Review: ‘Blaze’

A bawdy and audacious tale of politics and scandal, Blaze delivers a good love story and a brave and marvelous character turn by Paul Newman.

A bawdy and audacious tale of politics and scandal, Blaze delivers a good love story and a brave and marvelous character turn by Paul Newman.

Newman plays Louisiana governor Earl K. Long in 1959-60 during his May-December romance with famed New Orleans stripper Blaze Starr (Lolita Davidovich).

‘Ol’ Earl’, a self-decribed ‘pro-gressive thinker’, was a stump speaker extraordinaire, an advocate of black voting rights and a friend of the poor man. He was also, many believed, a tax evader, a drunk and a madman. Starr was a queen of tawdry New Orleans showbiz who’d come up from poverty in the Tennessee hills.

In Shelton’s hands, their relationship, which churned up newspaper headlines and plagued Long’s teetering career, is a great and comic love story.

Davidovich is impressive, taking the character from a clunky, overripe hillbilly teenager to a woman with her powers fully focused.

1989: Nomination: Best Cinematography

Blaze

Production

Touchstone/Silver Screen Partners IV. Director Ron Shelton; Producer Gil Friesen, Dale Pollock; Screenplay Ron Shelton; Camera Haskell Wexler; Editor Robert Leighton; Music Bennie Wallace; Art Director Armin Ganz

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Paul Newman Lolita Davidovich Jerry Hardin Gailard Sartain Jeffrey DeMunn
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