All That Jazz (1979)

All That Jazz (1979)

Taglines: All that work. All that glitter. All that pain. All that love. All that crazy rhythm. All that jazz.

Choreographing and picking dancers for his current show whilst editing his feature film about a stand-up comedian is getting to Joe Gideon. Without the chemical substances, he would not have the energy to keep up with his girlfriend, his ex-wife, and his special dancing daughter. They attempt to bring him back from the brink, but it’s too late for his exhausted body and stress-ravaged heart. He chain-smokes, uses drugs, sleeps with his dancers and overworks himself into open-heart surgery. Scenes from his past life start to encroach on the present and he becomes increasingly aware of his mortality.

All That Jazz is a 1979 American musical film directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on aspects of Fosse’s life and career as dancer, choreographer and director. The film was inspired by Bob Fosse’s manic effort to edit his film Lenny while simultaneously staging the 1975 Broadway musical Chicago. It borrows its title from the Kander and Ebb tune All That Jazz in that production. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

About the Story

Joe Gideon is a theater director and choreographer trying to balance work on his latest Broadway musical with editing a Hollywood film he has directed. He is a workaholic who chain-smokes cigarettes, and without a daily dose of Vivaldi, Visine, Alka-Seltzer, Dexedrine, and sex, he wouldn’t have the energy to keep up the biggest “show” of all — his life. His girlfriend Katie Jagger, his ex-wife Audrey Paris, and daughter Michelle try to pull him back from the brink, but it is too late for his exhausted body and stress-ravaged heart. In his imagination, he flirts with an angel of death named Angelique.

Gideon’s condition gets progressively worse. He is rushed to a hospital after experiencing chest pains during a particularly stressful table read (with the penny-pinching backers in attendance) and admitted with severe attacks of angina. Joe brushes off his symptoms, and attempts to leave to go back to rehearsal, but he collapses in the doctor’s office and is ordered to stay in the hospital for three to four weeks to rest his heart and recover from his exhaustion.

The show is postponed, but Gideon continues his antics from the hospital bed, in brazen denial of his mortality. Champagne flows, endless strings of women frolic around his hospital room and the cigarettes are always lit. Cardiogram readings don’t show any improvement as Gideon dances with death. As the negative reviews for his feature film (which has been released without him) come in, Gideon has a massive coronary and is taken straight to coronary artery bypass surgery.

All That Jazz Movie Poster (1979)

All That Jazz (1979)

Directed by: Bob Fosse
Starring: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking, Cliff Gorman, Ben Vereen, Michael Tolan, Max Wright, Deborah Geffner
Screenplay by: Robert Alan Aurthur, Bob Fosse
Production Design by: Philip Rosenberg
Cinematography by: Giuseppe Rotunno
Film Editing by: Alan Heim
Costume Design by: Albert Wolsky
Set Decoration by: Gary J. Brink, Edward Stewart
Music by: Ralph Burns
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 20, 1979