(1997)3Craig ButlerThe idea of making a documentary about the making of a minor Broadway play like Moon Over Buffalo seems odd at first. While the play is enjoyable, it is not one for the ages -- and clearly this would have been obvious from the beginning. However, Moon Over Broadway emerges as an extremely enjoyable and very valuable documentary when it becomes clear that the film is not about THIS play but is in a sense about A Broadway play -- especially the kind of star-driven Boulevard play, complete with classic out-of-town tryout, that is a dying breed. While there are numerous supporting players, the film focuses on the most important triumvirate -- playwright Ken Ludwig, director Tom Moore and star Carol Burnett. Moore is the man in the middle here, and he's fascinating (if occasionally repellent) to watch. The different attitudes he displays when talking with Ludwig and when talking to Burnett leave the viewer wondering if he is two-faced, merely practical or a brilliant tactitian. It's also interesting to watch the balance of sympathy shift, as Ludwig initially comes across as overimpressed with his own worth, but eventually reveals a vulnerability that -- while it may not make up for his overly callous attitude concerning Burnett -- does tend to soften one's feelings for him. For her part, Burnett does not act as the stereotypical neurotic or imperious star. While clearly nervous, she does not allow the nerves to affect her relationships, and while she does have some concerns, she tends to present them as requests rather than demands. All of this stacks the deck against Ludwig and Moore, although Moore's ability to see that Burnett has come a long way during the process wins him points. As usual, Pennebaker's unobtrusively inquisitive camera captures many marvelous moments. Moon is a wonderful behind-the-scenes excursion which reveals that, amazingly, many of the cliches we see in onscreen backstagers are not so far from the truth.