Based on a novel by Jack Englehard about an Arab billionaire who offers a man a million dollars to sleep with his ‘beautiful, blonde wife’, the premise is flimsy at best. In the movie, the billionaire is no longer an Arab, he’s Robert Redford. The man is Woody Harrelson, his beautiful blonde wife is now a dark-haired Demi Moore.
Now you know I love Robert Redford. So much so that I wrote him a fan letter back when I was a very young woman. It’s the only fan letter I’ve ever written. I fell for him in the 70’s over the course of Barefoot in the Park, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Downhill Racer, Little Fauss & Big Halsey, The Candidate, The Sting, The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, All the President’s Men. I can forgive him plenty, including the lackluster The Great Gatsby, but even I can’t forgive him this cheesy, bordering on sleazy movie. A sort of dressed up soft core porn.
The answer, Indecent Proposal.
Roger Ebert was kind enough to give the film three stars saying it created a conversation about the idea of putting a price tag on marital fidelity. He noted one woman said ‘‘if the choice was between being faithful to Woody Harrelson or sinning with Robert Redford, Bob could keep his million and she'd consider it anyway.’’ I feel you, lady, I really do! But still ...
‘‘Indecent Proposal” is in a very old tradition, in which love is put to the test of need and desire and triumphs in the end, although not without a great many moments when it seems quite willing to cave in to passion. It is artificial and manipulative, and in the real world this sort of thing would never happen in this way, but then that's why we line up at the ticket window: We want to leave the real world, for a couple of hours, anyway.
If you're so inclined, you can stream Indecent Proposal on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu and Google Play.
Directed by Adrian Lyne, the movie was produced by Sherry Lansing, the first woman to ever head a studio. As CEO at Paramount she was responsible for the studio's longest running string of box office hits including Forrest Gump, Titanic and Braveheart.
Her career is the subject of a soon to be release biography by THR editor Stephen Galloway titled Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.
There’s an excerpt from the book on the Hollywood Reporter site which I hope to get to soon!