Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Ritz


Richard Lester was one of my all-time favorite directors. From A Hard Day’s Night in 1964 through Robin and Marian in 1976 I loved each of his 12 movies. I liked this one, too, and then he completely collapsed. He made 5 really bad movies, including two in the first Superman series, and one okay one, }}Cuba,}} then retired entirely in 1989 after his good friend Roy Kinnear died in a fall from a horse while filming The Return of the Musketeers. The movies weren’t worth that, he decided. This movie was based very closely on a Broadway comedy, and you can see how the huge, three-story set could work on a stage. Jack Weston, F. Murray Abraham, and Jerry Stiller re-create their original roles, with Weston a meek fellow hiding out in a gay bathhouse from his Mafia brother-in-law who is out to kill him. But the star of the show is Rita Moreno, as Googie Gomez, a Broadway wannabe with the thickest Puerto Rican accent I’ve ever heard. Hearing her say “The Sound of Music? I can play that!” is reason enough to see this movie.