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Another Guilty Pleasure from the 60's
Isaac585517 January 2007
GOODBYE CHARLIE was a slightly smarmy but very funny comedy from the 60's that I grew up with. This was the story of a womanizing cad named Charlie Sorel, who one night is partying on a yacht and romances a married woman. He is caught by her husband who shoots Charlie, who falls overboard into the ocean. Charlie's body is not immediately located but a memorial service is held, attended by his best friend George (Tony Curtis) and dozens of women Charlie romanced over the years. A couple of days later a woman (Debbie Reynolds) is found naked on the beach outside of Charlie's apartment, where George is sorting out Charlie's things. We soon learn that this woman is a female reincarnation of Charlie Sorel, apparently God's ironic way of punishing Charlie for the dreadful way he treated women all his life. Charlie initially freaks out at the idea of being a woman but soon shows he hasn't learned a thing and reverts to the old Charlie even though he is a woman now. I was just a kid when this film first hit theaters but I still thought it was pretty funny. Reynolds and Curtis are energetic in the lead roles and are well-supported by Walter Matthau as the guy who shot Charlie, Pat Boone as a schnook who found and falls in love with the reincarnated Charlie and Joanna Barnes and Ellen MacRae as two of the women in old Charlie's life. BTW, Ellen MacRae later changed her name to Ellen Burstyn. It's no cinematic masterpiece, but it will make you laugh. Remade many years later as SWITCH.
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Off-beat, Silly, Charming and Down-right Twisted
aesgaard4116 January 2001
I saw this movie for the first time over twenty years ago but could never remember the title. I saw it again on AMC and recognized it immediately, but my memories of it have strayed quite a bit from what I thought it was. In fact, this movie takes an amusing idea, a man in a woman's body, throws in some funny lines, but misses the point and goes no where. Tony Curtis plays a very funny straight man to Debbie Reynolds, and while she may have been attractive for the time, the outdated values and generation gap haven't exactly endeared this movie to a whole new generation. While still more enjoyable than it's recent re-make, "Switch" with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits, the movie almost immediately drags after the opening sequences and sets up a premise that really goes nowhere. Pat Boone's role is seemingly tagged on as is Roger C. Carmel's, but Walter Matthau is nearly unrecognizable as a worldly skirt-chaser giving Reynolds something to run from. While I can't in good conscience give this a ten, the movie is worth while a look as a seven.
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Good "sixties" comedy in my opinion...
TBTBM8 December 2000
I remember this movie as a child when there were really funny and good movies shown on TV Sunday mornings. This was one of the "sixties" movies that I enjoyed watching even as a kid...I could get the jokes and the cast was of people I recognized and liked. I didn't get a chance to see this one until the early "seventies" for the first time, but I could enjoy some of the stars I grew to love in other movies. I would give it a solid "8" out of "10". I am very hard on movies that are comedies and have really good comedic actors. See it for yourself. I would also recommend "SWITCH (1991)" with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits.
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Some will smile, Some will Laugh this movie is for Everyone!!
steve_kaden18 January 2001
Not every movie made has to have a message. Some are made just to entertain us. John Wayne proved that and "Goodbye Charlie" has taken it to a new height.

Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis really had that special chemistry that's always needed in a good comedy and there timing was perfect. Now consider this movie was made around the time when the first civil rights act was passed and it was still believed that "it's a man's world." Debbie Reynolds plays the part of Charlie who was the classic womanizer. He is shot and comes back as a woman (Debbie). He still thinks he's Charlie -- Big Problem especially in 1964.

I rate this movie 5 stars considering the time it was made, the skill of the players and a theme song I just fell in love with. If you need to have a fun afternoon get "Goodbye Charlie"!
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richardnbev2 August 2002
This is one of those movies that is fun to watch, the premise is of course impossible, but enjoyable none the less. If you liked THE LAST TIME I SAW ARCHIE or MERRILY WE LIVE you will be very pleased that you took the time to check out this gem. Tony Curtis and Debby Reynolds well, they live up to their comedic potential in this one.
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Gender-bending comedy by a bunch of top rank pros
Zanna-318 July 1999
Read the cast list. These people can act and they know how to do comedy. Read Maltin's review and send him a raspberry. If he liked the play better, he should be a theater critic and not review films. I hate stuff like that. This is a funny movie, I have never seen the stage play and never hope to do so, so the fact that Maltin liked some stage version thirty years ago better is totally irrelevant to my possible enjoyment of a film, or yours. This is a good movie, and if you like the stars you will probably enjoy it. I gave it a nine because I couldn't give it an 8.5.
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Bad Karma for Charlie Sorel
bkoganbing10 October 2013
I'm still wondering why Lauren Bacall who played the title role of Goodbye Charlie on Broadway was not cast in the film. The story concerns a man who was both shot and drowned at sea, one Charlie Sorel who comes back as a woman and starts haunting the people she knew in her former life as a he. Bacall's voice in the lower registers as it were probably added a dimension to the performance on stage that could never be appreciated by the screen audience.

