ERROL23

Porgy And Bess(1959)

11 posts in this topic

Charlston South Carolina,1912.Bess(Dorothy Dandridge)is mistress to gambler/hoodlum Crown(Brock Peters)After killing a gambler Crown goes into hiding.Bess is tired of Crowns ways and not knowing what to do turns to cripple Porgy(Sydney Poitier)and they both fall in love.Sporting Life(Sammy Davis JR)also falls for Bess.

Crown returns wanting Bess back,but she refuses.

Great Ira Gerswin score.(Summertime,Where Is My Bess,Theres A Boat Leaving For New York,etc)My favorite,It Aint Necessary So by the great Sammy D.

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I really think a remake of the '59 musical is in order. A recent Broadway revival dispensed with the usual stereo type behaviors and was a very fine production, With the wonderfully talented Afro American talent we now have a great revised production is possible with perhaps Audra Macdonald, Queen Latifa and Brian Stokes Mitchell in the cast.

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Well there has always been "wonderfully talented Afro American talent" available. Anyhow a remake would make good business sence, but I wonder how much the producers would try to mess with the music (for either marketing reasons or just because the producers feel the music is 'dated').

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From what I've heard, the Gershwin estate, which controls the rights to PORGY AND BESS, is still seething from the 1959 film version and refuses any offers to do another film.

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Do you know if one can do a play of a non public domain work without seeking permission? There are play productions of Porgy And Bess. I wonder if they have have to seek permission from the Gershwin estate and if so, what that requires? e.g. script approval?

 

Hey, I don't expect you to know these answers. I just find this topic interesting.

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Isn't that ridiculous? If they hate the 1959 version so much, shouldn't they be happy to have a remake done in which they could probably negotiate some creative control? It's like they're punishing their own family member. I saw it once on Boston television in the 1970's. One of the local late movie hosts was able to somehow negotiate it with the family. I loved it and have played the sountrack album many times.

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Not legally. If the show is still copyrighted permission must be granted. You can be sure that any professional organization that produces a "Porgy and Bess" performance is doing so with permission and paying for the rights.Even high school or community theater groups must do so. That said, be it "Porgy And Bess" or "The Phantom of The Opera", I'm sure there must be "bootleg" productions around.

 

From what I've read, the issue with the Gershwin estate and "Porgy And Bess" isn't so much refusing the rights to do any production, just movie versions.

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I understand that one needs to get copyright permission but I wonder how much control this permission allows.

 

For example; Say I'm a producer of the play and I wish to use 8 songs from the play and I'm granted copyright permission for these 8 songs. I decided to do the 8 songs in the style of rap music. Can the copyright permission be revoked?

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I saw it, when it was originally in theaters, and once again, a few years later. Both times I found it pretty awful. Not that the orchestrations and some vocals aren't good, just the film itself is bad. I would think a PORTY AND BESS that tries to dispel with stereotypes, would most-likely seem rather silly. I mean, the residents of Catfish Row didn't attend Yale. That would be like trying to erase the backwoods stereotypes in LI'L ABNER.

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I understand that one needs to get copyright permission but I wonder how much control this permission allows.

 

For example; Say I'm a producer of the play and I wish to use 8 songs from the play and I'm granted copyright permission for these 8 songs. I decided to do the 8 songs in the style of rap music. Can the copyright permission be revoked?

Well, you're only getting a license to use the copyrighted material so yes the copyright owners can, and often do, put restrictions on how the material can be used. For example, if your local community theater wants to do a production of say "Phantom Of The Opera", the agreement with Andrew Lloyd Webber's company may have restrictions against cutting out any songs or making major changes to the story or music. Not to say it would be impossible to get permission for changes, but I think it would all have to be negotiated ahead of time before the contract was signed.

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googling this topic i found a few links reporting that spike lee was trying to obtain film rights as of august 2012, but i could find no information beyond that date.

 

he said he is interested in directing it as a musical. gershwin wrote it as an opera of course, with spoken dialogue by the white characters only, to emphasize their lack of musical inclination (or so i was told by an opera composer years ago).

 

i cant help but think that a wide-release faithful interpretation would not be met enthusiastically by filmgoers unaware of its place in american music history. i am no admirer of spike lee in any way but he might be the one who could pull it off.

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