- Movie Rating -

All Night Long (1981)

| March 6, 1981

I would have paid good money to have sat in on the production meetings for All Night Long.  I want some insights.  I want to know what two of the most luminous people in the movies, Gene Hackman and Barbra Streisand are doing in this dumb, witless, featherbrained bunch of nonsense.  How did their agents get talked into putting their valuable clients into this mess.

Maybe it happened at the screenplay level, who could know?  I suspect that it started out as an intelligent story about two people who meet-cute, have some serious issues and fall in love out of need.  Then some hack stormed in and decided that the only way that a picture like this would sell is if they dumbed down the characters and threw in a few scenes of needless slapstick.

Hackman stars as George Dupler, a nice enough guy who loses his temper and gets a demotion to the night manage of an all-night drugstore.  Meanwhile his son Freddie (Dennis Quaid) is having a fling with a married woman named Cheryl (Streisand) and he demands that it be put to an end.  Freddie bawks at this idea because, naturally, he’s in love with her.

One night, Cheryl comes into the drugstore and meets George and falls in love with him.  He also discovers that her husband is a firefighter named Bobby and despite this George falls in love with her.  Then, one night at her place, Freddie accuses his father of stealing his girl.  Then George separates from his wife, quits his job, moves into a warehouse and invites Cheryl to come along.

And on and on and on.  This is one of those movies that just gives you a headache.  The actors are required to go through pieces of a plot that are so bound up that they have no time to let them build characters.  We don’t know anything about these people other than their attachment to the plot and really, we don’t care.

That’s a very hard statement for me to make about Barbra Streisand.  Never has there been such a vibrant, vivacious, spirited performer and never has there been a role so ill-suited for her talents.  She’s mousy here.  She shrinks.  She’s a dumbbell, and we know that that isn’t her.  And worse yet, they’ve made her a bad singer.  I’m all for suspension of disbelief but that’s going too far.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized