Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

11 September 2014

The Woman in Red

Have you seen Gene Wilder's The Woman in Red? If not, you're doing fine, although I will say that I found lots of it really funny. It's funny in that awkward kind of way where you just feel uncomfortable most of the time and then that super-awkward feeling is punctuated by laughs every once in a while.

There's also a rather fascinating gay thing. (The movie is from 1982.) Everyone in the group of friends in the movie is cheating. Gene Wilder is trying to cheat on his wife with the eponymous woman in red, Joseph Bologna cheats on his wife constantly, Michael Huddleston is sleeping with a colleague's wife, and Charles Grodin... well it turns out that Charles Grodin cheats on his boyfriend at one point during the film with a cute young blond boy named Erik (Thom Mathews, who would go on to act in The Return of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead II and Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI.)

Anyway, the film makes a big show of accepting Charles Grodin for being gay and Gene Wilder drives him home and gives him a hug but doesn't say anything – and then later they stay friends and nothing is strange.

Overall, the movie is one of these comedies-with-a-lesson-type movies that are more interested in sentimentality than in making their audiences laugh.

I should say that the woman in red herself is not just an object in the film, even if she obviously is on the poster. As it turns out, she is clever and fascinating, and way more interesting than any of the other characters in the film.