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Minnelli's A Matter of Time on THIS TV


ericsvdwsi8
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Vincente Minnelli's seldom seen last film is scheduled to be shown this coming Sunday morning (June 6, 2010) on THIS TV. For a list of cable systems that carry it check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_This_TV_affiliates

I don't know if it's the theatrical version or the home video version (which is missing Liza Minnelli's sterling rendition of the Gershwin song "Do It Again" according to the last Minnelli biography). The movie's a mess (taken away from the director in post production) but worth checking out if you're a fan of either Minnelli, Ingrid Bergman or Charles Boyer. The "Do It Again" number is vintage Minnelli, beautifully done.

If you miss this showing chances are it will turn up again later on THIS, they repeat films quite often.

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Some journals reflect upon this final film of Vincente Minnelli as one of the worst movies of 1976! While there was talent galore amid what almost turned out to be one of the biggest and most anticipated films of the year, everything for this film turned into a dud. As to what went wrong might be due in part to Minnelli never having sought a final end to the project. In other words, he kept shooting too many scenes at various locations, spending a vast amount of the investor?s money throughout Italy and then there was the editing problem that simply could be so easily figured out. One other problem was the studio or company supposed to be backing Minnelli, American International Pictures. This company that was for the most part, a secondary or B-Studio in Hollywood, managed somehow by the 1970s to reach a higher status. However, the studio or company was still being run rather sparsely or on what might be considered a limited means of expression to the whole idea of creating a major motion picture. Minnelli had simply lowered his big league poistion, by allowing AIP and several Italian interests to handle things. The results ended in accusations of mishandling funds and the poor means to market the movie.

 

On a sad note for some is that this ill fated motion picture was marked as the last time beloved Charles Boyer would be seen. It was supposed to be exciting for the fans to see Boyer and film icon Ingrid Bergman reunited on screen. After all, they had worked together in the past, especially in the legendary suspense film ?Gaslight,? that won the first of three Academy Awards for Bergman. With Liza along to handle the musical portions of the movie, it might have worked out well enough, but the stale way in which the film evolved simply spelled disaster. Even before the release of the film, the press and media were filled with negative responses, mostly from Minnelli and numerous others who had a share in the making of ?A Matter of Time.? What some critics feel is the real weakness of the film surrounds the storyline and script, that was by 1976, simply too zany and out of step with the current flow of more marketable films that audiences expected.

 

It might have been all an attempt for Liza to first size the moment to finally work with her celebrated father, while at the same time create a nostalgic link to the past glories of topnotch musical films. Looming in the background was the success of ?That?s Entertainment,? that had been produced by Liza?s then husband, Jack Haley Jr. Despite all the chaos that ensued when ?A Matter of Time? made it to American theaters, Liza would later on receive a justifiable musical success with ?New York, New York,? the following year of 1977. There?s been a bit of speculation that the failure of ?A Matter of Time,? ruined any chance of Vincente Minnelli ever returning to motion picture production. The famed director hadn?t worked in six years, only to see his return marred by a situation he simply couldn?t control. When he was asked about what had happened he replied, ?None of this would have occurred if I was still back at MGM.?

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I know it's sort of reviled and I know it's not really all that good, but I'm looking forward to this. I also like the theme song and never understood why Liza didn't incorporate it into her concerts. It would make a good medley with the Pete Seeger song from "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon", "Old Devil Time". I actually knew a woman who was like the character played by Ingrid Bergman, so maybe that's why this movie makes more sense to me than to a lot of people. We love movies for lots of different reasons, after all.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

In reference to movieprofessor's post from 06/23 regarding Vincente Minnelli's final film, "A Matter of Time"...Can you clarify what you mean by Minnelli being responsible for not seeing the production through to a "final end"?

 

I seem to remember that prior to the film's release in 1976, both Vincente and Liza Minnelli made valiant attempts to persuade American International Pictures to not release the chopped up version of the movie and to allow Vincente additional time to edit the film the way that he wanted to (Minnelli's original version was reportedly much longer than the AIP-approved shambles shown to the public).

 

According to the recent Minnelli biography (A Hundred or More Hidden Things), director Martin Scorsese even circulated a petition in the Hollywood trades to protest how AIP had nearly destroyed "A Matter of Time" after it took the film away from Minnelli.

 

Whatever the case, it's a very sad end for a remarkable director -- reportedly, an attempt is being made to determine whether any of the missing footage still exists and if Vincente Minnelli's final film might be restored.

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  • 2 weeks later...

> WaldoLydecker you asked:

 

> Can you clarify what you mean by Minnelli being responsible for not seeing the production through to a "final end"?

 

The situation was that Minnelli never really had any control over the project. There was no real, one set producer handling the film; there were four primary individuals that Minnelli had to deal with. Unfortunately, this led to a series of opinions and differences that couldn?t be so easily controlled from two sides or areas across the world! The film being a joint production, put together by a group of investors from the U.S. and members of the Italian film community, could have never been so secure, if not, leisurely handled. It was only after the film was finally released, without any consultation with Minnelli that resulted in this now disputed outcome. The celebrated director had no choice in the matter but to try and save face, while all along he had no way of rectifying what had happened. In the end, Minnelli just turned away from what is probably is most unspeakable disappointment as a filmmaker, especially since this marked the first and only time he would work with his beloved daughter.

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Wow somebody on this board mentioned THIS TV. I brought up a thread on THIS about a year ago and the channel got very mixed reviews and jokes about it's title. I tend to DVR it alot but I tend to like newer films. Actually The three channels I tend to DVR the most are TCM, Lifetime Movie, and THIS. Like most people on this board I have little use for TCM, (except for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Frankenstein Vs The Space Monster.)

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