome Cowan, Rip Torn, John Dehner and Richard Deacon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dean59 on March 22, 2015
Format: DVD
About a theatrical critic whose wife writes a play, and the marital complications arising both from (what he sees as) his professional duty to review it, as well as his wife's growing closeness to the play's director, the movie is one of those concoctions about sophisticated, cocktails-and-adultery artsy world Manhattanites that relies heavily on verbal wit and cleverness to succeed. Lucille Ball and Bob Hope are the wrong actors for this even if the wit were present, which it mostly is not.

There is also a problem with the "serious" side concering the critic's big dilemma between his (supposed) ethical obligation to review the play's Broadway opening and the consequences for his marriage. I don't know what the Theater Critic's Guidebook says (if there is one), but I don't see two equal sides here. Isn't it an obvious conflict of interest to review the production of a spouse's play, especially after having already read it and declared it no good; and how ethical is it to review that (or any) production after showing up at the theater late and falling down drunk? And from the selections we hear, the review itself is hack work, a series of pre-digested, leadenly sarcastic quips that could be inserted into a critique of almost anything.

Somehow, the movie manages to clamp on a happy ending reconciliation, in ridiculously short order, and on rather strange terms. The critic will in future not only be more supportive of the playwriting efforts of his wife (although nothing indicates that his estimation of her talent has risen), but he will also render uncredited assistance in her writing (and then review the results??
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Einsatz on September 25, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A decidedly nasty theater critic (Bob Hope as Parker Ballantine) decides his wife (Lucille Ball as Angela Ballantine) can't write and forewarns her that he will be brutally honest about the play she's hopes to write, has yet to write, that he doesn't want her to write.............
This was a difficult movie to watch considering the claim that it's a comedy. Instead, it's a movie about a control freak (Hope) who spends most of his screen time belittling his wife and everyone else he deems beneath him (mostly playwrights). He encourages his son and his mother-in-law to gang up on his wife to keep her from writing a play he knows he will hate. "Angie, you can't even write a letter." To everyone's surprise, she writes the play anyway and inexplicably hands it over to her husband who has already told her he will rip it apart. He does just that. (And now that you've got that out of your system, go back to being a good housewife and stepmother.) What follows is a lot of pouting on everyone's part, no end of snide comments, and a drunken Parker arriving late to his wife's play (his balcony antics disrupt the performance of the play, proving his determination to write a scathing review no matter what, on a play he never even fully watched). If the point was to portray critics as merciless, vicious, "opinionated sneaks," then this film succeeded. If this was supposed to be a fun comedy, it only provided a few sporadic laughs (like Hope telling all his troubles to Dr. William Von Hagedorn, played by Jim Backus). Otherwise, it fell short of that goal. It's never fun watching someone demean another person, someone they claim to love, just to prove a point. If the message was about keeping people "in their place," this movie hit the mark.
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