Charlie was a real cad in life and now coming back as a the beautiful Debbie Reynolds is truly some bad karma coming home to roost. The only one who knows the secret is best friend and fellow writer Tony Curtis who flew in from Biarritz to both be executor of an estate in debt and to preside over a sparsely attended memorial service.

In her recent memoir Debbie Reynolds who had worked with Tony Curtis in The Rat Race and had no problems said that Curtis had now taken the side of buddy Eddie Fisher in the breakup of the Fisher/Reynolds wedding. He quoted Eddie and said that she was obviously a lesbian as Fisher's manly charms she eventually found resistible. That set the tone for their relationship off screen.

On the other hand Curtis in his memoirs talked about director Vincente Minnelli whom he found super meticulous in his work. Sad to say that Goodbye Charlie though it has some good moments will never be ranked as one of the great films for Curtis, Reynolds, or Minnelli.
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Switch before Switch
sol-19 November 2017
Perhaps best known nowadays as the film that inspired Blake Edwards to write and direct the amusing 'Switch' with Ellen Barkin, this earlier comedy features the same idea of a shameless philanderer reincarnated in the body of a woman. Clocking in at close to two hours, 'Goodbye Charlie' takes an incredibly long time to warm up with over 25 minutes elapsing before the comedy really kicks in since the philanderer (in the woman's body) has amnesia at first. Once the film gets into the swing of things though, it is a decent ride. Debbie Reynolds does well acting tough and manly, casually ogling other women and so on. It is not as dynamic a performance as Barkin in 'Switch' (who nailed the mannerisms of her male self) as we never actually see much of Charlie before he is killed, but Reynolds is still dynamite. There are also several fascinating moments as he/she gets more used to being a woman, even allowing him/herself to be seduced. Additionally, in a daring move, he/she even tries to seduce his/her best friend, played by Tony Curtis. Speaking of which, Curtis does well with a tricky role here. At times, it seems like he is also about to fall for his macho best friend in a lady's body. The experience is let down by a tacked-on cop-out ending that fails to capitalise on all this sexual tension, but the film pokes enough at gender identity issues to remain interesting.
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Charlie was a jerk as a man...and just as big a jerk as a woman!
MartinHafer31 January 2016
When the film begins, a notorious womanizer, Charlie, is caught with another man's wife and is shot to death. Soon there's a funeral and his friend, George (Tony Curtis) arrives to do the eulogy. However, almost no one shows up...because Charlie spent his life using people, not paying debts and bedding any woman who fell for his spiel. Good riddance seems to be the mood of the day.

Soon there's a knock on the door to Charlie's home and since George is the executor, he answers. A young man (Pat Boone) is there with a naked woman in a blanket. He isn't sure who she is but she gave this address but was otherwise delirious. When she later awakens, it becomes obvious that this IS Charlie--reincarnated as a woman (Debbie Reynolds). At first, it's pretty obvious that Charlie had nothing but contempt for women and hates his new body. However, soon an interesting change comes over him. Perhaps he can use and take advantage of people BETTER as a woman and Charlie begins using her wiles to get ahead in life. She shamelessly flirts and blackmails some of the rich married women Charlie used to sleep with in his male days. Why George hangs out with Charlie throughout much of the film is odd, as George doesn't seem like a total jerk. Charlie, on the other hand, is gosh-darn awful both as a man and as a woman.

So what you have is a racy 60s sex comedy...minus the sex. The idea is pretty cute, original and I generally enjoyed the movie. However, I did think the film went on a bit too long and the picture lost a bit of its momentum as a result. For the first half, I'd give this one a 7 or 8...for the final half, a 4 or 5.

By the way, Walter Matthau's accent was just awful and I assume he must have been really embarrassed by this performance.
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One goodbye that won't leave you speechless
TheLittleSongbird28 August 2018
There was a lot of promise with 'Goodbye Charlie', this was not a case of it being a bad idea from the start. Namely that it was directed by the very capable Vincente Minnelli, who was very, very good when at his best. It is hard to resist actors of such likeability in Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds and Walter Matthau is also always well worth the while. The idea did intrigue somewhat.

