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Strangers Toiling in a Strange Land

November 15, 1990|DOUG LIST

No, this isn't the continuing story of David and Maddie. Far from it: This "Moonlighting" is an unforgettable story of four Polish construction workers sent to London to renovate the foreign getaway of their wealthy boss.

The first half of the movie is a comical and touching, stranger-in-a-strange-land, with the foreman--played by Jeremy Irons--venturing about London (he's the only English-speaker of the four), astonished at the wonders of capitalism. It's a fascinating performance by the underrated English actor, who became famous as Charles Ryder in the PBS series "Brideshead Revisited" and is now gathering critical praise for his portrayal of Claus Von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune."

When news comes that Soviet troops have moved into Poland to stamp out Solidarity, the film takes on a newsy, political scope. Even these privileged workers, lucky enough to be toiling in fashionable London, are victims of a misguided system.

But you don't have to be politically concerned to enjoy this heartfelt story--written and directed by Polish emigre Jerzy Skolimowski--of workingmen's values and Western consumerism.

"Moonlighting" (1982), directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. 97 minutes. Rated PG.


"Smile" (1975), directed by Michael Ritchie. 113 minutes. Rated PG. One of a series of Michael Ritchie films about America's unbending faith in traditions and pageantry, no matter how tarnished. In this one, it's a beauty pageant that takes it on the chin. Look for an 18-year-old Melanie Griffith as one of the contestants.

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