The 1975 Mike Nichols film, The Fortune, written by Adrien Joyce, is a 1970s screwball comedy set in the 1920s. It is a comedy of moral decline—that of two lawbreaking nerds—and not only is it not very funny, it finally turns tasteless as it concentrates on attempted murder.
Warren Beatty is unconvincing as an unscrupulous fool (the Clyde Barrow character was clever), but Jack Nicholson, with Bozo the Clown hair, is typically effective. The prize here is Stockard Channing, a pretty woman with a good voice and a beautiful smile. She plays a simple semi-floozy, an overgrown child inching into womanhood, giving a terrifically just-right performance. Alas, Nichols’s movie is far from Channing’s artistic equal.
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