Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

A Wonderful Life 

Wednesday, Nov 14 2007
The late Charles Nelson Reilly directed five Broadway plays, won a Tony for acting, was nominated for three Emmys, and knew full well that his legacy would be as a flamboyant double-entendre machine on '70s game shows. Shot before he died in May at age 76, The Life of Reilly, the warm and hilarious adaptation of Reilly's acclaimed one-man show, Save It for the Stage, is almost entirely without reference to The Match Game. Rambling, blithe, nostalgic, and out for revenge, Reilly presents a witty, anecdotal timeline of his life, and the bittersweet milestones play like a Spalding Gray monologue loosened up with a few shots of tequila. There are the stories of his racist mom, a lobotomized aunt, and a TV exec who told him he'd never find work as a homosexual — and there's also the more charming tale of his Uta Hagen acting class, which yielded nothing but future A-listers (Steve McQueen, Jason Robards, Jack Lemmon, and Anne Meara, to name a few). Directors Barry Poltermann and Frank Anderson aren't exactly reinventing the wheel here, stylewise, but by introducing the performance with man-on-the-street interviews that emphasize how little most of us know about Reilly's talent, they give their film and subject added poignancy.
Wed., Nov. 21, 2007

About The Author

Aaron Hillis


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"