Well, it was sure fun hosting for TCM. Hope to do it again sometime. Last night I showed my favorite Neil Simon movie, THE HEARTBREAK KID. Here is my script for the intro and outro. Written by me and Anne Wilson.
Hi, I’m Ken Levine – a TV writer, playwright and a blogger – quick plug: Ken Levine dot blogspot dot com – and I’m back for the final night of hosting TCM’s “Friday Night Spotlight” on Neil Simon. And right now we have my all-time favorite of his films. It’s “The Heartbreak Kid,” from 1972 starring Charles Grodin, Cybil Shepherd, also Eddie Albert and Jeannie Berlin.
This is a very atypical Neil Simon film – quite dark – with a screenplay based on a short story by Bruce J. Friedman. There aren’t a ton of Simon jokes and wisecracks here. It’s very satirical, very dry, very Jewish and the humor comes mostly from hypocrisy.
Grodin plays a total cad – a guy who only gets married because his girlfriend – Jeannie Berlin – won’t sleep with him until they’re legal. But of course, their first night together is horrible – at least, according to him.
They drive to Miami for his honeymoon anyway, and while there he proceeds to fall in love with a wasp-y beauty, played by Cybil Shepherd.
You’ll find yourself laughing at his sheer audacity.
And Eddie Albert steals absolutely every scene he’s in.
Here’s the film, with Neil Simon himself in a cameo as one of the wedding guests. From 1972 – “The Heartbreak Kid.”
I love that movie. It’s sick and twisted – but the absurdity is played so straight, so dry, so earnest. I think a lot of the credit goes to director Elaine May for establishing the tone.
There’s also that scene with the egg salad – i mean, will you ever eat an egg salad sandwich again? Or not use sunblock?
In 2007, there was a remake of “The Heartbreak Kid” done by the Farelly Brothers starring Ben Stiller, but it was not faithful to the original story by Bruce J. Friedman and it was, I have to say, awful. For the record, Neil Simon was not associated with it.
Up next is another great Neil Simon movie – with a screenplay based on one of Simon’s own Broadway productions. On stage, it starred Peter Falk and Lee Grant – on film, it’s Jack Lemmon and Ann Bancroft. (The Prisoner of Second Avenue)
UPDATE: One last plug for my friend, Robin Schiff's show on Amazon, DOWN DOG. It's in contention for a series pick up. Check it out and give it lots of stars. Thanks. Here's where to find it.