Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Kellerman" is crazy

Cleveland Press August 5, 1971

"Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?" is playing at the Richmond and Riverside. Comedy; adults, older teens. In the cast are Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Harris, Jack Warden, David Burns. Running time: 108 minutes.

Someone could make money writing endings for movies and selling them to the industry. Maybe middles, too.

"Who Is Harry Kellerman etc." starts off big and then steadily winds down. It has some of the funniest dialog ever written, especially for a movie that is at heart very serious.

For you see, "Kellerman" is funny but not a laughing matter. It is about a man who sees time going by, who refuses to admit that he is growing old and that some day he will die.

Dustin Hoffman plays George Soloway, a successful writer of rock-folk music who has his picture on the cover of Time, plenty of money and lots of girl friends.

Behind him is an unsuccessful marriage, two kids (he sees them sitting there and realizes that they remind him time is going by) and a pile of money spent in, analysis - $52,000 plus cab fare.

We first see Soloway contemplating suicide, deciding to rewrite his farewell note and toppling off the building by accident.

When he lands it is right on his psychiatrist's couch.

'We cannot rule out the possibility that you are a bird," says the doctor in a Viennese accent. "A loony bird, Mr. Soloway, a crazy, nutsy loony bird . . ."

Soloway complains that his "marbles are spilling; they are rolling onto the floor and behind the refrigerator where you can't get at them anymore.

Soloway's immediate problem is that his girl friends and business associates are getting calls from one Harry Kellerman who says bad things about Soloway.

The calls have cost him three chicks and a recording contract, and Soloway is not happy.

"Songs of love, that's what I write. Who would hate me so much? You're not a paranoid if everybody really does hate you, right?"

Things seem to look up when he meets Allison (Barbara Harris) at an audition who also worries about time but is not going crazy over the subject. She is 34 that day but explains that she is only ready for 22 and she has three good notes but no one ever lets her get them at auditions.

For the short time she is on Miss Harris walks away with the movie.

For Dustin Hoffman it is another character role, antic and sad and funny but this time never very deep.

Jack Warden is excellent as the psychiatrist ranging from restrained in his regular appearances to extremely broad in Soloway's fantasies.

Explaining his appearance as Santa Claus: "I got now hanging around with m eight fellas who think they're reindeers. Busy busy, busy; every place craziness."

But the movie says the craziness is not a laughing matter, then doesn't know what to do about it.