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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. 

Mike Nichols directed the 1988 film that was a huge hit as part of a wave of 1980s films set in the military. (See Stripes, Private Benjamin, and Good Morning, Viet Nam.) 

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:

Clips used:

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