Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives, Nick won’t let him in: his moods swing. So begins a long night as Mike tries to take care of Nick, calm him down and get him out of town. Their sojourn – on foot and in a city bus – takes them to a bar, a club, toward a movie theater, to the cemetery where Nick’s mom is buried, and to Nick’s girlfriend’s apartment. Tempers fray and the friendship is tested. Meanwhile, a hit man who’s getting information from someone is indeed looking for Nick. —IMDb
Best known as one half of the famed Nichols and May standup comedy team, Elaine May also carved out successful careers as an actress, writer, and director. Born April 21, 1932, in Philadelphia, PA, she was the daughter of Yiddish theatrical actor Jack Berlin and as a child occasionally performed with him on-stage. While still in her teens, she was married and divorced, giving birth in 1949 to daughter Jeannie Berlin. May later went on to study method acting under the tutelage of actress Maria Ouspenskaya before relocating to the Midwest to attend the University of Chicago; there she first encountered fellow student Mike Nichols, harshly criticizing his performance in a production of Miss Julie. They met again in 1955 when both joined the Compass Players improvisational ensemble, a group of Chicago-based satirical players which also included up-and-comers Alan Arkin and Shelley Berman.
After the Compass Players disbanded in 1957, Nichols and May continued on as a team; developing… read more
In some ways, it’s more "Cassavetes" than any film Cassavetes ever directed. May directed M&N the way most people (incorrectly) assume Cassavetes made his, by leaving the cameras rolling for hours while the actors improvised. Captures that muggy, desperate, edge-of-death quality that imbues so much of Cassavetes’ work.
This is one of my favorite films of all time. Falk and Cassavettes are incredible but Elaine May deserves more respect then she gets for her work directing this. Just because it's nothing like her comedies I honestly think some people suppose Cassavettes ghost-directed it or something.
Went into this with high hopes. If anything, I think it's hindered by it's rather lame plot (Cassavetes on the lamb, Falk his dubious buddy). After all this talk about May shooting reels and reels of improvised dialogue, it might have been more enjoyable to see these guys sharing actual stories, I think. It made me wonder what was left on the cutting room floor.