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Cactus Flower

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: PG

Running Time: 104 minutes

Starring: Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, Goldie Hawn, Jack Weston, Rick Lenz, Vito Scotti, Irene Hervey

Screenplay by: I.A.L. Diamond
Stage play by: Abe Burrows
Based on the French play by: Barillet and Gredy

Directed by: Gene Saks

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (28 Scenes)

Released: April 23rd, 2002

 

 

After a suicide attempt, Toni Simmons (Goldie Hawn) reveals to her neighbor that she loves honesty in men, and is upset over her lover, Julian Winston (Walter Matthau). Toni claims that Julian is married and has children, but all of that are lies. Julian is someone who doesn't want to get involved with anyone too seriously. However, after Julian decides to go further with Toni, Toni wants to meet his wife... and it's up to Julian's ice cold nurse (Ingrid Bergman) to play the part.

I love screwball comedies, and "Cactus Flower" is a superb one. The script is biting, daring and original: it has great dialogue exchanges, some fun physical comedy and is all about people's emotions and identities, let alone about people being true to themselves. The script from I.A.L. Diamond is pretty classic if you ask me, as it deals with love in a very fun manner as well as the ways of people: a lot of them are too overdramatic and too self-pompous for their own good. It has people learning about themselves from different perspectives, but in a very soothing, clever manner.,

This movie is quite entertaining, and Gene Saks moves it all and a very nice, sweet pace. Still, it's a very good premise that does work, and the actors handle it quite well. This is a great example of good casting. In her breakthrough performance, Goldie Hawn is quite fun, loopy and energetic as Tony. It's quite clear why she was awarded an Oscar® for her subjective but really interesting role, and this still ranks as one of her best performances of all time (if you ask me, at least). Walter Matthau was truly a comedic talent, and this movie surely shows that off with his impeccable comic timing and fine delivery. And of course, Ingrid Bergman... talk about her double sided role! Very nice acting from her (she's quite sharp), as well as from Vito Scotti, Rick Lenz, Jack Weston and Irene Hervey.

Top it off with a great musical score from Quincy Jones, and you have yourself a very classic and very well made comedy that certainly has held the test of time. This is one film that comedy fans should look into if they've never seen it, and if you're a classic film collector, this is truly one having in the collection. Don't miss it.

 

"Cactus Flower" has the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on one side and the 1.33:1 full screen one on the other. This movie is over thirty years old, but looks quite good for its age. Besides the 1.33:1 full screen version being cropped, both are on par with one another. Yes, it's a bit grainy and there are an abundance of flaws to be found throughout which add up: shimmering, some noise, pieces of dirt, blemishes and the like. Still, detail is decent. Fleshtones on the actors look quite good, while color saturation is actually very bold and pretty vibrant. Solid stuff, despite the flaws due to the age.

 

Not much to say about the audio. All that's here is an English mono track. Still, it's very good and the elements are finely in tune and intact. Dialogue is very easy to hear and is crisp, Quincy Jones' wonderful score sounds quite nice and the other sound effects such as the break in and door knocking. It's very straightforward, firm and in place. All of it works quite well and is very pleasing to the ears, as it has a classic feel that fits riight in with everything. Classic sound for a classic movie. No distortion, hiss or background noises that shouldn't be there... so no complaints. Also included are English and French subtitles, plus English closed captions.

 

Only three Theatrical Trailers. One for "Cactus Flower," one for "Groundhog Day" and one more for "Seems Like Old Times."

 

"Cacuts Flower" is a charming comedy with unique characters and great performances. While I would have liked more extras, this DVD features a decent mono track and fine transfers in your aspect ratio choice. If you've never seen it, it's worth checking out. Otherwise, if you're a fan of the movie, do pick it up.