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'Ishtar': Boos & !!!!!!

May 31, 1987

In her autopsy of "Ishtar," Broeske quotes Guy McElwaine as saying, "How much of the negative was covered by outside revenue sources? Imagine that I'm not stupid. Assume that we had a good portion of that negative covered before we ever started filming."

So who was stupid?

Let me guess.

Elaine May discovered a secret map or something that the U.S. government badly needed, and to get that map Ronald Reagan agreed to finance $40 million for May's motion picture, even though everyone knew she was a total loon who couldn't be trusted to take a passport photo for under a million. But the government made sure the film really only cost $10 million to make, and the rest went to help the contras.

I think what bothered me most about "Ishtar" was its mean-spiritedness. Rodgers and Clark are characters whose dreams will never come true. They will never be successful in show business. (How could they, singing songs like "Hot Fudge Love"?)

May and Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman seem mean-spirited to me because they are already members of the club that Rodgers and Clark want so desperately to join. They're on the inside, laughing at those who are locked out.

And the saddest thing is that "Ishtar" is as bad a film as "Hot Fudge Love" is a song.

DAVID NATHAN

Los Angeles

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