Tuesday, December 13, 2016
What An Underrated Musical!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For thirty five years, when this film first came out, I kept hearing how great it was (and how better the British version had been) but I guess I resisted the idea of Steve Martin doing a musical!
Well, two weeks ago, my beloved and I saw this at BAM, and it turned out to be quite a revelation.
For me, it took me back to Woody Allen's abysmal 1997 film, "Everybody Says I Love You." "Pennies From Heaven" is exactly what that film was trying so desperately to be. The difference is, here it works.
The dubbed singing does not get in the way, even with Bernadette Peters, who can carry a tune herself. The subdued Thirties color lighting gives the film a distinctly Altmanesque look; think back to 1974's "Thieves Like Us," and the musical numbers, especially Bernadette's with the children and the guys dining out, with the wall pulling back, and the dance in the rain, are representative of every musical fantasy anyone who cares about the genre has.
The entire film is a monument to those of us who would prefer Life to be a musical, or, who, at least, tend to look at it, as such. Bernadette Peters' dramatics are a revelation; who, at the time, would have thought it? She would, at this time, have made a marvelous Stella in a remake of "Stella Dallas." Better than Bette. Why Bernadette never became more of a star on film is a mystery, but, let's face it, dolls, she did not do too badly by the Broadway stage and New York City.
Then there is Christopher Walken, whose dance routine walks off with the entire film. This chameleon like performer reveals facets one does not usually see in his work, though there is still a glimmer of that quintessential Walken quirkiness.
I was completely mesmerized, as musical theater types and/or Theater Queens should be. Now, I cannot wait to see the British version.
And I have got to take a dance class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!