Surrender, Dorothy

01 Nov

Surrender, Dorothy – Directed by Charles McDougall. Drama.  The mother of a deceased girl moves in with her daughter’s roommates. 87 minutes Color 2006.

* * * * *

Well, an actress has to work, and when a highly professional big star like Diane Keaton is given full rein in a 20-day, low budget TV drama, watch out. This part should have been played by a Jewish actress whose grieving style might make this story swallowable. But Keaton, an actress of genius, has, without rehearsal, the liberty to quirk things up, and it is her only recourse, since she is miscast. Or that she refuses to play anything except for comedy. The direction, since there was no time for rehearsal, makes one suppose the director is a dullard, which apparently he is as he is involved in, count them, two commentaries, one side by side with Keaton, who has the decency to say little, although she does give some interesting cues as to her method – and the other with one of the greatest cinema-photographers in the world, Vlamos Zsigmund, who shot this picture. Anyone interested in how films are shot must dwell upon this interview. Because of the strength of his Hungarian accent he is often difficult to understand, but don’t let that stand in your way. Don’t let Keaton’s costuming stand in your way either. She descends on the summer cottage which her just-dead daughter has rented with friends, and, to the horror of those friends, she moves in and proceeds to put on her daughter’s clothes. But are they her daughter’s clothes? The wee bowler hat lets me know they are rather the costumer’s foolish submission to the Keaton sartorial style — the clothes the movie star Keaton would look, at the age of 60, cute in., and so the force and grotesqueness of the impersonation is lost. All the scenes are beautifully shot and badly directed. The other actors are reduced to their default routines, and Keaton overacts. And what we are left with is a new mode of drama invented here for the first time: Cute Tragedy. But, if you can’t stomach the picture, check out the commentaries.






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