Perfectly In The Middle: Our Review of ‘All Night Long’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - June 20, 2020
Perfectly In The Middle: Our Review of ‘All Night Long’ on Blu-Ray

Sometimes you just have to appreciate the mess…

All Night Long is admittedly a bit of a mess but it has such an honest sensibility to the ever so slightly gonzo nature of this admittedly over cast romantic comedy.

After successful executive George Dupler (Gene Hackman) is demoted to managing a seedy all-night drugstore, he decides to totally change his life.  Leaving his wife, he takes up with Cheryl (Barbara Streisand); a sexy but somewhat ditzy neighbor; who’s already had an affair with his son (Dennis Quaid).  Now his hands are full with this new wild woman by day and his crazy customers by night.

To be completely fair, All Night Long might be the most oddly compelling mess of a film that this critic has ever seen.  It feels like an indie dramedy that stumbled into an A-List/Mainstream cast and didn’t realize it until it was too late.

There was a myriad of problems on this shoot that you’ll hear about in the special features but All That Long has such an earnest tone to it that you can’t help but kind of admire it.  Director Jean-Claude Tremont didn’t have a storied career but it was somewhat competently done.  It tries to drift between drama and comedy and not necessarily effectively but it goes where it needed to.  Writer W.D. Richter who went on to have some noted hits (cult and otherwise) in his repertoire really plays this like it’s a bump in the road and it feels like it’s trying to be more then it is or just not knowing when to lean into the jokes or the drama and it is completely overcast which ironically enough works both for and against it all.

Coming off of Superman II this was a complete 180 degree shift for Hackman heading into the 80’s and it just didn’t do anything.  Not enough people really saw it to call it a flop, but Hackman brought such honesty to the role that we bought his characters journey, he was self-deprecating, serious and funny in this story of a man having a full blown mid-life crisis.

Barbara Streisand was actually quite good opposite him and they had real chemistry together, even when the words coming out of their mouths didn’t work, they did.  Having Diane Ladd, Dennis Quaid, Terry Kiser and others in this was a little distracting at times, but no one was really bad either.  It really hinges on Hackman as man whose been pushed to the brink of what his life was ‘supposed’ to be…but at least when he realizes his inherent unhappiness he can at least have a laugh about it.

The picture quality on this disc for this film…that to be honest I had never even heard of is actually pretty solid, and aside from the standard trailers and radio spots as bonus features there’s a pretty good 20 minute interview with writer W.D. Richter who goes pretty deep into the troubled nature of the project that just seemed to happen in spite of a lot of the problems staring it in the face.

Ultimately, All Night Long isn’t necessarily a good movie, but it is an historical fascination in celluloid history.  It’s proof that we simply never appreciated Gene Hackman enough when we had him working on a regular basis and example of why things that are a bit of a mess go into turn around and terrible ideas get green lit.  You simply never know how a movie is going to turn out until you shoot the damn thing.  This could have been a disaster or it could have been a classic but seeing how it lands so firmly in the middle is a real rarity in filmmaking.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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