I really expected to like this movie, and I did, a little, but I was basically disappointed. Too much build-up, too lofty my expectations, I guess.
Two beautiful women, Angela and Dolores (Audrey Hepburn and Dorothy Stratten), are suspected by their husbands of being unfaithful. Both husbands hire the Odyssey Detective Agency to follow their wives, so John (Ben Gazzara) is tailing Angela, while a team of two younger detectives, Charles and Arthur (John Ritter and Blaine Novak), is following Dolores. The conceit of the picture is that John and Charles both fall in love with the women they are watching.
The biggest problem is that, while Audrey is the biggest star, and indeed gets top billing, she is seen in long and medium shots for the setup at the beginning of the movie, then disappears until Gazzara begins following her at 0:50(!). Then she almost gets a close-up at 0:56, and finally speaks her first line at 0:58. The film is 1:55.
The film was written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and there is some really nice dialogue, especially in a scene with John and his two daughters. And there is some humor. I most enjoyed the physical humor: the roller skating was fun, and Ritter bumps into people and falls down and walks through shallow fountains, etc. in his own comic style. But the most entertaining work is done by Colleen Camp as country singer Christy Miller. She is funny, with her fast talking and ending every sentence, even the short ones, with “Charles”, and she sings her own songs – very well. It surprises me that neither major number (“One Day Since Yesterday” and “Kentucky Nights”) became a hit.
The rest of the ensemble: Sam the cabdriver (played by Patti Hansen), Odyssey owner Mr. Leondopolous (George Morfogen), Odyssey receptionist/secretary Amy (Linda MacEwen), Jose, who is thought to be Dolores’s boyfriend but who ends up with another lady (Sean Ferrer), and Angela’s son Stavros (Vassily Lambrinos) are all excellent.
And the film is filled with snippets of popular recordings used as background music, of course including “They All Laughed”, sung by Frank Sinatra. Have to nitpick here: I really prefer the orchestration on the Perry Como version.
So: a romantic comedy that goes on too long, but still has enough music and laughs to make it worth your time. I just wish the pacing was tighter. After all, Bogdanovich’s “What’s Up, Doc?” from 1972 is hysterically funny and is only 1:34.
Some tidbits from imdb.com: George Morfogen was Rebadow on “Oz”, Patti Hansen is Mrs. Keith Richards, Sean Ferrer is the son of Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, Colleen Camp has 133 acting credits starting with “Marcus Welby, MD” in 1973, and startling as it may be, imdb says that Vassily Lambrinos was born in 1926, which would make him 54 during the “They All Laughed” shoot. Clearly a mistake; I had guessed his age at eleven while watching the movie. I think they have a combination of credits for two Lambrinos, and they spell the name “Vassili”, presumably the name of the actor born in 1926.