Other People’s Money – Fabulous Friday Flicks

This marvelous little movie is about

what happens when traditional American values

are confronted by the realities of a changing economy.

The plot sounds like it was “ripped from the headlines,” but the film is now 22 years old. While the technology in the film looks dated, the story could not seem more contemporary! A fascinating plot, unique cast, and superb dialogue help create

A proud, but struggling, American manufacturing plant in New England, run by stubborn, folksy Gregory Peck becomes the takeover target of ruthless Wall Street mogul “Larry the Liquidator,” played by Danny DeVito. 

Danny DeVito in Other People's Money

At the heart of their spirited confrontation is a question America faces as our economy changes so rapidly. “New England Wire and Cable,” the fictional company at the center of the film, is losing money, but employs many people. It can be bought and liquidated to make a profit for the shareholders. Is it more moral, and does it make more economic sense, to keep the company running or shut down the plant?

The conclusion of the film contains two of the best written, best acted monologues you will ever see. Each of the main characters (Peck and DeVito) makes an appeal to the shareholders at the annual meeting. Each monologue is brilliantly written and contains a very different, but very persuasive message. Audiences, then and now, come out divided about which side they would support.

One of the beauties of Other People’s Money is that it presents this complex question in a thoughtful and interesting way. Although we instinctively root for Peck, the  plant owner, we  also come to recognize that he is also stubborn and blind to the changing economy. Danny DeVito, never better, is an intriguing, compelling villain. However, the script is so well written and constructed that we are forced to recognize that “Larry the Liquidator” may be loathsome on some levels – but that  he is not all wrong.

“Other People’s Money” is dramatic, beautifully filmed, and features a terrific supporting cast, most notably Penelope Ann Miller, sensational as a sexy, brilliant, young lawyer who goes nose-to-nose with one of America;s biggest tycoons – with surprising results that challenge each of their preconceptions about what should happen to the endangered wire and cable factory

Interestingly, although the film is quite small and you’ve likely never heard of it, it boasts an impressive pedigree. Other People’s Money was directed by Norman Jewison. (“In The Heat Of The Night,” “Moonstruck” ” Fiddler on the Roof”)  And written by Alvin Sargent (“Ordinary People,” “Julia,” “Paper Moon” and all the “Spiderman” movies.)

Don’t be scared off by thinking that a movie about a business takeover will be boring or hard to follow. “Other People’s Money” is entertaining, accessible, and interesting from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a smart, sexy, drama that will lead to great conversation, look no further than “Other People’s Money.”

7 thoughts on “Other People’s Money – Fabulous Friday Flicks

  1. I wanted to thank you for recommending this film! I had never heard of it and was surprised and impressed. It was hard for me to imagine Danny DeVito going toe-to-toe with Gregory Peck and holding his own, but he was superb!

    Can you tell me where the factory/small town filming took place? It was a great location!

    • Hi, Liz, and thank you for reading my blog!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the film. I do try to share good movies that many people have not seen – I think one of the great joys of being a movie buff is sharing your favorite films with other buffs.

      The answer to your question is that the director, Norman Jewison, used locations in the towns of Georgetown, Seymour and Milford, Connecticut. Although I have been to Connecticut any number of times I do not believe I’ve ever been to any of those towns. The scouting director for the film certainly did a great job finding them!

  2. I watched the movie after finding your review. I had never heard of it before. It was very entertaining and the leads, especially Danny DeVito were great! I was surprised that the issues are still so relevant, despite the very different economic conditions. I hope you will do more posts about films like this which are really good but not well known.

    • Hello, Victoria, and thank you for your much appreciated comments!

      I agree that the issues in “Other People’s Money” remain very relevant today. The film is dated by the technology, which is a byproduct of the rapid pace of technological change. But the underlying conflict, which is presented in such an interesting and entertaining way, is still thought-provoking and controversial. One of the things I like best about the film is that neither position is shown to be right. There is good in bad in both sides and in both arguments. My readers who watched the film with another person will probably end up having a wonderful discussion about who was right.

      I appreciate your suggestion about doing more posts about films that aren’t as well known. Here are links to my analysis of two of my favorites: “My Favorite Year,” And “Sullivan’s Travels.” you may not have heard of either, but each is a real gem!

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