MAKING TOOTSIE by Susan Dworkin


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Dworkin, a contributing editor at Ms. magazine, was on the set of Tootsie during much of its production--but, though dotted with intriguing work-in-progress details (lines changed, scenes improvised, etc.), this short ""film study"" is disappointingly spotty and superficial, most of it reading like routine hype-journalism. Dworkin fills in the movie's now-famous script history; she relentlessly fawns over both Dustin Hoffman (""the project's throbbing heart"") and director Sydney Pollack (""one of the very few who seems to have mastered it all""). There are extensive descriptions of the costume and make-up problems. There are--most rewardingly--close-ups of several sequences in the film, with Pollack and Hoffman arguing (very mildly), experimenting, and struggling for just the right nuances, comic and thematic. (Precisely how to stage that pseudo-lesbian kiss--or when to tone down a broad comic effect to preserve the mood). And, predictably, there's emphasis throughout on the feminist aspect of Tootsie--sometimes with modest illumination (Pollack's faithfulness to the cote theme of Michael becoming a better man through his stint as a woman), sometimes with rhetorical gush: ""Dustin's playing Dorothy was a new journey for these men and he was somehow taking it on their behalf, exploring like a scout the new terrain previously only held by the females in their lives."" (Plus: interview material from, among others, supporting actress Teri Garr--dealing with ambivalent feelings about career and image, ""like so many women in the late-feminist social milieu."") Sporadic appeal for Tootsie-lovers and those interested in filmmaking--but more an unshaped series of magazine features (in sub-mag prose: ""Dustin is, stylistically, nota finalizer"") than a coherent study or narrative.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1983
Publisher: Newmarket--dist. by Scribners