Yet somehow, 'Goodbye Charlie' really didn't do an awful lot for me. Not a complete misfire of a film by all means, but considering the huge potential and how much talent there was involved it was disappointing by quite a big degree. It's not terrible and certainly not a must avoid, it's also not particularly good either and has its faults, for me 'Goodbye Charlie' was a mixed bag sort of film that's difficult to rate and review.

'Goodbye Charlie' looks good, there is an elegant glossy sheen to the cinematography and the settings and especially the costumes are beautiful to watch. The music is dynamic and easy on the ears. Minnelli directs stylishly.

Curtis has a tricky role that makes him less likeable than his usual persona, he brings charm and grit to it. Reynolds tries too hard at times but acts with enthusiasm and commitment. Pat Boone makes the most of his rather thankless role. The best performance, even with the questionable Hungarian accent, comes from Matthau having a whale of a time. There is some nice wit in the script, the best line from the whole film coming from Mattheau (concerning him being left speechless if he wasn't Hungarian) and Curtis and Reynolds's chemistry sparkles. Interesting seeing an early appearance from Ellen Burstyn and the opening is a delight.

However, the wit is very largely variable, sometimes it is there but at others (and too frequently so) it's not. There is a fair bit of smut here and it's not done in a snappy or sophisticated way and is not particularly funny. Instead it's not always in good taste, much of it actually vulgar, and likely to make one feel uncomfortable, it doesn't hold up particularly well.

The story does have issues with pacing, with some aimless dragging going on and the film doesn't really go very far as an overall whole. It does run out of steam and ideas too early and the initially good concept wears thin and gets silly and over-stretched, the story too thin for the overlong running time. The supporting cast generally are wasted, Boone deserved better, and some of the characters felt incidental completely to the story and like they were there for padding reasons. The ending does betray the running out of ideas, it felt very tacked on and anti-climactic almost like a cop-out.

Overall, good production values and cast but the script and story needed a lot of work. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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I Love It Through the Opening Credits
ecarle13 June 2005
The first five minutes or so of "Goodbye, Charlie" are simply sublime. But you can turn it off after the "Directed by Vincente Minnelli" credit comes on. But let's back up.

20th Century Fox logo on and off. Nice Cinemascope shot of a yacht off the Malibu coast at night, with jazzy-rock music in the far distance and a distant swingin' party on board. Three star credits come on and off: "Tony Curtis," "Debbie Reynolds," "Pat Boone." Onto the boat, where a raucous Hollywood party is in full swing. Director Minnelli captures all the phoniness and glamour of the party. A superfast psueudo-rock number -- "Seven at Once" -- is blaring on the "Hi-Fi" as heavy-bosomed Playmate of the Year Donna Michelle shakes her ample breasts in a low cut gold dress (in 1964, this was "sexy.") Hot young folks are dancing while stuffy old agent Martin Gabel looks on with peptic-ulcer angst. Some handsome matrons (Ellen Macrae, soon Burstyn, Joanna Barnes) try to swing with the Playmate, but to no avail. Walter Matthau (in gray wig and blazer) plays poker and puffs on a big stogie.

Old-fashioned director Vincente Minnelli tries some new-fashioned "hand-held camera" work (see: that year's earlier "A Hard Day's Night") to capture the ensuing action: Matthau's wife Laura Devon (the second sexiest woman after Playmate Donna Michelle) sneaks off for some hot below decks lovemaking with the barely seen stud screenwriter, "Charlie." Matthau snoops around in the kitchen of the yacht, and gets a gun when the maid isn't looking(this part of the sequence is like the opening murder sequence in the same December's "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" ) Matthau then bursts in on his wife and Charlie, starts shooting.

Charlie jumps out a porthole into the ocean, but Walter's bullets kill him before he hits the drink.

The party guests rush to the side of the boat and look down into the ocean where Charlie fell. Credits fly out of the water as a raucous male-female chorus sings the swinging, fun title song "Goodbye, Charlie! Hate to see you go..." What follows is a regulation 1964 animation sequence of deep sea creatures in the deep blue sea (where Charlie has gone to rest, soon to return as Debbie Reynolds) and that infectious title tune about a lothario getting his just desserts. (This song got a lot of radio play in '64/'65.) Vincente Minnelli was a pro, and this opening sequence is a lot of fun as the old (studio production values in costumes and yacht interior) fights with the new (hand-held camera, Playmate of the Year boobs) in a raucous sing-a-long opening that bids farewell to Hollywood's studio era and plants the genre as dead as Charlie with the counterculture years ahead.

