I had heard of this film for years, its reputation of being one of Otto Preminger's worst preceding it in every film reference book I'd encountered. Well, it certainly doesn't disappoint. "Rosebud" looks like a novice director's first effort, not the work of the man who gave us "Carmen Jones" and "The Man With the Golden Arm."
"Rosebud" unfolds awkwardly detailing the kidnapping of 5 millionaire's daughters by a Palestinian terrorist group and the attempts by the parents (among them former New York mayor John Lindsay in his film debut/swansong) to retrieve them without starting a holy war.
As ransom demands are made and we are forced to endure endless footage devoted to kidnap victims being trotted to and fro with bags on their heads, wizened secret agent Peter O'Toole is called in to save the day (Preminger seems to be engaging in a little joke by having the very chalky actor with the legendary booze problem drink milk in one of many pointless scenes).
Much talking and little acting (or action) ensues as we reach a finale that must have appeared idiotic and reactionary in 1975 but seems practically prescient in post-9/11 America.
"Rosebud" is almost alarming in its awfulness. The cluttered international cast is full of professional actors who come off as amateurs, and obvious amateurs coming off like amateurs (If I'm not mistaken that's Preminger's son, Erik, by Gypsy Rose Lee in the role as a computer wiz. It is Erikwho is responsible for the leaden screenplay). The many clashing accents and laughable performances give the impression that many learned their lines phonetically.
Though the plot is not too bad (just hard to follow motives and motivations) and suffers from a needlessly slow and artless execution, it's the acting that really torpedoes "Rosebud." O'Toole looks like he's about to keel over any minute; as the villain, an Englishman converted to Muslim, Richard Attenborough unthreateningly lisps his way through his role; and as the kidnap victims, Preminger couldn't have assembled a more annoying and untalented group of girls. Were we intentionally supposed to wish for their execution?
Their scenes in their subterranean prison are laugh riots of high school level acting and bad blocking. Rather astounding to see a very young Isabelle Huppert embarrass herself as one of the pluckier debs though she deserves an Oscar for the stomach churning scene in which she has to seduce and kiss the cadaverous bare chest of O'Toole. "Sex and the City"'s Kim Catrall makes her film debut here and makes clear why it took her over two decades to become a star.
For anyone out there who wishes to actually see this film- if just for the bragging rights to bearing witness to Otto Preminger's decline- here are a few things to look for to add to the fun:
1) The 70's clothes and "Brady Bunch" curly hairdo of the political activist character. 2) In the cat-fight between the kidnap victims; slaps are delivered and heard but never received. 3) The guys in the tennis togs (short shorts) air dropped onto the "Rosebud" 4) John Lindsay nuff said. 5) The militant boy scouts with the knee-socks and bare chests. 6) Kim Catrall's a capella rendering of Nilsson's "I guess the Lord must be in New York City. 7) O'Toole's battle with the terrorist with the killer corkscrew.
Action / Adventure / Drama
Action / Adventure / Drama
In a bold coup, a Palestinian terrorist group captures the yacht Rosebud and kidnaps the millionaire's five daughters on board. At first they demand film clips to be shown on major European television stations. Undercover Agent Martin is hired to hunt the terrorists down. —Tom Zoerner
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 08, 2021 at 10:25 PM