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Mr. North Movie Review

huston madsen warner grimes

Mr. North is a 1988 movie that, except for the color and the sound, is virtually indistinguishable from any Cinderella yarn of 1928. Ah, for the good old days when integration meant marriage between the immigrant Irish and the third generation Irish, when amusing the rich provided the poor with access to their privileged world, and when every young dreamer enjoyed a fairytale ending. Set in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1926, the plot revolves around Theophilus North (Anthony Edwards, then 26), who yearns to be a free man and begins his quest by reading to the rich. He makes friends with Robert Mitchum (too young at 71 in a role intended for the late John Huston) by supplying him with candy and diapers, panaceas for incontinence. He makes friends with lovely Virginia Madsen and unrecognizable Mary Stuart Masterson by reassuring one of her worth with a kiss on the mouth and curing the other of her migraine with a tap on the forehead. Theophilus makes enemies, too: Tammy Grimes doesn't like the uppity young man and neither does Dr. David Warner, who's losing patients to this amateur quack. But, with a little help from Harry Dean Stanton and Lauren Bacall, Mr. North wins the day and control of Mitchum's money, dancing off into the night with Anjelica Huston. Madsen's character is happy: she winds up married to the grandson of an Irish mogul, played by (who else?) Joe Kennedy's grandson, Christopher Lawford. Everyone is happy except for the characters played by Grimes and Warner and the audience members who swallow this confection, yearning for satire as a mild antidote. Adapted by John Huston from Thornton Wilder's old-fashioned 1973 novel, Mr. North was directed by Danny Huston without a trace of irony. The clothes and the locations are beautiful, the cast is fun to look at, but Mr. North is little more than a foggy memory of an era that seems to exist only in the never-never-land of yellowing rotogravures.

1988 (PG) 90m/C Anthony Edwards, Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall, Harry Dean Stanton, Anjelica Huston, Mary Stuart Masterson, Virginia Madsen, Tammy Grimes, David Warner, Hunter Carson, Christopher Durang, Mark Metcalf, Katharine Houghton, Christopher Lawford; D: Danny Huston; W: John Huston, Janet Roach, James Costigan; C: Robin Vidgeon; M: David McHugh. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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