"Goodbye, Charlie!" indeed...hate to see you go.
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Talk about love-hate relationships!
gregcouture30 April 2003
Boy oh the opinions differ about this one! As a diehard Minnelli fan I went to see this one when it was first released. Even then I forgave its jerry-built comic premise and tried to enjoy it as I had some of Vincente's earlier assignments at M-G-M. But it really was quite labored and, for its day, a bit on the smutty side. Hard to believe that the devilishly clever George Axelrod had a hand in this script.

Minnelli, as usual, insisted upon giving it the maximum possible visual gloss. An acquaintance of mine who worked on the art direction/production design team assigned by 20th-Century Fox to this project revealed that when Minnelli first came to the studio to review some planned sets and storyboards, he threw them out and insisted that everyone give it another, better try. The final result, along with Helen Rose's chic women's wardrobe (a Minnelli ally from M-G-M, and, probably, brought to Twentieth with Debbie's enthusiastic approval), and Milton Krasner's slick CinemaScope/DeLuxe Color cinematography, is a good example of studio product that was becoming increasingly out-of-touch with the emerging tastes of audiences looking for somewhat less glossy entertainments. Andre Previn's title song, with lyrics by his then-wife, Dory Langdon, aptly underscored the somewhat off-color proceedings. The VHS video is, no doubt, "formatted," so, once again, I warn all comers: "Don't bother!"
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The title should have been "Witless"
theowinthrop20 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I am going to give this lousy movie a "6", mostly due to the acting of Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis, and (best of all) Walter Matthau in trying to lift the idiotic plot. Also it's a nod to Vincent Minelli, a director who when good is indeed good - but not here.

I have nothing against sex in comedy: they go hand in hand ever since Aristophanes wrote LYSISTRATA. George Axelrod was no Aristophanes (he would barely touch that master's knees). However, he could construct plays of interest (THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH) and he had a hand in the screenplays of a number of first rate film (Wilder's version of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962 version)). But this film is crap.

The story should be more promising: Charlie is the friend of fellow writer George (Tony Curtis), and both are ladies men. While on the yacht of Hollywood producer Sir Leopold Sartori (Matthau) he makes a play for Lady Rusty Sartori (Laura Devon), and is caught by the husband. What follows may be based on the popular idea of the fate of film producer Thomas Ince in 1924 on William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Charlie is shot dead jumping overboard. His body is not recovered. Friend George is supposed to handle the funeral. Only a few people show up - Charlie's sex escapades and his debts left him with few friends. George finds he has been left executor of a bankrupt and debt encrusted estate, and he can't do anything to fix it.

Shortly after all the mourners leave, and after George falls asleep, his doorbell is knocked on. He finds a young man named Bruce Minton III (Pat Boone) with a woman who seems to be in shock. The woman is Debbie Reynolds, whom Minton found wondering around the highway naked and dazed. Minton does put her into his coat, but deposits her (out of necessity - for want of any sensible explanation) with an outraged George. George allows her to spend the night, but the next day she suddenly reveals that she is the dead Charlie, cruelly reincarnated as a woman (albeit an attractive woman). When George finally realizes this he tries to help Charlie get back to normal. But Charlie has other ideas. Like blackmailing old girlfriends and romancing every man in Hollywood - starting with Sir Leopold, whom he/she owes a "favor" to.

That is the foundation of this story. There have been attempts to do justice to reincarnation stories, but this is hardly the best attempt. Axelrod basically gets his best jabs when the female Charlie keeps acting too masculine (he/she slaps the rear of a female employee of the beauty parlor he/she is attending). That Charlie and George inevitably start falling for each other (despite their mutual realization of how sick the situation is) is inevitable, but it too is not funny.

Still, as I said, the leads and some of the supporting actors (including an up-and-coming Ellen Burstyn) give a good try for it. Best is Matthau, who (despite a poor Hungarian accent) does well as Sir Leopold (a film clone of the real English movie producer/mogul, Sir Alexander Korda, who was married to the gorgeous Merle Oberon for many years). He is childish, monstrous, and inept in trying to be smooth at the same time. But this material is lousy, and it is a monument to Matthau's ability that he pushes it as far as he can. Reynolds is too shrill at times at the transformation she has suffered, and is best as the poisonous blackmailer/user. Curtis is fine, but has few moments to rise in the material given him. Boone does well, but he has little to do but look like a love-sick puppy dog towards Reynolds.

See it once for the cast and Minelli, and then never watch it again if you can avoid it.
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a change in attitude
IRVIN815 October 2001
I saw, "Goodbye, Charlie" when I was about 20. That's a hard age to please. "Been there, done it, seen it; yet another piece of trite," was my attitude.

