Stephen Boyd, Elke Sommer, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams, Ernest Borgnine, Milton Berle, Eleanor Parker, Joseph Cotten, Jill St. John, Ed Begley, Walter Brennan and Broderick Crawford co-star in this overheated camp-classic masculine version of All About Eve. Frankie Fane (Boyd) has clawed his way to the top of the Hollywood heap. Now, as he’s preparing to win his first Oscar, his friend Hymie Kelly (Bennett) reminisces about their life together, his ruthless struggle to the top and the people (see above) he’s stepped on to make it there. Nominated for 2 Oscars for Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color) and Costume Design (Color). Includes cameos by Hollywood legends Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Edith Head, Merle Oberon, Nancy Sinatra, Joan Crawford and Hedda Hopper. Directed by Russell Rouse (The Thief, The Fastest Gun Alive, The Caper of the Golden Bulls), with a screenplay by the great Harlan Ellison (The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone), Rouse and Clarence Greene (Pillow Talk, D.O.A.), based on a novel by Richard Sale (The White Buffalo, Driftwood).
As embodied by Alan Bates, Butley falls back on the surgically precise wit and savage eloquence that helped put him in his current circumstances in the first place. The blitzkrieg of vitriolic commentary with which Butley engages lovers, students, rivals, and allies, all with equal ferocity, becomes a glass bottom boat illuminating the churning depths of his bankrupted soul. Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, in what Time Magazine hailed as “a quite superior directorial debut,” turns author Simon Gray’s single-set, dialogue driven stage play into an irresistible dynamic visual experience that tracks Bates’ hilarious and fearless performance with cunning precision.
Bates and an expert supporting cast, including OscarÃ‚Â® winner Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), joust with a sly, self-referencing wit and an unselfconscious exuberance that is breathtaking. With every verbal parry and valedictory flourish of wordplay, Butley’s life becomes more of an inescapable bear trap of thwarted ambition, clandestine affection, and squandered brilliance.