Bobby Deerfield (1977) from Tuna

Al Pacino plays the top Formula One driver on the European circuit and Marthe Keller is the dying woman he falls in love with. As the film opens, Pacino's teammate dies in a crash, and he is determined to find out why before he races his car again. He decides to drive to the clinic where a survivor of the crash is recovering from a broken neck, to see if he can learn more about what caused it. It is there that he meets Marthe. He is vulnerable to her charms because he's clearly not getting along with his current significant other, who is more interested in spending his money than making him happy. Thus, when Marthe hitches a ride out with him the next day, Pacino finds her perplexing but irresistible. It is only after he learns that she has a fatal disease that he decides he loves her, and tries to become the man she wants -- one who enjoys life to its fullest.

Only Sydney Pollack could make a three-hanky weeper out of a Formula One racing movie. Then again, only Sydney Pollack would have cast Al Pacino as the driver. (Can he even reach the pedals?) I thought Pacino was uncomfortable in this role beginning to end, but never more than the several times he had to sing to Keller. Suffice it to say that there is no Grammy in his future, and he presents no threat to the vocal skills of the Rat Pack. In fact, he's not even ready to compete with the original cast of Star Trek.

Bobby Deerfield is professionally acted, photographed and directed, but it is only for those who love weepy love stories, and offers nothing for those who are not addicted to that genre. If dyin' woman weepers are your thing, you may enjoy this one as well, but I won't be watching it again anytime soon. 



Scoop's notes:

Over a beer or two, we film geeks like to debate silly matters like "what's the worst Al Pacino movie?" Bobby Deerfield used to be the odds-on favorite, but then the (usually) distinguished Mr. Pacino agreed to appear in Gigli and ended the debate forever.

Astoundingly enough, the source novel for Bobby Deerfield, "Heaven Has No Favorites," was written by Erich Maria Remarque, who is best known as the author of the most famous novel about WW1, "All Quiet on the Western Front." Remarque wrote "All Quiet," a fictional retelling of his own experiences as a front-line soldier, in 1929 when he was about 30. "Heaven Has No Favorites" would not come for another 32 years. In between their publication dates, many of his other books had become movies and Remarque had become a celebrity, as well as an American and a member of the beautiful people. He was once Marlene Dietrich's lover, then later became Paulette Goddard's husband. Although he was a noted intellectual, pacifist, and internationalist, it was not out of character for him to write either love stories or sports stories. He began his writing career as a sports journalist, and his works often included sentimental scenes. In fact, one of his books ("A Time to Love and a Time to Die") was made into a weepy-ass movie by the very king of the weepy-ass movies, Doug Sirk!

One of Remarque's most famous quotes:

"If things went according to the death notices, man would be absolutely perfect. There you find only first-class fathers, immaculate husbands, model children, unselfish, self-sacrificing mothers, grandparents mourned by all, businessmen in contrast with whom Francis of Assisi would seem an infinite egoist, generals dripping with kindness, humane prosecuting attorneys, almost holy munitions makers - in short, the earth seems to have been populated by a horde of wingless angels without one's having been aware of it."




  • No features
  • the transfer is anamorphically enhanced, and is not especially vivid



Marthe Keller shows her breasts in excellent light

DVD Source Novel

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C, a competent but unengaging dyin' woman weeper for genre fans only.

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