Debbie Reynolds was beige-haired, Tony Curtis, getting on. Overly-mounted pastel-colored movies bored me - hitless, and this was another end-of-an-era white-bread piece of rubbish. Doris Day and Sandra Dee were what the Sixties had degenerated into: broad, trite and forced.

Besides, there were well-known rumors about Debbie's pinch-hitting proclivities. The premise of "Goodbye Charlie" was awkward and perverse. I suspected that Hollywood was presenting it as an inside joke.

So 35 years later, I tried it again on TMC. ...And I LOVED it. Well, much of it. I loved gorgeous Ellen Burstyn and Joanna Barnes - indeed, the scene at The Bistro Restaurant with these latter two and Reynolds had me p******g myself, if you'll forgive the vulgarity. Ms. Barnes can do no wrong as a character playing straight when someone is putting the screws to her. Her slant-eyed, cool demeanor is pure joy.

The fact that Vincent Minnelli directed it and that George Axelrod wrote the script was an important revelation.

What's more, I thought that the ladies' dresses were magnificent. How well they dressed, back then!

And when Walter Matthau said, "If I weren't Hungarian, I'd be speechless!" is a classic retort. I loved his character, also - and he's a man who's garnered so much praise over the years that I usually just roll my eyes when I see him. He looked smart as paint in his black tie and toupee - and the way he worked the room when he's sprung from jail was utterly delicious.

In the final quarter hour, when I saw where the film was headed, I switched stations, unwilling to have my favorable impressions destroyed.

Axlerod is a master, and I'm sorry to have given him short shrift for so many years. Those who want to see a quintessential Sixties movie, along with some rib-tickling one-liners, want to go with this one.
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Hello Walter
marcslope7 May 2001
It's labored and '60s-smutty from the get-go -- a smirking sex farce with no good lines and most of the major roles miscast. But if you sit through it, you'll get Walter Matthau doing an outrageous put-on as a libidinous movie mogul, sort of a Hungarian Dino di Laurentiis. His accent's all wrong, he's not remotely convincing as a Lothario, and yet it's such an all-out, audacious vaudevillian turn, you can't help but smile at him. You won't at anything else.
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"Deadly" is dead right!
JohnHowardReid13 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Producer: David Weisbart. Copyright 18 November 1964 by Venice Productions. Released through 20th Century-Fox. New York opening at the Warner, Cinema 1 and other theaters: 18 November 1964. U.S. release: 18 November 1964. U.K. release: April 1965. Sydney opening at the Regent. 10,397 feet. 115 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: A wild party is underway on the yacht owned by Sir Leopold Sartori (Walter Matthau). Among the revelers is Sartori's wife, Rusty (Laura Devon) who is dancing with Charlie Sorel. When Rusty and Charlie slip below decks, Sir Leopold follows them with a gun. There is a scream and a burst of gunfire as Charlie dives through the porthole into the water. George Tracy (Tony Curtis), a friend of Charlie's, is named executor of his will. After the funeral, which is attended by a few of "Charlie's Girls", the epithet given to the women in Charlie's life, George returns to his home. As he is about to retire, Bruce Minton (Pat Boone) and a dazed-looking blonde (Debbie Reynolds) break in through the patio sliding doors.

NOTES: Running a disappointing 109 performances, the stage play, "Goodbye Charlie", opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre (sic) on 16 December 1959. Leland Hayward produced and George Axelrod directed. Lauren Bacall was Charlie, Sidney Chaplin was George and Sarah Marshall was Rusty. The film characters of Bruce and Sartori were not in Axelrod's original play.

COMMENT: Goodbye Minnelli! Lovers of frenetic farce and rabid fans of Curtis and Reynolds may find something to their taste in this sparingly witty but mostly witless caper. Two or three clever strokes such as Matthau's Kordaesque caricature of a Hungarian mogul and Martin Gabel's clone of "Swifty" Lazar betoken the behind-the- camera presence of film stylist Vincente Minnelli. But even five or six admirable brush strokes do not in themselves an appealing picture make. Alas, Charlie has little else of entertainment value up his/her sleeve.

OTHER VIEWS: "Goodbye Charlie" hasn't lost a bit of its bad taste in transition to the screen. In fact, all the smarmy creepiness and sleazy smuttiness has been expanded. — Judith Crist in the N.Y. Herald Tribune.

