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The Ritz (1976)

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An all-male Manhatten bathouse becomes a hilarious hideout for a man from Cleveland ducking the mob. The fat, frisky film of the Broadway farce featuring original stars Jack Weston and Rita Moreno. Year: 1976

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Weston, Rita Moreno, Jerry Stiller, Kaye Ballard, F. Murray Abraham
  • Directors: Richard Lester
  • Writers: Terrence McNally
  • Producers: Denis O'Dell
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • 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:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JO5K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ritz (1976)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Chunky, quivering, middle-class ordinary Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston) is 'married to the mob' in the form of wife Vivian (Kaye Ballard)--and his crazy brother-in-law Carmine (Jerry Stiller) hates him. Certain that Carmine is about to kill him, Gaetana hops a cab, tells the driver to take him to the last place any one would ever look for him... and suddenly finds himself hiding out from the mob in the middle of a gay bath house.

But this only the first ten or fifteen minutes of the film: there is much, much more to come, and all of it is over the top hilarious. Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, and Kaye Ballard are perfectly cast in their roles, but would you believe F. Murray Abraham (Oscar winner for AMADEUS) as the screaming queen to end all screaming queens? How about Rita Moreno as a no-talent lounge singer who is busting a gut to become a bath-house star just like Bette Midler? Or Treat Williams as a P.I. with blonde hair and a squeaky voice? My own favorite of the bunch is Paul B. Price as Claude, a "chubby chaser" who takes one look at Jack Weston and falls in love at first sight--and then proceeds to make his life absolute hell by chasing him all over the bath house. Before it's all over you'll find people hiding under beds, thrown into swimming pools, impersonating the Andrews Sisters, and being pursued by unwanted lovers of the wrong persuasion, all to absolutely hilarious, incredibly giddy effect.

Like most farces, THE RITZ deals in stereotypes--but it is never mean spirited in its portraits, and the cast carries off the eccentric characters (both straight and gay) with considerable aplomb.
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Format: VHS Tape
A well crafted, door-slamming comedy ala 'Noises Off' with a wonderful cast. Rita Moreno playing a no-talent bathhouse singer gives the performance of her lifetime (we all know how talented she really is, so seeing her 'off' is a lot of fun). Treat Williams is delicious as the soprano detective. Jack Weston, Paul B. Price, F. Murray Abraham, Kay Ballard and Jerry Stiller add their spices to this wonderful ensemble. It makes you wish that the days of the Continental Baths would come back'at least the wonderfully tacky shows at poolside!
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Format: VHS Tape
A comic reflection of a time period sure not to return. Moreno is hysterical as are Ballard and Weston. Definitely worth watching and good for many laughs. There is also a certain melancholy to it now given what came of these bathhouses and their denizens. For those who lived through this it certainly triggers some memories.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This very dated movie (which makes it even funnier) is an absolute joy to watch. Treat Williams is chock full o' buttery goodness (at least how he looks, not how he talks) is rookie detective Michael Brick, hired to find Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston) - the brother-in-law to Carmine Vespucci (Jerry Stiller). Using a gay bath house as a hide out, Gaetano spends an evening with the screaming queen Chris (F. Murray Abraham who steals the movie), the smitten chubby-chaser (Paul B. Price), the ambitious lounge singer (Rita Moreno - who Gaetano believes to be a drag queen), his high-strung wife (Kaye Ballard) and the oddest man with Clint Eastwood glint in his eyes, wearing chaps (Peter Butterworth). Best line in the movie is by F. Murray Abraham who, when he tries to strike up a conversation with a less-than-enthusiastic target, exlaims "Margaret Dumont! We thought you were dead!". WHEN WILL THIS BE ON DVD? C'mon folks..this is a classic.

Look for a few scenes with John Ratzenberger - "Cliff" from the TV show "Cheers".
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Format: VHS Tape
This is one of those movies that I play over and over for friends and those who have never heard of it.... and they LOVE it. I can't say more than is already said by other reviewers.... you just HAVE to see it and you will know what we all mean. IT'S a real treasure!!
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Format: DVD
Warner Home Video is releasing this film as part of their "Directors' Showcase: Take Three" collection on 8th January 2008. This is not a boxed set, instead each film is released individually. The plot involves a Cleveland sanitation company owner who decides that a New York all-male bathhouse will be the perfect hideout. You see, as people in the sanitation business sometimes are, Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston) is married to the mob, and his brother-in-law (Jerry Stiller) has been instructed to put the hit on him. This is very possibly one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and yet it is seldom shown anywhere on cable. Also note a pre-Amadeus F. Murray Abraham is present in the cast. The special features are:

Vintage Featurette - You're an Actor, Jack Weston
Theatrical Trailer
Subtitles: English & Français (Main Feature. Bonus Material/Trailer May Not Be Subtitled.)

The list of extras come from a press release from Warner Home Video. I am somewhat disappointed that there is no commentary track for this film, though I am grateful that at last it will be available.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll leave the descriptions of the main actors to others and they are highly accurate in describing the hilarity of their performances, but I noticed they left out one of the funniest of all. Treat Williams was a young actor fresh off broadway in this very play when he made his movie debut in this farcical slice of bathhouse life. His performance is key to much of the laugh out loud guffaws throughout this romp, all the while doing a falsetto voice that belies his all american macho detective appearance. And it works!!! Only in this movie could all these sterotypes have paraded about in such wanton camp and still steal your heart. Kudos to all involved. Someone suggested a movie night with towells et al. I suggest a double feature with togas and towells in hand. This superb comedy (Rita Moreno won the Tony here) and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Two farces predating Mel Brooks by several years but delivering the same belly laughs.
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