Burned-out B-movie actress Maria, depressed and frustrated with her loveless marriage to an ambitious film director, Carter Lang, who would rather work on his career than on his relationship with her, numbs herself with drugs and sex with strangers. Only her friendship with a sensitive gay movie producer, B.Z., offers a semblance of solace. But even that relationship proves to be fleeting amidst the empty decadence of Hollywood.
This film, as the previous reviewers have said, is a real gem, namely for two reasons. First off, it is basically a character study of an individual who has been consumed by the lifestyle which she has adopted for herself. In the part of this tortured person, Tuesday Weld gives an exceptional performance. Her body language and facial expressions all convey the feeling of a person lost in this world that she has come to loathe. Anthony Perkins is also excellent in his role of B.Z. and he, and Weld counteract with each other beautifully.
The other main reason why this film is so intriguing, is the way it is edited and pieced together. The viewer basically goes from one scene to the next without any serious concern for continuity. Because of this fractured, choppy approach to the storytelling, some really impressive sequences are pulled off simply, yet effectively. There is one particularly impressive sequence involving Weld's character driving down a freeway, while a camera above pulls back to show the twisted, snake-like formation of the southern California freeway system. There is also the final scene, with it's haunting final message, which is certain to linger in one's mind days after seeing the film. Indeed, a very unique and special piece.
The downside of success
When you become wealthy after being an overnight success in anything you put your mind into? Well, success can make you, or even break you. In "Play It As It Lays", it's about the dark side of a successful actress. Tuesday Weld play Maria, a former model who has become a successful actress. But in Hollywood, she is anything but happy. Her daughter is institutionalized by her father because she is suffering from brain damage. The husband, Carter is a hot-headed movie producer who is not happy with. She meets with B.Z.(Anthony Perkins) who is also not a happy man himself. Just traveling around Los Angeles and in Nevada. Reminiscing about the times of her family. Mother committed suicide when she was young. Father owned a town in Nevada. So much to hear, nothing positive about anything. Weld and Perkins are back again. They did "Pretty Poison" in 1968. In this movie, Perkins' hair is more spread out. Less Norman Bates looking, but his character is just as disturbing. Both the book and the film are a classic example of the effects of success and substance can affect one's ability to see life around. 4 out of 5 stars
brilliant existential anatomy
Thank you, threepines, for a lovely homage to this amazing film. I, too, saw it when young and was altered by it. It got some oddly bad reviews when released, but then reviewers are often wrong-headed about brilliance (Citizen Kane also got bad reviews). I had seen Tuesday Weld as a girl in teenage sillies, so I was so impressed by her bravery to cast off that old baggage. Like Natalie Wood in another underrated film (though not as good as this one), Inside Daisy Clover (where Robert Redford plays a gay actor when no other Hollywood actor would have).
Only logged in users may leave a review.