Cactus Flower (1969) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Toni Simmons believes that the only reason her married lover won't leave his wife is because of the children. In truth, her lover, dentist Julian Winston, doesn't have any children. In fact, Julian doesn't even have a wife - he just tells women he does to avoid getting involved. When Julian does… Runtime: 103 min Release Date: 16 Dec 1969
Starting on or around 1965 American movies took a turn for the shocking and the iconoclastic which was great for the times -- sort of the seeds that would pave the way for grittier, daring dramas. However, because the very decade that gave birth to these films was so ruled by its own convictions, most all of the films released at this period have dated. CACTUS FLOWER is no exception. Its very title suggests a "sunny" romantic comedy with occasional lapses into the risqué. This is not to say that it's a bad thing: quite the contrary, films about risqué subject matter have to <more>
begin somewhere and America being a culture rooted in specific traditions, themselves laced in deep hypocrisies, shocks itself for the sake of it when seeing an indirect reflection of the mores of the time. Meanwhile, European films address these same situations, walk off looking like a million bucks, and have a longer shelf-life because what we consider scandalous, they shrug off, say "Next," and move on. Toni Simmons Goldie Hawn in her breakout role , a young, very sixties bright young thing, is carrying on with a much-older dentist named Julian Winston Walter Matthau , who has commitment issues. He can'r marry her: he's already married. Toni decides instead of wilting away she actually wants to meet his wife and "set things straight." Into the picture comes his assistant, Stephanie Dickinson a luminous Ingrid Bergman, returning to American cinema after a twenty-year absence , a woman closer to his age who acts as if she and he had the perfect marriage and household. There is a reason for this: she has harbored quiet emotions for Julian, emotions he is unaware of, even when he asks her to play his wife to ward Toni off from wanting to step their relationship further. And then he steps it up a notch when Toni's blissfully innocent actions veer the action off into the unexpected and he introduces Harvey Greenfield Jack Weston as Stephanie's "lover". By the way, Harvey is also an older gent who is having an affair with a much younger woman Eve Bruce whom he also lies to in one very funny scene.It's funny how the person whom we're looking for is the one who's always been there. What could have been a thankless role for Rick Lenz who plays Igor Sullivan, Toni's next door neighbor, turns into the man who not only sees the true beauty in fellow outcast Stephanie but the one who saves Toni at the start from killing herself. Not the stuff of comedy, suicide. Then again, this is not your average comedy. And needless to say is Ingrid Bergman's subtle, poignant portrayal of a woman who's somehow missed her chances at love, who's become prickly, who due to a lie said to another she becomes the real person she was always meant to be. I can't imagine anyone else in this quiet but deep role.Movies like these can be enjoyed at face-value and seen as escapist fun -- a product of its times -- or be viewed for the deep symbolism that, like its title, it carries deep within. It's a tricky film, the same way Hawn's and Bergman's performance are equally tricky because in seeming so simple, devoid of flourish and pose, neither come out and proclaim what they are about. Their acting becomes "not really acting" but playing real people, warts and all. CACTUS FLOWER is a story that never appears to take itself too seriously, but reveals itself to be deep and very human after all.
Cactus Flower is what I call a "pizza movie" -A personal favorite that never fails to satisfy. Perfect for an evening at home with a pizza. Knowing all the lines and what lines! by heart only enhances the enjoyment.Since so many others here have retold the plot, I'll simply add the correction that Bergman's character, Miss Dickinson, was a nurse-receptionist, meaning she was a skilled nurse -and therefore an educated person -not "just" a receptionist.Bergman's performance in this film -and the film itself- was largely dismissed at the time, but today's <more>
audiences will marvel at her range; not just the impeccable comic timing, but the ability to make us believe her character is unaware of her own feelings while revealing them so clearly to Toni and to us. While the general plot stretches credibility, Bergman's performance is compelling: honest and utterly believable.Also a standout is Jack Weston's performance as the Matthau's old friend and co-conspirator, Harvey. No one could deliver a zinger like Weston, and I.A.L. Diamond's script gives him plenty. For example: "That's such a big, dirty, rotten lie it has class." Weston excelled at slightly seedy characters because he exuded a warmth that allowed you to forgive his characters' flaws. The film is a fairly straight adaptation of the Abe Burrows play which was itself adapted from a French play by Barillet and Gredy . On Broadway Matthau's role was played by Barry Nelson. Bergman's by Lauren Bacall, and Hawn's by Brenda Vaccaro. It ran for 1,234 performances three years and was nominated for two Tony Awards Vaccaro and Burt Brinckerhoff, who played Igor .For me, the film's score, written and adapted by the legendary Quincy Jones is another highlight. The main theme A Time For Love Is Anytime is performed by Sarah Vaughn over the opening and closing credits. It is also insinuated in different arrangements throughout the film, most notably as the romantic piano music underscoring Berman's speech to Hawn in the record store. Jones also created covers of popular songs from the period To Sir With Love, I'm A Believer for the night club scenes. As with all of the film's elements, there is a tremendous amount of talent, taste, and professionalism evident. In my opinion, few modern romantic comedies can hold a candle to this classic. It's great to finally have it available on DVD. Time to call for a pizza...
