Based on the novel by Lois Gould and adapted by Elaine May under the pseudonym Esther Dale, the narrative does occasionally feel uneven lurching between the interior monologue of lead character Julie Messinger (Cannon) and exterior drama. But this lends a period charm and one that is underpinned by a cutting edge of cynicism and casual cruelty from the characters.
|Dyan Cannon and Laurence Luckinbill|
It’s still a film which challenges narrative assumptions and which isn’t quite as pleasant as you keep on expecting it to be: bad things are happening and no amount of New York sophistication can mask the cruelty of friends…
|Brave, brave performance from Burgess Meredith...|
His photographer Cal (Ken Howard) is the cook here providing for Richard and Julie and their friends, Cal’s model girlfriend Miranda (the lovely Jennifer O'Neill) and Marian (Elaine Joyce) and her husband, Doctor Timmy Spector (James Coco) who is to oversee the operation.
All crack wise and make light and, the Messingers retire to bed with Richard joking about the outlandish possibility that he might not make it through the operation.
|Just a routine procedure...|
Timmy is calm, reassuring Julie that these things happen and that all will be well. Julie ignores the suggestion that she should sue, and goes about recruiting their friends to donate the 20 pints of blood to repay the blood bank for the withdrawals made to re-invigorate her husband.
|The blood donors|
Julie talks to Richard’s now comatose self and Miranda helps to comfort their children – she’s a natural… Julie has flashbacks of their early courtship and marriage: how did they get here?
Julie’s worries begin to dominate and Cannon really excels here as the world of the well recedes into the distance…
But life is not as uncomplicated as that and a visit from Cal reveals that Richard and Miranda had been two-timing them both for over a year. Julie is angry at Cal for revealing this but still goes to confront Miranda as she rehearses a pretentious open air Shakespeare…
|Dyan Cannon and Jennifer O'Neill|
|The penny drops...|
Such Good Friends is available now on DVD after decades of semi-obscurity and I’d agree with Roger Ebert that it has integrity and packs a punch. Not quite Catch 22 but a clear message that there is no such thing when it comes to relationships…
|The doctor's Chevrolet Corvette Stingray|
|Julie had had other options...|
|Julie sets herself free...|