Saturday, January 17, 2015

The GOODBBYE GIRL intro and outro

These seem to be popular posts -- the scripts from my stint as host of the Neil Simon Film Festival on TCM.   Here's one from last night.

INTRO

Hi, I’m Ken Levine – a playwright, tv writer, director and great fan of the man in our “Friday Night Spotlight” this month, Neil Simon.

Simon has written dozens of plays for Broadway and adapted many of them for the big screen, but he’s also written original screenplays and up next is one of his best. And like all of the films we’re showing tonight, it stars his wife at the time, Marsha Mason.

It’s “the Goodbye Girl,” from 1977, also starring Richard Dreyfuss.

In Simon’s memoir, he said the plot of this film is reminiscent of what happened before Dustin Hoffman shot to fame with the 1967 film “the Graduate.” Prior to that, Hoffman was a struggling actor in New York. So when he got the call that he got the role, there was a moment between he and his wife where the two of them just knew that their relationship would change forever. Well, that basic theme is what our movie is all about.

Dreyfuss is the struggling New York actor. Mason is a dancer recently dumped by her newly-famous actor boyfriend, who abandons her and her 10 year old daughter, played by Quinn Cummings. Mason and Dreyfuss end up rooming together and sparks begin to fly, but she wonders -- will history repeat? Are all actors the same? Will Dreyfuss abandon her too?

Now, Neil Simon always said he found writing much easier when he knew who was in his cast, because he could tailor the dialogue to each actor’s rhythm and personality. Yet Richard Dreyfuss was not the original costar of our film. Robert DeNiro was initially cast in the role, back when the script was titled “Bogart Slept Here.” Mike Nichols – a long-time Simon collaborator – was set to direct.

But right away, it became apparent that DeNiro – as great as he is -- wasn’t right for the part. So exit DeNiro; enter Dryefuss. Mike Nichols ended up moving on from the film as well, so Herbert Ross came on to direct.

But in the end, it was a winning combination. The film received five Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Screenplay, and Dreyfuss won as best actor. From 1977, here’s “the Goodbye Girl.”

OUTRO

Richard Dreyfuss won the Best Actor Oscar for this film, and the movie received four other nominations: Best Picture, Neil Simon’s screenplay, and for the performances of Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings.

A year or so later, i was writing for MASH which was filmed on the 20th Century Fox lot. I was in the commissary one day and there was little Quinn Cummings just chewing out her agent. He probably had it coming, i dunno – never got to hear his side. But it was just bizarre to see a tween giving her agent hell at the hostess stand. It’s why I love Hollywood.

Up next, Marsha Mason returns in another Neil Simon film in which she received an Oscar nomination. It’s a comedy/drama released in 1979 and it costars James Caan.

16 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Love the intro/

You need a title of the piece.

MikeK.Pa. said...

Stayed up long enough to watch your intros/outros for GOODBYE GIRL and CHAPTER TWO (ORDINARY PEOPLE was a laugh fest compared to this downer). You really crammed a lot of info into 2 1/2 minutes. That's why I love Robert Osborne. Ben, not so much. Your anecdote about Quinn Cummings and her agent was hilarious and so typical of Hollywood. Yikes!

I was reading stories about the series finale of TWO AND A HALF MEN - a show I watched occasionally when Charlie Sheen was on but only once with Ashton Kutcher (how does he still have a career?), which was more than enough. There is a debate about whether Chuck Lorre will bring Charlie's character back from the dead after his untimely death under a Paris subway (shades of Kate Mara). My question: as a show-runner would you 1) bring him back and 2) how?

David in Cincinnati said...

My best friend and I went to see this movie in its original release - we were 15, his mom dropped us off at the movie and picked us up afterward. Young as we were, we both loved it and were deeply moved at the end.

I'm trying to imagine Robert DeNiro delivering the "panties drying on the rod" speech....

Bill O said...

Couple of years later, Dreyfuss would be on the receiving end. Cast as the lead in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz, Fosse quickly realized he didn't see himself as a five-foot Jew. Replaced him with the other guy from Jaws, Roy Scheider, reportedly at Dreyfuss' suggestion.

