Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not "Today"

You gotta take the rough with the smooth...so here goes. We looked at Seth Rudetsky's fantastic deconstruction of Angela Lansbury leading the company in "It's Today" from the original cast album of Mame last week. Well, I just stumbled on this clip of the same number from the notorious film version starring Lucille Ball. The film does everything it can to cater to its highly miscast star, who apparently put up the money for the project. The keys have been dropped, the tempo is erratic and the orchestrations have been muted from their brassy highs. The emotions are forced, the energy lacking, plus Onna White's choreography seems a bit much for such a cramped looking apartment. (I wonder how many people got kicked in the head during rehearsals/shooting). The most criminal thing: there is absolutely no joy. The only thing impressive about this entire mess is Lucy's hitch kick toward the end of the number (well, she was 62 and recuperating from a broken leg...)

While I'll always love Lucy, it will never be for Mame.


5 comments:

SarahB said...

I can't even watch it - as much as I love all things Mame, this just gives me a headache (and a heartache for Angela).

chelsea said...

What a coincidence. I've been listening to a cd of Jerry Herman stuff SarahB made for me, and I've had "It's Today" stuck in my head since yesterday. I think I woke up singing it. :)

Kevin Daly said...

Chels - the original Broadway cast album of "Mame" is one of those desert island albums. It's one of the best show albums, period. From its material, to its performance to its sound quality, it's just as close to perfection as you can get.

And "It's Today" sung by Angie is one of those infinite joys.

chelsea said...

Sarah put quite a few "Mame" songs on the cd. The more I listen the more I like. I think it will be my next musical purchase.

Brian H. said...

To quote the great Pauline Kael re: Mame the movie:

"Too terrible to be boring; you can get fixated staring at it and wondering what Lucille Ball thinks she's doing. When that sound comes out-it's something between a bark, a croak, and a quaver-does she think she's singing? When she throws up her arms, in their red giant-bat-wing sleeves, and cries out "Listen, everybody!" does she really think she's a fun person? Onna White choreographs like mad, with bodies hovering over and around the near-stationary star..."

Granted she doesn't think much of the source material, and there's a whiff of homophobia about it, those lines never failed to crack me up!