Jim K

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  1. Jim K

    Showboat

    The role of Queenie is greatly reduced to the point that the role is not credited in the film. But IMDB does list Frances E. Williams as the uncredited person who played Queenie.
  2. I have never quite understood dubbing Juanita Moore in South Pacific, then casting her in the Broadway production of Flower Drum Song and in the film. Richard Rodgers writes in his autobiography (I believe) that her voice had deteriorated in the years since her time in South Pacific on stage, and they dubbed her with the voice of the woman who had played Bloody Mary in London. So in a sense, we get two veteran Bloody Marys in the film. It does seem to me that in their quest to get the best singing voices for their songs and the best actors for their play, they went overboard with dubbing in South Pacific.
  3. Note that before Silk Stockings was a film, it was a Broadway musical that starred Don Ameche, Hildegard, and Gretchen Wyler. The film used most of the songs that were in the Broadway musical.
  4. And they all have books by Oscar Hammerstein II. Interestingly, the fire in Oklahoma! does not exist in the stage version. It is in the original play Green Grow the Lilacs, and was reinstated in the film. But in the stage version of Oklahoma!, the fight between Curly and Judd occurs without the fire.
  5. And here are a few of the lyrics to "I'm an Indian Too" that were disrespectful of Native Americans and their culture. Short of rewriting the song, there isn't much they can do with the lyrics to make it respectful. Just like Battle Axe, Hatchet Face, Eagle Nose Like those Indians, I'm an Indian too. And I'll have totem poles, tomahawks, pipes of peace [all sacred to Native Americans] Which will go to prove I'm an Indian too. Just like Rising Moon, Falling Pants, Running Nose Like those Indians, I'm an Indian too.
  6. Yes, it was in the original stage production. And the original and movie were not to kind to women either. No matter how good Annie was as a sharpshooter, she was not complete until she had a man. And to get her man, she had to come in second. When they revived Annie Get Your Gun for Bernadette Peters, they reworked the script so it was more respectful of Native Americans and to make Annie more of a twentieth century woman. And they dropped "I'm an Indian Too" altogether. Instead they took a subplot that was in the original but not in the movie and turned it into a romance between a Native American and a white woman. I don't think they are licensing the original script anymore. If you see it on stage today, you will see the new version. Here are a couple of clips from the new version with Reba McEntire, who replaced Bernadette Peters. The first is her version of "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", and the second shows how they doctored the final scene.
  7. The Court Jester is genius. And I also love The Five Pennies and this number.
  8. To me, South Pacific is a strong play about racism that is still meaningful today. Nelly becomes aware of racist attitudes she didn't know she had, and circumstances force her to face them and deal with them. In fact, she finds she is not judgmental about Emile's having killed a man, but she cannot forgive him for fathering two children with a Polynesian woman. Speaking only for myself, discovering attitudes I was taught as a child and working through them is very difficult and painful, and it is easy but not productive to fall into feelings of guilt. But difficult as it is, it is something that we as a nation must do. Acknowledging that separating children from their parents is part of our heritage and not just a current event is not easy. South Pacific probably does not speak to all races and cultures, but it certainly resonates with white America. There is a story about "Carefully Taught" that I will try to paraphrase here. During the show's out of town tryout (I think it was in Boston--it will be here), the theatre owner told Rodgers and Hammerstein that "Carefully Taught" would not fly in Boston and they had to remove it or find another theater. R&H responded that "Carefully Taught" was the heart of the show, what the play was all about, and if the theatre couldn't do the show with the song, then they couldn't do the show. The theatre relented.
  9. As I understand it, the NAACP has objected to the film's stereotyping since its initial release, and the film has not been suppressed -- Disney chose to withdraw it from its American market. I think it is problematic for white audiences to determine what is offensive and hurtful to minority people (I really don't mean to point fingers here, just to voice a general opinion). I think it is important to respect the feelings of minority groups, but I do not think censorship is the solution (though as I mentioned above I don't think this film has been censored or suppressed). It seems to me that this film and others like it could provide good talking points to understand where we have come from, our values today and how we deal with it when things we enjoy conflict with our values.
  10. This is an ensemble number. There have been many earlier ensemble numbers, but this one doesn't show a group of people in synchronized singing and dancing. It shows four people doing individual schtick and playing off of each other. Occasionally one or more characters do something by themselves, then become part of the group again, such as the Buchanan/Levant cigarette moment quickly becomes an ensemble of all four. The ensemble reflects values of security, loyalty, fidelity, unity, and stability. The costumes are muted in color, a far cry from some of the garish colors of the 40's. And they are the kinds of clothes that anyone in 1950's suburban American might wear -- a simple sleeveless blouse, casual suit and tie. I imagine that many people in the theatre were wearing something similar or had something similar at home in their closets. The suits are cohesive in their similarity, and also individual in their different colors. At this point in the story, there is no conflict between the characters. Everything is cooperative and there is a strong sense of fun. Here we have actor, director and writers working together to show the joy of the theatre in a light, fluffy song and dance. Interestingly, conflict between the characters begins to arise when the light, fluffy show is replaced by the Faust legend and the conflict inherent in it. And scrapping Faust and returning to the light, fluffy review takes us back to the spirit of fun and geniality between the characters. Is it too much of a stretch to see the European myth as disruptive and the simple all-American song and dance as cohesive? Or elitist high-brow entertainment as a threat to the comfort of an unpretentious song and dance?
  11. Ginger was my first Dolly. She didn't do a lot of dancing, but she sure got the character down.
  12. When told that a fan had stayed up to see this on the late show, Dinah Shore said something like, "Anyone who stay up to see this deserves it."
  13. Do you think that may have been because the script was originally intended for Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. It has been a long time since I saw The Barclays of Broadway, but I remember thinking that some of Ginger's lines seemed to be written for Garland.
  14. And as a friend of George Gershwin, he was a personal link to the film's composer. He plays a hypochondriac again in The Band Wagon.

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