Thursday, September 25, 2014

Case Study No. 1599: Nick and Ophelia Sheffer

Theatrical trailer for the 1985 comedy "Maxie" starring Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin and Ruth Gordon. In this comedy fantasy, the body of a reserved, modest secretary for one the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco is invaded by the ghost of a flapper from the 1920's who returns to prove she could have become a big star, before her untimely death.
Tags: Theatrical Trailer Maxie Comedy Ruth Gordon Glenn Close Ghost San Francisco
Added: 5 years ago
From: KaninFamily
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Aaron, Paul (Director). Maxie. United States: Orion Pictures, 1985.

Starring: Mandy Patinkin (Nick, Rare Book Librarian); Valerie Curtin (Ophelia Sheffer, Head Librarian); Glenn Close (Jan / Maxie); Harry Wong (Mr. Chu, Library Patron)

Based on the Novel: Finney, Jack. Marion's Wall. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1973.

A very young and handsome Mandy Patinkin plays Nick, the Rare Book Librarian at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. We first meet him on the job, closing up for the day (a librarian film convention) and giving a lift to a long-time patron, the elderly Mr. Chu (Harry Wong). Nick's wife, Jan (Glenn Close) is the personal assistant to the Catholic bishop. They have a comfortable marriage with promise, as they move into a charming (and haunted) new home. How much trouble could one little ghost be? Plenty. When Maxine Malone takes over Jan's body, Nick cannot help but be fascinated by the charming actress whose untimely death decades before prevented her from being a Hollywood star. The subplot involves Nick's new boss, Miss Sheffer, a she-devil (beautifully played by Valerie Curtin) who reinvents the stale library ladder scene by nearly making this rom-com X-rated. She dresses primly enough (long print skirt, wide belt, white blouse, glasses on a cord, shoulder-length brown hair, dangly earrings), but subtle she ain't. She purrs, "You have wonderful eyes, Nick. You should open them." He emphasizes that he's married. She doesn't care. "Most women avoid married men. I improve them." That night at a library companion's fundraiser she meets the wife (under Maxie's control) and they literally have a tug-of-war with poor Nick in the middle. Maxie snarls, "Go pedal it elsewhere, lady, the goods look damaged, my man ain't buyin'." Miss Sheffer purrs, "Why, Nick, your wife is charming! In a very primitive way." Jan/Maxie hates to waste a good drink but pours it down the head librarian's decollete. In a later scene when Nick has to rush home to tend to his wife, Miss Sheffer declares, "If you walk out that door now, you're fired." For the first time he acknowledges her harassment. "I'm not a towel boy in a country club, I'm an expert in rare books. I'm a professional; I'm paid to service the public's needs ... not yours." As she recovers from this affront she snaps at Mr. Chu, who calls her a bitch under his breath. This film is light entertainment and worth the price of admission if only to see the breathtaking library.

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