SWING SHIFT (director: Jonathan Demme; screenwriter: Rob Morton; cinematographer: Tak Fujimoto; editor: Craig McKay; music: Patrick Williams; cast: Goldie Hawn (Kay Walsh), Ed Harris (Jack Walsh), Kurt Russell (Lucky Lockhart), Christine Lahti (Hazel), Holly Hunter (Jeannie), Fred Ward (Biscuits), Charles Napier (Moon Willens); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Jerry Bick; Warner Brothers; 1984)
“The conventional period romantic drama has good details of the period and some fine dramatic moments, that at least kept it from being a bomb.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The film gets over despite problems with the two stars (Goldie & Kurt, who fell in love during the filming and wanted the film to center on their illicit affair rather than on her friendship with her neighbor Lahti). Goldie, a big star at this time, clashed with director Jonathan Demme(“Silence of the Lambs”/”Swimming to Cambodia”/”Married to the Mob”) and forced upon him several script re-writes. Yet the film remains charming. The conventional period romantic drama has good details of the period and some fine dramatic moments, that at least kept it from being a bomb. The credited writer is Rob Morton, a pseudonym for Nancy Dowd.
When Pearl Harbor is attacked, Santa Monica, California, married cottage resident Jack Walsh (Ed Harris) enlists in the Navy. His homemaker wife Kay (Goldie Hawn) gets a riveter job on the swing shift (midnight) at the McBride airplane factory, just outside the city. Kay’s jazz trumpeter foreman, Lucky Lockhart (Kurt Russell), a 4-F because of a weak heart, keeps asking her out until she says yes. Kay’s single singer cottage neighbor and co-worker on the swing shift, Hazel (Christine Lahti ), pals around with both during these war years. In the end she takes nice guy Lucky away from Kay, just in the nick of time, as Jack returns from the war to resume his happy marriage.
After the re-writes, the film’s message of women finding friendship and professional gratification at the work-place is overshadowed by the wartime romance–which proves you can love more than one guy. Lahti was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
REVIEWED ON 2/27/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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