Big Bob Freelander (Bruce Dern) sells RVs and puts on his positive face to promote Santa Rosa’s yearly pageant, a fatuous shindig overseen by ex-winner Brenda DiCarlo (Barbara Feldon), a poise & talent fanatic who manages to warp reality wherever she goes. The contestants range from rank amateurs (Joan Prather) to seasoned hopefuls (Annette O’Toole) but it doesn’t matter as the judges are looking for the most inane talents and attitudes. Brenda’s husband Andy (Nichols Pryor) is cracking up over alcohol and the mindlessness of the pageant is sending him over the edge, with only his buddy Big Bob there to intervene. But Big Bob’s son is showing some of his dad’s initiative by taking orders for the polaroids he’s going to snap of the girls dressing for the contest. Finally, industry professional choreographer Tommy French (Michael Kidd) finds himself torn between earning a decent salary and keeping his amateur showgirls from getting hurt on stage. —DVDTalk
Michael Brunswick Ritchie (November 28, 1938 – April 16, 2001) was an American film director.
Ritchie was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the son of Patricia (née Graney) and Benbow Ferguson Ritchie. His family later moved to Berkeley, California, where his father was a professor of experimental psychology at the University of California at Berkeley1 and his mother was the art and music librarian for the city.
He attended Berkeley High School before becoming interested in film, and was accepted at Harvard University following high school.
Ritchie attracted attention in his senior year at Harvard in 1960 by directing the original production of the Arthur Kopit play, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His work on Kopit’s play led to a job offer from Robert Saudek, the producer of the Omnibus television series. Ritchie also directed episodes of Profiles in Courage and… read more
Great lowkey 70s film that plays like a less ambitious & formally inventive Nashville set around a state high school beauty pageant in California. Some wonderful moments like when Dern tells his depressed friend about being stood up for a date by Liz Taylor as key moment where he accepted his lot in life and remained happy by realizing he had to settle for less - the American dream in miniature.