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Barefoot In The Park (1967)

December 20th, 2005 · No Comments

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Romantic comedy stars a perfectly cast Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as Paul and Corie Bratter, newlyweds crammed into a tiny sixth floor walkup apartment near Washington Square.

Paul is a hungry attorney while Corie – when it was still permissible to do so – is to be a housewife, until they discover that they’re quite different people. Paul is a “stuffed shirt” who can’t seem to give the free-spirited Corie what she wants.

Their relationship is exasperated by the ease in which their eccentric upstairs neighbor (Charles Boyer) and Corie’s snobby mother (Mildred Natwick) fall for each other.

Director Gene Saks mostly adheres to a theatrical staging of Neil Simon’s Broadway play, which debuted in 1963, featuring Redford and Elizabeth Ashley. Directed by Mike Nichols, the stage version served as a sort of template for the modern domestic sitcom, which Simon fine tuned with his next play, The Odd Couple.

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Barefoot In The Park can’t help but be dated, with Fonda agonizing over becoming the perfect housewife, but is as sharp and nuanced in its character and dialogue as any great sitcom. Redford and Fonda (in the breakout film role of her career) built the school in movie star chemistry. The pair play off each other superbly, radiating a wit, charm and beauty that very few screen couples have succeeded in duplicating since.

The title song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer tries to set a romantic, elegant mood, though it must be said that New York in the mid-1960s was no jewel. Perhaps it’s wise that Saks shot almost the entire movie on stages.

Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) appears for about ten seconds as a hotel maid.

Tags: Drunk scene

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