For Love or Money?
A rich novelist who fears women, meets an artist and wants to be sure she is attracted to him and not his money.
Surrender 1987 Movie, Video Detective and photos from Warner Bros.
Surrender (1987) was a favourite family comedy from the 1980s, so this charming romantic comedy was always on my to review list. The leads are played wonderfully by my favourite lead pairing from Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), Michael Caine and Sally Field. And Darlin’ Husband immediately spotted Peter Boyle.
Boyle completing this trio’s reunion from that surprising flop of the aforementioned Irwin Allen disaster movie. I revisited this disaster film HERE with their co-stars included Telly Savalas, Shirley Knight and a von Trapp child, Angela Cartwright.
But more on this movie, Surrender. The leading man, Michael Caine with that curly mop of a haircut was then a pin-up for our mums. Mums loved him in many, many comedies at this time including Water (1985), Sweet Liberty (1986) and Educating Rita (1983). While our fathers may also have chuckled at these performances they also raved about his halcyon days as Harry Palmer or his roles in The Hand (1981) and The Swarm (1978).
The apparently ageless, Sally Field starred in Steel Magnolias (1989) and Soapdish (1991). It also stars Steve Guttenberg with a moustache. Why he has this moustache, I don’t know. But all I can say is he also starred in Three Men and a Baby in 1987. Three Men and a Baby also starring the 80s man with the most famous of moustaches, Tom Selleck aka Magnum P.I. (1980-88) himself. I’m assuming a bet may have been involved.
Surrender starts 1980s style epitomised with neon font and a saxophone heard in the opening music. We then meet successful author Sean Stein (Caine) – an incurable romantic – in court with lawyer Jay (Boyle) as Stein finalises his first divorce. Steins to be ex-wife demanding alimony due to the alleged help she gave him during his penniless years.
Stein resignedly gives her the money and it’s hinted his another reason, Iman. And Iman, Darlin’ Husband points out has another connection with The Sound of Music (1965) starring in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) with the Christopher Plummer and the Star Trek crew.
We then go forward in time, same divorce court and lawyer. Now, his second wife, Iman’s is demanding money from him for her upkeep. Stein – reasoning prostitutes will be cheaper than another wife – is robbed by a lady of the night for his car and money. But makes a crazy life decision instead of going all John Wick Chapter 2 (2017) about his car.
As our hero on visiting his lawyer and best buddy, Jay – following a short apt comic scene from Caine – tells him that he wants to leg it to Kuwait where “women don’t get the vote”. And after all these scenes you can easily understand Stein’s fear is increasing, believing that women are only with him for his dosh.
Meanwhile, Daisy (Field) is at home with rich boyfriend Marty, the most self-obsessed man ever. Marty even expects Daisy to respond to his needs over hers with a click of his fingers. And a high-powered job, saving others from hostage situations. Daisy herself works in a company producing a mass-produced art product on a conveyor belt and her co-workers are apparently disillusioned artists like herself.
Her best girly friend Ronnie is delightfully played by
Marge Simpson Julie Kavner. Daisy confesses to blinking crazily when she lies. And laments how he won’t commit. And that she wants a baby with Marty (Guttenberg). And Daisy blinks, a lot. On returning home, she tries to get into her latest unfinished art project and Marty calls inviting her to a fund-raising evening. And he eventually wins her over.
So that night both Sean and Daisy attend the same do. Daisy gets bored drawing a caricature of a fellow guest on a napkin and it’s found by Stein who loves it. In contrast to Marty who doesn’t. Then things go a bit Die Hard (1988) as terrorists with guns burst into the scene. Marty and Daisy are separated and she ends up in the same room as Stein.
The terrorists demand all undress as they tie people up in pairs. A nude Stein throws himself against a man, such is his fear of women. So inevitably Sean and Daisy are tied up together. She tells him about her blinking problem, and he falls for her particularly loving her personal anti-lie device. Caine’s character rises to this occasion literally and metaphorically. These scenes are pure slapstick comedy gold.
So once the trauma is over the pair leave, she’s embarrassed and leaves with Marty in his chauffeured car. Much to the concern of Jay, Sean is besotted. So as Marty is off saving others, Stein after finding out where Daisy lives visits her to ask her on a date.
After a fun montage from Caine, he goes on the date a few hours early. And after convincing Daisy he’s the romantic and sensitive type, she falls for him and the pair sleep together before the date has even started.
However, Stein convinces her he’s an impoverished writer to find out if she is genuine in her feelings for him rather than his bank balance. And the pair fall in love. However, Stein decides to confess all, just as Marty comes back wanting to give Daisy the commitment she’s looking for…but still with that bloody awful moustache.
The two leads shine in this, but it is Caine’s comic role that deserves your attention. His comic timing is fantastic and it’s hard to believe this sweet, sensitive character as the confident and masterful Charlie Croker of The Italian Job (1969) and Lt. Gonville Bromhead in Zulu (1964).
His chemistry with Field is sweet and endearing, and much more convincing – and less painful – than the Lolita loving Matthew Hollis in love with his best friends 17-year-old daughter in Blame it on Rio (1984).
With Field in their falling in love montage, the pair easily convince you of their growing love, warmth, affection and understanding of each other. He encourages her in her art and she in his writing after he shows her an old manuscript of one of his best sellers. And all this certainly adds up to be one of Caine’s more romantic characters and a lovely adorable pairing with Field.
Kavner and Boyle, in their supportive best friend roles, made you believe they wanted the best for their friends especially in the later scenes of this film. Like Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby supported the leads in When Harry Met Sally (1989) they easily showed the camaraderie with their friends.
Kavner especially in her delightful scenes with Daisy reminded me of a friend who gives constructive advice, with some humour best girly friends will recognise. Boyle also shone as an empathetic friend and lawyer.
Guttenberg was underused but worked well with the cast, showing his characters contrasting relationship with Daisy which was lacking in passion and commitment. However, these attributes were seen more in scenes that involved his work. All in all its a great cast, with some great moments and some not so great. But I’d definitely recommend it if you are having a Michael Caine comedy night watching his 1980s comedies.
This is certainly one of the better underrated comedies with the best romantic chemistry. Surrender was produced by Aaron Spelling who produced Dynasty (1981-89), and who kinda got a biopic in 2005’s Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure (also starring a von Trapp kid grown up, Nicholas Hammond).
The involvement of Spelling is reinforced by one character actually watching Dynasty during this movie. This has to be the ultimate of product placements – and something that would be torture in certain circumstances.
But remember, this is not a sequel for the aforementioned Poseidon Adventure yarn but it could have been. Failing that…the alternative ending possibly as Darlin Husband suggests Batman’s just not happy knowing his butler Alfred been dating Spiderman’s auntie. I mean she doesn’t even share the same name as his mother… just the first two letters, that’s if he gives A fleck.
Weeper Rating: 😦😦 😦😦😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂🙂 /10
The Addicted to Screwball Blogathon 2017, No 24
This review was written as part of the Addicted to Screwball Blogathon. This blogathon held by Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies. Other films with this cast include Outland with Peter Boyle. Sally Field stars in my Soapdish and Home For the Holidays posts. Michael Caine was reviewed in The Fourth Protocol, Interstellar, The Prestige, The Swarm and many more. Steve Guttenberg stars in Police Academy and Three Men and a Little Lady.