Few surprises and even fewer laughs in this sex scramble. There's a tastelessness about it that's deadly. — Time.
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Boredom, Boredom, Boredom.
rwint15 July 2001
A playboy is killed by a gangster and then returns to earth as a women (Reynolds). After a OK first fifteen minutes this thing really degenerates into complete boredom. The cast does nothing but sit and talk, and talk, and talk. Making annoying, dated sex jokes that are sad to think they were ever considered provocative. The low point comes when Reynolds confronts her/his killer and still nothing happens. They just sit and talk some more. These same sociological differences between men and women have been handled in far more interesting ways in far better films. Even Matthau seems out of place.
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Goodbye Camelot.
Psalm528 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Having only recently seen this movie (four plus decades after it was made) for the first time, it definitely is a time capsule of an era gone by ... when Curtis ranked supreme as a leading man and Reynolds still drew audiences based on her fifties's films (Singing in the Rain, Hit the Deck), and America had a living president named Kennedy. That era is long gone now ... Curtis retired to Vegas and bloated, and Reynolds is known now-a-days more for being Carrie Fisher's "real" mom and/or Grace Adler's "fictional" mom. I go on about this because although this film is watchable, and really comes to life when Matthau hilariously overplays a horny movie producer, its value to me derives more from what it captures on celluloid ... an era of film-making w/ Camelot-like production values (ie.- Come September, That Touch of Pink) that ended with the passing of Kennedy.
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'60s salad of glamor, weirder, more thoughtful than usually supposed
Cristi_Ciopron30 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I liked Debbie Reynolds (who nonetheless looked as if she could be as bland as the movie's main quirk, a trope met from Topper and Capra, to movies with Pitt or Bridges, always lacking eeriness; but here, she wasn't, she gives some kind of a Method acting) playing a man being a woman, she made a good role, I liked Curtis' talk with Carmel about felonies, and the 'Psycho' spoof, with the cellar and the inspector in the street.

The script showcases a guy's strong wish to know that his deceased friend has been redeemed, saved. From exhaustion, alcohol and hunger, he sleeps, and in his dream his demised pal shows up as a girl (this way, George mourns him, by expressing his asexual love for his friend), and also gets a 2nd chance, to behave better …. It has all been a dream. And in his dream, the writer saw his friend redeemed. Charlie has been dead all along, since the opening scene. And instead of Charlie returning from his ocean rest, a dog will guard George's newfound love. Let us distinguish idea, quirk, look, style; the idea is of the dream and redemption, with mourning and longing, the quirk is the mentioned trope, the look is astonishing, the style is a '60s salad.

I enjoyed the '60s glamor. There are parties with nice statuesque, shapely women. Joanna Barnes, Laura Devon, Myrna Hansen are so good-looking, and so is the movie itself, which I expected from so reputed a director, but in fact this is a modest _glam comedy (a few scenes were good, once the spoof begins), not very inspired or funny, averagely amusing certainly, not always in the best taste.

I have read somewhere an obviously wrong plot summary: 1st, all could have been George's dream, from drunkenness and hunger, and in fact it has all been a dream, since the blonde who shows up at the denouement, and her dog, have previous lives, a past, they don't just show up mysteriously, claiming to be another beings; and 2nd, Charlie isn't punished again, but released, redeemed, for her unwillingness to take advantage of the inexperienced guy who proposed her, Charlie behaved better as a woman, ceased manipulating others. The idea being that, in George's dream, Charlie did 'change his ways', became better. But the director wished to save the twist for the denouement, instead of allowing it to permeate the plot, to shine from inside the plot.

The screwball and the satire were mediocre, the spoof worked. It didn't seem to me like a good movie (though it has exciting or very satisfying scenes), because of the lousy script (which was however a hit, there's an American infatuation with this kind of bland fantasy, about the dead being given more time on Earth) and its _soullessness, its glamorizing of shallow beings (not entirely, but almost devoid of humane reactions), though the idea of the script certainly has charm (which, as a matter of fact, in retrospect subverts the _soullessness, as it has all been George's longing, his search for a redemptive solution), so I rank it as a charming movie, as a '60s salad of glamor. There's a Protestant tale of retribution, _expectably devoid of dramatic force, and a _glam comedy. One's not supposed to be awed by the director or the fame. I mostly dislike the quirk of the script, the avatars of a dead person, the idea of justice, because of its defining blandness, seen in countless other movies, it has a Protestant flavor, but it's something that apparently the American audiences enjoy. Otherwise, the comedy, made in a _glam style, seems a bit heartless, a bit soulless (though the twist might change this, as it has been George's way of dreaming a generous resolution, of seeing his friend redeemed, saved, changed albeit posthumously), and its satire and social world, uninspiring.
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pikachubaby26 October 2019
Entertaining 10+ Mega Funny and Superb Performances!
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Wow, how bad can it get?
pyenme18 October 2019
I tried to watch this movie twice. Couldn't do it. SO bad. Acting, script, premise that was a tough sell to begin with and only made worse. With all the star power in the cast and direction, I thought it would be better. I won't even go into the plot as others have, and if you liked this movie - well, there's all kinds of taste out there!
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The 1960s Were Not Like This
tr-834958 September 2019
Future generations are going to think the 1960s were like this ... and they most certainly were not. Pat Boone was laughed at in the 60s and was not a staple of the top 40 - his years were the 50s. Same for Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis.

