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About Rinaldo

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    Music (that's what I studied and teach), theater, movies, TV, reading, games, travel.

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  1. Our dad (who directed TV commercials and such, in Chicago, and thereby knew a bit about the world of movie directors) mentioned to us often that that was an ironclad rule in the days when the Hollywood Code was strictly enforced -- no visible toilets, any time. That fizzled out during the 1960s, but I can imagine it lingering a decade or two longer in primetime TV. (Even in the 80s, when Hill Street Blues was breaking every taboo it could, it apparently ran into this one: I remember in one episode when women followed men into the men's restroom, and two men tried to gross them out and drive them away by pretending to be using urinals -- they were facing the camera which was looking over their shoulders at the other actors -- one actress was forced to say "What kind of bathroom is this? There aren't even any urinals!" so that delicate souls in their living rooms wouldn't have to imagine the guys actually peeing.) According to Dad, the first movie to break the taboo was Divorce American Style with Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds; but that was just the first one we saw. There may have been earlier examples. My memory is that we never did. We saw into that bathroom that one time, a handful of other locations around the city (probably under 20 in all those seasons)... but never downstairs that I can recall.
  2. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    The only other instance I recall (and he didn't sing or dance in it) is a couple of decades later, as the choreographer for the pageant in Smile.
  3. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    Catching some of It's Always Fair Weather today (I own the DVD, so I've watched it often), I'm reminded of what a surprising and odd item it was for MGM to have made at all: a kind of disillusioned quasi-sequel to On the Town. (It's not the same characters, but it's three ex-servicemen friends meeting again 10 years later and finding that they don't like their lives or each other.) And it's hampered by a middling sort of score: Andre Previn was good at a lot of things but a satisfying show score wasn't among them, and I've already gone on about what I think of Comden and Green's limited talents as lyricists. But there's still that unique overall atmosphere, and some great sequences: one of Gene Kelly's best (and last) dance solos, and on roller skates; Dolores Gray letting loose with that big voice and personality on "Thanks a Lot but No Thanks"; Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse triumphing over mediocre material so completely that I can't even be critical, they're so dazzling.
  4. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    I agree about Redford and Hackman (less about Burstyn, fine actress though she is). And they missed the boat on Paul Newman, unless he privately declined. Among actors, I'd say it's past time to recognize Denzel Washington (they seem to have gotten to Tom Hanks, about the same age, some years back). Among currently active directors, I notice the absence of Jonathan Demme (as long as he doesn't have to give a speech himself). And among directors of the senior generation, Stanley Donen is a glaring absence -- surely he was asked and said no; if not, he's 94 and they ought to get moving.
  5. I don't think I did share my thoughts, and I don't really think I want to after all this time (I saw it in March). It's also a very difficult show to make work now (I'm always surprised that anyone's still producing it, given its inherent problems). I have some issues with the production as well, though not the ones you named, so best to let it go. I would like to take a moment to say how very much I enjoyed the production (they said "semi-staged concert," but it was a full production really) of How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying at the Kennedy Center last weekend, and I'm glad I made the trip to DC for it. It's the best cast I can imagine being assembled for it right now, certainly better than either of the Broadway revivals: Skylar Astin, Betsy Wolfe, John Michael Higgins, Becki Newton, Michael Urie, Michael McGrath. And Marc Bruni's good taste and good judgment kept it bubbling along nicely without becoming overly cartoony. It existed for only four days, but I'm glad I was there for one of them.
  6. It certainly must be the first time in history that "Blow High, Blow Low" has been chosen to epitomize Carousel. I am told that the Jigger is a giant in the world of ballet, but I know only what I experienced in the theater: he hasn't learned how to sing or speak onstage. For the ruthless villain of the piece, it made for a serious weakness. Your point is spot-on: In the group of 3 theater devotees with whom I FB chat for every Tonys show, we instantly agreed that an infinitely better choice would have been to have Renée Fleming sing one refrain of "June is Busting Out All Over" to lead into the dancers (all, not just the men) frolicking. However, I doubt that it made any difference in Carousel's advance sales. The title is already well enough known that people will know if they loathe the story (justifiably) or adore the score (also justifiably) or some uneasy mixture of the two (like me).
  7. I never blame her, seeing the play or reading it. Lear always seems like a stupid, selfish irritant to me. Which I know one can argue he is meant to be, but then how does that link to the great raging monologues and our having to accept him as a tragic hero, if he's nothing but a jerk who's upset about the consequences of his actions? I keep hoping for the production that'll make the play work for me. Maybe this will be it.
  8. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    I tuned in this afternoon in what turned out to be the middle of The Gay Divorcée -- specifically, just as "The Continental" is moving from song into dance. And I felt an affection, and even admiration, for it that I'd never had before in all my viewings of the movie. (The movie has always been redeemed for me by the glorious few minutes of "Night and Day.") It's easy to see that it's the kind of monster production number that the Astaire/Rogers series would grow away from, and that it's aiming for effects that were really more in the Busby Berkeley vein: the simple wipe-dissolves from ne setup to another, the arbitrary nonsensical poses (showgirls braced on revolving doors just so they can spin prettily) that have no dramatic logic, the masses and masses of boys and girls in black and white who aren't even dancers really, just completing a pattern. All true, but having seen earlier musicals now (like The Broadway Melody, which clumsy as it is, so impressed people at the time that it was voted Best Picture), I understand better how quickly and decisively the musical film was evolving, and how amazing a quarter-hour sequence like this must have felt at the time, capped by the incomparable dancing of Astaire -- and of Rogers, who at this early point in the collaboration is still learning, but learning well. No wonder this was the first winner for Best Song.
  9. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    The song is lovely indeed (Henry Mancini's best songwriting was, I think, in his subdued ballads: other examples including "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses" of course, also "Charade," "Two for the Road" [not actually sung in the movie], and "Whistling Away the Dark"). But my favorite performance in the movie is "You and Me." Preston works with Andrews in a way that loosens her up and releases a simple joy in performing that her careful control didn't always allow her to express, and I smile just thinking about the two of them in this song. (Steve Lawrence accomplished something similar with her on her weekly variety series.)
  10. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    I have... issues with V/V, but Robert Preston's performance (as distinct from some of the lines he's given) is a delight. He's someone who just loved to perform, to reach an audience; and I think his casting in The Music Man (on stage, then on film) was what released that in him, after a rather miscellaneous previous career.
  11. Depends what "a while ago" means (and also, I suppose, "out"). In March he was surprised by a direct interview question, and after fumbling the answer on the phone, later clarified in a tweet that he was "part of the queer community." In the past week he seems to have been more willingly comprehensive in interviews. On another level, he was outed by Ian McKellen during the filming of the Hobbit movies, when Sir Ian mentioned how great it was to see so many excellent out gay actors in the movie, and included Pace in the list. And that's where different meanings of "out" come into play: one can be open with one's friends and colleagues, and still not feel like making a statement to the world press.
  12. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    That's a three-level answer! Her "regular" singing, in songs like "Good Morning," is Debbie Reynolds's own voice. When she (Kathy) is supposed to be supplying lovely, cultivated singing for Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont) in "Would You?", the voice is supplied by Betty Noyes. And when Kathy is supplying lovely cultivated speaking for Lina in The Dancing Cavalier -- that's Jean Hagen herself doing the talking.
  13. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    I had a silly experience yesterday that I then remembered having had identically before, a year or two ago: I happened upon a showing of Nothing Sacred, and I thought "Weird... TCM makes a policy of not showing colorized movies, I wonder if their source accidentally sent them a wrong version and it was too late to change." And then, both times, I looked it up and discovered that, contrary to usual practice for contemporary comedies (or dramas, for that matter) in that era, it was indeed filmed in color -- it's generally cited as the first screwball comedy in color. And yet even after I know better, it does have a slight look of a B&W movie that's been tentatively colored in between the lines; there's a subdued, not-quite-real quality to the color that's miles away from the sumptuous saturated hues of the Technicolor adventure or musical movies of the late 1930s. And then, no doubt, I'll forget all of this again so I can be wrong again a year from now.
  14. That was an early episode, wasn't it? (Goes to look it up...) Yes. Season 1, Episode 6. When they were still settling in to figure out what the best series format would be. (Admittedly, there were a handful of scenes in other sets in later seasons -- but few enough to count easily.) I also remember this episode for providing us with the edifying sight of Hal Linden clad only in a towel. Well done, writers.
  15. TCM: The Greatest Movie Channel

