DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

ONE IS A LONELY NUMBER (TWO IS A HAPPY NUMBER) (director: Mel Stuart; screenwriters: David Seltzer/from a story by Rebecca Morris; cinematographer: Michel Hugo; editor: David Saxon; music: Michel Legrand; cast: Trish Van Devere (Amy Brower), Monte Markham (Howard Carpenter), Janet Leigh (Gert Meredith), Jane Elliot (Madge), Paul Jenkins (James), Melvyn Douglas (Joseph Provo), Jonathan Lippe (Sherman Cooke), Maurice Argent (Pool Manager), Mark Bramhall (Morgue Attendant); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Stan Margulies; MGM; 1972)

"An uninspiring slow moving contemporary women's soap opera drama about a single woman looking for a mate after her hubby suddenly walks out on her."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An uninspiring slow moving contemporary women's soap opera drama about a single woman looking for a mate after her hubby suddenly walks out on her. The film has not dated well, as the attitudes towards divorce for women have drastically changed when viewed today. It's directed in a workmanlike way by Mel Stuart ("The Chisholms"/"Wattstax"/"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"), who bases it on the story by Rebecca Morris, It is written in a lumpish manner by David Seltzer, who tries but fails to keep things real.

The refined and pretty 27-year-old San Francisco housewife art history graduate, Amy Brower (Trish Van Devere), is crushed when her college English lit professor, James (Paul Jenkins), suddenly walks out on her. She thought she had a happy marriage for the last four years. The arrogant hubby files for divorce. Seemingly, their only spat was that she tossed out his copy of Milton.

Afraid to live alone, Amy seeks help in coping from her hip best friend, the fashion designer Madge (Jane Elliott). The feminist Madge steers Amy to the course man-hater Gert ( Janet Leigh), the head of the Marin County Divorcee's League, who declares "men are shits" and advises Amy to get a job to remain independent.

The only job Amy can get is as a lifeguard at the local pool. After fending off the unwanted advances of the slimy unemployment counselor (Jonathan Lippe) who got her this second-rate job and wants a sexual reward, she's picked-up at a party for a sculpture friend of Madge's and seduced by the smoothie, Howard (Monte Markham).

Melvyn Douglas plays a supporting role as the kind elderly widowed fruit & veggie grocer, who gives the lonely Amy solace.

The film is valued for its groundbreaking entry into American feminist cinema, and for the sensitive and sympathetic performance by Van Devere.

REVIEWED ON 11/1/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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