All That Jazz (1979)
Old Jazz Hands
The life of Bob Fosse as written, choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse. That is the best way to describe "All That Jazz" as whilst the focus is a character by the name of Joe Gideon, Gideon is really Fosse's vision of himself and what Gideon goes through is Fosse's version of what he went through. As such we see how Gideon was busy putting together a Broadway show whilst also editing a movie and keeping himself going by drinking, doing drugs, sleeping with dancers until his workaholic life takes its toll and he ends up in hospital having had a heart attack where upon he has visions surrounding his life and death.
Let me say right away "All That Jazz" is not going to be for everyone as we have this mix of dramatization and fantasy. We can go from one minute watching Gideon running a packed audition and then the next he seems to be back stage talking to this strange woman in white in a mirror. It is admittedly something I struggle with and not just in this movie as other 70s movies which give us a fantasy side often end up annoying me with their out there nature.
Yet whilst I struggle with the fantasy side of "All That Jazz" the rest of the movie is captivating and that starts right away as we watch a bleary eyed Gideon wake up and light the first cigarette of the day before popping pills, getting in to a shower whilst still smoking and then running the Broadway audition which is just a stunning piece of entertainment as the hectic yet sexual nature of it all comes to life. What I am saying really is that when Fosse focuses on dramatizing his life, his workaholic nature and the behind the scenes of Broadway it is fantastic as the character of Gideon is fascinating.
A major reason for this is the performance of Roy Scheider who comes across as believably driven but also a sexual predator as Gideon. It is a performance completely against type yet it is so perfect and even now over 30 years after "All That Jazz" was made Scheider's performance is still a knockout.
What this all boils down to is that "All That Jazz" doesn't quite do it for me due to that strange mix of drama and fantasy. But when it focuses on the drama side, as in the life of Gideon it is captivating.
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