All That Jazz Screen 8 articles

All That Jazz

1979

All That Jazz Poster
  • Almost every scene is excruciating (and a few are appalling), yet the film stirs an obscene fascination with its rapid, speed-freak cutting and passionate psychological striptease. This is the feverish, painful expression of a man who lives in mortal fear of his own mediocrity.

  • Fosse might owe a lot to Fellini's plunge into self-obsession, but the pungent texture of showbiz grime and sweaty, thrusting body geometry are completely his own. In powerhouse numbers like "Take Off With Us" and the infamous "Bye-Bye Love" (easily the longest on-screen death rattle of all time), Fosse brings his own unique style of rhythmic, dance-like film editing that he initiated with Cabaret to its apotheosis.

  • In contrast to Lenny or Star 80, All That Jazz combines Fosse's choreographic showmanship and his cool filmmaking detachment, turning his death-trip vision of himself into the most joyous time spent on Broadway.

  • Bob Fosse’s 1979 musical autobiography is a lot of things — a premature, self-penned obituary that’s much harsher than most of us would have written... It’s also the most daringly edited (by Alan Heim) major studio release since “Bonnie and Clyde,” dancing between past, present, reality and fantasy in hard cuts, with the agility of a brilliant mind contemplating the life that shaped it.

  • This phenomenal 1979 film... was the director’s third (and final) Hollywood musical, following Sweet Charity (1969), an adaptation of Fosse’s 1966 stage production of the same name, and Cabaret (1972). All three movies are obsidian prisms reflecting the darker, seamier aspects of show business, informed by the desperate ambience that Fosse observed first-hand as a teenage dancer in the burlesque halls of his native Chicago.

  • By centering on the body, Fosse had such amazing source material—the drama was in a step, a look, a gesture. His cinema grew out of that; the films he made before All That Jazz were like no others, but it’s in this film, a kind of moral-minded, autobiographical phantasmagoria, that Fosse learned to make the camera dance too.

  • All That Jazz is so head-spinning because it's a deeply felt, deeply stylish, deeply alive movie about disconnection, degradation, and estrangement that abounds in lewd, boozy, intellectualized poetry. The fusion of those various contrasts was Fosse's great specialty, and it's right there, subsumed, in the film's rococo photography and, especially, in the amazing dance numbers, which revel in a tone of macabre erotica...

  • The film that immediately jumped to mind for discussion is Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, a tricky masterpiece, whose queerness is at once literal and completely subordinate, whose genre (the musical) and milieu (musical theater) signify gayness, but which, being an autobiographical work from its writer-director-choreographer, is, at least on the surface, very straight. In fact, it’s one of the few films in American history that can be called perversely, uncommonly heterosexual.

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