Friends, have you been keeping up with the Barkey J. Dog review videos over the last couple of weeks? Since we last shared with you his review of Hero at Large he has covered such subjects as Dr. Pepper, 1981’s The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and Short Circuit from back in 1986. Just the other day on Facebook I was happy to see that the latest video featuring Barkey J. Dog focues on Swing Shift, the 1984 film by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) which starred the likes of Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin), Kurt Russell (Escape from New York) as it’s leads. While I remember seeing Swing Shifts on VHS after it’s release – which apparently didn’t do so hot – I was unaware of the issues behind the scenes on the film until after watching this review of the picture.
I consider myself a cinephile but I had never heard about Swing Shift being altered against Jonathan Demme’s wishes – or that the original screenwriter had her name removed from the release. I agree with Barkey J. Dog for what it might be worth – Swing Shift is a good movie even in it’s altered state of release. I read online that Roger Ebert awarded the movie three out of four stars in his review in Chicago Sun-Times stating, “There’s no suspense and no big emotional payoff, but the movie is always absorbing.” Although Gene Siskel his co-host from Sneak Previews as well At the Movies gave Swing Shift a two-and-a-half star rating in his Chicago Tribune review, “Although the World War II drama does manage to work up considerable emotion for a few big moments, we also find the script wanting at as many moments. One more run through the typewriter would have helped.”
I definitely think you should check out Steve Vineberg’s article from Sight & Sound for an interesting look at what happened with Swing Shift – I hope that somehow we might get the original cut of the film. While you are waiting, why not check out the rest of Barkey J. Dog’s videos over on his YouTube channel?