“10” (1979)

“She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”

Synopsis:
A middle-aged composer (Dudley Moore) in a steady relationship with a singer (Julie Andrews) becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman (Bo Derek) he spots through a car window.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Although “10” immediately evokes images of cornrowed sex goddess Bo Derek running across a beach (see the poster above), it’s not her story; instead, the film centers on a man (Moore) who has fame, money, and a beautiful lover, yet suffers from the incurable sense that the grass is always greener — sexually speaking — on the younger side. Unlike the obnoxiously dissatisfied schmuck played by Albert Brooks in Modern Romance (1981), Moore’s restless composer makes for an unusually sympathetic protagonist: he’s someone we care about even though we immediately recognize the folly of his desires.

Andrews is fine as Moore’s long-suffering girlfriend, and gets to sing a couple of nice Henry Mancini songs — but her too-perfect British accent quickly becomes distracting. More impressive, believe it or not, is Derek, who — once she finally becomes a three-dimensional character rather than simply the distant object of Moore’s lust — gives a natural and appealing performance. Though director Blake Edwards tries a bit too hard for laughs with his repeated attempts at slapstick humor (as when Moore tumbles down a hill and struggles to climb back up again), overall this remains a surprisingly honest look at middle-aged male sexuality.

P.S. When watching the amusing running gag about Moore’s use of a telescope to spy on his neighbor (Don Calfa) — who has a constant stream of semi-nude, sexually available women roaming through his house — one can’t help thinking about the notorious swinger lifestyle of Edwards and his wife, Andrews…

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Dudley Moore as the lust-struck composer
    Moore
  • Beautiful Bo Derek in her first significant screen role
    Bo Derek
  • Moore’s constant voyeurism through his telescope
    Spying

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look simply to see Derek in her infamous breakthrough role.

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One Response to ““10” (1979)”

  1. Not a must.

    I’ve just tried giving this a re-watch after many years – simply could not get past the halfway-point. It may very well be an “honest look at middle-aged male sexuality.” But it’s mostly a crashing bore.

    I do hold the opinion that a film can get better in its second half. ‘California Split’ is a perfect example of that. However, at the midway point, ‘CS’ has *already* been interesting; the latter part is just more cohesive and it sharpens the set-up. By comparison with that one film, ’10’ is uninvolving and even borderline inept. Halfway-through, it has not earned enough to merit a complete viewing.

    Although the main problem is the script (which too often resorts to forced humor), a close second is Moore’s performance. We just don’t give a fig about him – he’s just flailing about in his haphazard quest for available flesh. There is nothing interesting about him – nor is there anything remotely interesting about the poorly realized character played by Andrews.

    I don’t recall the amount of character development (if any) given to either of them as the film continues to its conclusion. But there should be *something* earlier on for both of them.

    Director Edwards spent most of his career bowing to the public and attempting to give them what he thought they wanted. Sometimes that worked well (some Pink Panther movies, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, ‘Victor/Victoria’, etc.) and sometimes that didn’t (‘Darling Lili’, ‘The Great Race’, etc.). Perhaps my favorite Edwards film is still ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ – a director capable of fine work like that should have ended up with a more respectable filmography.

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