ONLY TWO THINGS CAN SCREW UP THEIR RELATIONSHIP. HE’S ONE, SHE’S THE OTHER
Bernard Slade’s Romantic Comedy opened on November 8, 1979 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway, starring Anthony Perkins and Mia Farrow. It had a very healthy run of 396 performances and was the kind of, well, romantic comedy that’s become an endangered species, both on Broadway and film. In 1983, The Mirisch Corporation brought Romantic Comedy to the screen, directed by Arthur Hiller, starring Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen. The story is classic romantic comedy – Jason Carmichael hasn’t written a hit play since he and his writing partner split up. On the day of his wedding, in comes Phoebe Craddock, a quirky, funny, and endearing writer, who becomes his new partner. Through hits and flops, through marriages and divorces, the two flirt with their own romantic comedy – the closest of friends, the nearest of lovers and finally finding their happy ending. Moore and Steenburgen were terrific as the collaborators in everything but their own romantic comedy.
Reviews were mostly fine, with Roger Ebert especially enjoying the film for what it was.
“Not a whole heck of a lot happens in ‘Romantic Comedy’ but it happens so charmingly, and with such quick spirit and wit, that it's enough. This is the kind of movie Hollywood used to make to exploit the sheer charm of its great stars – performers like Cary Grant or Katherine Hepburn, who were so wonderful to watch that all you had to do was find something for them to say. The stars this time are Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen. Together, they have the sort of chemistry that might make any dialog work, and certainly works in Bernard Slade's story about a couple of playwrights who collaborate for years and years before they find the courage to finally come right out and kiss each other.”
For the score, director Hiller turned to award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch and it was a perfect match of composer and film. Hamlisch basically came up with one theme for the film and then finds the most beautiful ways to present it – whether up tempo or slow, mournful or romantic, it’s a great theme (and one you’ll be humming for weeks), and while not many composers could make that approach work, Hamlisch does it with nary a false note.
For this CD, we used the original three-track session masters housed in the MGM vaults. While we would have loved to include the song “Maybe” that plays over the end credits (sung by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack – and credited to Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager, and Burt Bacharach), it wasn’t available to us. Happily, Hamlisch recorded an instrumental of the theme, which is what we’ve used to close out the CD. While the score is fairly short, we do present every note of it. It’s always a pleasure to bring more Marvin Hamlisch to CD – the world certainly needs more Hamlisch and it certainly can use a lot more romantic comedy. - Kritzerland
1. Main Title (02:22)
2. The Wedding / First Rehearsal (00:59)
3. Opening Night In Boston (00:50)
4. Opening Night On Broadway / Goodnight, Phoebe (01:35)
5. Allison Pregnant / It’s A Boy / It’s A Hit / Several Hits Later (02:11)
6. Dinner For Sick Phoebe (01:26)
7. Flop / It Was You (03:10)
8. Our Second Act Doesn’t Work At All (01:56)
9. New Play Rehearsals (00:56)
10. Phoebe Leaves / Romantic Comedy (02:10)
11. So Much For Happy Endings / Stop Talking And Collaborate / Happy Ending (06:10)
12. Unused Source Music (00:53)
13. Opening Night Party Music (Out Here On My Own) (02:57)
14. Wedding Party Music (01:58)
15. Music to Write By (Don’t Blame Me) (01:08)
Maybe ~ by Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager, and Burt Bacharach
Out Here On My Own ~ Music by Michael Gore Lyrics by Leslie Gore
Don’t Blame Me ~ Music by Jimmy McHugh Lyrics by Dorothy Fields