Customer Review

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Minnelli Classic, crying out for DVD Transfer, January 24, 2004
This review is from: The Sterile Cuckoo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
In my review of 'Cabaret', I rather rashly claimed that Liza's turn as self-destructive Ingenue Sally Bowles was her 'once-in-a-lifetime' performance. That, however, was before I caught this 1969 Gem, 'The Sterile Cuckoo', on Sky Classics.
Beautifully-directed by Alan Pakula in that strange, isolated, stereotypical 1960's-flick style, 'The Sterile Cuckoo' tells the bittersweet, emotionally macabre tale of anally-retentive college freshman Jerry Payne (Wendell Burton), and his intense relationship with the scatterbrained, maniacal Pookie Adams (Liza Minnelli), an enigmatic and energetic girl with a sad past.
Liza's first Oscar nomination was very thoroughly deserved. Even as late as 1969 the Oscars were not yet the meaningless PR-Fest that we now know them to be, and it's nominations for odd, thought-provoking performances like Minnelli's, here, that restores our faith in that system. She's absorbing and heart-wrenching, infuriating and devastating, all at the same time. Her perfect foil comes in the guise of the extremely skillfull performance turned in by Wendell Burton, in the role of her hapless boyfriend Jerry. He's the ideal contrast to Minnelli's mania, and though we are oftentimes infuriated by his apathy, we can't help but simultaneously sympathise with him.
Pakula's direction is excellent. The vistas are beautiful; simple and isolated, with so much 'New England' jumping from the screen as to make you all but feel the leaves crunching beneath your feet. The sparse countryside, punctuated by violent outbursts of colour, is the perfect metaphor for the central relationship, and Pakula makes extremely clever use of this in the scenes of Pookie and Jerry's early relationship.
A classic slice of 60's ideal surrealism, this is a beautifully-crafted, emotionally absorbing movie that REALLY should be on DVD by now. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 11, 2008 2:02:04 PM PST
Puxmin49 says:
Great review !....Amazon is now taking Pre-Orders for this movie relase, about time.... I think relase date is going to be mid Febuary.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 3:00:28 PM PDT
Puxmin49 says:
"Amazon is taking Pre-orders For DVD Version"......what are you waiting for Amazon, my last post was over a year and a half ago, Dont give out information that you cant back Up! 17 Months is a long time to be on a Pre-order list, way to long!!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2009 10:02:01 PM PDT
It's about time.
I was a 17-year-old boy when I saw it.
It just spoke to me on the Texas prairie. Go figure.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2011 2:08:18 AM PST
"too" long. Right now they're saying sign up to be notified when it's available.

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 3:28:26 PM PST
TOBY says:
What in the world is "60's ideal surrealism" and how does it manifest in this film?
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