When A Cactus Flower Finally Blossoms (by Chrysanthepop)
Saks's 'Cactus Flower' is delightful comedy that revolves around a free spirited young lady Toni Goldie Hawn , her liar of a dentist boyfriend Julian Walter Matthau and his always dependable and honest assistant, Stephanie Ingrid Bergman . It's pretty much a love triangle that stretches to a love rectangle tangled with lies leading to hilarious situations. While the movie is light and fun, it's also ahead of its time as it touches themes like feminism and gender stereotype.I was surprised to learn that Ingrid Bergman was in her 50s during filming. At most I guessed her <more>
to be in her early 40s. She looks amazing. The actress has always had a flair for comedy and she brings class to her role. A supercute Goldie Hawn is absolutely charming and vivacious. I couldn't have pictured anyone other than Walter Matthau as Julian. The rest of the cast are impressive.'Cactus Flower' is a well made movie. Quincy Jones's music has a foottapping effect. The cinematography and editing are solid. Saks never derails from the main story.This film has plenty of laugh out loud moments but my favourite one is the final dance sequence. That had me pretty much rolling on the floor. To sum it up, 'Cactus Flower' is a wonderful comedy. I'll be revisiting it sometime.
This film has not exactly remained fresh in the minds of film buffs, and it's a crying shame. Its witty screenplay adaptation should have netted Oscar nominations for the great screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond's adaptation, and Ingrid Bergman's flawless performance. It must have been an honor for Goldie Hawn at such a young age to work with Bergman, looking more than a decade younger than her 54 years--fifty four! When she's on the screen, it positively twinkles.This is a film which may appear dated at first, but it actually made me wish I was around during the swingin' <more>
'sixties. Hawn's fashions are as tacky as Bergman's are chic. That's one minor flaw--isn't her character a little too soignée for a gal who still lives with her sister? But then again, would we have Ingrid any other way? And who wouldn't want to hang out at a nightclub called The Slipped Disc?The best compliments I can pay to this film is that it somehow made me nostalgic for a decade that I never saw, and that it left me wanting more. Speaking of wanting more, I wonder what ever became of sexy supporting actor Rick Lenz? He resembles Griffin Dunne in this film. This was his film debut, and I don't see any other major roles in his filmography. As for Goldie Hawn, she's done so much since then it's easy to not be impressed, but I can't imagine any other actor in the role, either.Since the movie is based on a play, the line delivery may seem a bit stage-y, but it did not inhibit my enjoyment at all. In fact, I am amazed at how funny it still is after over thirty-five years. Because this film represents a bygone era, it has unjustly slipped from the consciousness of film buffs. It is more linked to the era films that came before it than the ones that followed. But don't let that stop you from savoring the delights it has to offer. Grade: A
Everyone told me to see "Cactus Flower," and I finally did. What a wonderful movie -- the perfect pick-me-up for a Sunday night/dreading Monday morning. Matthau and Hawn were good, but Ingrid Bergman really made this movie -- after all, it was really about her. The truly great actors can do anything, and Miss Bergman proves it. She shows us -- in the course of one film -- a range few people display in their entire career. The scene in the dance club was as hysterical as it was touching. Even as the film drew to its obvious conclusion, I found myself cheering for Miss Dickinson as if <more>
she were the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully, she made out no pun intended much better. ;
I've been playing this movie incessantly this month, and I just love it. I was around in the 60s oh dear , so it is nostalgic in one sense. However, it's the funny premise, the snappy dialogue and the great performances that keep me watching.Dr. Winston's reactions to Stephanie at the end of the movie are priceless. I'd be more specific, but don't want to spoil it for anyone. Who other than Matthau can play a man not entirely on the up-and-up and yet have us still love him? As for Bergman's costumes, I think she looks as dowdy as she's supposed to. I think <more>
"she was robbed" the one time that she appears in an evening gown. It doesn't suit her at all, which is too bad. I never liked it when I first saw it on her and I still don't.Goldie won an Oscar for her role. People thought it was a groundbreaking performance at the time, and yet it's the one performance that I don't love as much as the others. She does have the right amount of sweetness and likability, however, which is important for this role.And I agree - I thought Rick Lenz was great in it and it's too bad that his movie career didn't take off after this.I hope more people watch this movie ... they'll love it!
