Vincente Minnelli—one-time husband of Judy Garland and father of Liza—became famous largely as a result of the lavish musicals he directed during his time at MGM. Some of his best-known films include Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), An American in Paris (1951), Brigadoon (1954), Kismet (1955), and Gigi (1958). Though Minnelli was clearly a master of the musical genre, a closer inspection of his resume shows a wider appreciation for film and various types of character development.
In 1952, Minnelli joined forces with producer Jack Houseman, writer Charles Schnee and actor Kirk Douglas (Seven Days in May) to make The Bad and the Beautiful, which featured Douglas as a once-successful producer attempting to revive his career. Having created a film considered by many to be one of the best about the film industry, the men paired up again in 1962, in hopes that lightning might strike twice.
The result was the less successful Two Weeks in Another Town. While the film certainly has merits, it’s too preposterous to be taken all that seriously. Actor Jack Andrus (Douglas) is a broken man. His wife Carlotta (Cyd Charisse) has had an affair with his best friend, filmmaker Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson, A Hole in the Head) and the trauma of being double crossed has landed him in a mental institution.
Released from the hospital, his once thriving career in tatters, a telegram arrives from Kruger. Kruger is offering Jack a job. It’s a small part, but it’s two weeks’ worth of acting work at Cinecittà. With his doctor’s blessing, Jack boards a plane for Rome. Upon landing, Jack learns that Maurice never really had a part for him. He simply wanted to spend some time with his old friend. If that isn’t bad enough, Jack, who’s still trying to find his way in the world, has to deal with Kruger’s wife Clara (Claire Trevor, Marjorie Morningstar), who doesn’t bother trying to hide her contempt for him. Kruger, meanwhile, has problems with his Italian producer (Mino Doro) over his contract to make a Hollywood film.
The has-been director and washed-up actor share a common fate. To make matters worse for Kruger, he must get the film done in two weeks. Since Kruger wants to make a quality film to show Hollywood he still has what it takes, he faces a major obstacle: How can he dub the film in English the way he wants, and still finish on time? Jack hesitantly accepts the job, coaxing Maurice’s less-than-gifted actors into dubbing their lines convincingly enough. When Maurice suffers a heart attack and is unable to finish the film, Jack offers to finish things up. If he succeeds in making a respectable motion picture, it will be a big boost to the career of both men. If he fails, it will put an end to Jack’s comeback and significantly damage Maurice’s reputation.
This was the last substantive role for Edward G. Robinson before his career became a blur of mostly small roles in forgettable movies and television guest spots. Here, he does a wonderful job as a director who can’t accept his career is over. Kirk Douglas is solid as usual, generating sympathy as his character attempts to maintain his dignity as everyone around him loses there’s.
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Warner Archives 1080p transfer is impressive. The colors look bright and beautiful throughout, the image is clean, with only a couple of specks apparent.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 offers a clear rendition of the opening and closing song. Effects are handled well, and dialogue is clear.
There are no subtitles.
The following extras are available:
- Original Theatrical Trailer
Movie title: Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
Director(s): Vincente Minnelli
Actor(s): Kirk Douglas , Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse , George Hamilton , Daliah Lavi , Claire Trevor