    There's also a recently posted Part II to that video, with further examples that either didn't make it in to the first one or were only tracked down subsequently. My own preference is to cast people who can actually do everything the role requires. But granted that that was not always studio philosophy, especially in earlier movie eras, it was indeed often accomplished amazingly well. Not always; I do think Saul Chaplin went a bit dubbing-mad in West Side Story with replacing Russ Tamblyn's voice in one song only, and sweetening isolated notes for Rita Moreno. Still, I haven't heard the original tracks in all cases. And undoubtedly Richard Beymer, for instance, needed all the help he could get. And I have to concede (the same YouTube person posted the very interesting evidence) that though Natalie Wood undoubtedly worked her butt off with voice lessons and coachings and sang almost well enough... "almost" doesn't suffice for demanding music such as Bernstein wrote for Maria. But in general, I agree: the achievement is downright astonishing sometimes. One of the best examples is Marni Nixon in The King and I: we now know that she and Deborah Kerr worked and practiced together diligently so that the transitions (there's a great deal of back-and-forth between speaking and singing) are seamless, and she really does sound just like Deborah Kerr, if only Kerr could vocalize that tiny bit better. (The match with Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady is audibly less good, sometimes destroying the illusion, because they didn't work together, and she was sometimes added after the fact.) And a tip of the hat to Ms. Mears, who could alter her timbre for a whole song to adjust to the person she was replacing.