Like “Pink Floyd The Wall,” “All That Jazz” is one of those simultaneously brilliant and infuriatingly narcissistic autobiographies that many artists create to expose themselves to the world, warts and all. Except … is this really the darkest pit of their ugly soul these artists are exposing? Or is it a ruse to keep people off the scent of their true self … a self so horrible that they feel the need to throw out some “bad” stuff in order to win praise for “bravery”? Who knows?
The sequence linked here is the last 18+ minutes of the film … an extended sequence with a “Broadway” version of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” that is simultaneously nauseating and dazzling. Nauseating because it’s a “Broadway” version of the Everly Brothers … dazzling because it’s one of the most brilliant artistic talents of the last century at his best. This is a sequence you’ll either love or hate. I want to hate this in the worst way, but … I totally love it. It’s tacky, tasteless, and over-the-top, but I think it was meant to be all of these things. Love it or hate it, you have to admire the balls-to-the-wall energy and chutzpah on display here. And the part near the end where the Fosse surrogate, Joe Gideon (brilliantly played by Roy Scheider), hugs his tearful daughter on his way to death’s door always makes me cry. It’s the one extremely real moment in an otherwise fanciful sequence and it hits like a motherf–ker!