is a 1981
film written and directed by Blake Edwards
starring Richard Mulligan
and Julie Andrews
. Robert Vaughn
, Robert Preston
, Larry Hagman
, Shelley Winters
, Loretta Swit
, Robert Loggia
and William Holden
(in his last performance) also appear.
The story is a sharply critical satire
of the film industry and Hollywood
society. The main character, Felix Farmer (Mulligan) is a phenomenally successful producer
who has just made the first flop of his career, to the dismay of the studio and the loss of his own sanity.
After emerging from a period of shock and self-destructive behavior, he resolves to save both the film and his reputation. With great difficulty he persuades the studio and his wife Sally (Andrews) to allow him to revise the film as a soft-core pornographic feature. However, the egos of the filmmakers, the studio, and virtually everyone else in Hollywood continue to wreak havoc on the creative process...
Influences and Reception
When writing the screenplay
Edwards drew upon several of his own experiences. The character Felix Farmer is a person very similar to Edwards, and Sally Farmer is very similar to Julie Andrews, Edwards' wife in real-life. The story of S.O.B.
strongly parallels the experiences of Edwards and Andrews in their infamous failure, Darling Lili
. Intended by Edwards to reveal Andrews' heretofore unseen wicked and sexy side, the film had had a troubled shoot and went significantly over budget, and was subject to post-production studio interference.
In S.O.B., Andrews's character agrees (with some pharmaceutical persuasion) to "show her boobies" in a scene in the film-within-the-film. For this scene, comedian Johnny Carson thanked Andrews on his The Tonight Show for "showing us that the hills were still alive", alluding to a famous line from The Sound of Music opening sequence.
In general, critical opinion on the merit of the film was sharply divided - it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (best comedy/musical) and two Razzie Awards (screenplay, director) - and has remained so in the years after its release.
- "S.O.B." (in the film) stands for "Standard Operational Bullshit" and refers to misinformation being standard, usual, and the norm. The acronym also means "sexually oriented business" (if pertaining to strip clubs) and more generally "son of a bitch" (a ruthless person).
- The Spanish dub of the film keeps the acronym S.O.B. saying that it stands for "Sois hOnrados Bandidos" (You Are Honest Crooks). Notice that the second word begins with a mute H, not with an O.