Bye Bye Braverman (1968)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Where is the funeral?

Four middle-aged Jewish men get together for a mutual friend’s funeral and find that the passage of time has changed many things between them.

There are some really nice vignettes here. The best may be Morroe’s (George Segal) conversation with all the dead people in the grave yard while amidst hundreds and hundreds of tombstones. You also have to love Alan King as the rabbi leading the funeral. Morroe as a middle-aged man becoming disillusioned with life while going through a sort of mid-life crisis is very relatable and his fantasy segments are funny. Godfrey Cambridge also has a great cameo as a black cab driver who runs into them and the group’s difficulties at finding the right funeral are amusingly on-target.

While the film does have its share of delightful moments it fails to ever come together enough to leave any impact. Some of the segments are too talky and the ending fizzles badly. There is also an extraordinarily high amount of footage given to showing a bird’s eye view of the red Volkswagen that they are in driving through the streets of Brooklyn. In some ways this does give one a great glimpse of Brooklyn during the late 1960’s, but it also screams ‘filler’ in the process.

This definitely seems to be the case where the novel by Wallace Markfield that this movie is based on would be the better choice. It’s certainly watchable and mildly entertaining, but the characters and situations need to be better fleshed out.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: February 21, 1968

Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes

Rated NR (Not Rated)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Studio: Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

Available: DVD (Warner Archive)

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