Mike Nichols (The Graduate/Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) was an unlikely candidate to direct a werewolf movie, but his 1994 picture Wolf was by no means your bog-standard tale of a ‘hairy-handed gent’ (Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London):
Plotwise: briefly; sad-sack upscale NY publishing house editor Will Randall (Jack Nicholson) is demoted and shafted by his mentee Stewart Swinton (James Spader) when tycoon Raymond Alden (Christopher Plummer) acquires the company. Driving home from leafy Vermont, Will is bitten by a wolf and finds his batteries more than recharged….
For the most part the movie is a sharp satire of 90s corporate politicking and greed, with some very funny writing, which I suspect is the work of an uncredited Elaine May (Nichols long-time friend and comedy partner), as it crackles with her unique style.
These scenes in particular – some of which remind me of my days climbing (or attempting to hang onto) the greasy pole at UK broadcaster ITV.
Excuse the poor quality/sound of this first clip:
“Look, it’s nothing personal. Come on, you know that. You’re clearly a man of taste and individuality, which I prize, but these days, not only in corporate America but all around the globe, taste and individuality are actually something of a handicap.”
Will Randall (Nicholson):
“Well, just out of curiosity, on what basis did you pick my successor? Vulgarity and conformity?”
Some prescient dialogue:
Despite the age difference, the scenes between Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer (as Alden’s daughter Laura) really zing:
In my view (for what it’s worth) the picture would have been perfect if Nicholson’s character simply believed that the wolf’s bite had rejuvenated him and took that as a reason to re-enter the fray, rather go full-blown werewolf, which unfortunately makes the latter part of Wolf a bit silly.
Nicholson resembling more of an adult ”double-denim’ Eddie Munster or an inbred Mountain Man than a terrifying lupine man-beast:
A haunting score by Ennio Morricone
So check out Wolf (again?), it may just surprise you.
Old Jokes Home: I used to be a werewolf but I’m alright nooooooooooooowwwww!