Parton, Fonda and Tomlin go to war with Clint Eastwood and a monkey as December 1980 continues
Plus Neil Diamond in blackface? Good lord!
It is a real kick in the teeth to be writing about this first film considering the events of the last week. When we discussed the film for ‘80s All Over, we talked about it as an artifact of its time. In the handful of years since that recording, the climate of this country has changed so profoundly that what used to feel like past-tense optimism now feels downright radical once again.
If you want to read more about Still Working 9 To 5, I’ll be discussing it over at Formerly Dangerous in the next few, but for now, let’s head back to December 1980 to kick things off with a bona fide classic comedy…
9 To 5
Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, Sterling Hayden, Elizabeth Wilson, Henry Jones, Lawrence Pressman, Marian Mercer, Renn Woods, Norma Donaldson, Roxanna Bonilla-Giannini, Peggy Pope, Richard Stahl, Ray Vitte, Edward Marshall, Alan Haufrect, Earl Boen, Jeffrey Douglas Thomas, Tom Tarpey, Michael DeLano, Barbara Bernstein, David Price, Gavin Mooney, Peter Hobbs, Terrence E. McNally, Esther Sutherland, Helene Heigh, Vicki Belmonte, Jerrold Ziman, Jessica Badovinac, Eric Mansker, Shirley Anthony, Michael Hehr, Gary Bisig, Brad David, Terry Jackson House, Raymond O’Keefe, Vanna Salviati
cinematography by Reynaldo Villalobos
music by Charles Fox
screenplay by Colin Higgins and Patricia Resnick
produced by Bruce Gilbert
directed by Colin Higgins
1 hr 49 mins
When three women team up against their sexist boss, they are able to transform their workplace.
There’s a terrific new documentary called Still Working 9 to 5 that looks at not only the development and production of this justifiably-beloved comedy but also the real-world issues that led Jane Fonda and Bruce Gilbert to produce the film, as well as the ways those issues have or have not improved since the film was released 42 years ago. I encourage you to see it the moment it’s available because it does a great job of setting the movie in context and arguing for why it remains so unfortunately relevant.
Jane Fonda has been “woke” as long as she’s been famous, and she has certainly paid a price for speaking her mind so stridently. There are still people who call her “Hanoi Jane” over decisions she made during the Vietnam era. The thing is, as much as she infuriated some people, she also managed to produce big commercial entertainment that connected to audiences while discussing ideas she considered important and urgent, a balance that is elusive to even the most talented and well-meaning filmmakers.
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