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, a 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.
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.”