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Scarecrow on Seattle: CINDERELLA LIBERTY

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.






Cinderella Liberty (1973)
Sleazy, seedy, seventies Seattle is well represented in this drama about an introverted Navy sailor named John Baggs (played by James Caan) who gets stuck in Seattle after his paperwork gets lost. The film starts with a Navy boat docking at the Seattle waterfront, which offers a nice panoramic view of the skyline circa 1973. Baggs salutes Seattle and then, like any wise sailor, heads right for some action of the booze 'n' broads variety. In other words he goes to 1st Avenue in its hedonistic glory days of dive bars, strip clubs, adult bookstores, and stumbling drunks. Baggs soon finds himself in a bar called Club Neptune. Although the bar looks pretty worn in and suitably raunchy, it was created for the film. At Club Neptune Baggs starts making time with a pool hustling hooker named Maggie Paul (Marsha Mason). Actually, I don't think he knows she's a hooker at first, but it doesn't take him long to figure it out. Maggie lives with her son in an unkempt apartment located on Seneca near Post Alley right under the Alaskan Way Viaduct off ramp. Baggs spends much of the film passing time, doing sundry Navy work and trying to build a family (albeit a dysfunctional one) with Maggie and her kid. Baggs visits the Seattle Center Fun Forest for a quick spin on the Ferris wheel and the Wild Mouse rollercoaster. He takes his new "family" for a ferry ride to see the sights of Puget Sound and share some of his naval knowledge. Time is also spent poking around Gas Works Park and a pre-restoration Pike Place Market. Baggs runs into an old Navy adversary turned confidant (played by Eli Wallach) who works as an announcer outside a strip club situated under the Market where the Alibi Room is now located. Seamy sights abound in Cinderella Liberty and the film's predictable melodrama is elevated by several fine performances, a cast packed with familiar character actors and a script populated by unique characters.
--Spenser Hoyt


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