The people dancing the "twist" on the boat? Come on...these people are all in their 40s. 50s. and 60s. This had no relevance to the younger people who were to dominate the 60s with their songs, sounds, and messages.

This is how older people saw younger people. It is the very definition of the generation gap. The casting director hires actors he/she thinks will appeal to younger people and we have what the oldsters thought were popular stars in 1965 ... Pat Boone? C'mon? Really? Where are the Supremes? Lesley Gore? Smokey Robinson? Roy Orbison? Bobby Vee? The other hitmakers of 1965? Where are they?

The "music" in this film is a joke. So is the generic, bland, what-older-people-thought-rock-music-sounded-like music from the soundtrack. Most all 60s movies, with the exception of the all-teenage musical TAMI show, shared this problem/distinction. Old people deciphering what young music was. Naturally, they always failed.

This movie didn't take place in America in the 1960s. It took place in some older director's head during the 1960's concerning his conception of how he thought American society was behaving. Totally dishonest when it came to all backgrounds. On the other hand, Debbie Reynolds nailed her part and there was some good acting.
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Bad Karma?
sol-kay3 September 2006
**SPOILERS** 1960's screwball comedy involving a philandering heel who's luck runs out when he's caught with both his pants down and the wife of a big Hollywood producer ending up shot and deep sixth-ed at the very beginning of the movie.

Having a memorial service for the departed screenwriter Charlie Sorel, Harry Madden,instead of the almost 100 friends and associates that were expected to attend only four show up with a very uncomfortable George Wellingtion Tracy, Tony Curtis, Charlie's best and only friend being forced to give the sermon. Tracy being the executor of Charlie's estate finds out, among all the other exploits in Charlie's life, that he was stuck with a $75,000.00 bill on Charlies part to the IRS.

Tracy being visited that evening by this rich mama's boy Bruce Minton III, Pat Boone, who happened to notice this young nude woman, Debbie Reynolds, walking aimlessly on the beach. Bruce did what a gentleman would do by wrapping her in his overcoat and driving her, with the woman giving Bruce directions, to Charlie's place to spend the evening.

The next morning the woman wakes up screaming and in a cold sweat. Everything came back to her and with her amnesia now gone she remembers who she is! she's Charlie Sorel! a Man in a Woman's body. At first Tracy feels that that all this is just one of his, the late Charlie Sorel's, many girlfriends who's trying to freak him out for one reason or another, just take your pick, that had to do with his friend Charlie shabby and trashy treatment of her. It doesn't take long for Tracy to realize that Charlie is really Charlie with information that Charlie tells him about himself and the late Charlie Sorel that only Charlie, and Tracy, would know!

Charlie at first is repulsed at the fact that he's a woman who to Charlie, when he was a man, was nothing but a toy to play with and throw away when he got tired of it. Charlie later starts to like his/her new body and uses it to blackmail his former bedmates by telling them that he, or she's, the late Charlie Sorel's widow Charleen and knows all about his affair from a diary that he kept that she's, unless paid off, going to have published.

Tracy who's now up to his neck in his friends Charlie/Charleen new life sees the wall's closing in on him with the police and IRS wanting to know what were the circumstances of Charlie's demise. It turns out that Tracy, Charlies best friend and executor of his will, has gotten very friendly with Charlie's killer Hollywood producer Sir Leopold Sartori, Walter Matthau, who's been found innocent in Charlie's killing by reason of justifiable homicide. Tracy has also gotten very close with Sartori's busty young wife Rusty,Laura Devon, who Sir Leopold caught together in bed with Charlie just before he blasted him! Could it be that instead of justifiable homicide it was really premeditated murder on both Sir Leopold and Tracy's part?

Trying to get Charlie out of the country Tracy goes to Sir Leopold begging him to, with his extensive political connections, get Charlie a false passport which Sir Leopold agrees to do. Still the crafty old fox has other plans in mind. Sir Leopold plans to trick the desperate Tracy into leave Charlie alone in his, or the late Charlie Sorel's, house so he can make a play for him, or her, himself.

