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Death Becomes Her (1992)

The pair knock out Ernest and bring him to Lisle, who offers to give him the potion free of charge in exchange for his surgical skills. Ernest is very tempted, but after some thought he fundamentally disagrees with the idea of immortality, especially considering the consequences Madeline and Helen are already suffering. He pockets the potion and flees, but becomes trapped on the roof. Helen and Madeline implore Ernest to drink the potion to survive an impending fall. Ernest, realizing that they only need him for their own selfish reasons, refuses and drops it to the ground, but after falling he lands in Lisle's pool and escapes. Lisle banishes Madeline and Helen from her group, leaving the pair to rely on each other for companionship and maintenance.

Death Becomes Her (1992)


The theatrical version of Death Becomes Her omitted or shortened many scenes featured in the film's rough cut.[14][unreliable source?] Director Robert Zemeckis decided this was needed to accelerate the pacing of the film and eliminate extraneous jokes. Most dramatically, the original ending was entirely redone after test audiences reacted negatively to it.[15] That ending featured Ernest, after he has fled Lisle's party, meeting a bartender (Tracey Ullman) who helps him fake his death to evade Madeline and Helen. The two women encounter Ernest and the bartender 27 years later, living happily as a retired couple while Madeline and Helen give no sign that they are enjoying their eternal existence.[16] Zemeckis thought the ending was too happy and opted for the darker ending featured in the final cut.[16] Ullman was one of five actors with speaking roles in the film to be eliminated.[16] Other scenes that were eliminated included one in which Madeline talks to her agent (Jonathan Silverman) and one in which Ernest removes a frozen Madeline from the kitchen freezer he has stored her in.[14] None of the scenes have been released publicly, but sequences can still be viewed in the original theatrical trailer.[17]

its so hard to explain death becomes her to people who have never seen it before. a glitzy all star comedy that implements the best horror imagery (the floating nuns are downright sinister) of the 60s/70s whilst being deeply funny.

In Death Becomes Her, Zemeckis' exploration of the dreary and downcast is more subtle, but visible nonetheless. It may also be his most pessimistic film about the human condition. The movie opens on a gothic-looking Manhattan, blanketed in rain, thunder, and darkness. In fact, the majority of the film takes place under the cover of night and rarely do we see the characters venture into the daylight. As the camera zooms into a half-empty Broadway theater, there's Streep's Madeline onstage, desperately trying to revive a dying career in a musical version of Sweet Bird of Youth. As Madeline flits and twirls in her "I See Me" musical tribute to herself, even the white boa she wears is dying, shedding feathers with her every move. Everything on that stage is expiring, yet Zemeckis' genius lies in making the audience laugh out loud at the sad spectacle. Zemeckis can't even help but remind us of the death of disco with the sampling of "The Hustle" and Madeline's "hoo-ah! hoo-ah!" riff during her hilariously painful song-and-dance number.

Madeline, insecure about her fading fame and youth, steals Helen's fiancée, renowned cosmetic surgeon Dr. Ernest Menville (Bruce Willis in a solidly underplayed comic performance), which drives Helen deep into psychosis. The next time we see Helen, she's a 200-pound cat lady living in a filthy apartment, eating frosting out of the can, and watching an old movie in which her nemesis Madeline is strangled to death. Helen knows her existence has become meaningless, and her one remaining comfort is to watch Madeline's existence become meaningless, too, even if it's just on celluloid, so she plays that death scene over and over again. Zemeckis delivers a gut-wrenching indictment of life's sinister cruelty in this scene, but he does it in such a hysterical manner, viewers can't see the horror of it all through their tears of laughter.

Within the first 30 minutes of the film, Zemeckis has presented a tragedy of epic proportions - three once-successful characters who have swirled into a vortex of agony and despair. The film could end here as a morality tale about the destructive forces of narcissism, greed, and envy, but instead, Zemeckis gives the players a chance at redemption in the prospect of eternal life. It could be argued that this is the point where the movie becomes a cautionary tale about getting what you wish for, but in the hands of Zemeckis, it goes deeper into examining the futility of existence.

