Saturday, January 26, 2013

Only now does it occur to me... UNFAITHFUL

Only now does it occur to me...  Balloon Saloon!  Allow me to explain. 
So I've been on a Adrian Lyne rewatch kick and I finally got around to watching UNFAITHFUL, his surprisingly faithful (no joke intended) remake of Claude Chabrol's 1969 film, THE UNFAITHFUL WIFE.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the performances– particularly by Diane Lane and Richard Gere (the AMERICAN GIGOLO himself playing the cuckold in a piece of genius casting)– are incredibly in tune with one another, and subtle even in the midst of scenes that nearly ring "soap opera." 
The film begins with Diane Lane exiting a shop and entering a windstorm of Biblical proportions– or at least Bugs Bunny cartoon proportions.  She is hefted to and fro by the winds until she melodramatically meets a dangerously handsome Frenchman whereupon the titular unfaithfulness is set into motion.  Let me back up a moment– about that shop:

 It is a balloon saloon.


And I guarantee you this is the only time in film you will see Diane Lane battered about by giant balloon dinosaurs and zebras.

Even better, I recognized the balloon saloon from semi-frequent trips to Tribeca.
 Imagine it!  A bar where you can get balloons as well!  Alas, my dreams were dashed when I entered the establishment and discovered that it was simply a party center.  I craned my neck to look behind the counter with the helium tanks and the ribbon cutting station, hoping to spy a glimpse of a lonely tap of "Balloon Saloon Lager," but there was no such luck.  I'm still holding out hope that there's a back room speakeasy, accessible by password, which contains a portal to the clown bar from SHAKES THE CLOWN.  We can all dream, can't we?

By the way, J.D. over at Radiator Heaven did a great writeup on this film some time ago, too, if you want to read an informed opinion on something other than the Balloon Saloon.


J.D. Lafrance said...

Thanks for the shout-out, my friend! I had not thought about the balloon saloon and your post does make me wonder why Lyne stuck that in there. Very odd.

cool that that place actually still exists. Sadly, I guess you didn't see Diane Lane hanging around there, eh?

Sean Gill said...


Alas, Diane Lane was not there to be pelted by zebras, or anything else.
I'm guessing Lyne saw the place in the neighborhood and thought it would add one of those weird, visual flourishes that seem to pop up in his films– also jumping to mind offhand are most of the horror setpieces in JACOB'S LADDER and the bug-zapper scene in LOLITA between Irons and Langella.