Promoting a new comedy book she wrote, Joan Rivers was on guest on NPR's Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross. Joan killed. She was really funny and really quick in that interview last year. So quick that I felt some of her one-liners went over Terry's intellectual head. Joan's current book is called I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me.
It's rarely mentioned that Joan is a writer. I've blogged previously that she co-wrote one of the best, smartest and funniest made-for-TV movies of the 1970s. It could probably air this weekend on ABC opposite NBC's Smash and make good numbers. ABC premiered The Girl Most Likely To... in 1973. Stockard Channing killed and killed in this black comedy about Miriam Knight, a sweet and lonely ugly duckling college whiz...
Joan Rivers' first film appearance was a dramatic role opposite an Oscar-winning Hollywood legend. The film will be shown during this month's Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood. Based on a work by author John Cheever, Burt Lancaster starred as The Swimmer in 1968. This is the kind of character you'd associate with Don Draper on TV's Mad Men. In Connecticut, in a community of privilege, this ad man decides to go home via the neighbors' swimming pools. He drops into each home and asks if he can use the pool. With each visit, we discover more about his life. This is a very National Public Radio kind of movie, if you will. Keep it mind, it's based on a philosophical story by John Cheever. And the tone seems to change during the film. Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest) was the original director. During the shoot, he was replaced by Sydney Pollack. Lancaster is good in this meaning-of-life story. He never shied away from films that had social significance and made audiences think.
If you're lucky enough to attend the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (wish I could go), The Swimmer shows you how good a famous funny lady could be in a dramatic acting role. And Burt Lancaster is as much a wet dream in this film as he was on the beach in From Here To Eternity (1953).