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Curtain Call


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Get into the spirit with real romance. Stevenson Lowe's girlfriend, Julia, wants to get married. But all thoughts of proposing are quickly scared out of him by a couple of grouchy ghosts who have the marriage from hell. They are Max and Lily Gale, theatrical legends, and the original residents of his newly purchased brownstone. They have no intention of leaving to make room for this new couple. When Julia decides she's waited long enough for a proposal, she leaves Stevenson and his crazy ghost stories behind. Will his afterlife houseguests be able to reunite our young lovers? True love gets a spirited test in this charming, offbeat romantic comedy starring James Spader (Stargate) and Academy Award-winners Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters) and Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie).

Amazon.com

James Spader looks like the hardest-working man in show business as the busy, comic-romantic lead in this enjoyable "film blanc" (a tongue-in-cheek phrase coined by film critic Andrew Sarris to describe that genre of movies featuring ghosts in love). Spader plays Stevenson Lowe, heir to a highly respected publishing firm that has recently been purchased by a giant media corporation. Though Stevenson has deluded himself into believing the new owners will allow him to maintain creative control over his family's book line, he soon discovers the unpleasant truth. A ludicrous executive (funny work by Buck Henry) is pushing no-brainer tomes about cats and the female fat cell into the spring list, pushing poor Stevenson into the margins of his own company.

His helplessness has a way of resonating with other mushy areas of his life. Having purchased an expensive townhouse for himself alone, Stevenson severely disappoints his long-suffering girlfriend (Polly Walker in a rare comic outing), who thought they were going to get married. The hero's dithering on this sore subject gets more complicated when he discovers a pair of Jazz Age ghosts (Michael Caine and Maggie Smith) occupying his new home and dispensing unwanted advice about love. Directed by Peter Yates (Breaking Away), Curtain Call has a low-key charm kept alive by the considerable skills of its admirable cast (including Sam Shepard, Marcia Gay Harden, and Frank Whaley), while a handful of memorable, screwball scenes deliver solid sight gags. Not a masterpiece, but a real treat. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: James Spader, Polly Walker, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Buck Henry
  • Directors: Peter Yates
  • Writers: Andrew S. Karsch, Todd Alcott
  • Producers: Andrew S. Karsch, Lisa Bruce, Michele Newman, Robert Nickson, Sidney Kimmel
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305701512
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,315 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Curtain Call" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Just a sweet, romantic comedy worth seeing!
Linda M Carlson
What really makes this movie shine is the outstanding chemistry between Maggie Smith and Michael Caine.
Sharkey11
I really wanted to like this movie, but it just didn't happen.
Claude Bouchard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By libriarsque on March 21, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll watch any movie that has Maggie Smith and Michael Caine together; their comedic chemistry is strongly reminiscent of William Powell/Myrna Loy. It's also nice to see James Spader in a comic role, which he handles quite well.

This is a very entertaining, light-hearted movie which wears well over more than one viewing. The only part of the plot that ever-so-slightly annoys (at least, it does me) is that the girlfriend, played by Polly Walker, never gives Spader's character a chance to explain; she always interrupts him, then runs away. But of course, that in itself provides some of the "conflict" in what would otherwise be a mere piece of fluff.

This DVD is worth purchasing for Caine and Smith alone, and also for those of us who love old-fashioned fun.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Steffy on February 27, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Be prepared to laugh. It is always a joy to watch Maggie Smith and Michael Caine play off each other. They are so accomplished. James Spaeder does a very good job holding his own with these two. This is not the average love story. After all there is nothing average about a ghost couple with a history of fireworks in their relationship. They have a lot to teach, and do it well just being themselves. In spite of the fact that everything seems to go constantly awry, all that unseen "help", Spaeder's character proves to be a clumsy but apt pupil. Just a pleasure to watch.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Diane B. Cook on May 6, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A delightful romantic comedy with the talented James Spader, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, and even Sam Sheppard, it is set in Manhattan, with a lovely old home furnished in fabulous antiques, including two ghosts who were famous theatrical personalities in life. Spader inspires giggles with another of his always surprising comedic presentations, especially in his "fright" when the ghosts appear. The music is warm and the characters are rich. The dialogue is bright. The film offers a beautiful fantasy escape to upper class New York and a look into the publishing business - enjoy it with a glass or two of wine, and it will seem very believable.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By zythman@excite.com on August 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
There are actually two romances going on here, although the younger couple, which consists of Stevenson Lowe (James Spader), a young and successful 4th generation publisher, and his girlfriend Julia have quite a time of it just trying to come together! She wants him to marry her, but the old home he has just purchased has a few resident ghosts whom he needs to deal with first. Because to some degree they have contributed to his rift with Julia, (she says several times "I just don't want this" in confronting Stevenson's seeming inability to commit himself) the ghost couple also go to great lengths to bring the two of them together. However, there is another woman in the picture, one which Stevenson likes but not romantically and, well, things gets good and complicated down this path. Meanwhile, the ghosts, Max and Lily Gale, stage performers in their previous lives, dead as they are, have much to work on in mending their own age old romance. The acting is superb. The customes are posh if adequate. The story is original and thoughtful, and warm, it feels real, in spite of the infighting spirits. And -- a big plus -- the language is clean. It's a feel good movie. It's a great movie, bound to become a classic.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Cooper on January 11, 2007
Format: DVD
A Fun and Funny love story. Caine & Smith are fabulous as always. Recalls the Topper movie and TV series. It's great seeing James Spader in a comedic role again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Burton on September 16, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
James Spader in a refreshing light-hearted comedy??

Without nudity and lots of sex?? Is it any good?? YES!!

I was overly pleased with Spader's antics. I had no idea he was good with anything physical above the eyebrows (graymatter). And these supporting actors are without equal. It's a sweet, fun script that flies by which you'll have to watch again - and show it to friends.

JDB 'movie taster'
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lympy on January 11, 2007
Format: DVD
This film was funny and very different. Wonderful to see Maggie Smith and Michael Cain together with James Spader equally matching them in the acting department. A plesant enough way to spend a spare hour or so.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Claude Lambert on August 15, 2013
Format: DVD
There is always a reason why a classic movie does not make much money. For instance, White Nights (1985) came in Britain when Communism still had a voice, the movie had poor reviews from the far-left - and they were wrong; The Name Of The Rose was seen in less than 200 theaters instead of over 3,700 for the horrible Da Vinci Code. In the case of Curtain Call, I guess it was poorly rated because there is a dialog. We are not used to it any more. Since the 1960s, the movie heroes do not talk and never listen. In this movie, you have to pay attention to what the actors say: the dialog is witty and sometimes profound. You can guess that the director is not culturally young. Indeed the brilliant Peter Yates (Bullitt, The Dresser) was 70 years old when he made this beautiful but old-fashioned movie.
The story
This is a romantic comedy. Stevenson (Spader) is a young publisher who just bought a furnished 1930s' house. He is afraid of commitment and his girlfriend is tired of waiting to be asked. The house has two bickering ghosts (Caine and Smith). One encourages him to be a philanderer, the other pleads for romantic love.
Read more ›
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