A feel-good comedy with its title symbolism well justified (by Davor-Blazevic-1959)
Florigraphists, fluent in the "language of flowers", revealing a symbolic, underlying meaning to sending or receiving floral arrangements, describe cactus flower as a symbol of lust in Japan , as well as courtship and romance among Native Americans . All three and many other modest or excessive feelings, relationships, experiences... are nicely wrapped up in a comedy suggesting same symbolism in its title.1969 film "Cactus Flower", directed by Gene Saks who has already introduced us, a year earlier, to another stage play classic adapted for the big screen, Neil <more>
Simon's "The Odd Couple" is a feel-good movie--based on Abe Burrows' Broadway stage adaptation of its witty French original, Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pieerre Grédy's play "Fleur de cactus"--scripted by a legendary comedic writer I.A.L. Diamond who is, among his other memorable works, credited with the screenplay for an all-time favourite comedy "Some Like It Hot" 1959 , with impish dentist Walter Matthau, accompanied by his reputable nurse-receptionist Ingrid Bergman, coming across as likable and funny leads, further supported by young and sweet Goldie Hawn, in her Oscar awarded depiction of a-cute-dumb-blond stereotype.Bergman's Stephanie Dickinson, for all her decency and selflessness, is a character who is easy to identify with and root for in her initially seemingly unconscious pursuit of her apparently long suppressed, quietly emerging affection for Matthau's Dr. Julian Winston, a rogue we cannot hate because he behaves like a boy from Mark Twain's novel, or Dennis the menace who has grown up and old, but never out of his mischievous ways. In his no-strings-attached wished for relationship with Hawn's sparkling Toni Simmons, he pretends to be married. However, this new "fact" tickles well meant youngster's curiosity, so, surely free spirited, but not unscrupulous as eventual household breaker, Toni, tormented by many unanswered questions becomes--as seen in the introductory scene--suicidal, and... what was meant to be a small "preventive" lie asks for more lies, ultimately spiraling out of control.Interaction between the three, further helped with an additional "accomplice", Winston-like lovable cad Harvey Greenfield, played by Jack Weston, produces some truly hilarious and--specially when the most believable miss Dickinson is involved--touchy moments for a wide-range audience to enjoy. "Cactus Flower" easily stands the test of time and even improves with each repeated viewing.Current year 2011 production "Just Go with It", a loose remake of the 1969 original, provides a solid, yet, somewhat inferior entertainment when compared to its predecessor.
Walter Matthau is wonderful as the "philandering" dentist Dr. Julian Winston whose frequent fibs to girlfriend Goldie provide textbook proof of the dangers of lying. Goldie Hawn's touching kook Toni Simmons certainly deserved to win her Oscar. Ingrid Bergman's work as the stiff-as-starch nurse Stephanie is also touching to watch as she comes out of her shell, slowly and nervously. This is a great movie to watch in the springtime, or any time for that matter. It's very underrated; I never heard about it until I found it in the video store, and what a find!
A Hidden Gem (by murphys-6)
I discovered this late one night on Turner Classics. I kept saying to myself "I'll turn it off as soon as it stops being funny", but needless to say I watched the whole way through.I am a movie junkie but I had never even HEARD of this movie or if I did in 1971, I forgot . It's worth watching just for the performance of Goldie Hawn as the tart-tongued ingénue. Her acting is a revelation in this movie. Yes, the script is sharp and excellent when was the last time they made a Hollywood comedy with a smart script? but her acting is extraordinary. I never realized how funny <more>
Goldie could be, and it makes her later appearances in roles such as Laugh-In and Private Benjamin a little sad. In her later career she is far too over-the-top compared to her minimalist, wickedly funny appearance here.It's a pleasure watching the young Matthau, the great Bergman and the stellar supporting cast, but it's Goldie Hawn that will make this movie worth watching again.