Sweet Charity [DVD] [1969]

Bob Fosse's Sweet Charity (1969) has arrived on DVD in a nicely produced if not overly ambitious edition from Universal. The film has been transferred very cleanly in its proper anamorphic aspect ratio (2.35:1), giving Robert Surtees' cinematography the best showcase that it's had since the original release. The volume has been set slightly low, but not so much so that it can't be fixed with a simple volume adjustment. Otherwise, the movie has been treated well, mastered with the overture from its original reserved-seat-engagement release (this was one of the very last films released that way), although the 16 chapters seem a little skimpy for a 153-minute film. The bonus features include the original trailer and a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes made at the time of the movie's release. "From the Stage to the Screen -- A Director's Dilemma" is a 1969 behind-the-scenes account of the production featuring lots of footage of director Bob Fosse at work and mostly explaining how the first-time film director approached the project. "The Art of Exaggeration" is a documentary hosted by Edith Head, the legendary costume designer, who walks us through her work on the movie and the logic behind it. The first short is good, but the second is delightful. Head shows us a succession of costume tests, most of which were, themselves, set to music in order to give all concerned a better idea of how the costumes would look in the context of the score as well as the shots for which they were needed. The supplements are all full-screen (1.33:1) and are a little bit faded toward red, in contrast to the well-preserved feature film. The disc opens on a simple two-layer four-selection menu (including French- and Spanish-language audio and subtitles) that is easy to use and maneuver around.
$9.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Alternate ending
  • "Sweet Charity - From the Stage to the Screen" featurette
  • "Edith Head's Costume Design: The Art of Exaggeration" featurette
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Sweet Charity
Shirley MacLaine plays Charity Hope Valentine who, despite her job at a seedy dime-a-dance joint, is an incurable optimist. Charity never stops looking for true love and never seems to look for it in the right places. We first see her in the company of Charlie (Dante DiPaolo), a slimeball who steals her purse and pushes her into the Central Park pond. Next she stumbles into a one-night stand with Vittorio Vidal (Ricardo Montalban), an egotistical movie star; this comes to nothing when Vittorio's contrite girlfriend Ursula (Barbara Bouchet) comes calling, forcing Charity to spend the night hiding in the closet. Desperate to escape the dance hall, Charity heads to an employment agency, where a bureaucratic clerk (Alan Hewitt) informs her that she has no qualifications. Unhappily, Charity heads for the elevator, where she becomes trapped with the very shy -- and very claustrophobic -- Oscar Lindquist (John McMartin). Once they've gotten out of the stalled elevator, Charity begins dating Oscar, never telling him of her checkered past or her sordid dance-hall job. Oscar eventually finds out but assures her that it doesn't matter. However, at the engagement party held at the dance hall, Oscar's puritanical streak emerges. He walks out on Charity, leaving her alone and heartbroken once more. With the help of a group of flower children (among them Bud Cort and Kristoffer Tabori), Charity is able to pick herself up and start living "Hopefully Ever After." Sweet Charity was adapted from the 1965 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the 1957 Fellini flick Nights of Cabiria. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Shirley MacLaine
    Shirley MacLaine - Charity
  • John McMartin
    John McMartin - Oscar
  • Ricardo Montalban
    Ricardo Montalban - Vittorio
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
    Sammy Davis Jr. - Big Daddy
  • Chita Rivera
    Chita Rivera - Nickie
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