Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (4)
This one seethes with authentic nostalgia; Wilder's attempt not merely to eulogize earlier styles but to revive them feels somewhat embalmed.
Wilder may have been a genius, but not everything a genius does is a work of genius. Fedora is a curiosity, not a lost masterpiece.
The deliberate and sometimes dismaying anachronisms are signs of a deep, unshakable commitment to a personal aesthetic -- a commitment that is sometimes more moving than anything in the film itself.
A shamefully underrated film, Fedora is Wilder's testament and one of the most sublime achievements of the '70s.
Trust Wilder to know what he's doing, even during the deliberate clichés. See it like that, and I bet you'll like it. See it with a straight face, and you'll think it's boring and obvious.
Fedora is old-fashioned with a vengeance, a proud, passionate remembrance of the way movies used to be, and a bitter smile at what they have become.
There's a lot of awkwardness to Fedora, from a sluggish pace to an awful bit of last-minute overdubbing that mars two performances, but there's a lot of fascination in it.
This wearying nostalgia for golden-age moviemaking aside, Fedora exposes, through a major plot twist I won't give away, the off-screen pathologies that constitute the nightmares of the dream factory.
The offhand jabs at the dissolution of orthodox craftsmanship in 1970s cinema are overwhelmed by a deeper core of autocritique played out in the film's downward trajectory.
Gallant Hollywood-Babylon concerto
Defiantly and proudly old-fashioned both in style and content, weaving an (intentionally) campy melodrama about the mysterious suicide of a faded movie queen into a spellbinding meditation on cinema and the price of manufactured illusions.
Brilliant homage to a bygone age of glamor.
Wants to say something about illusion and the foolishness of the pursuit of youth but comes across as unfocused. Not dreadful but far from top flight Wilder.
Fedora(Marthe Keller), the great actress, is dead.
Presiding over her spectacle of a funeral in Paris is Dr. Vando(Jose Ferrer), Countess Sobryanski(Hildegard Knef) and Miss Balfour(Frances Sternhagen). Independent film producer Barry Detwiler(William Holden) wonders if he perhaps indirectly caused her death when he arrived two weeks previously in Corfu to ask her to be in a new movie he was producing. Locating her is easy enough but meeting her is not. However, he does get through to her one day in the market in a camera store...
With all that it wants to say on the subjects of acting, aging and Hollywood, it is ironic that "Fedora" takes a long time to get where it wants to go. That holds true until a huge twist that not only turns everything on its head but also makes perfect sense. Even then, Billy Wilder for once in his long and storied career just seems satisfied to go through the motions. But at least there is an excellent performance from Marthe Keller and Michael York being such a good sport.
p.s. V, I read your online SOS. I should have known something was wrong here when I did not get any mass e-mails for about a month. Just a reminder. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
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