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Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice Poster

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969)

Comedy | Romance   
IMDB Rayting:   6.7/10
Country: USA
Language: English

Documentary filmmaker Bob Sanders and his wife Carol attend a group therapy session that serves as the backdrop for the film's opening scenes. Returning to their Los Angeles home, the newly... See full summary »

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Raph770 31 October 2010

I watched this film again having first seen it on late night TV in the mid 1980s when I was twenty. I thought it would be unintentionally funny, expecting it to have dated badly. How wrong I was! This film is an important timepiece, a fascinating insight in to hip west coast middle class life at a time when America was still on top of the world, yet to realize it would all be downhill from there. The film has stood up remarkably well, it's subject matter still poignant. The cultural and social concepts of fidelity are forever shifting, often turning full circle making films like B&C&T&A relevant and thought provoking some forty years after release. The film is beautifully directed by Mazursky, and is arguably the finest work ever done by all four leads in the film. I found it fascinating observing each performance closely – noting how the actors juggled their obvious affection for their character, while at the same time being true to Mazursky's raison d'être – a gentle dig at the new social mores of the wealthy west coast hip set. Delicately picking at the counter-culture as if choosing hors d'oeuvres from a waiter at a cocktail party, Bob and Carol experiment with dope, extra marital sex and new age group therapy. The dialogue sparkles, the actors so in tune with Mazursky's vision they breathe life in to what are essentially caricatures. At times the film is laugh out loud funny, though not unintentionally as I had expected. I was surprised to realize the film was released in 1969, thinking it was more an early 70s creation, so ahead of its' time does it seem even today. It was years before other artists dared tackle the difficult subject of middle class vacuity, and rarely with the eloquence and humour of this film. The film is also sumptuous to look at, Bob and Carol's elegant faux Spanish villa positively luxurious even by today's standards. The scene of the foursome cruising to Las Vegas in Ted's convertible Cadillac is an elegiac vision, a scene of America that no longer exists. A time when wealthy Americans still bought Cadillacs, when Las Vegas was seen as a place of glamor and fun and despite the social unrest and Vietnam, America was still big, brash and confident. The greatest civilization in the history of the world, all there to see as the white ragtop barrels down the highway, the foursome laughing and in high spirits – a scene that in some ways summed up the theme of the movie. With so much at their fingertips, the luckiest people to have ever lived, but they don't know what to do with the privilege. They are lost, their search for sexual and emotional fulfillment nothing more than a desperate search for meaning, a sad attempt to fill a nagging void. In the mid 1980s, former Eagle front man Don Henley had his last big hit with 'The Boys Of Summer', in which he sings of his dismay at seeing a new Cadillac pass him on the LA freeway, a Dead-head sticker on the bumper. The former hippies, the baby boomers, had sold out. Mazursky was telling us the same thing fifteen years earlier. Perhaps Pete Townsend of the Who summed it up best in his anthemic Won't Get Fooled Again – 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss' A highly thought-provoking experience seeing this film again, and for those interested in culture, counter or otherwise – this is a must.

MicheBel 24 August 1999

I love this movie. Although some people may classify it as "dated," the concepts that it deals with are worth exploring today. How honest are we to one another? How often do we actually look at people? And what is love?

From its opening shots (tooling up PCH in a cool car) to its closing ones (people really looking at each other), it's a true work of art. The beginning truly captures the free and concept-expanding atmosphere that is the Esalen Institute, which itself has not changed much since then. Screen goddess Natalie Wood, in one of her best roles, inhabits the honesty and sexual freedom that is Carol. Robert Culp is a strong counterpart to her as Bob. The more repressed couple, Eliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, are perfect.

Along the way, they explore the boundaries of sexuality, monogamy and friendship, and realize that some lines are better left uncrossed. To me, it puts a very fine point on what was going on in the 60s, and where exactly we went wrong.

SEE THIS FILM. It'll give you insight. Promise.

nlevin11 30 April 2005

I rented this movie because I remembered one scene from 35 years ago. I was astounded to see that the whole movie holds up very well. The 4 leads are terrific (Natalie Wood and Dyan Canon are beautiful, by the way, and Robert Culp hits just the right note with his "sensitive-new- age-guy" hip/naive performance) and you can see director Paul Mazursky's touch with what seems to be stretches of impromptu dialog I found true.

The movie also does a great job of balancing drama with farce, superficiality with intimacy.

The scenes at the Esalen-type retreat start at as spoof but evolve into real empathy. Parenthetically, check out the fashions in this film. There is one scene in a discotheque that Mazursky must have known even then would be a source of laughter and certainly, today, it's a hoot.

brefane 28 November 2004

B&C&T&A is still entertaining and has a number of funny scenes. Two of my favorites are the opening scene at the Esalen Institute, and Alice's session with her psychiatrist. The cast,particularly Dyan Cannon (Best Supporting Actress- NY Film Critics)and Elliot Gould, is perfect. B&C&T&A really do seem like couples and friends. It's Natalie Wood's best adult film role, and arguably her best film performance:she's never been more natural or at ease in front of the camera. Robert Culp never had a better role or vehicle. The film marked Mazursky's directorial debut, and it's probably his best film. The final scene in front of the Riviera Hotel in Vegas, recalls the "looking" exercise at the Institute, and was influenced by the parade at end of Felini's "81/2". Therefore, I give the film an 81/2 out of 10. Rent(or buy) the DVD and listen to the commentary with Cannon,Culp,Gould and Mazursky. Did you know that Leif Garrett plays Bob and Carol's son, and that Culp's "I Spy" costar, Bill Cosby, appears briefly(don't blink) in a scene at a club? The film has aged better than Midnight Cowboy, Z, Butch Cassidy, Hello Dolly and Anne of the Thousand Days,the films nominated for Best Picture of 1969. B&C&T&A feels more representative of the 60's than The Graduate, and is definitely worth seeing.

