Two Weeks in Another Town
Two Weeks in Another Town is a 1962 American drama film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, Claire Trevor, Daliah Lavi, George Hamilton, and Rosanna Schiaffino. It was based on a novel by Irwin Shaw.
|Two Weeks in Another Town|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||John Houseman|
|Written by||Charles Schnee|
|Based on||Two Weeks in Another Town by Irwin Shaw|
|Starring||Kirk Douglas |
Edward G. Robinson
|Music by||David Raksin|
|Cinematography||Milton R. Krasner|
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan |
Robert James Kern
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.|
The film depicts the shooting of a romantic costume drama in Rome by a team of decadent Hollywood stars, during the Hollywood on the Tiber era. It contains several references to a previous successful Minnelli movie, The Bad and the Beautiful, also starring Douglas.
Once an established movie star, Jack Andrus has hit rock bottom. An alcoholic, he has been divorced by wife Carlotta, has barely survived a car crash and has spent three years in a sanitarium recovering from a nervous breakdown.
Maurice Kruger, a film director who once was something of a mentor to Andrus, is also a has-been now. However, he has landed a job in Italy, directing a movie that stars a handsome, up-and-coming young actor, Davie Drew.
Andrus is offered a chance to come to Rome and play a role in Kruger's new film. He is crestfallen upon arriving when told that the part is no longer available to him. Kruger's mean-spirited wife, Clara, doesn't pity him a bit, but Andrus is invited to take a lesser job assisting at Cinecittà Studio with the dubbing of the actors' lines.
While working, he socializes with the beautiful Veronica, but she actually is in love with Drew. The actor is having a great deal of difficulty with his part and the movie is already over budget and behind schedule. Kruger's stress also is increased by the constant harping of Clara, resulting in a heart attack that sends the director to the hospital.
Andrus is asked to take over the director's chair and complete the film. Glad to do this favor for Kruger, he takes charge and gets the film back on schedule. The actors respond to him so much that Drew's representatives tell Andrus the actor will insist on his directing Drew's next film.
Proud of what he has done, Andrus goes to Kruger in the hospital, delighted to report the progress he's made, only to be attacked by Clara for trying to undermine Kruger and steal his movie from him. Andrus is shocked when Kruger sides with her.
An all-night descent into an alcohol-fueled rage follows. Carlotta goes along as a drunken Andrus gets behind the wheel of a car and races through the streets of Rome, nearly killing both of them.
At the last minute, Andrus comes to his senses. He vows to return home, continue his sobriety and get his life back on track.
Two Weeks in Another Town was created by the same team that earlier worked on another film about the movie business, The Bad and the Beautiful: director (Vincente Minnelli), producer (John Houseman), screenwriter (Charles Schnee), composer (David Raksin), male star (Kirk Douglas), and studio (MGM). Both movies also feature performances of the song "Don't Blame Me" -- by Leslie Uggams in Two Weeks and by Peggy King in The Bad and the Beautiful. In one scene of the former, the cast watches clips from The Bad and the Beautiful in a screening room, presented as a movie that Douglas's character, Jack Andrus, had starred in. Two Weeks is not a sequel, however; the characters in the two stories are unrelated.
George Hamilton was cast as "a troubled, funky James Dean-type actor, for which I couldn't have been less appropriate" as he later admitted.
The adult subject matter would run into problems with the MPAA and the conservative studio executives at MGM. The new studio head, Joseph Vogel, wanted to transform the project into a "family film" and had it re-edited without Minnelli's input, reducing the total running time by 15 minutes. Both Minnelli and Houseman protested but to no avail. An orgy-party scene inspired by Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita was deleted as well as a melancholy monologue by Cyd Charisse that was supposed to humanize her character. Kirk Douglas would later write in his 1988 autobiography that "this was such an injustice to Vincente Minnelli, who'd done such a wonderful job with the film. And an injustice to the paying public, who could have had the experience of watching a very dramatic, meaningful film. They released it that way, emasculated."
Initially, the film wasn't well-received by critics or the public. Bosley Crowther in his New York Times review of August 18, 1962 wrote: "The whole thing is a lot of glib trade patter, ridiculous and unconvincing snarls and a weird professional clash between the actor and director that is like something out of a Hollywood cartoon."
The film's reputation has greatly improved over time. David Thomson called it "underrated," writing in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film that it was "invested with such intense psychological detail that the narrative faults vanish." Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote that it was "one of [Minnelli]'s last great pictures...The costumes, decor, and 'Scope compositions show Minnelli at his most expressive, and the gaudy intensity—as well as the inside detail about the movie business—makes this compulsively watchable."
According to MGM records the film earned $1 million in the US and Canada and $1.5 million elsewhere, leading to an overall loss of $2,969,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- George Hamilton & William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do, Simon & Schuster 2008 p 157
- Steffen, James. "Two Weeks in Another Town". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
- Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Two Weeks in Another Town". Chicago Reader. Retrieved January 25, 2019.