Customer Review

on November 29, 2001
Neil Simon's hit Broadway play "Barefoot In The Park" was brought to the big screen by Paramount Pictures in May 1967, and it's a romantic comedy that is rich in '60s New York flavor, first-rate performances by a fine cast, a funny script, and an uncredited "extra cast member" which delivers quite a few laughs in its own right -- i.e., a difficult-to-conquer New York City five-flight walk-up apartment.

Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Mildred Natwick, and Charles Boyer are the stars that ease their way gracefully and "breathlessly" through "Barefoot In The Park". (Several members of the cast are literally "breathless" in many scenes because of that doggone five-story march up the stairs to reach the newlywed couple's just-rented 'flat'.)

Redford and Fonda (ages 30 and 29, respectively) are the amorous newlyweds who struggle to make themselves happy in that top-floor crackerbox, which comes (in)complete with no heat, no bathtub, a hole in the glass skylight that affords Mr. Redford ("Paul Bratter") the opportunity of shoveling snow out of his living room when such wintry weather warrants, and a bedroom so small that the couple has to "turn in unison" in order to fit into the room at the same time. :)

But it's all good fun and handled with realistic humor and style by this excellent cast. Robert Redford is very funny in this film, proving without much doubt that he can certainly hold his own in a comedy. He lets loose with many hilarious quips throughout this flick, and does so without the lines seeming to come from a "script".

Some "Redford Funnies" that I enjoyed from "Barefoot":

"{She's gonna get} a dog! That's a laugh! Wait till she tries to take him out for a walk....he'll take one look at those stairs and go right for her throat!"

"The radiator's the coldest thing in the room!"

"There's a brisk northeasterly wind blowing in this room .... I'm not getting sarcastic; I'm getting chapped lips!"

~~An LOL break is needed at this point~~ :-)

After realizing there's no way to plug up the hole in the skylight that's causing the "brisk northeasterly wind", Paul Bratter (Redford) unleashes another good one....."That's twenty feet high; we'd have to fly over in a plane and drop something in."

Later in the film, after the newlyweds have a major spat and Corie (Jane) insists that her brand-new hubby find other lodgings, this exchange of dialogue comes up:

CORIE -- "You could stay at your club."

PAUL -- "It's not that kind of club; it's a locker room and a handball court. To sleep over, I'd have to keep winning the serve."

-------------------

Mildred Natwick, as Jane Fonda's mother, is in tip-top acting form, too. And she's given quite a meaty part here as well, as she reluctantly becomes somewhat (shall we say) "involved" with the "neighbor upstairs" (he lives in the attic above Jane and Bob's place). The neighbor is played by 67-year-old Charles Boyer, and he's just as good as the remainder of this roster of finely-tuned players.

Screenplay writer Neil Simon gives Mildred her fair share of witticisms throughout this script too, such as the quote I've used for the title of this review (which was spoken after yet another Mount Everest-like climb to get to Paul and Corie's dwelling).

The scene featuring the ill-at-ease telephone repairman is also a highlight.

While I enjoyed the feel-good, "all's-well" rooftop ending of the film, I felt a tad bit disappointed by it at the same time. Instead of the movie's last shot showing the couple on the roof from a lengthy distance, I would have liked to have seen one short scene added to the finish that would have capped the proceedings off nicely (IMO) -- that being:

A shot showing a smiling Paul and Corie happily squeezing into their tiny bedroom, followed by the door slamming right in the camera's face (eye). Then the end credits could be placed over the top of the closed bedroom door (with, perhaps, a few giggling noises being heard from behind the door once in a while as the names scroll across the screen).*

* = The giggling is strictly optional. ~wink~

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This 1999 Paramount DVD version of "Barefoot" delivers a crisp, clear picture (in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1). Colors look terrific and natural. And the film sounds very good too, via the disc's Dolby Digital 2.0 English Mono audio. A French 2.0 Mono track is also included; as well as English subtitles.

The lone extra feature on the disc is a Theatrical Trailer (length: 3:11). The trailer is shown in Widescreen format, but it hasn't been "enhanced for 16x9".

The DVD's Menus are anamorphic, non-animated, and silent. A one-sheet paper insert is included, which offers a chapter list (there are 18 chapter breaks).

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So, take this "Barefoot" disc for a walk in the DVD-playing device of your choice. It's a walk that won't make your feet ache at all. (It might make you slightly out of breath once in a while while watching it....but the laughs from Mr. Redford and company more than make up for any lack of oxygen.)
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