Monday, August 4, 2008

Film #70: Voices

This is a short review of a film I haven't seen in a long time, and would like to see on DVD as soon as possible. It's 1979's Voices, the only big-screen effort from television producer/director Robert Markowitz and TV writer John Herzfeld. Now that I think about it, given this pedigree, I suppose the film is a little tv-movie in quality--the visuals don't pop out at me much as strong memories.

But I do recall being touched deeply by this love story between an aspiring musician (Michael Ontkean) and a deaf dancer (Amy Irving). I know, I know--the possibility for cliches are endless here. But I stand by my memories of Voices being a legitimatly-earned-tear-inducer. To boot, it also has a memorable score by Jimmy Webb, the songwriter behind "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "MacArthur Park," and "Wicita Lineman." His song "When Will I Touch You Again?" is one of the film's highlights (but I won't tell you anything else). More music is provided by Willie Nelson, Burton Cummings, Tom Petty and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

It's Ontkean and Irving together that set this movie sailing. Both are lovable and real, end of story. There is definite emotion laid into this film on their parts. Barry Miller, Alex Rocco, and Herbert Bergof play the three generations of men at home who build up and tear down Ontkean's dreams of becoming a professional musician. They're good, but their parts are overwritten. Voices, which I have not seen since I caught it on cable in the mid-1980s, works best when its two attractive leads are snuggling together on-screen. If you ever see Voices langishing in some box of VHS tapes, or on Ebay, get it. You won't be sorry.

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