Ultimate 70s Blogathon: For Pete’s Sake (1974) by Rhyme and Reason

Today’s entry for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon comes from one of the most unique participants in the blogathon. This person fuses his two passions of poetry and movies into one. I am of course talking about SG from Ryme and Reason. If you aren’t familiar with his work and don’t know what I’m talking about, head over to his site and see for yourself. He joins us today with a review of the Barbra Streisand comedy For Pete’s Sake.

If only we could strike it rich
Like all the lucky folk
Who never feel privation’s itch
Or fear of going broke.

We’d live in mansions, drink champagne,
And pay our bills on time;
And when we spend like we’re insane,
We’ll laugh, “It ain’t a crime.”

With money, we could take a chance,
Like he who funds and lends,
Investing in high-risk finance
To rake in dividends.

It’s easy for the well-to-do
To risk such revenues,
But those like me and maybe you
Don’t have that much to lose.

So you won’t see me gambling
To frantically chase wealth.
Compared to poverty’s light sting,
It’s risky to your health!

MPAA rating: PG

For this ‘70s Blogathon, I wanted to pick a lesser-known movie that could be a unique entry, so I went for an obscure little screwball comedy by the name of For Pete’s Sake. Barbra Streisand had already become a household name by this time with two Oscar nominations and one win under her belt, so the ‘70s saw her “stoop” in critics’ eyes to have some fun with comedies. For Pete’s Sake may not be her best since that honor would have to go to the hilarious What’s Up, Doc? from two years prior, but it’s still quite the amusing showcase of Streisand’s comedic talent.

Streisand plays high-strung housewife Henrietta Robbins, opposite Michael Sarrazin as her hard-working cab driver husband Pete, who affectionately calls her Henry. They’re deeply in love but struggling financially, and Henry’s frustrating encounters with unsympathetic stiff necks remind us why people hate dealing with banks, phone companies, and insurance providers, not to mention obnoxious family members. After considering a “solid” tip about pork belly futures, Henry takes out a shady loan and hopes for a life-improving windfall, only for harebrained misadventures to ensue when New York’s underworld comes to collect.

For Pete’s Sake isn’t a laugh riot, but it has amusement to spare, especially as Henry is traded to various shady enterprises to work off her debt, failing epically, of course. You don’t see many screwball comedies these days, at least not in the classic sense of zany situations gradually spiraling out of control in almost Looney Tunes fashion. At one point, Henry halfheartedly accepts employment by a motherly madam, and her visits from customers go horribly wrong due to her inexperience. The funniest segment, though, might be when she’s being chased by a police dog (something illegal goes south, as you might have guessed), and she and the dog spoof the subway train scene from The French Connection.

For Pete’s Sake is silly, undemanding fun, the kind that goes from a dream about pork bellies to Barbara Streisand riding a bull down a New York street. Streisand gives a likably harried performance and fittingly sings the opening theme “For Pete’s Sake (Don’t Let Him Down).” It’s also neat to play “Spot the Not-Yet-Famous Face” with these older movies; here you might recognize early roles for Vincent Schiavelli (from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Ghost) and Joe Pantoliano (from The Matrix and Memento and a whole lot else). For Pete’s Sake is also a pleasant reminder of ‘70s-era comedy, the cleaner kind before National Lampoon revolutionized it with movies like Animal House. Oh, and another thing about these older movies: They give away almost everything in the trailer, so don’t watch it beforehand. Seriously, it seems like the style of trailer-making has changed more since the ‘70s than the movies themselves.

Best line: (grocery employee at checkout, when Henry complains about the prices) “Nobody is forcing you to eat, madam.”   (Henry) “Yeah, I know, but every time I try to stop, I get withdrawal pains.”

Rank: List Runner-Up

© 2018 S.G. Liput

536 Followers and Counting

If you’ve missed any of the entries, you can find a list of them all here.

2 thoughts on “Ultimate 70s Blogathon: For Pete’s Sake (1974) by Rhyme and Reason

  1. Reblogged this on Rhyme and Reason and commented:
    Here’s my review of For Pete’s Sake, an obscure little Barbra Streisand comedy from the ’70s that I covered for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon, hosted by Drew’s Movie Reviews and Kim of Tranquil Dreams. They’ve had plenty of other great contributions over the last three weeks of the blogathon, so stop by to see what other favorites were picked from that disco decade.


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