The recent DL thread on Peter Bogdanovich took some interesting detours, including several posts about this film, which prompted me to revisit it. It had been many years since I’d seen it (and even more since I’d read the book,) but the movie still holds up very well overall. Some highlights:
Richard Benjamin does a wonderful deadpan, and is well-cast as Neil. He and Ali MacGraw have nice chemistry, and the scenes with the little boy in the library were quite moving. He and MacGraw’s fight scene at the hotel was a highlight, even though the cutting back and forth from profile shots looks odd and dated to a current viewer.
It’s not high praise to say it was Ali MacGraw’s best performance, considering some of her onscreen embarrassments, but she does a fine job indeed as Brenda. I know that Lesley Ann Warren was originally cast as Brenda before her pregnancy took her out of the project, and while Warren is a terrific actress, I’m not sure she would have been as effective as MacGraw turned out to be here. She’s natural and charming, and the camera loves her.
Jack Klugman is wonderful as Mr. Patimkin. The wedding sequence received some criticism at the time for indulging in Jewish stereotyping, but it includes Klugman’s best scene, a heart-to-heart with his beloved Brenda that is touching.
I can’t figure out the brother’s character — I know he is supposed to be a polite, sweet-natures doofus ex-jock, but what was all that ass-patting?
I kept thinking that some of the underscoring music sounded very familiar to me, then I realized watching the trailer that it reminded me of “Love American Style” — and no surprise there, Charles Fox did the scores for both “Goodbye, Columbus” and “LAS”. The trailer itself is very bland and not at all memorable, but the classic tag line on the poster was genius: “Every Father’s Daughter is a Virgin”.
What sayeth Datalounge on “Goodbye, Columbus”?