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S. O. B. (1-Jul-1981)

Director: Blake Edwards

Writer: Blake Edwards

Music by: Henry Mancini

Producers: Tony Adams; Blake Edwards

Keywords: Comedy

A once-successful film director is on the outs after the flop of his most recent movie, Night Wind. He buys the rights to the film and reshoots portions of it, releasing a new version as an artistic soft-core pornographic feature. Unique satire of Hollywood that remains edgy 30 years after it was made. Multiple viewings recommended.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Julie Andrews
1-Oct-1935   Mary Poppins
Rosanna Arquette
10-Aug-1959   Desperately Seeking Susan
Marisa Berenson
15-Feb-1947   Barry Lyndon
Corbin Bernsen
7-Sep-1954   Arnie Becker on L.A. Law
Hamilton Camp
30-Oct-1934 2-Oct-2005 Voice of GizmoDuck
Benson Fong
10-Oct-1916 1-Aug-1987 Flower Drum Song
Virginia Gregg
6-Mar-1916 15-Sep-1986 Radio actress
Larry Hagman
21-Sep-1931 23-Nov-2012 J.R. Ewing on Dallas
William Holden
17-Apr-1918 16-Nov-1981 Stalag 17
Robert Loggia
3-Jan-1930 4-Dec-2015 The Jagged Edge
Stuart Margolin
31-Jan-1940   Angel Martin on The Rockford Files
Richard Mulligan
13-Nov-1932 26-Sep-2000 Burt Campbell in Soap
Gene Nelson
24-Mar-1920 16-Sep-1996 Oklahoma!
Joe Penny
24-Jun-1956   Jake and the Fatman
Robert Preston
8-Jun-1918 21-Mar-1987 The Music Man
Craig Stevens
8-Jul-1918 10-May-2000 Peter Gunn
Paul Stewart
13-Mar-1908 17-Feb-1986 Citizen Kane
Larry Storch
8-Jan-1923   Corporal Agarn on F Troop
Loretta Swit
4-Nov-1937   Hot Lips on M*A*S*H
Ken Swofford
25-Jul-1933   Quentin Morloch on Fame
Robert Vaughn
22-Nov-1932 11-Nov-2016 Napoleon Solo on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Webber
14-Oct-1924 19-May-1989 12 Angry Men
Shelley Winters
18-Aug-1920 14-Jan-2006 Method actress and camp queen


Review by Walter Frith (posted on 7-Jun-2007)

Blake Edward's intention, aside from entertaining audiences in 1981 with his movie 'S.O.B.', was to get back at the cut throat Hollywood establishment that uses people and then throws them away like garbage. Marilyn Monroe once said "Hollywood is a place where they'll pay a million dollars for a kiss... and fifty cents for your soul." What we see in 'S.O.B.' is a string of unscrupulous characters who try and win control of a film that is re-shot and prepared and envisioned to have much greater success than its initial bomb at the box office. Edwards' motive for wanting to get back at Hollywood is a little strange and uneven, like most of his films I imagine. On the one hand there is no question that the Hollywood establishment is not exactly a charitable affair, but on the other, Edwards has had a very successful career so why lash out at the system that has made him his fair share of money. From 'The Pink Panther films that ranged from 1963 to 1993, to 'Days of Wine and Roses' (1962), to 'Victoria/Victoria' (1982) which is regarded by many as his best film. It earned him his only Oscar nomination for anything, in the category of best screenplay adaptation to be exact, and the film garnered six other nominations, winning one for music. In 'S.O.B.' Richard Mulligan plays Felix Farmer. He's a big shot Hollywood producer who always made money for the studios. He then produces the biggest and most expensive film of his career, and it flops. Along for the ride in this disastrous situation are his wife (Julie Andrews), the back stabbing head of the studio in question (Robert Vaughan in a deliciously slimy and villainous performance), and three of Felix's best friends, a movie director (William Holden), his wife's press agent (Robert Webber) and the family physician who has all of the best lines in the film (Robert Preston). After the film takes its time to get going, Felix then has the brilliant notion that if they make the film a sex epic, that it will bring people in to see it by the millions. Felix's wife Sally Miles (Andrews) is a wholesome movie star who has an image that is family oriented and safe. Felix feels that if he can cast her as a sexual deviant, then people will want to see it for the shock and awe of things. Julie Andrews bares her breasts in the film and this certainly came as a surprise to many who still see her as Mary Poppins. Felix makes his film and the powers to be behind the scene try and win control of the film's financial rights and Felix has made himself very vulnerable by using questionable tactics, both legally and morally that raised funding for the film's re-shoot. What 'S.O.B.' has going for it are some very funny moments that any fan of slapstick comedy would enjoy. But the film is wildly uneven, going from tranquil moments of dialogue to raunchy moments of sexual parody and semi-comical violent jabs. There are obvious portraits of real life people in the film who will remain nameless here. The term 'black comedy' is perfect when describing things in this film that pokes fun at some serious things like sexually transmitted diseases, gun play and even death. Perhaps a bit too much for some, but others will embrace this film as a look at what it takes to make it in Hollywood if you're prepared to sell your soul to the devil. A great companion piece to this film is 1992's 'The Player', so rent them both on a rainy afternoon and enjoy yourself. Other noted members in the cast of 'S.O.B.' are Larry Hagman, Robert Loggia, Stuart Margolin, Marisa Berenson, Shelly Winters, Craig Stevens and Loretta Swit. This would be William Holden's last film. He died in 1981 at the age of 63 from head injuries he suffered from a fall while he was intoxicated and Holden was a truly great actor. One of the greatest in film history who suffered the tragic effects of alcoholism which plagued him for a good part of his life. [Visit Film Follow-Up by Walter Frith]

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