Blume in Love – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com

Director:
Paul Mazursky

Cast:
George Segal….Stephen Blume
Susan Anspach….Nina Blume
Kris Kristofferson….Elmo Cole
Shelley Winters….Mrs. Cramer
Paul Mazursky….Hellman

Warner Home Video presents Blume in Love. Screenplay by Paul Mazursky. Running time: 116 minutes. Rated R. Theatrical release June 17, 1973. DVD released Feb. 6, 2007.

The Movie

This a love story that plays out within the context of a fractured marriage in Beverly Hills. Stephen Blume, a divorce lawyer, decides one afternoon to have a tryst with his secretary. You’d expect him to be smart in covering his tracks. But he botches the entire thing by not escorting her to a hotel. He takes her home since the bed’s free. He quickly learns the price of a lunchtime quickie when his wife shows up early. He downplays the incident as just part of the sexual revolution in Beverly Hills. She’s not buying it. On the bright side, he knows a good divorce lawyer. Instead of embracing his second bachelorhood, Blume falls back in love with his wife. She’s in no mood to forgive and forget. She’s moved on by having an unemployed musician move into her place. What confuses him is that he likes hanging out with his wife’s lover. How can he compete for his ex-wife’s attention with a man he doesn’t view as a rival?

Blume in Love has become an obscure title over the decades. It did get a little attention when Stanley Kubrick had it on a TV set in Eyes Wide Shut. While this film might have had impact three decades ago, Blume has earned its obscurity. The main problem is a complete lack of chemistry between Anspach and Segal. The bond between Segal and Kristofferson seems more potent. Unfortunately, this film does not dare to tread on such taboo ground. It would have been interesting to make a film about a man truly questioning the nature of love in such confusion. It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to hook up with Anspach’s character. She’s very forgettable as written. She has all the depth and allure of Olive Oyl.

Writer-director Paul Mazursky wants us to think he created a cinematic dispatch from the sexual revolution. Here’s a rich guy kicking away his normal life to enjoy the free love that’s flowing through California. The film starts off daring since Blume’s secretary is African-American. But this film doesn’t come close to exploring modern sexual attitudes. It enforces the reasons for rigid puritanical morals. It lures you in with the promise of the forbidden lust, but delivers an ending that’s purely cute Hollywood. This isn’t Last Tango in Beverly Hills. The lack of a score doesn’t help. The room tone makes the film pretentious and draggy instead of profound. Maybe if there were musical themes to the characters, they wouldn’t seem as repulsive. In the end, Blume in Love doesn’t come close to a interesting exploration of sex in the ’70s. How can we really feel any sympathy for a divorce lawyer? Especially one that’s not smart enough to get a hotel room. At least we get a few songs from Kris Kristofferson to ease the pain.

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer has occasional specks, but doesn’t get too messy.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono in English, French and Spanish. The subtitles are in English, Spanish and French. The levels are fine.

EXTRAS:
Trailer (2:50) pretty much tells the entire plot of the film minus the ending.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Blume in Love
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

2
REPLAY VALUE

5
OVERALL
5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)