Canda said...

I got tired of seeing Marsha Mason in all the Neil Simon films, and kept wondering what the film would look like with someone else (Terri Garr, Bernadette Peters, etc.), but I was surprised at how much I liked her in ONLY WHEN I LAUGH.

Diane D. said...

I loved the Neil Simon/Marsha Mason movies when they first came out and I enjoyed them almost as much last night, but what I really liked were your introductions---great job, and you looked very handsome.

Scooter Schechtman said...

Marsha Mason (all of her) looked pretty good in Mazursky's "Blume In Love". TCM might show that tonight instead of the 1987 "Maximum Overdrive" which is scheduled.

Anonymous said...

I am of tired of hearing and taking about these old shows and movies. Why is it the link I got this is from dinosaurs of Done Deal. These guys from Done Deal are old and sorry to say, stop leaving in the past. Too old men on Done Deal taking old shows. So tired of this.

Norman Marcud said...

An interesting fact about The Goodbye Girl is that the other members of the Improv group were mostly from a real improv show, Off The Wall, started by Dee Marcus.

txutxi said...

This was one of my all time favorite movies as a young adult. I still love it, but cringe that Marsha Mason's character doesn't seem to have a plan for life except to be financially supported by guys (especially as some of them, not Dreyfuss at the end, seem less than reliable.) It was a different time, I guess.

Calvin said...

Anonymous said...
I am of tired of hearing and taking about these old shows and movies. Why is it the link I got this is from dinosaurs of Done Deal. These guys from Done Deal are old and sorry to say, stop leaving in the past. Too old men on Done Deal taking old shows. So tired of this.


Why is it the link I got this is from dinosaurs of Done Deal.

What kind of dinosaurs are these? My son loves dinosaurs. Especially the animatronic kind. We've seen those at museums. If these dinosaurs are the animatronic kind, let us know and I will take my son to see them. He'd be thrilled. That kid knows so much about dinosaurs that it's scary.

stop leaving in the past.

Oh, I know what you mean. I left a perfectly good pair of slacks at a Holiday Inn in Tampa once. You know those guys claimed they never found them? I know they lied. Now, I've never left anything in the past, but I sure learned from leaving those slacks at the Holiday Inn. Leave in the past, hell. Stop leaving anywhere!

Too old men on Done Deal taking old shows.

Well, I don't know who these old men on Done Deal are, but I'm very upset to hear that they are taking old shows. These shows are part of our cultural heritage and are important. (Well, The Facts of Life isn't important, but everything else is.) Do you know where they have taken them? Are they holding them for ransom? If that is the case, we will need to find out which old shows they have taken, and prioritize the ones we want to pay ransom on. If you hear from these guys again, keep us informed. We need to act on this quickly.

stephen catron said...

Truly love The Goodbye Girl. My all time favorite rom-com.

Mark said...

Ken, I love that you start your self-description with "playwright". What happened to "play-by-play announcer"?

Sharon said...

I was a classmate of Quinn Cummings. When we were out in public and she was recognized, she would deny being who she was. As if another little girl with that voice and those freckles was running around North Hollywood.

canda said...

Anonymous said...
I am of tired of hearing and taking about these old shows and movies. Why is it the link I got this is from dinosaurs of Done Deal. These guys from Done Deal are old and sorry to say, stop leaving in the past. Too old men on Done Deal taking old shows. So tired of this.

APPARENTLY, THIS PERSON WAS ON HIS WAY TO A LINK THAT MODERN PEOPLE GO TO TO CELEBRATE TODAY'S GREAT ENTERTAINMENT. SINCE KEN LEVINE BEGINS WITH A "KE", ANONYMOUS MUST HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR "KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS".

tim said...

Well crafted, entertaining and informative. Here is a nit I hesitate to pick, "...him and his wife" or less awkwardly "... between his wife and him" Glad to see that "himself" did not elbow in, especially when "hisself" was waiting right there.