Director: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: Blake Edwards
Release: Warner Archive Collection
If you have ever watched a Julie Andrews film but have not seen S.O.B. then you are in for two shockers. I had heard tales that this film existed but never put two and two together. Don’t worry, I have zero interest in spoiling this for you.
Felix Farmer’s (Richard Mulligan) latest movie flops – and lots of Hollywood types spring into action. Agents are called. Lawyers are retained. Statements are issued. It’s what master comedy director Blake Edwards calls “Standard Operating Bull,” the subject of his gleefully satiric S.O.B.
Julie Andrews is a wholesome superstar about to alter her image. Radically. Aiding and abetting the madness are William Holden, Robert Preston, Robert Vaughn, Shelley Winters, Loretta Swit and more. Dialogue crackles like fat in a fire, gags range from dead-on deadpan to comedic broadsides, insights bristle and sting. Nothing standard here: S.O.B. is extraordinary.
Going in I did not have any real expectations for this film. I had heard of it and am familiar with the director and most of the cast but never had an opportunity to screen the film. I was knocked down, in a great way, within the first 5 minutes of the feature. There is something punchy about the opening number which enthralled me and hooked me, it was colorful, slightly abstract, and unique.
Then it falls down, hard. I was hoping for a Warner musical and I got some goofy hate-mail to Hollywood. Felix’s character spends most of the first half of the trying to kill himself because of low box office returns. He is surrounded by a partying entourage with drugs, alcohol, nudity, and polyester abound. With luck there was enough intrigue that I wanted to continue on through the rest of the film but my focus was waning. The payoff, mentioned earlier, was incredibly surprising even though it left me a little bothered (I really don’t want to spoil this for the interested so I must be vague).
The Warner Archive does not disappoint with the transfer. The film itself is visually incredible. The colorful polyester explodes off the screen and if you are a fan it will certainly not disappoint. There is a trailer so there is technically special feature.
While I do recommend this release I do so with reservations that the film will be a valuable addition to very specific collections but I do not think there is enough pull for a general recommendation.
S.O.B. is available from WBShop.com along with hundreds of other great releases.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 9 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 4 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 3 – Score: 6 – Sound: 6 – Story: 7 – Script: 6 – Effects: 6 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 4 – Keeps interest: 7 – Lasting: 5