(1985)1Donald GuariscoThe final film by Richard Brooks is unfortunately a camp classic of the first order. Fever Pitch tries to be a sincere expose of gambling but it is so far off the mark its practically a work of surrealism. Brooks goes for a flashy style that is very much of its mid-1980's vintage (rock video-style editing, a pulsing synth score) but his storyline and dialogue rely on the kind of hokey conventions that haven't been seen and heard since the 1940's. Despite the anti-gambling tone of the story, he ends up making the casinos look like fun, exciting places to be and creates a finale that hinges upon the main character betraying all the lessons he's learned in order to give the film a hokey happy ending. It's also studded with unintentionally hilarious bits of serious drama that go seriously awry (the worst is a moment where the hero finds himself undergoing withdrawal symptoms when he tries to stop gambling). Fever Pitch is further hurt by some ludicrous casting: Ryan O'Neal never convinces with his wooden performance as the hero, Catherine Hicks lacks the sultriness to pull off the 'hooker with a heart of gold' cliché she has been given and Chad Everett's absurdly overwrought performance as a tough bookie is its own self-parody. Thus, Fever Pitch is a disaster on most levels but its combination of frenetic energy and jaw-dropping wrongheadedness make it a must-see for fans of Hollywood disasters.