TOOTSIE: DVD (25TH ANNIVERSARY)
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented actor, but his temperament has antagonized every producer in New York. His agent George (Sydney Pollack) insists no one will hire him. But Michael badly needs $8,000 and to earn it, he is willing to play the role of a lifetime. He dons a wig and a frock and becomes Dorothy Michaels, who is successful in an audition to become the new hospital administrator on a new TV soap. But things become complicated when he is attracted to Julie (Jessica Lange) one of his co-stars.
Review by Louise Keller:
Twenty five years after it was made, Tootsie still has plenty to offer with its gender-bending themes and endearing story about a man who finds it easier to be successful as a woman. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards, and winning one for Jessica Lange as Best Supporting Actress, the film is mostly remembered for Dustin Hoffman's outstanding portrayal of Dorothy, the bespectacled, conservative woman who stands for neither discrimination nor nonsense. Unlike Robin William's Mrs Doubtfire, who ultimately plays it for laughs, Hoffman's Dorothy is a poignant and almost tragic figure, who impresses not only the large TV soap audience, but those much closer at hand. "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man," Hoffman's Michael tells Lange's Julie when the façade is ended.
"Don't play a part that's not IN you," Michael tells the acting students he is coaching. But it is hard for him to play any part at all, when confronted by excuses about being too short, too tall, not well enough known or wrong physically. He aggravates everyone, even his agent George (Sydney Pollack), who tells him while he's a wonderful actor, he is too much trouble. A sentiment that appears to be only too true when Michael confronts George as Dorothy dressed in wig and frock at the Russian tearooms. 'I begged you to get some therapy,' George pleads. But the real fun begins on the set of the TV soap when Dorothy discards the script and causes chaos with opinionated ad libs. The film concentrates on the ensuing relationships - between Dorothy and Jessica Lange's Julie, Julie's father Les (Charles Durning), and Dabney Coleman's director Ron who is in a relationship with Julie. There are additional complications involving Michael's occasional girlfriend Sandy (Teri Garr) and the flatmate played by Bill Murray.
It is a credit to Hoffman that Dorothy becomes a real person to us: we believe in her as she chats in the kitchen, sings along at the piano, sips nightcaps by the fire, and talks about liberation and women's rights. She becomes everyone's confidante as Michael's situation becomes more and more precarious. Director Pollack keeps everything on track and even the climactic scene in which Dorothy reveals herself is credible. Tootsie also marks Geena Davis' first screen role, as a scantily clad actress who shares a dressing room with Hoffman's Dorothy.
DVD special features includes Dustin Hoffman's screen test footage, plus deleted scenes and a Making of Featurette.
Published May 1, 2008
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TOOTSIE: DVD (M)
CAST: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, George Gaynes, Geena Davis
PRODUCER: Sydney Pollack, Dick Richards, Ronald L. Schwary
DIRECTOR: Sydney Pollack
SCRIPT: Murray Schisgal, Larry Gelbart
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Owen Roizman
EDITOR: Fredric Steinkamp & William Steinkamp
MUSIC: Dave Grusin
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peter S. Larkin
RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of Tootsie, deleted scenes, screen test footage
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: April 30, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.