Before Dyan Cannon became the wacky courtside Los Angeles Lakers fan she was an actress. Not the normal airhead blond saved for fantasy sequences involving a character’s mid-life crisis, she had the ability to play a serious role. Which is what made her perfect as the lead in Such Good Friends. She remains an emotional anchor in an absurdist drama about Manhattan life and hospital care.
Dyan is the wife of a successful magazine editor (Laurence Lunkinbill). They seem to have everything a happening couple would want on the Big Apple: a pair of kids, a swanky apartment and lots of friends. The only thing bothering Lunkinbill is his upcoming surgery to remove a little bump. Dyan thinks he’s overreacting. But he’s not. What should be a simple snip turns into a critical condition as the surgeon screws up and nicks him. This leads to Lunkinbill having a reaction to the blood from the transfusion, ending up in a coma while the doctors do their best to avoid taking the blame. People turn up in droves to give a pint for the cause. It feels like one of their own parties. He’s in a coma and Dyan is stuck in an absurd world that walks a tightrope to avoid dropping into an outrageous camp universe.
Things get odd right off the start when the hospital insists she call up friends to replenish the blood used on her husband. It turns into another social event. While she wants to be the perfect wife during this traumatic time, the truth of her husband knocks her for a loop. Turns out he’s been cheating with a few of their mutual friends. She gets revenge by getting frisky with a photographer (White Shadow‘s Ken Howard). But will she go all the way? There’s a little bit of skin to earn the R-rating. There should be a warning at the front of the movie to alert you to the graphic sight of Burgess Meredith and James Coco stripped down to their boxer shorts. Is anyone ready to see Burgess Meredith’s bare torso? But it wouldn’t be a hip studio movie from 1971 if there wasn’t a few daring images. Luckily Dyan plays it straight so we don’t get completely grossed out by her Such Good Friends.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer is fine with a touch of grain so you feel the ‘70s in the fashions. The audio is mono. The sound levels are fine since it’s mostly dialogue.
Such Good Friends is a freakish tale of life in Manhattan. The posh lives gets exposed as covering up strange secrets. Otto Preminger directs a bizarre comedy with a minor surgery turning to major trauma. Dyan Cannon makes the film work with her ability to keep from cracking up at the weirdness. It’s entertaining for those who enjoy the odd early ‘70s movies.
Olive Films presents Such Good Friends. Directed by Otto Preminger. Starring: Dyan Cannon, James Coco, Jennifer O’Neill, Ken Howard, Louise Lasser and Burgess Meredith. Boxset Contents: 102 Minutes. Released on DVD: May 17, 2011.
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