3/12/12: “10”

Doesn’t she do anything except swim and jog on the beach?

George Webber, played in his inimitably lovable inebriated fashion by Dudley Moore, is a famous pop composer who, at the seemingly premature age of 42, suddenly hits middle-aged crisis HARD. He can’t write, think, have sex with his girlfriend Sam (Julie Andrews), get along with anyone, or otherwise function is society unless he’s pretty hammered. One day, while driving he sees a stunningly beautiful woman on her way to her wedding. Obsessed by her amazing beauty, he follows her to the church and makes a fool of himself as he voyeuristically tries to spy on her. The woman is, of course, Bo Derek as Jenny Hanley – the definitive “10 (well, actually, she’s graded an 11 on a scale of 10) – in only her second role.

The film, directed by Blake Edwards, was nominated for both Best Score and Best Song (It’s Easy to Say). Both nominations went to Henry Mancini. As expected in a Dudley Moore film, the music is paramount. This, however, is not only Derek’s break out film, it’s Moore’s as well. Blake Edwards, with whom along with the great Stanley Kubrick & Mick Jaggar I share a birthday, on the other hand, was coming off a triad of successful, if slapsticky mediocre, Pink Panther films. He’d receive an Honorary Oscar in 2004. And Julie Andrews, of course, won the Best Actress Oscar as Mary Poppins.

George’s little wedding day venture into voyeurism is just a scratch at the surface of this, the secondary theme of the film after middle-aged syndrome. He has a telescope with which he frequently watches the sexual escapades of his Beverly Hills neighbor and his wife. They have no qualms at all about this and gladly put on unreciprocated shows for George. But that’s not the end of it: George spends plenty of time peeping in on their nudist pool parties and even gets drunk and attends one – much to the irritation of the tempted occasionally by voyeurism Sam. They don’t cohabitate, but she’s there a lot. One day, she stops over to see him when George isn’t there. Sam looks through the telescope, presumably to check on the goings on, and sees he’s there at a party – stark, bare ass naked!!!. The film is a romantic comedy and in true form, George grows & learns what’s important.

Interestingly, Edwards was inspired to write the script as a result of catching a glimpse of a gorgeous woman on the way to her wedding. And he wanted Peter Sellers to play George, which would have marked the 4th consecutive film he directed in which Sellers was the lead, but he turned it down. He made a cameo appearance as a jazz drummer in a restaurant but the scene hit the cutting room floor.

Like the fine brandies that George imbibes throughout the movie, “10” ages well. There is the frequent anachronistic reminder of what many a woman of the era looked like full frontally nude but other than that, the film is every bit as sexy as any released today – and [thankfully] it’s not available in 3D. Get it??? Er,…,I mean, go out and GET IT!! 🙂


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