"Groundhog Day" Paperback
by Ryan Gilbey
Part of the BFI Film Classics series
It is becoming clearer and clearer that Groundhog Day (1993), directed by Harold Ramis, is one of the masterpieces of 1990s Hollywood cinema.
One of the first films to use a science-fiction premise as the basis for romantic comedy, it tells the story of a splenetic TV weatherman, Phil Connors (Bill Murray at his disreputable best), who finds himself repeating indefinitely one drab day in the milk-and-cookies town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
At first glance it seems like a feel-good parable in the tradition of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1943).
But on closer inspection it is a deeply ambivalent fable, with strong echoes of Samuel Beckett: before he finds redemption Phil must plumb the depths of suicidal despair - and even after he has survived this, the film offers no guarantees that he will live happily ever after.
Ryan Gilbey begins his account of Groundhog Day with the long and unlucky gestation of the script by Danny Rubin (who was interviewed specially for this book) which formed the basis of the finished film.
Gilbey celebrates the inspired casting of Murray, alongside Andie MacDowell and less well-known actors such as Stephen Tobolowsky (who plays the reptilian sa
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 96 pages, illustrations
- Publisher: British Film Institute
- Publication Date: 01/04/2004
- Category: Film theory & criticism
- ISBN: 9781844570324
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Review by jbushnell
Part of the BFI Modern Classics series, slim critical volumes, each on a single film. The critical elements in this one are dialed back a bit&#151;it's more of a summary-plus-appreciation. A quick read, likeable, on an enjoyable film.