In a strange quark of fate, or reincarnation, Sir Leopold Charlie's obsessed killer has become Charleen's obsessed lover and the object of Charlie's uncountable lust, for Rusty, that caused Sir Leopold to do in Charlie in the first place. Rusty ends up being the person who does in Charleen for being the reason for her old man Sir Leopold fooling around with another woman! The woman who's the person that she was fooling around when Charleen was a man Charlie Sorel! How's That For a Mouthfull!

Somewhat hard to follow at times with Debbie Reynolds trying to be both Charlie and Charleen, in her voice and actions, but still worth watching. There's also Pat Boone's Bruce Minter III falling under the spell of Charleen/Charlie and with his mother away on business, and having the massive Minter Estate all for himself, lets it all hang out by letting his hair down and confessing his love for her. Bruce does that with what looks like the biggest diamond ring in existence! Only to later pass out from drinking too much wine and champaign thinking, in his babyish mind, that it's only lemonade.

Charlie does comes back again at the end of the movie "Goodbye Charlie" in a new body but can't communicate and it looks as if his good friend Tracy also is unable to recognize him. Since he, Charlie, has a speaking problem that gives those of us watching the film something to howl about.
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Bonding, friendship and love
jarrodmcdonald-126 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched GOODBYE CHARLIE this morning and had to write a review about it. I think the greatest problem I have with the film is the way it seems purposely gay then at the last minute chickens out. The cop-out ending is truly problematic and undermines everything that came earlier in the story.

I have not seen the stage play or read it. But my guess is the play did not end the way the movie did. I am thinking Fox decided to tack on the phony ending to ensure its commercial success and make it seem less gay by the final fadeout. Spoilers ahead for those who have not seen it yet.

This story (based on George Axelrod's play) seems inspired by Thorne Smith's gender switching comedy TURNABOUT which was already filmed in 1940. In GOODBYE CHARLIE, the leading man (Tony Curtis) has realized he's developed feelings for the "girl" (Debbie Reynolds) who is his old skirt-chasing pal Charlie now reincarnated. At one point in the story, Reynolds' character realizes this is a karmic justice of sorts-- and Curtis says she's gone from being a pitcher to a catcher. Clearly, a reference to the versatility of gay sex.

However, in order to give the audience a more mainstream happy ending, Charlene as she's now called, falls to her death again then Tony's character says it is probably for the best. A short time later, another woman out for a stroll along the beach comes up to the house and she's also played by Debbie Reynolds. She looks exactly like Charlie/Charlene, and when it's discovered she's single, we're led to believe these two will wind up together. A point in the dialogue is made that the new woman at the end has always been a girl, never a boy. Nothing has properly foreshadowed the tacked on resolution. It totally comes out of left field. A silly compromise is even included where the woman has a Great Dane that is named Charlie.

Overall, I think this is a disappointing film that until the last five minutes had a lot going for it. There's even a nice subplot with a rich mama's boy (Pat Boone) who falls for Charlene and proposes marriage. She turns him down, but that can be read as the young man being really attracted to another man, which is just dropped when the engagement falls through. Given all Axelrod's humor about the sexes and clever use of reverse psychology, the story has/had great potential to show that love comes in all forms. But such a wonderful lesson is abruptly discarded so that the film can have a completely heterosexual finale. I can't help but think it would have been made more correctly in Europe. It truly deserved an ambiguous ending that made us think about the real nature of bonding, friendship and love.
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You can lead great performers to a camera, but you can't make them act...
Popeye-828 August 2001
What does it take to be a bad movie? 1. When your lead actor (Tony Curtis) gives the most wooden, lifeless performance of his career; 2. When your lead actress (Debby Reynolds), playing a reincarnated lady-killer, just about fondles herself on screen (in a rather disturbing scene) when discovering the change, and never really conveys the fact that she is a man's ghost in a woman's body; 3. When you cast a Playmate of the Year (Donna Michelle, 1964), list her among the principal actors, then briefly show her dancing at a party in the opening sequence, never to be seen again. 4. When your best performances come from Roger Carmel, of all people, as a homicide detective who suddenly arrives to throw the plot into a needless twist; 5. When you waste Pat Boone's talents (unfathomable as it seems) by having him play a rich boy wooing she-male Debby.

This, no doubt, is one of the most disappointing movies I have ever seen. The writing is abysmal (one particular scene with Debby and Tony drags on for 15-20 minutes, and you wish for death to take you); director Minelli makes no attempt to elevate it above a filmed stage play; and the Cinemascope is so cluttered, one is often more interested by the props than the performances.

One gem amidst the dross--Walter Matthau as a fraud Hungarian director. One hopes for Carmel's character to grill Matthau, but it never comes to be. Truly, one film to avoid at all costs.
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