inevitably looks dated in some respects now, but it's still fabulous in others--the sexual politics look distinctly faded in their sniggering approach to sexual ambiguities, while the sardonic portrayal of a showbiz that loathes perfectionism is still both timely and hysterically funny. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Michael Dorsey is a memorable self-caricature--the man is so obsessed with the craft of acting that he refuses to sit down when playing a tomato in a commercial, and so producers run away rather than work with him. By playing Dorothy Michaels playing her soap character, Dorsey gives himself the freedom to be a bad and popular actor. He is so busy with the surface of being a woman--the voice, the hair, the frocks--and with all the bad faith of his and Dorothy's emotional lives, that he learns to relax into the pleasure of performance. This aspect of the film is far more interesting, ironic and funny than the corny New Man moralising about sexual roles that goes with it. Jessica Lange got, and earned, an Oscar for her sensitive straight woman performance as the colleague Michael falls for, and Bill Murray, Teri Garr, Geena Davis (momentarily) and Charles Durning all turn in reliable supporting roles. Sydney Pollack directs efficiently rather than inspiredly--oddly, he earns almost more credit for his well-observed performance as Michael's world-weary agent.
On the DVD: The DVD is presented in crisp Dolby Digital sound and with the original theatrical visual ratio of 2.35:1; enhanced for 16:9 widescreen televisions. It is dubbed into French, German, Italian and Spanish and has subtitles in most European languages as well as Arabic, Hindi and Hebrew. The only special features are the theatrical trailer and filmographies for the leading performers and director. --Roz Kaveney
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an unemployed actor with a reputation for being 'difficult'. Desperate for work, Michael dresses up in drag in an attempt to land a part in a daytime soap as a mature woman. He succeeds, and achieves instant fame as Dorothea Michaels. However, complications develop when he falls in love with Julie, a female cast member (Jessica Lange), while simultaneously having to fend off the amorous advances of both Julie's father (Charles Durning) and male actors on the set.