Review: ‘They All Laughed’

Rarely does a film come along featuring such an extensive array of attractive characters with whom it is simply a pleasure to spend two hours. Nothing of great importance happens in a strict plot sense, but this La Ronde-like tale is intensely devoted to the sexual and amorous sparks struck among some unusually magnetic people.

Rarely does a film come along featuring such an extensive array of attractive characters with whom it is simply a pleasure to spend two hours. Nothing of great importance happens in a strict plot sense, but this La Ronde-like tale is intensely devoted to the sexual and amorous sparks struck among some unusually magnetic people.

In fact, pic could be considered a successful, non-musical remake of At Long Last Love, as the dynamics of the partner changes are virtually identical.

It takes a little while to figure out just where the story is headed, but basic framework has Ben Gazzara, John Ritter and Blaine Novak working for the Odyssey Detective Agency, which is truthfully advertised by the line ‘We never sleep’. Gazzara’s been assigned to track Gotham visitor Audrey Hepburn by her husband, while Ritter and Novak trail Dorothy Stratten as she slips away from her husband to rendezvous with young Sean Ferrer.

Hepburn doesn’t have a line to speak for the entire first hour (much of the film is devoted to vaguely voyeuristic pursuit and observation on the part of the detectives), but ultimately she emerges winningly as the most mature and discreet character in the group.

Certain plot contrivances bear eerie resemblances to the cirumstances leading up to Stratten’s real-life 1980 murder, as she too, had been followed by a detective hired by a husband suspicious of her fidelity. A palm reading sequence in which Ritter predicts that her marriage will come to a quick end – and she wonders if she has much time left – is chilling for those familiar with the Stratten case.

They All Laughed

Production

20th Century-Fox/Time-Life. Director Peter Bogdanovich; Producer George Morfogen, Blaine Novak; Screenplay Peter Bogdanovich; Camera Robby Muller; Editor Scott Vickrey; Music Douglas Dilge; Art Director Kert Lundell

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 115 MIN.

With

Audrey Hepburn Ben Gazzara John Ritter Colleen Camp Dorothy Stratten Patti Hansen
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