Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


MICKEY ONE (1965). Director: Arthur Penn.

Mickey One is the stage name of a young comic (Warren Beatty) who is on the run because he owes money to the mob. His landlady -- apparently he owes her money, too -- rents his apartment to a young lady, Jenny (Alexandra Stewart), who sort of becomes Mickey's girlfriend after he refuses to move out. But what difference does it make -- because Alan M. Surgal's screenplay has no real plot and paper-thin characters. Beatty really has nobody to play, but at least he has charisma if little else. Stewart mopes about and makes little impression, probably no fault of hers. Franchot Tone and Hurd Hatfield give vivid, even memorable performances, but their characters are also cyphers and the movie wastes their talents. Director Penn opts for a stylish approach which never disguises the essential emptiness of the film and is remarkably pretentious as well -- Penn is no Fellini. Worse still, the movie is excrutiatingly tedious. An example of the subtlety of the picture is Hatfield, as a club manager, banging on the door behind which stands Beatty and shouting "I want you!" Later Beatty winds up for no real reason in a junkyard and comes across a bunch of derelicts, one of whom campily gives him come-hither looks -- oy vey! This movie is so awful on so many levels it isn't funny.

Verdict: One of the worst movies ever made. 1/2*.


Matt said...

I think you're really going out on a limb here with regards to calling this one of the worst ever made. Makes me think you haven't seen many films. Having seen this film twice [on the big screen] I can vouch for its flaws but can say without doubt that it's nowhere in the vicinity of the worst ever.

William said...

Come on -- I have seen many, MANY films. It's easy to say that some low-budget turkey made by inept filmmakers is a lousy movie, but I think a really bad film is one that has talent both in front of and behind the screen and still manages to stink. I just thought this was an effort to sit through.

Thanks for your comment.