TV Cream

Films: S is for...

Sweet Charity

This mammoth, 2 1/2 hour Bob Fosse musical is high ’60s camp all the way through, jam packed with colourisation, crash zooms and freeze frame gimmickry while Shirley MacLaine roars through the likes of Hey Big Spender and If They Could See Me Now. Stubby ‘one potato’ Kaye, Ricardo ‘from hell’s heart’ Montalban, Sammy Davis Jr. and, inevitably, Toni Basil feature. It really has got a huge amount going for it, this is true, but it’s difficult to get over Fosse’s seeming insistence that great big numbers should suddenly slow down right in the middle with the dancers prancing gently all of a sudden and the singers whispering quietly. We mean to say, Somebody Loves Me At Last should last for about five minutes but here it drags on for ever as the lads in the chorus strut about in their majorette outfits. However, on the plus side the nightclub scenes are amongst the most ‘60s things you’ll ever see and we still maintain that ‘90s synth anthem jockeys The Aloof – of One Night Stand fame – got their name from one of the dances therein. Probably.



  1. Matt Patton

    August 3, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Still, it’s got the “Rich Man’s Frug” bit, and any movie with Paula Kelly can’t be all bad. Also, whatever his excesses here, Fosse was one of the few American directors who could borrow ideas from European directors without making the movie look like a film-school final exam projject

  2. THX 1139

    January 25, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    I don’t think Shirl sings Big Spender, does she? Totally worth the full ten hours of the thing to get Sammy Davis Jr doing The Rhythm of Life. And (whisper it) better than the Fellini original because a little Giulietta Masina goes a long way.

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