The only character who experiences a redemption of sorts is Ernest. He long ago lost his soul, but when faced with a life or death situation, life being possible only if he drinks the mystical potion, Ernest refuses to let it past his lips. Instead, he takes a fall from a great height and lands in Lisle's swimming pool, narrowly escaping death. Eagle-eyed viewers will note the irony of Ernest crashing through a stained-glass window version of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" on his way down. Ernest then skedaddles, never to be seen again.

-S^Strong Medicine at the Movies: A Review James M. Welsh With increasing regularity lately, Hollywood doctors have been making movie-house calls. Some of them we have seen before: their characters have been extrapolated from familiar stereotypes; they are dedicated professionals capable of compassion. But these days they tend to be conflicted about their primary goals, preoccupied, overworked, even burnt-out. Some of these new film doctors find their careers at odds with their personal lives, and the screenplays humanize them by dramatizing their personal conflicts. Others have been shaped by a developing postmodern skepticism that is not always flattering. Still others have been satirized and lampooned for their vanity and ambition. And, at the negative extreme, there is even the stereotype of the mad doctor, the doctor as psychopath. Should the medical profession be concerned about recent Hollywood images of doctors or medical professionals in general? On the one hand, those images may be considered trivial or silly: for example, young interns playing games with death-and-dying experiments in Flatliners (Columbia Pictures, 1990); the idiotic yuppie doctor just out of medical school in Doc Hollywood (Universal, 1991), who, on his way from medical school to Beverly Hills to practice cosmetic surgery, gets detoured in the rural South where a general practitioner is needed; or the celebrity plastic surgeon motivated entirely by greed, Dr. Ernest Manville (Bruce Willis), in the Robert Zemeckis satire Death Becomes Her (Universal, 1992). On the other hand, the point has often been made that popular culture is like a mirror reflecting the values and attitudes of society at large, and if doctors are made to seem greedy or cynical or ridiculous in mass-marketed films, the medical profession might well have reason to reconsider its image. The notion that doctors are somehow sacrosanct and above criticism has been shaken by a public awareness of malpractice suits and the skyrocketing costs of health care. Over the past several decades, more and more people have become aware that doctors are human and therefore capable of mistakes. Literature and Medicine 12, no. 1 (Spring 1993) 111-120  1993 by The Johns Hopkins University Press 112 MEDICINE AT THE MOVIES: A REVIEW The image of Dr. Kildare, developed from Max Brand's characters, starting with Internes Can't Take Money (Paramount, 1937) and Young Dr. Kildare (MGM, 1938), established a favorable stereotype that extended for more than a decade but eventually became dated. Fifty years later, in more cynical times, doctors were not faring so well at the movies. By the early 1990s satirical treatments were clearly in evidence, but there were still favorable treatments to be found, offering some hope of reversing this cynical trend. The most heroic of these recent screen doctors, for example, was Dr. Robert Campbell, a physician and scientist who has dedicated his life to finding a cure for cancer in the South American rain forest, in Medicine Man (Hollywood Pictures, 1992), directed by John McTiernan from a script developed by Tom Schulman, winner of an Oscar for his work on Dead Poets Society (Touchstone Pictures, 1989). As played by Sean Connery, Dr. Campbell has gone native and is worried about the aborigines, whose society he has entered and embraced, and about their habitat, which produces a plant that apparently yields a miracle drug (see Figure 1). He is so absorbed by his research that he has neglected to file progress reports with the company that sent him into the wilFigure 1. Dr. Robert Campbell (Sean Connery, left) with an aborigine, in Medicine Man (Hollywood Pictures, 1992). Photograph by Phil Bray. Copyright  1992 by Cinergi Productions Inc. and Cinergi Productions N.V. AU rights reserved. Reproduced courtesy of Hollywood Pictures. James M. Welsh 113 derness six years earlier. Representing that company, Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Braceo) seeks him out in the Heart of Darkness. Dr. Campbell, an old-fashioned sexist, rejects her until he discovers that his continued funding depends on her judgment. She is a prize-winning scientist herself and resents his attitude, until he convinces her that he has discovered a possible cure for cancer, distilled from an exotic "sky flower" that grows high in the canopy of the rain...

Captain Ron is one of those curious, middling comedies which, while avoiding at all costs the dark, anti-human laughs of something like Death Becomes Her (1992), nonetheless features characters who are essentially stupid, unlikeable and a bit grotesque. 041b061a72


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