Book Vs. Movie: Biloxi Blues
The 1984 Neil Simon Play Vs. the 1988 Mike Nichols Film
The Margos continue their month of plays in January (we have “Musicals in March”) with Neil Simon’s middle offer of the “Eugene Chronicles” with 1984’s Biloxi Blues. The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Simon about Eugene Morris Jerome of Brooklyn, NY, and his time as an enlisted soldier in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Starring Matthew Broderick (who played the role of Eugene in every chapter), the play was an instant hit earning Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Featured Player to Barry Miller (Arnold Epstein.) Broderick was awarded his first Tony Award as Eugene Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs in 1983. Miller also won the Theatre World Award and the Drama Desk Award in 1985 for Biloxi Blues, which may be why he was NOT invited to the movie. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert would later pan the film for not hiring Miller.
The critics loved the comedy and performances, as well as Simon’s outward discussion of the treatment of Jewish people at the time.
In this episode, the Margos discuss the significant differences between the book and the movie and try to decide which we like better.
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The work of Neil Simon & the “Eugene Trilogy.”
- The controversy of not casting Barry Miller
- The significant differences between the play and the movie
- The 1985 Broadway play: Matthew Broderick (Eugene Jerome,) William Sadler (Sgt. Toomey,) Barry Miller (Arnold Epstein,) Penelope Ann Miller (Daisy,) Randall Edwards (Rowena,) Matt Mulhern (Wykowski,) Alan Ruck (Carney,) Geoffrey Sharp (Hennesey) and Brian Tarantina as Selridge.
- The 1988 film: Matthew Broderick (Eugene Jerome,) Christopher Walken (Sgt. Toomey,) Markus Flanagan (Selridge,) Matt Mulhern (Wykowski,) Corey Parker (Epstein,) Casey Siemaszko (Carney,) Michael Dolan (Hennesey,) Penelope Ann Miller (Daisy) and Park Overall as Rowena)
- Opening Clip
- Barry Miller wins a TONY
- Biloxi Blues original 1988 trailer
- Detail Attention
- Epstein combats Toomey’s methods.
- Eugene meets Daisy
- Toomey threatens Epstein
- The “bet scene.”
- Biloxi Blues epilogue
- Music by Pat Suzuki “How High the Moon”
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