Just Tell Me What You Want
|Just Tell Me What You Want|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sidney Lumet|
|Produced by||Burtt Harris|
|Written by||Jay Presson Allen|
|Music by||Charles Strouse|
|Edited by||Jack Fitzstephens|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
To date, this remains Ali MacGraw's last leading-lady film role.
Max Herschel, the married, wealthy, vulgar, egotistical, middle-aged head of a corporate empire, is satisfied with the somewhat casual love/hate relationship he shares with his mistress and protegee, television producer "Bones" Burton, just as it is, but she wants a more serious commitment.
The young woman attempts to extricate herself from the affair—or perhaps force her lover into taking the next, more permanent step—by dating a younger man, off-off-Broadway playwright Steven Routledge. Max, however, is not a man to accept defeat in any of his endeavors, and he retaliates with a vengeance.
The two engage in an escalating battle of wits, with Max discovering money can't resolve everything when he is outsmarted by business rival Seymour Berger and his grandson Mike. It leads to a comic fight between Max and Bones at New York's Bergdorf Goodman.
- Alan King ..... Max Herschel
- Ali MacGraw ..... Bones Burton
- Peter Weller ..... Steven Routledge
- Keenan Wynn ..... Seymour Berger
- Tony Roberts ..... Mike Berger
- Myrna Loy ..... Stella Liberti
- Dina Merrill ..... Connie Herschel
- Judy Kaye ..... Baby
- Joseph Maher ..... Dr. Coleson
- Original Music ..... Charles Strouse
- Cinematography ..... Oswald Morris
- Production Design ..... Tony Walton
- Art Direction ..... John Jay Moore
- Set Decoration ..... Robert Drumheller, Justin Scoppa, Jr.
- Costume Design ..... Gloria Gresham, Tony Walton
The film features the last motion picture performance of Myrna Loy, who plays Herschel's confidential secretary.
In his review in Time, Frank Rich stated, "After a brisk 20 minutes, the movie loses its assurance and sense of purpose. Indeed, Jay Presson Allen's screenplay reels around like a drunken sailor. From moment to moment, Just Tell Me is a somber and confusingly plotted story of corporate power struggles, a syrupy account of a love triangle, and a sloppy satire of show business . . . There are still some bright moments, but they are separated by flaccid, poorly connected scenes that go nowhere at great length. The few high points belong to King and MacGraw. [He] is too much of a pussycat to convey the hero's toughness, but he delivers Allen's best sallies with crackling speed . . . Though MacGraw is no comedian, she is animated and playful for the first time in memory."