The Ritz

( 4 )

Overview

With The Ritz, Terrence McNally's hit Broadway play of the same name is cinematized by director Richard Lester. Jack Weston plays Gaetano Proclo, a minor mob flunky who's been targeted for elimination by his brother-in-law, Carmine Vespucci Jerry Stiller. Gaetano takes refuge in what he thinks is a Turkish bath. Actually, it's The Pits. That's the name, "The Pits" -- a gay bathhouse this is the pre-AIDS era, where the exquisitely awful Googie Gomez Rita Moreno entertains the homosexual patrons with her ...
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Overview

With The Ritz, Terrence McNally's hit Broadway play of the same name is cinematized by director Richard Lester. Jack Weston plays Gaetano Proclo, a minor mob flunky who's been targeted for elimination by his brother-in-law, Carmine Vespucci Jerry Stiller. Gaetano takes refuge in what he thinks is a Turkish bath. Actually, it's The Pits. That's the name, "The Pits" -- a gay bathhouse this is the pre-AIDS era, where the exquisitely awful Googie Gomez Rita Moreno entertains the homosexual patrons with her ear-splitting renditions of such show tunes as "Everything's Coming Up Roses." Hoping to save his neck by pretending to be gay, Gaetano effusively praises Googie. Assuming that he is a big-time Broadway producer, she plays up to him. Everything would be hunky-dory, except that the bathhouse is owned by the very mob that has put a contract on Gaetano. What follows is an old-fashioned door-slamming farce, except that there are no doors to slam. The supporting cast includes Kaye Ballard, Treat Williams, George Coulouris, F. Murray Abraham, Dave King, and as one of the patrons a pre-Cheers John Ratzenberger.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Always amusing and frequently very funny, there's a lot that is very right with The Ritz. Writer Terrence McNally has created a can't-miss premise and has built a solid, sturdy structure around it. He has peopled his farce with a wide range of types, and has put the main character in a life-or-death situation so that he has more than sufficient motivation. And of course the setting and gay angle give it a twist that, especially at the time of its release, is different. Director Richard Lester has added some nice touches (such as the lava lamp in the otherwise ornately Italian home at the start of the film) and has gathered a great cast. Jack Weston projects the right combination of vulnerability and exasperation, Jerry Stiller is properly single-minded, and Rita Moreno is a wonderful mix of self-delusion, steely ambition, and freakish exhibitionism. Treat Williams makes his potentially irritating character endearing, and F. Murray Abraham steals the scene every time he has a chance. Yet with all these assets, The Ritz remains a good film rather than a classic farce. McNally has failed to come up with enough jokes and sufficiently big pay-offs to situations, and there are crucial moments that don't ring true. (Why, for example, would Weston agree to perform in the very public talent show when his brother-in-law is literally gunning for him -- especially when the drag outfit he wears is neither sufficiently believable as a disguise nor sufficiently amusing as audience entertainment?) Lester also falls down on the job too often, allowing pacing to lag unacceptably in spots and not giving the film the visual energy from which it would benefit. Despite these flaws, however, The Ritz remains an enjoyably silly affair with some wonderful moments.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/22/2013
  • UPC: 883316690765
  • Original Release: 1976
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 14,016

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Weston Gaetano Proclo
Rita Moreno Googie Gomez
Jerry Stiller Carmine Vespucci
Kaye Ballard Vivian Proclo
F. Murray Abraham Chris
Treat Williams Michael Brick
John Everson Tiger
Christopher J. Brown Duff
Dave King Abe
George Coulouris Old Man Vespucci
John Ratzenberger Bath Patron
Chris Harris Patrons
Freddie Earle Disgruntled Patron
Richard Holmes Pianist
Bart Allison Old Priest
Tony de Santis Sheldon Farenthold
Paul Price Claude Perkins
Samantha Weyson Gilda Proclo
Bessie Love Maurine
Ben Aris Cyclist
Peter Butterworth Patron In Chaps
Ronnie Brody Small Patron
Hal Galili Patron With Cigar
Leon Greene Musclebound Patron
Hugh Fraser Disc Jockey
Technical Credits
Richard Lester Director
John Bloom Editor
Roy Charman Sound/Sound Designer
Colin Chilvers Special Effects
Dusty Symonds Asst. Director
Philip Harrison Production Designer
Vangie Harrison Costumes/Costume Designer
Evangeline Harrison Costumes/Costume Designer
Gerry Humphreys Sound/Sound Designer
Terrence McNally Screenwriter
Denis O'Dell Producer
Paul Rabiger Makeup
Mary Selway Casting
Ken Thorne Score Composer
Chic Waterson Camera Operator
Paul Wilson Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GOOGIE!

    See this film...if only for Rita Moreno's brilliant and hysterical performance as no-talent singer Googie Gomez. Her rendition of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" will stay with you forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Are you a "Producer", are you chuure?

    The very first time I saw this movie "circa 1979" was at a shopping mall theatre, people actually got up and left. I on the other hand was HOWLING in my seat. When it was released on VHS I could'nt wait to get my copy. I watched it so many times I may have worn out the tape and can literally recite all the lines of the movie. Somewhat of a dated movie now and way before the aids crises began this movie brings all the "euphemisim's" that go along with the gay culture of the era. If anyone wants to take a retro look at these wonderful characters this is the movie to buy. I'm reserving my DVD copy and pitching my worn out VHS tape. BUY IT! you won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2003

    Put a rush on ''The Ritz''

    This is one of the funniest movies I have even seen. A great cast including muli-award winning Ritz Moreno, this 1976 comedy is long overdue to be released on DVD!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2002

    A Reel Comedie of Erroars

    One of the more strange movies in the universe that hardly anyone has seen. The performances are all superb, be it that the characters are among the strangest in the universe. With Rita Morena as Googie Gomez, the downtroden Broadway wannebe, belting out the most bizarre rendition of ''Everything's Coming Up Roses'' (''Heveryting's Comin' Up Hroses for me and for jew'') along with Treat Williams as the undercover detective whose voice never changed from when he was a young boy, it's a surprise that Jack Weston's Gaetamo survives at all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews