I Get No Kick From Champagne

August 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm (Film Adaptations, Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , )

I get no kick from Champagne, but I get a big ol’ kick out of Kenneth Branagh’s 2000 version of Love’s Labour’s Lost. It’s set in 1939 France. World War II is looming and we’re updated several times during the film with faux newsreel footage. But everyone is quite stylish and elegant in Navarre. And the music is good. The music is very, very good with all those great Depression-era show tunes.

Okay. Let’s be honest. The BBC took Shakespeare’s play at face value and delivered a true-to-the-text (and therefore very wordy) version. In stark contrast, Branagh throws caution (and maybe common sense) to the wind and delivers a trippy, giddy, easy-on-the-eye dreamscape of a musical. This is Shakespeare Lite. Emphasis on Lite.

I didn’t analyze how much of the text is missing, but it’s significant — like all the boring parts! Really, you don’t get any sense at all of the wordplay and self-conscious erudition that permeates the original. It’s nearly pedantless! This is all fun and games. Heavy on the wooing, lite on the wit.

Does it work? I find this film much easier to watch and more entertaining than the BBC version. Is it all good? I wouldn’t go that far. I actually hate Alicia Silverstone as the princess. She is just awful and barely delivers her lines. She’s the low point for me. And, well, I watch a lot of Scooby at my house, so it’s hard for me to see Matthew Lillard (who plays Longaville) and think of anything but Shaggy. Yet, it sorta works in this movie. Longaville = Shaggy. Go figure.

What’s good here? I love Nathan Lane’s Costard. And by far the trippiest character is Timothy Spall’s amazingly bizarre Don Armado. Wow, is all I can say there. Fun to watch. Weird, though.

Really weird. I think my favorite scene is Don Armado singing Cole Porter’s “I Get A Kick Out of You” and sneezing cocaine all over another guy’s face, followed immediately by the princess and her ladies goofily waking up with their teddy bears in their tent and then going for a synchronized Esther Williams-style swim while singing Irving Berlin’s “No Strings (I’m Fancy Free)” from Top Hat with Fred Astaire.

Yeah. I have to say I really don’t get this play (I mean Shakespeare’s version). I’m going to read it again before I post about it. But whatever is in Love’s Labour’s Lost is surely lost in this film version. The play is about wordplay and satire; that is completely absent from this film. Yet, the film is entertaining — for sheer cheesy weirdness, really, more than great song and dance.

Okay, enough of the hallucination. I’m going to get back to the text. I will report back. Hopefully, I’ll find it more readable on the second pass. Wish me luck!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share
Advertisements

Permalink 7 Comments

Finally, Bliss

May 15, 2010 at 12:23 am (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Film Adaptations, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , )

I finally watched the 1990 New York City Opera performance of A Little Night Music (from Live at Lincoln Center). I promised myself this treat after watching the dismal 1978 movie with Elizabeth Taylor. It’s so much better.

The cast is great; I enjoyed all the acting and singing. Frederick (George Lee Andrews) and Desiree (Sally Ann Howes, who I will always think of as Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) have great chemistry and are charming and witty together. I really enjoy the give and take between them. 

Beverly Lambert plays Frederick’s virginal wife Anne as a complete airbrain, which fits the part. Desiree’s lover/dragoon Carl-Magnus Malcolm (played by Michael Maguire) really seems to have a brain the size of a pea, as Desiree describes him to Frederick. I also enjoy Petra, the lusty maid (played by Susan Terry) and Desiree’s worldly and insightful mother, Madame Arnfeldt, played by Regina Resnik.

Ironically, a weak spot for me in this production is the “Send in the Clowns” scene. During the intermission, there is an interview with Stephen Sondheim explaining that song. He did not originally include it in the score. When the production was in rehearsal (for the 1973 original Broadway show), director Hal Prince called Sondheim and asked him to write a song for Desiree. Sondheim did not want to because he felt that particular scene belonged to Frederick. Prince explained his reasoning, talked it over with Sondheim, and Sondheim wrote the song in two days. Sondheim explains:

“It was never meant to be a soaring ballad. It’s a song of regret. It’s a song of a lady who is too upset and too angry to speak (meaning to sing) for a very long time. She is furious, but she doesn’t want to make a scene in front of Frederick because she recognizes that his obsession with his 18-year-old wife is unbreakable. So she gives up. So it’s a song of regret and anger.”

Then the video shows Sally Ann Howes working on phrasing with musical director Paul Gemignani. You get the feeling that she really understands the purpose of the lyrics and how to make it work.

So, when the scene between Frederick and Desiree comes up in the second act, I have some expectations. Howes lets me down. She sings it with a beautiful voice. But it’s too much about the beauty of her voice and not enough about the emotion of the scene. I want pain and anguish, sadness and anger there. I want her to be about to cry and barely able to spit out the words. That sounds awful, but that’s what the song needs. The lyric “Isn’t it bliss?” is filled with bitter irony. I think that Judi Dench does it right… the catch in her voice, the sadness.

Anyway, that’s the only thing that didn’t work for me in this production. This is a really enjoyable version of A Little Night Music; the show works well on the stage and it’s much better than the Elizabeth Taylor movie version. Unfortunately, the 1990 Lincoln Center production is not on Netflix. There are DVDs available, or you can watch it in pieces on YouTube.

As I explained in my earlier posts, this show is not directly Shakespearean. It is a musical version of Ingmar Bergman’s wonderful film Smiles of a Summer Night. Bergman was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and there are shared themes. Smiles of a Summer Night also inspired Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

If you want my viewing suggestions, watch Bergman’s film first, then the 1990 musical, think about skipping Woody Allen, and don’t even consider the Elizabeth Taylor movie.

I think this will be my final post related to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Unless someone has another movie suggestion or comment from the text, I’m about ready to move on to Much Ado About Nothing. Read it with me!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 5 Comments

Taking Two for the Team

May 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , )

I guess this proves I will do almost anything for this blog. I watched both, yes BOTH, High School Musical and High School Musical 2. I read that the first one is based on Romeo and Juliet and the second one is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Blech. I mean, I guess there is Shakespeare drowning somewhere deep in all the treacle, but it’s really hard for me to identify.

Let’s start with the first movie. It’s boy (Troy, played by Zac Efron) meets girl (Gabriella, played by Vanessa Hudgens). They meet at New Years at a ski resort. They make beautiful (karaoke) music together. Girl disappears. Girl reappears at boy’s high school the following week.

Girl is smart; boy is athlete. She has smart friends on the school’s quiz show team; he has athletic friends on the basketball team. I think this serves as the Capulet/Montague structure. How can a smart girl be friends with an athletic boy? The mere thought threatens the foundation of the cosmos. So, I guess that makes them star-crossed.

Then they try out for a school musical together. I guess boy sings to girl on her balcony (I might have slept through that, but I saw a reference to it somewhere). And ummm, yep, I think that’s all I can say regarding Shakespearean parallels there.

And then on to HSM2. It’s summer vacation and everyone is working at the country club. Everyone plays Bottom. Right? I think that’s the connection to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Alack, alack, alack.

If I am forced to find parallels here, I think it must be that Sharpay (played by Ashley Tisdale) is pining for Troy, making her Helena and him Demetrius. Except that Troy actually is dating Gabriella, so that makes him Lysander if she is Hermia. So, we’ll call him Demander.

And then a little money/college scholarships are waved in front of Troy/Demander’s nose, and that serves as the love juice and he is temporarily sucked into Sharpay’s vortex. But then he wanders around the woods of his own mind, duels with himself, and the real Troy/Lysander comes back to sing beautiful music with Gabriella. Yay!

Really, I am so sorry for anyone who has children who watch this over and over again. It is mind numbing and I think you must be earning extra karma points wherever those things are tracked. 

HSM is (mercifully) not popular in my own home. When I asked my second grader if he wanted to watch it, he looked stricken and said “No! Why?!” And that was the end of that. Now, excuse me while my head explodes.

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 4 Comments

A Glowing Review

May 10, 2010 at 12:45 am (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Film Adaptations, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , )

It’s been many years since I’ve seen a ballet performed live. They can be poorly staged, or shaky and out-of-sync dancers can distract.

Or a ballet can be perfectly beautiful, glowing, entrancing, and magical—with sumptuous costumes, lavish sets, beautiful music, gorgeous dancing. That kind of experience reminds me that humans can create great beauty.

That’s what I think while watching the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performance of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed in 1999 at London’s Sadler Wells Theater. Wow. Just wow.

The story starts in the forest, bypassing the opening scene with Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus. From there, it follows Shakespeare’s narrative pretty closely.

I enjoy watching the interplay between the four lovers. It is well done—the loving dance between Lysander (Ross Yearsley) and Hermia (Julie Tobiason) and then the cold Demetrius (Jeffrey Stanton) pushing away the distraught Helena (Lisa Apple). The love-juice-inspired confusion, Lysander lusting after Helena and spurning Hermia, the dueling and confusion in the foggy forest (beautiful sets!).

I enjoy the fairies, as well. Oberon (Paul Gibson) is regal and in control. Puck (Seth Belliston) is an amazing mime. Titania (Patricia Barker) is absolutely lovely. The set for her bower is gorgeous and her fairy entourage is magical.

I love it all. It is hilarious to see this nymph, this ethereal beauty, this Queen of the Fairies, dancing with the ass-headed Bottom.

The second act has little to do with Shakespeare (no mechanicals, no Pyramus and Thisby). There is the courtly wedding (including the ubiquitous Mendelssohn wedding march) and then an extended series of beautiful dances. This is grand entertainment: gorgeous dancing, beautiful sets, fantastic costumes (I love that Hippolyta actually looks like an Amazon queen!). Watching this makes me really long to see a beautiful ballet presented live.

Lovely!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 1 Comment

The Opera Blues

April 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Film Adaptations, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , )

That’s what I have right now—the opera blues. Last night, I watched Benjamin Britten’s opera version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in 1981 at London’s Glyndebourne Festival with Ileana Cotrubas and James Bowman as Tytania and Oberon. Okay, “watched” is not accurate, because I had to fast forward through most of it. I just had to. I couldn’t take it.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no opera buff. But I’ve seen three operas performed live, and I like the spectacle and the music. I found this opera really difficult to watch. And it’s 2.5 long hours long. L-O-N-G.

I’ll fault the fairies… Oberon, mainly. He sings in a “countertenor” which means a very high voice. It was really weird for me. The fairies are very weird in general. They look like they’re straight out of Star Trek. I just couldn’t get into it.

This opera is sung in English, but I could not understand much of it, so I put the subtitles on (when I wasn’t fast forwarding). It follows Shakespeare pretty closely, although it skips over the whole first part of the play and shoots us straight into the forest. The colors are very muted, with everything shimmery-silver as if moonlit. The trees are played by humans, and it’s a bit of a shock to realize that, as it’s not obvious at first. The forest has a very other-worldly feel.

Other than Tytania and Oberon, the fairies are played by children. Puck (Damien Nash) is a child with flaming red hair (it literally looks like a flame) and he speaks his lines with a Cockney accent. He is impish and good in the role.

I enjoyed the rude mechanicals in this version. Bottom (Curt Appelgren) fits my image of the quintessential ass, and their version of Pyramus and Thisby is very homespun and funny.

I’d be interested to hear from any opera buffs; maybe I just don’t get it. Personally, I would not rush out to see this performed live.

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 3 Comments

Isn’t it Bliss?

April 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Film Adaptations, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Isn’t it bliss? Not really. I feel a bit let down. That’s what happens when I build things up in my mind. I’d seen A Little Night Music with Elizabeth Taylor as Desiree back when it originally came out in 1978. I was a kid and I think I went with my mom and sister. I remember loving it. I’ve seen the play performed and enjoyed it.  I thought I would really like watching it this time around, knowing now that it is a musical remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, which I loved.

I was mistaken. Watching the two films so closely together was a huge mistake. The Bergman film is superior in just about every way. It’s funnier, more charming, more poignant. Comparing them side by side is painful.

And that’s unfortunate, because Stephen Sondheim’s score is beautiful and the play works well on the stage. For one, I really can’t stand Elizabeth Taylor in this film. Her simpering, squeaky voice is annoying and she doesn’t do the songs any favors. Even so, I still enjoyed “Send in the Clowns.” It’s an incredible song and it fits into the story perfectly. It’s really kind of breathtaking. (I just found a great version on YouTube with Judi Dench who plays Desiree in the London production. It’s such a heartbreaking moment in the play and the song is so incredible.)

I liked some of the performances in this film. Len Cariou is good as Frederick Egerman (he was nominated for a Tony for this role in the original Broadway production). He’s better in the romantic role than the unattractive Gunnar Björnstrand in the Bergman film. I also liked Diana Rigg’s performance as Charlotte (the wife of Desiree’s lover).

A Little Night Music is playing now on Broadway with Catherine Zeta-Jones as Desiree and Angela Lansbury as her mother. I would love to catch this and remind myself of what a wonderful play it is, but unfortunately, the review in the Washington Post was entitled, “‘Music’ in the key of blah” so I guess I shouldn’t get my hopes up about this version, either. I need to get the bad taste out of my mouth, so I’m going to find the 1990 Lincoln Center version which got good reviews!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 3 Comments

Nureyev and Fonteyn

March 20, 2010 at 9:09 pm (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , )

I loved, loved, loved Rudolf Nureyev’s choreography and the entirely spectacular 1995 Paris production of Romeo and Juliet. Loved it so much that I thought the version with Nureyev himself dancing with Margot Fonteyn must be even better. I think I built it up too much in my mind. I like the other version better.

Maybe I’m showing myself for what I am… just a casual viewer, not a ballet aficionado. At all. I don’t know anything about ballet except whether I enjoy it. I’m pretty much the same with wine. Anyway, this version, danced with the Royal Ballet in London in 1966, does not feel nearly as sumptuous and dramatic to me as the 1995 production.

One thing I like about the 1995 version is you get a real feel for the spectacle of it—they show the crowds entering the hall, the orchestra warming up, you get a real feel that this is an event. The 1966 version lacks that aspect completely.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s lovely. The Prokofiev score is the same as in the other version. The sets are nice, many of the costumes are pretty. But it just doesn’t measure up to the other version for me.

The choreography feels sluggish to me compared to the 1995 version. There is much walking around, especially early on. Costumes with long trains don’t lend themselves to a lot of fast dancing, I guess. I just found it slow-going and not as fun to watch.

I was put off right from the start. The dance begins with a scene in the marketplace that reminds me of a square dance. The costumes are odd and the ballerinas have long, loose hair. There are a couple similar scenes later in the production. They always seem out of place to me. There’s also an odd scene of a wedding (not Romeo and Juliet’s wedding!) in the marketplace.

The dancing generally doesn’t seem as good to me. Not to be too brutal, but Fonteyn is in her mid-40s and she doesn’t dance a believable teenage Juliet for me. I’m sure Nureyev’s dancing is spectacular, but for me it didn’t feel as exciting or honest as Manuel Legris’s Romeo in the 1995 version. There seems to be less chemistry (and why the blue eyeshadow on Nureyev?).

I don’t find this Mercutio (David Blair) nearly as endearing and humorous as Lionel Delanoe’s in the 1995 production. This Tybalt (Desmond Doyle) looks devilish to me in his bright red costume.

My kids came in late, but were quite interested in it. They loved the swordplay and were interested in the story line at the end with the sleeping potion and poison and stabbing. They were quite mesmerized, really. All in all, worth a watch, but I like the 1995 ballet version better.

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 2 Comments

The Beauty of Ballet

March 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , , )

When I searched “Romeo and Juliet” on Netflix, I noticed several ballet versions and selected one with choreography by Rudolf Nureyev performed in Paris in 1995. To cut to the chase, I loved it. It’s spectacular. I watched it first on my regular TV and decided I was not doing it justice, so watched most of it again on the big screen behemoth in my basement. It is so lovely.

The title roles are performed by Manuel Legris and Monique Loudières and they are wonderful together. Loudières, although obviously not a teenager, dances with a sweet innocence that makes her Juliet believably girl-like. Legris is her charming Romeo. Lionel Delanoe does a great job as Mercutio—you see every ounce of wit and energy that Shakespeare puts into that character. The nurse is also quite amusing. She is a lusty version, quite a bit younger than what I’ve seen in films. Her costume is striking, with floating scarves tracing her every move.

I’m going to run out of superlatives quickly. Prokofiev’s score is beautiful. The costumes and sets are sumptuous. The dancing wonderful to watch. This video runs 2.5 hours, and unlike the lengthy BBC production, this one had my attention for the entire time.

Of course, it’s a dance. There’s no time to channel surf—the story is told through music and motion, and you have to stay tuned into it to keep up with the action. I wonder if the story would be very hard to follow for people unfamiliar with Romeo and Juliet.

I found it kept pretty true to Shakespeare’s storyline. There are some variations. The ballet begins with foreshadowing a funeral. The savvy Rosaline makes an appearance early in the ballet, and Romeo’s heavy-handed wooing of her gives a good indication of why she scorned his doting.

But other than that, I’d say the narrative follows Shakespeare pretty closely. Of course, everything is adapted to ballet. The violence is easier to watch, I think, since it’s quite stylized.

This makes me think it would be appropriate for children to watch. Obviously, language isn’t a barrier as it might be for kids in a regular version of Romeo and Juliet. My little ones were interested for a few minutes, but then had to move onto homework and other things. I think a mature child, especially one that likes dance, might really enjoy this.

I realize that Shakespeare’s poetic language is his biggest asset, but I believe this ballet shows how the poetry can be successfully translated to dance and music. I enjoyed this video immensely. So much, in fact, that I added a version of Nureyev himself dancing with Margot Fonteyn to my to-watch list. Stay tuned!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 2 Comments

Just Play it Cool, Boy

February 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , , )

West Side Story casts Romeo and Juliet’s star-crossed lovers into a rough mid-century Manhattan neighborhood. Instead of the warring Capulet and Montague families, there are the rival street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. The Jets are white boys… children of European immigrants (polacks, wops, and micks) and the Sharks are Puerto Ricans (spics), recently moved to AMER-EE-CA! Leave behind your political-correctness when you watch this one… this is a world where the ethnic slurs are dropped freely and stereotypes run wild.

I love the aerial photos looking down on Manhattan that open the film. It’s so beautiful… until you get down to ground level! There you see the grit and grime of the city. I like the way the film ends up, too… painting the credits as graffiti on a wall. Very cool!

Of course, I love the movie in between, as well. It’s been a while since I’d seen it, and interesting seeing it right after Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. The first thing that struck me is how much more believable the love affair between Romeo and Juliet (Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey) is in that film compared to the Tony/Maria pairing (played by Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood). Zeffirelli cast unknown youngsters in the parts, and they wear their youth and innocence on their sweet, naive sleeves! There’s a lot of emotion there, and the love affair is really the focus of the film. In West Side Story, I find the love affair kind of tepid and tangential to the whole neighborhood war thing.

The hoodlums in West Side Story appear a bit quaint to my 21st century eyes with their Leave-it-to-Beaverish and Greaser looks. And they are hard for me to accept as high schoolers. Wood and Beymer were in their 20s, and Rita Moreno (Anita) was 30… and looked and acted it.

But I’m nit-picking. I love West Side Story. I just think the love story part of it is not quite as believable as in the Zeffirelli movie. Also, I’ve been reading a lot about Jungian psychology lately, and I just see anima projections pinging all over the place (in both films). It’s all love at first sight and pouring every ounce of trust into their feelings of the moment for someone glimpsed across the room! Yet of course, it doesn’t matter in these stories, since there is no future—literally no tomorrow, for these lovers.

So what’s to love about West Side Story? Hmmm, let me count the ways. First, there’s the music. You have Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim collaborating, and it’s a great score. Thanks to a reader who emailed me about the lyrical similarity between What is a Youth from the Zeffirelli film and Somewhere in West Side Story… I definitely see the connection, and both are beautiful songs.

Then there’s the dancing. Choreography by Jerome Robbins. It really doesn’t get better. So, sit back and enjoy the song and dance numbers… it’s pure entertainment. And I’m not belittling the acting — the film won 10 Oscars, including best picture and best supporting actor and actress (George Chakiris as Bernardo and Rita Moreno as Anita). It’s a great film!

Let’s talk about cinematography (another Oscar!). I watched Doctor Zhivago with my niece a few years ago and she said she wrote a college paper about the use of the color yellow to symbolize Lara throughout the movie. Once she mentioned it, it was so obvious! Bright yellow fields of daffodils, the bright yellow sun, Lara’s theme playing each time. Lara, Lara, dreamy, lovely Lara (more anima projection, ha ha!).

Anyhow, that got me thinking about color a bit when I watch movies, and West Side Story is chock-full of color. The Sharks wear red and the Jets wear blue and yellow, most of the time. That kind of color-coding also is evident in Zeffirelli’s film, where the Capulets tend to wear orangey and mustardy tones while the Montagues favor dusty blues and browns. It’s a handy way to tell the star-belly sneetches from the plain ones.

Colors get complicated in West Side Story, though. Can anyone help me understand the color code? The backgrounds are often cast in primary-colored shadows. There are big blocks of Crayola-bright reds, blues, and sometimes yellows and greens. Red clothes hanging on a line. Red highway underpass. Red ironwork balcony. A line up of all blue cars on one street. All green cars on another street. A red truck… but not just an ordinary red truck, but solid, bright red, including red fenders, bumpers and hubcaps. Yellow paint spilled on rivals.

I found myself always trying to decipher the meaning of the colors. What’s the meaning of the red belt on Maria’s white dress? The Technicolor twirling when she tries on that dress. The yellow jackets at the dance? The red walls at the dance? The blue walls at Maria’s apartment building? The purple skirt on Anita? Then the blue skirt on Anita. What’s it all mean? Just pretty colors?

Most everything is in bold, bright colors except a series of side-by-side doors that are muddy Easter egg shades. Why pastels? Why doors? And pastel dresses at the bridal shop where Anita and Maria work. As you can see, there are many questions about color floating around in my brain. I was very distracted by color while watching the whole film! Can anyone help me make sense of it?

One color mystery I did decode (I think): The doors to Maria’s bedroom are multi-colored glass panes. I figured her bedroom is the place where all the colors mix… Tony and Maria are color blind. They just see each other, not the personas (spic, polack, Shark, Jet) that everyone else sees.

Oh and another color (or lack thereof)  mystery solved… Doc’s store is noticeably devoid of color. I think that’s because it’s neutral territory—a place where both Jets and Sharks can go. I like Doc, whose role parallels that of Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (without quite the same awful responsibility for the fatal plot twist). Doc is the voice of reason and calm. He says to Tony, “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” And of course, that’s the big question. What is the point of all the conflict? Just play it cool, boy.

A little trivia… thanks to a reader who pointed out that a young Bernardo (George Chakiris) can be glimpsed as a back up dancer behind Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas. I’ll keep my eye peeled next time I watch that. And, I got a kick out of seeing Gomez from The Addams Family (John Astin) as the organizer at the dance. Pretty funny!

Next up, a blast from the past! I unearth some old school work.

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Permalink 8 Comments