“Not every Mike Nichols production was great. The first time I met him was in 1975, when, as a fledgling magazine writer, I spent days on the Culver City lot where he was shooting The Fortune, a seemingly can’t-miss period comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. It missed by a mile, an outcome that seemed apparent to Nichols as well. But again, as I could now see in close-up, he was relentless in trying to fix it, never forsaking his urbane optimism and preternatural calm. As befit a former performer, he showed extraordinary patience with actors, including at least one who had a habit of turning up late and not always in peak condition.” — from Frank Rich’s Vulture piece about the late director, posted late this morning.
The exaggerated expressions worn by Warren Beatty and especially by Jack Nicholson suggest why Mike Nichols‘ The Fortune didn’t work. They were more or less trying to inhabit or reanimate the spirits of Laurel and Hardy, or so it seemed. A limited edition Twilight Time Bluray is streeting early next month (I think…Screen Archives doesn’t like to post dates).