ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME – A Review by John Strange



By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: Chiemi Karasawa

Cast: Elaine Stritch

MPAA Rating: NR

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 80 Min.

Chiemi Karasawa’s directorial debut is an amazing view into the life of Elaine Stritch.  Actress and singer, she is a Broadway legend.  Elaine’s career began in 1944 on the stage with her debut in Loco on Broadway.  She was nominated for five Tony Awards and won one for her one woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty.  Noel Coward wrote a musical for her.  In films she appeared along-side Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis.  She has done a myriad of television appearances, receiving eight Emmy nominations.

Okay, those are the cold facts.  This film talks about the woman behind the striking face.  She talks about the men in her life.  Her two dates with Jack Kennedy and the love affair with Ben Gazzara (whom she nearly married but she moved on to Rock Hudson before Ben could divorce his wife).  The love of her life was her husband John Bay, whom she lost to cancer in 1982.

We see glimpses of her life through stock footage of rehearsals and performances from her past films and her present projects.  The rehearsals for her present show, a one-woman show of Steven Sondheim songs, give us a great view of this amazing 87-year-old powerhouse, her highs and lows. 

Performances and health issues are blended into the story of a complicated woman who has made so many men love and admire her.  Elaine is a diabetic who has several low blood sugar episodes during the filming.  She talks frankly about being an alcoholic and how that has affected her.

I sat down to watch this film thinking I knew this lady.  I had respect for her abilities before this viewing.  I have now joined the army of people who think she is absolutely amazing.  Her attitude toward life is inspiring.  My favorite quote from the film is one that has been around for a long time but has new meaning when she utters it.  “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

IFC has brought us a lot of excellent films.  They have added Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me to that list.  I think that you will like this one.

Movie Site: http://elainestritchshootme.com/

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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