Picks and Pans Review: Fedora
The tragedy of this movie is not that it's so bad, but that veteran director Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Front Page) has at least temporarily lost his touch. Marthe Keller struggles through the role of a Garbo-like actress in seclusion on a Greek island while William Holden, as a down-and-out producer, tries to lure her out of retirement. When he turns up at her villa, he discovers strange goings-on—and suspects Keller is being held captive by a mysterious Hungarian countess (Hildegard Knef) and a boozy doctor (José Ferrer). The lines are trite, the acting barely adequate (even Henry Fonda's cameo as himself is an embarrassment) and the plot almost nonexistent. Halfway through, the characters begin explaining the story to each other—a sure admission of defeat in moviemaking. Wilder, who co-wrote the script, drops old Hollywood names, irrelevantly, rather than advance the story. Here's hoping it's only a lapse, not a sad end to a distinguished career. (PG)
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