Beau Bridges, Maud
Adams, Gilbert Roland
by James Frawley
by Cinema Center Films
Distributed by National General Pictures
performance can be seen in it's entirety
on MVDvisual's 2007 DVD Tim Buckley
- My Fleeting House.
on Sunset Strip
Christian Licorice Store keeps the audience off balance. It comes on like
a fairly conventional, chichi love story, a lot of fancy wrapping around an empty
package. But whenever total apathy threatens, a small moment occurs a shot,
a gesture, a line of dialogue so well rendered that expectations are revived.
They may be frustrated anew in the next scene, but even at its worst The Christian
Licorice Store always manages to be interesting.
plot is an offhand affair about a hot-shot California tennis player (Beau Bridges)
afflicted with the same psychogenic pestilence that has raged through so many
other contemporary movies (Five Easy Pieces, Two-Lane Blacktop). The tennis
player has a smashing girl friend (Maud Adams), who turns him on but threatens
to tie him down.
career is lucrative but unfulfilling. Even when his beloved coach and manager
(Gilbert Roland) dies, he is incapable of feeling much more than self-pity. So
with characteristic cool, he embarks on a course of suicide.
movie is a patchwork of pop culture its title derived from a Tim Buckley
tune, its sound track laden with song fragments and snippets of news broadcasts,
its pastel photography reminiscent of countless TV commercials. Monte Hellman,
director of Two-Lane Blacktop, even appears in a cameo role. All this does
not amount to much more than another episode of Sunset Strip angst, but there
are reassuring indications throughout that Director James Frawley and Scenarist
Floyd Mutrux are capable of better work.
death is especially effective. The camera finds him lying in bed, pans over to
pick up his clock radio switching on, continues slowly round the room, showing
dozens of framed pictures that range over his past, then comes to rest again on
him. He has not moved. The radio continues to play.
Magazine - December 1971
Christian Licorice Store (1971)
(Published: April 5, 1974)
concept of box-office poison admits to exceptions; from Gone With the Wind
to M*A*S*H,supposedly toxic subjects have yielded hits. And with all respect
to the exhibitor who once stated, "I don't want any more movies where people
write with feathers," even the currently despised costume picture could have
some in Hollywood suspect that sports movies (along with films about writers)
rarely do well. The Christian Licorice Store, which is playing today and
tomorrow at the First Avenue Screening Room, offers some clues about potential
movie, which was made in 1971 by James Frawley, who later directed Kid Blue,
follows the fortunes of "the new golden boy of tennis," Beau Bridges,
all floppy hair and ceaseless smiles. There's no excitement afoot while he smashes
his way to victory, because we know we're watching actors and not a real game.
So the grunts of effort fail to generate suspense. The camera does all the work;
the players aren't athletesit's the movie maker who decides who will lose
Licorice Store has other problems. The tennis star has a soupy sense of
alienation and a beautiful, adoring girlfriend (Maud Adams) who was given no character
whatsoever. Eventually, he's corrupted by lush offers for hairspray ads and movie
is his destinyas established by a party scene where he strokes two young
women (a timid imitation of Blow Up) in a house with an unfilled swimming
pool. Empty pools always mean that all's not well in Hollywood.
one vast, brief pleasure lurks within this picture: a visit with Jean Renoir.
He talks about a book he's writing, and says that "it's going slowlybut
I hope safely," adding that it's not an autobiography but "some souvenirs"
from the present and the future, as well as from the past.
glimpse of the great man is worth the movie's oppressively lyrical soundtrack,
and a script crammed with lines like "This is a damn good racket," or
"I think the nicest things in life happen when you're naked."
also one gallantry that wipes the eye of history: A young woman says, "I
would have loved the thirties," and is told, "The thirties would have
1974 New York Times