A philandering, chain-smoking choreographer struggles with heart problems, both real and figurative, as he attempts to mount another Broadway hit.
What an amazing film! Bob Fosse's All That Jazz is everything that 8 1/2 and by extension Nine wish they were. It is about both show business and mortality, fucking around and fidelity, and addiction and love. We see this in Joe Gideon's attempts to rev himself up for the life he's chosen for himself like a car that won't turn over. He understands that all of his choices have amounted to his unhappiness but feels powerless to change anything. And the producers who calculate profit off of his potential death and scoff at the artistry of his choreography serve as an unwelcome reminder that for many it's more about the business than the show.
I think my favorite scene is the dance that Gideon's daughter and girlfriend do for him before they serve him dinner. The choreography and their interaction with him are so charming as to melt this cold cynic's heart. More to the point, I thought, "Why is it that those who are most loved realize it the least?" Then I saw the reaction shots, showing Gideon laughing uproariously. He does realize it, but nothing can re-direct his life's course, which sets up the truly tragic but fitting ending.
Bob Fosse's remarkable choreography is all over All That Jazz, and this is the film to disprove those who think that dancing isn't a truly effective form of artistic communication. Additionally, Roy Scheider's performance is fantastic; who knew that the dude from Jaws could sing and dance?
Overall, this is one of the best musicals ever made, full of fantastic numbers, great acting, and a substantive story.