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    A Fabulous Classic

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Opening this day 26 years ago, The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) had romance, melody and movie love in its DNA from the start. A passion project for its writer/director Steve Kloves, it took years to get made, yet time has a way of allowing the perfect puzzle pieces to fall in place. As Janet Maslin rhapsodized in The New York Times: “It's a film specializing in smoky, down-at-the-heels glamour, and in the kind of smart, slangy dialogue that sounds right without necessarily having much to say. That its characters are essentially familiar does nothing to make them less dazzlingly attractive.” The film three leads – Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges as a piano-playing nightclub duo and Michelle Pfeiffer as the scintillatingly sexy singer they hire to enliven their act (and boy, does she ever) – were spot-on. Michael Ballhaus’ sumptuous cinematography, whether on location or on soundstage interiors, invested the film with the shimmering look of a first-rank 1940s Hollywood studio picture, illuminating character in every scene. Dave Grusin, a then newly-minted Oscar® winner for his The Milagro Beanfield War score, supervised the sumptuous music (and would earn another Oscar® nomination for his marvelous contributions.) In fact, the one thing that didn’t go right was the film’s theatrical release. In a crowded fall marketplace, it didn’t catch on at the box office; only afterward on home video and television did its reputation grow and glow. Fresh off varied showcase roles in Married to the Mob and Dangerous Liaisons, Pfeiffer slinked her way across Jeff Bridges’ piano to a fistful of Best Actress awards and her second Oscar® nomination. It’s a cinematic reverie that continues to shine on Twilight Time’s sparking hi-def Blu-ray, which also includes a pair of Audio Commentaries, one with Kloves joining TT’s Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman waxing poetic about the experience, the other a technically enlightening analysis by Ballhaus of his work on the movie, plus 20 minutes of fun never-before-seen outtakes. It’s altogether fabulous. Kloves, now at work on a new adaptation of The Jungle Book as well as consulting with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling on her screenplay for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them screen adaptation, also spoke with Filmmaker Magazine’s Jim Hemphill about The Fabulous Baker Boys in an interview you’ll find here: