They All Laughed | Chicago Reader

They All Laughed

Peter Bogdanovich conceived of this 1981 film—about a New York detective (Ben Gazzara) hired to follow a millionaire's unhappy wife (Audrey Hepburn)—as a revival of the romance and sophistication of Ernst Lubitsch's comedies. If intentions counted more than accomplishment, this movie would be a masterpiece: all the right elements are present, chosen with a keen critical eye. But Bogdanovich, a cold director drawn to sentimental material, doesn't have the warmth to bring it off, and his wobbly control of tone keeps leading the physical comedy into pain and humiliation, the romance into prurience, and the wit into the realm of the sour and shrill. With John Ritter, Colleen Camp, Blaine Novak, and Dorothy Stratten, luminous in her last screen appearance.

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