Play It As It Lays

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Play It As It Lays
Frank Perry, 1972
USA | English | 99 minutes

Pretty Poison stars Anthony Perkins and Weld reunite, playing together with knowing kinship. He’s spiritually exhausted producer B.Z.; she’s Maria, a Hollywood actress in emotional and professional limbo. “That’s the whole point of the film, it wasn’t a performance,” pontificates her estranged husband, Adam Roarke’s pseud cult-director—and Weld shows the brittle nerves underpinning her spontaneous screen presence. Joan Didion wrote her headspace novel for the screen as an echo chamber of short, pungent scenes, the fragments of Maria’s crack-up, and director Frank Perry maps a sinister-gorgeous Los Angeles and desert environs whose freeways and Thriftimart signs are hieroglyphs with dark hidden meanings.

Series: American Girl: Tuesday Weld

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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