Friday, January 3, 2014
A Western in name only, Heller in Pink Tights is an imaginative, formally daring reflection on the relationship between art and life. Sophia Loren plays the star of a theater troupe touring the Old West, with Anthony Quinn as her poker-faced husband and Steve Forrest as her hired-gun object of desire. The result is a warm-blooded romantic comedy packed with teases and deceptions and mutual desires, one of Cukor’s most sexually outré films. But it’s also an aggressively stylized meta-movie in which every onscreen magic trick or optical illusion, every splotch of bright primary color, and every tongue-in-cheek nod to Western genre convention suggests either that the movies are radically divorced from real life, or that life itself is a game—or both.