A sure sign of the passing years is when a movie changes its slot on the TV schedules. The first time I saw
it was Friday night on BBC1 in the summer of 1978. Jane Fonda and Robert Redford were still big stars. That the film was based on a smart Neil Simon comedy and starred Fonda in her
sex kitten phase, opposite an earnest Redford limbering up for earnest ‘70s liberal, had a lot to do with the late night post-pub scheduling. There was still mileage in the wet dreams of generational change in Hollywood.
The last time I saw Barefoot in the Park
it was Saturday afternoon on BBC2 in the summer of 2001, a slot that had in the ‘70s and ‘80s been reserved for monochrome RKO double bills or a season of Linda Darnells. This told me a lot about Barefoot in the Park
’s slot in the wider culture. What was in the late-70s funny, sexy, sophisticated, still vaguely “happening”, was on the cusp of 9/11 intermittently witty, vaguely suggestive, and that kiss of death: a “classic.” Big (old) names. Big (old) reputations. So pay attention, kids.
In other words: one for the tea and biscuits brigade. So I sat down with my tea and biscuits and, despite all that had come between us, it seemed as though nothing had changed and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie I saw in my head. I bet it was even the same print. And that watery Neil Hefti score followed me around for days…