Thursday, June 27, 2019

Francis' Favorites: #4 - Tootsie

When my parents took my brother and your servant to see Tootsie in 1982, I went in thinking it was going to be one of those romantic comedies that the adults would get and kids my age would not. (The term "chick-flick" had not yet been invented.) Happily for me, I was dead wrong. I not only got it, I laughed out loud at Dustin Hoffman dressing up as a woman to get work on a TV soap opera and doing it so seamlessly and convincingly.

A look at the films
that have left a mark on my life.

I'm now counting down the
films that left the biggest marks.
Tootsie is one of those films where I remember whole chunks of dialogue from memorable scenes, like this one played between Hoffman's character, Michael Dorsey, and his cantankerous agent, George Fields, played by Sydney Pollack -- who also directed. Dorsey has just learned a role he was up for on a Broadway show has been taken by someone else, and he wants answers from his agent.

I love that line: "Who told you that, the agent fairy?"

Of course, Michael gets the role and then he has to break the news to George. And here they have another classic exchange in New York City's famous Russian Tea Room, the place where entertainment power brokers and stars go to wine and dine and make deals, all while being served by people in lovely blouses.

And I can remember times when I don't know what I want to wear to a historic ball, and I remember this scene in front of the closet.

The American Film Institute lists this film as one of the greatest screen comedies of all time, and I don't disagree. What's ironic is that Sydney Pollack had never directed a comedy before this one. Yet he created a classic that holds up so well over time, and it even spun off a smash Broadway musical. Tootsie is a movie I can watch over and over again and still laugh, and for that reason, it's in my top five favorites.

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