It was Gish’s penultimate film role; her first appearance on screen came in 1912 (An Unseen Enemy).
ALAN ALDA’S ‘SWEET LIBERTY’ (The NY Times)
By VINCENT CANBY MAY 14, 1986
ALAN ALDA’S talent as a writer-director-star is also his Achilles heel: he’s nice.
He seems to be a genuinely reflective man in a business made up mostly of people who shoot first and ask questions later, who never underestimate the possibilities of con-artistry and who have only the foggiest notions of right and wrong.
As he demonstrated with ”The Seduction of Joe Tynan” (1979), the political comedy he wrote and starred in (but which Jerry Schatzberg directed), Mr. Alda sees the world not through the Hollywood movie-maker’s periscope. He sees it in the round, more or less like the rest of us who ride subways and who read newspapers and books without hoping to find a hot property.
In ”The Four Seasons” (1981), Mr. Alda’s first film as a triple-threat man, his decency and generosity, as well as his gentle sense of humor, served the needs of a totally uncritical comedy about the enduring friendship of three middle-class couples. In the context of television’s brainless sitcoms, Mr. Alda’s compassionate, eye-level approach to the habits of the bourgeoisie appeared to be almost rigorously honest.
That honesty and niceness, however, are the undoing of his new film, ”Sweet Liberty,” which he wrote and directed and stars in as Michael Burgess, a college professor who’s written a best-selling, meticulously researched historical novel set during the American Revolution.
”Sweet Liberty,” opening today at the Tower East and other theaters, means to be a send-up of Hollywood manners and methods when a movie company invades Michael’s small college town to shoot the screen version of the book, which, to his horror, has suddenly become a Revolutionary War comedy.
- Director: Alan Alda
- Writer: Alan Alda
- Alan Alda … Michael Burgess
- Michael Caine … Elliott James
- Michelle Pfeiffer … Faith Healy
- Bob Hoskins … Stanley Gould
- Lise Hilboldt … Gretchen Carlsen
- Lillian Gish … Cecelia Burgess
- Saul Rubinek … Bo Hodges
- Lois Chiles … Leslie
- Linda Thorson … Grace James
- Diana Agostini … Nurse (as Diane Agostini)
- Antony Alda … Film Crew Member