Film Review: Who Are You, Polly Maggoo

Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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William Klein‘s first fiction film, Who Are You, Polly Maggoo is more sedate than his next film Mr. Freedom, and while, perhaps not quite as successful as that film, it’s still interesting.

Polly Maggoo, taking its cues from Klein’s work as a fashion photographer, follows a cover model (played by real model Dorothy MacGowan) as a television documentary is made about her. The director of the documentary falls in love with her, though none of the other people working on the film think much of her — she’s seen as a vapid, albeit pretty person.

The documentarian is not the only one in love with her — a prince from Borodine who appears likewise emotionally stunted. The story with the prince leads to one of the recurring themes of the film, Polly Maggoo as Cinderella. The handsome prince yearns for her and tries to find her.

Unfortunately, the subplot of the prince — though somewhat the point of the film — is the weakest part. It couldn’t really be excised, as the Cinderella idea is so important to the point of the story, and without the prince, that goes out the window. But luckily, it’s a minor complaint.

The film is best when it goes into more experimental arenas; some animation is pre-Gilliam cutout animation, and there’s a scene where a still of Polly is drawn over in various ways, defacing her image, and at one point, turning her into Alfred E. Neuman (earlier in the film, in the Prince’s room, an issue of the French edition of Mad also appears — the one with the famous “SEX” cover)

Like Mr. Freedom, this film isn’t perfect; sadly, it’s not quite as over-the-top as Mr. Freedom to make it a must-see. However, it’s still quite good and worth watching — and definitely so if you get the Eclipse Delirious Fictions Of William Klein set for Freedom, which IS indeed worth the buy.

 

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  • Lee H

    How funny that you posted this today! I finally got a chance to watch both “Mr Freedom” and “Polly Maggoo” last week, when I had a rainy day off. I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts about them well enough to post something about them on LJ. (I liked them both, “Mr Freedom” definitely the better film of the two.)

  • Rev. Syung Myung Me

    I am looking forward to The Model Couple, though. That one looks like it might be really interesting. Either that, or it might just be a French Real Life. But that could be good too, since I do love Albert Brooks…

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