6.5/10
504
24 user 13 critic

Play It As It Lays (1972)

A Hollywood actress undergoes a psychic breakdown and recalls the traumatic events which led to her stay at a sanitarium.

Director:

Frank Perry

Writers:

Joan Didion (novel), Joan Didion (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tuesday Weld ... Maria Wyeth Lang
Anthony Perkins ... B.Z.
Tammy Grimes ... Helene
Adam Roarke ... Carter Lang
Ruth Ford ... Carlotta
Eddie Firestone ... Benny Austin
Diana Ewing ... Susannah
Paul Lambert ... Larry Kulik
Norman Foster ... Abortionist
Chuck McCann ... Abortionist's Assistant
Severn Darden ... Hypnotist
Tony Young ... Johnny Waters
Richard Anderson ... Les Goodwin
Elizabeth Claman Elizabeth Claman ... The Chickie
Mitzi Hoag ... Patsy
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Storyline

Maria Wyeth, an ex-model and B-movie actress, strolls on the grounds of a mental hospital, recalling the traumatic events which led to her breakdown. She is married to an unfaithful, self-engrossed director, Carter Lane. Neglected by her husband, Maria is engaged in a series of one-night stands and becomes pregnant. Her husband divorces her, and she has an illegal abortion. Maria's only friend is B.Z., a homosexual movie producer. World weary, he tells Maria that he has discovered the meaning of life is nothing. He invites her to commit suicide with him. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Maria's life was a search for the ultimate answer even after she found there was none.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Play It as It Lays See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Peckinpah was to have worked with Joan Didion on this screen adaptation of her novel but this plan did not materialize. See more »

Goofs

Full-screen version shows boom mic in the outdoor sequence where Maria is shooting an actual gun on the movie set; boom mic also visible when B.Z. talks with Maria in the motel room while she is looking at crime scene photographs with a magnifying glass. See more »

Quotes

Maria Wyeth Lang: ...existentially, I'm getting a hamburger.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ellie Parker (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Absurd as played out in Hollwood
15 April 2006 | by katiekeeneSee all my reviews

Life in Hollwood in the early 1970s--an actress, any actress, rich and famous or not, is exemplified in existential angst in 'play it as it lays.' A compelling character study, Tuesday Weld plays Maria (pronounced Mar EYE'a) Wyeth, an actress much like herself. It is difficult to see where the actress and character begin and end, she is that good in this film. Maria drives her yellow Stingray from one Los Angeles freeway into another only to kill time because she can't kill herself.

Her film industry friends are LA's idle rich who have little else but money. Only a gay friend, played by Tony Perkins, truly cares about her. Maria searches relentlessly for meaning in a place that has none, although it resembles a utopia. The sun is always shining, everyone drives a German car and sips cocktails at their pool or Malibu beach home.

If Albert Camus, the French existentialist of the absurd, had lived in Hollywood, he would have written her story.


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