Barefoot in the Park (1967) C+
Paramount (Hal Wallis production)
Commercial playwright Neil Simon adapted to the screen his smash Broadway production, the minor domestic comedy “Barefoot In The Park,” as a star vehicle for the young and rising stars, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford (in the first of their second teaming).
Paul (Robert Redford) and Corie Bratter (Jane Fonda), the newly wed are very much in love, but they each have to adjust (read: compromise) to married life their ultra-small and modest Greenwich Village apartment.
Their personalities are defined by contrasting temperaments. Paul is a well-groomed, buttoned-down, straight-arrow lawyer, while Corie is a free spirit and flighty girl, who won’t let anything disturb her romantic fantasies.
Aside from the five-flight climb and the hole in their skylight, the Bratters must also contend with eccentric upstairs neighbor Victor Velasco (Charles Boyer), who must walk through their apartment in order to get to his flat.
As a result, the ever resourceful Corie concocts a scheme to get her mother (Mildred Natwick) together with Mr. Velasco. However, as expected, the evening goes awry, casting shadows on the elders’ potential romance as well the very viability of the Bratters’ marriage.
Mildly amusing, but not terribly smart or original, the tale details Corie’s various (largely unsuccessful) effortsv to loosen her tight hubby up.
Needless to say, all ends well, and in the denoument, there are two happy, better adjusted couples.
Gene Saks’ direction is pedestrian and plodding, which means the movie is still a play, though Redford and Fonda are appealing and there is strong chemistry between them.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Supporting Actress: Mildred Natwick
Oscar Awards: None
The winner of the Supporting Actress Oscar was Estelle Parsons for “Bonnie and Clyde.”
Robert Redford as Paul Bratter
Jane Fonda Corie Bratter
Charles Boyer as Victor Velasco
Mildred Natwick as Mrs. Ethel Banks
Herb Edelman as Harry Pepper
Mabel Albertson as Aunt Harriet
Running time: 106 Minutes.
Directed by Gene Saks
Screenplay by Neil Simon
Released: January 1, 1967.
DVD: September 21, 1999
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