2 Weeks in Another Town reunites director Vincent Minnelli, producer John Houseman, screenwriter Charles Schnee and actor Kirk Douglas for another inside look at Hollywood from a not-so-glamorous point of view. Ten years earlier in 1952, they teamed up to make the great The Bad and the Beautiful, a story about the relationships between producers, directors, cast and stars. Both tales can be seen as modeled after various captains and big shots of Hollywood in those golden days of movie making. Which ones are really up to the viewer to decide.
2 Weeks takes place in Rome and stars Douglas as has-been screen idol Jack Andrus, summoned to Rome by his longtime director/pal Maurice Kruger, (Edward G. Robinson) who is also seen as washed up, for a small part in his latest film. Upon arrival in Rome, straight from a sanitarium, Andrus finds his part in the film is a sham but is convinced to stay on and help Kruger finish the dubbing and bring the movie in on time and on budget. Andrus gets further involved and mixed up with the young cast, stealing young star Davie Drew’s (George Hamilton) girlfriend (pretty Daliah Lavi). Meanwhile, we learn of past drama between Andrus and Krugerl that includes Andrus’ ex-wife (foxy Cyd Charisse) and Achilles’ heel.
As time runs out and the noose closes on the movie, Kruger falls ill and is unable to finish the project. So Andrus sees his chance to redeem himself and step ups to finish directing the film, along with help from the supporting production team. Andrus has learned well from his time in and out of the spotlight and brings out the best in his inherited cast while bringing the film in on time and under budget. A bond is formed between old Andrus and reckless young star Drew, who insists that his next picture be done by Andrus. All seems well but there’s trouble a-brewin’ as Kruger gets wind and assumes that Andrus intends to steal all the credit and glory. With that, a still ill Kruger fires Andrus, sending him off disgusted and hurt, again, and into a drunken night on the town climaxing in a wild ride through the streets of Rome with his slutty ex-wife by his side.
Have no fear as all ends well. The wild ride is a moment of enlightenment for Andrus and he “wakes” up, gets things together, and heads home to the States with a clear head and conscience to further works things out in his professional life and get that film with Davie Drew made. What a saga packed into a 107-minute runtime!
All the elements come together again in 2 Weeks in Another Town as they did in The Bad and the Beautiful to make an entertaining film about the behind-the-camera life in movies. Maybe not as great as the first time around, but the creative foursome has turned out a good film. It is well directed, written and acted. Fine performances where turned in by the whole cast from old pros like Edward G. and Kirk D. to youngsters Hamilton and Daliah Lavi. The shots filmed in Rome are great; horror fans will note the building and plaza used by Dario Argento in his masterwork Suspiria. A drawback is the not-so-real “streets” of Rome used in the wild ride scene.
The major disappointment is the production of the DVD itself. While appreciative that this is available through the made-to-order Warner Archive program, when we pay full price for these discs I think more than a fancy burned copy is in order. I understand cost and all, but really, what about us nerds that really like our collection of films on DVD? There are no real extras or extras at all because the trailer doesn’t count. And finally “remastered”, huh? I’m no film major but the picture looks pretty much the same as one might have seen it years ago with dust spots and all. I’ve seen better quality remastered films that were saved from near extinction. Oh, well. We have the movie available on DVD so I suppose that’s enough.