Henry Jaglom's 18th feature film, Just 45 Minutes from Broadway, arrives in cinemas three years after his successful stage play of the same name debuted at the Edgemar Theater in Santa Monica, where it ran for over a year. And yet, to refer to this motion picture as a simple adaptation or transposition of the original source material would be doing it a grave injustice. Jaglom and his collaborators - who include most of the original cast, editor Ron Vignone, and cinematographer Hanania Baer - take advantage of the structural capabilities of the cinematic medium to rework the theatrical material in ingenious and brilliant ways that were impossible within the confines of the proscenium. This - combined with the retainment of the play's dramatic developments and incisive, witty dialogue that made the original production so blissful - turn Just 45 Minutes into one of the most immensely satisfying works in the iconoclastic director's oeuvre.
The story involves the Isaacs, a group of theater actors inhabiting a country home in Westchester County, New York. Present are patriarch George "Grisha" Isaacs (Jack Heller), his wife Vivien Cooper Isaacs (Diane Salinger), Vivien's brother Larry Cooper (David Proval), and family houseguest Sally Brooks (Harriet Schock). As the tale opens, Grisha and Vivien's daughter, Panda (Tanna Frederick) arrives from Manhattan on the heels of a painful and messy breakup. Her ex-boyfriend was an emotionally constipated jerk who couldn't deal with her vulnerabilities. Though Panda adores her family, their chosen profession, and the emotionally-liberated lifestyle that it engenders, she also grapples with a tense, troubled relationship with older sister Betsy (Julie Davis) - an icy, controlled businesswoman type who has distanced herself from this family of artists. Betsy turns up for a visit not long after Panda arrives, this time with her fiancé, Jimmy (Judd Nelson) in tow. In the days that follow, Jimmy and Panda find themselves drawn to one another and Jimmy begins to open up emotionally to those around him - to Betsy's horror.Show More