wombat_1 15 May 2003

I saw this movie as a repressed teenager when it first came out, so much of the humour I didn't understand. But even now, 30 years later, there are some specific scenes that I recall as superbly funny. And from my every dimming memory, the best parts are indeed when Carol is being "played" (like a fish!) by her psychiatrist.

middleburg 13 August 2004

What a delightful movie! I don't think its aged one bit. Sure the clothes are different, the latest self-help fads are different, the priorities are different--but SO much still resonates today. The relationship between love and sex and spouses and friends. Human desire, and commitment are timeless topics, and they are explored with great wit and panache in this thoroughly entertaining movie. And the dialogue! Many scenes purely consist of the twists and turns of intelligent people in verbal games--some of the scenes feel like being in a verbal

amusement park, going up and down roller-coasters of clever and surprising

dialogue. The funny moments are priceless: the tennis instructor asking for a glass of Pernod, Dyan Cannon in the therepist's office--probably the funniest and most perceptive take on the "therepy experience" ever shown on film-- (along with Kirstie Alley's therapist melt-down scene in Woody Allen's

"Deconstructing Harry"), the opening group therapy session in the beautiful

California countryside, that first dinner in the restaurant with Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice all declaring their love for each other in front of the table of bemused gay diners--it is a film filled with endless, perceptive and highly

amusing details. Its a terrific entertainment. (One last comment--Dyan Cannon lights up the screen everytime she appears, with her sexy persona, her high

spirits, her warmth and generosity, and that truly infectious laugh!)

shepardjessica 24 June 2004

One of the best of 1969 with Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon at their sexiest. Perfect casting, great story, and Mazursky's best film. I know the critics were split on this one, but it came out at the right time and it holds up today. What's not to like about this? Elliott Gould was never more befuddled, Dyan Cannon's best acting when she was gorgeous, Robert Culp's only decent movie, and Natalie Wood was born to play Carol.

Certainly a 9 out 10! Mazursky would never again be so in touch with the times and the ending is NOT a cop-out! Check this out. Great stuff! Even the encounter session scenes have the ring of truth for that sort of thing. This movie is great!

soranno 2 November 2002

Two married couples (Bob: Robert Culp, Carol: Natalie Wood, Ted: Elliott Gould, Alice: Dyan Cannon) feel as though true excitement is missing from their marriages and so they decide to pick things up by wife swapping and having drug parties. A crazy but funny satire on marriages that is given a boost by the hilarious performances of its talented cast.

Dave CT 23 August 1999

I watched this movie one night during the summer of 1999. I found it really interesting and sometimes true to life, concerning the psyche of the male and female mind. I recommend watching this movie, it quite entertaining I feel.

mikeghee 22 January 2004

I found this film at a video store and immediately rented it out of curiosity. It stars Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliot Gould, and Dyan Cannon as the namesakes respectively. I remember when I was a kid this film came out in 1969 so I really did not know anything about it other than it was supposed to be some kind of "sex comedy".

Well being an adult now and renting it, I found that it basically deals with 2 married couples, the ages of which suggest upper 30's to me. They decide to experimentally partake of the late 60's climate of free love, drugs, etc. I think that is where the film is supposed to derive its humor from.

Instead, the film plays like prolonged unfunny sketches on "Saturday Night Live" which they save for the end of the broadcast. However, I was compelled to keep watching the film to see what would be the result of their "experiment" The film did have some funny moments such as Elliot Gould fantasizing about a marital affair and Dyan Cannon at the shrink.

I give the film credit since I could not figure out what the ending would be like and was somewhat surprised by it when it happened. There is a second part of the ending right before the credits roll which still has me confused though. Overall, an OK film in my opinion.

Side Note: Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon look pretty hot in this movie so if your a male like myself and always found these woman attractive, its a must rental !

WhoAteMyKielbasa 26 February 2004

I (admittedly) started watching this movie, because it had nudity, and there was nothing else on. But after really getting into it, I got...well...into it! It's such a great comedy, and not just because it's so dated,(and it is)but because of the actors they chose. Gould is amazing in this movie! I was unaware of his true genius until this movie! Also cannon is phenomenal! Not to mention wood and culp, I honestly could not have asked for a better movie to happen across! The story is great, bob and carol go to a hippie retreat, and get "changed" in their mindset of sexual relationships. Then when they come home, they bring the ideals home and spew them on their best friends, ted and alice, like radiation. Of course it messes them up bad, and disrupts their lives. This is where the fun gets started. If you do watch, be warned, the beginning is weird. But give it 20 minutes, you'll be happy you did! I LOVED the movie, I'm just upset it took so long to discover it. Seriously, we should all be so lucky! I give it very high marks, and suggest you watch it an enjoy it. GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!

ES-III 29 December 1999

Even though Natalie Wood stars in this film, it's not very good. It chronicles the healthy descent of four friends who fall into a cavalcade of swinging and partner-swapping to help their marriage after attending a secluded psychotherapy course. As everyone rejuvenates their sexual thinking and behavior, other problems rear their ugly heads, and the four realize only love is needed to revitalize a marriage.

It's pretty gutsy material for the time, and I'm fairly sure you wouldn't see a film this brave come from a major studio with big-name stars today. Still, it's just not very good! I didn't care for any of the characters, especially Robert Culp's portrayal of Bob Sanders and Dyan Cannon's whiny rendering of Alice Henderson, and the story just dragged on and on without any closure or action. I'd wait for this one to come on late at night when there's absolutely nothing else on!

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