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With: Jack Lemmon, Genevieve Bujold, James Woods, Joe Flaherty
Written by: Lawrence B. Marcus, based on a story by Stanley Elkin
Directed by: John Korty
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 100
Date: 10/03/1976

Alex & the Gypsy (1976)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tooth and Bail

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

San Francisco director John Korty (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Who Are the DeBolts?, Twice Upon a Time, etc.) shot this movie in my hometown when I was a little kid, and it was a big deal to the residents of Sonora, California. They eagerly awaited the movie's opening, which never came. It apparently opened in a few big cities: I found lukewarm reviews by both Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael, but it was quickly covered up. To date, it has yet to be released on video or DVD. One story has it that, though star Jack Lemmon was satisfied with the finished film, his wife told him he looked old and/or fat. Mr. Korty himself was kind enough to send me a screener. Lemmon plays Alex, a bail-bondsman who risks everything to bail out a beautiful gypsy girl, Maritza (Genevieve Bujold), who is accused of murder. Alex and Maritza have a history together and apparently once loved each other. Most of the movie consists of them fighting, and Lemmon sometimes comes across as fairly abrasive, rather than funny. James Woods co-stars as Alex's nervous assistant Crainpool, and steals much of the movie. Regardless of the film's overall mess, it has a carefree quality that could only be accomplished in the 1970s, and seems rather appealing compared to today's airless, soulless, overly controlled movies.

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