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I'd Rather Stick Needles in My Eyes Than Watch.....


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FWIW I enjoy the film version of Oklahoma, even if Zinnemann's direction is kind of flat and Gordon Macrae is a blank as an actor. Rod Steiger is a great Jud and does his own singing (he trained for the opera when he was young).

 

Imagine what Oklahoma might have been like if the role of Curly had gone to an actor they tested for the part: James Dean (they would have dubbed the singing). I can almost see Dean as Jud, but Curly???

They tested James Dean for Curly? Where in the world did that one come from? Never happened. Dean went directly from "East of Eden" to "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Giant" - all for his contract studio, Warner Bros. and was not up for/tested for any other films.He was set to do "Somebody Up There Likes Me" at the time of his death. that was it.

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They tested James Dean for Curly? Where in the world did that one come from? Never happened. Dean went directly from "East of Eden" to "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Giant" - all for his contract studio, Warner Bros. and was not up for/tested for any other films.He was set to do "Somebody Up There Likes Me" at the time of his death. that was it.

 

So, in other words this sounds like the urban legend that says a certain future POTUS was once considered for the role of Rick Blaine. eh?!

 

(...and according to Snopes.com is a complete fallacy) 

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They tested James Dean for Curly? Where in the world did that one come from? Never happened. Dean went directly from "East of Eden" to "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Giant" - all for his contract studio, Warner Bros. and was not up for/tested for any other films.He was set to do "Somebody Up There Likes Me" at the time of his death. that was it.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma!_(1955_film)

 

Among the many actors who tried out for the role of Curly included James Dean and Paul Newman; the role ultimately went to Gordon MacRae.

 

http://www.blacklistedjournalist.com/column67i.html

 

He auditioned without success for a lead in a forthcoming television series, Life With Father, based on Clarence Day's best­selling book about life in turn-of-the-century America. He also tried to land the part of Curly in Oklahoma!, which Mike Todd was planning to bring to the screen. For his audition, Dean chose the song, "I Could Write a Book".
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Sorry, Richard - Wikipedia strikes again. (Remember ANYONE can contribute ANYTHING to Wikipedia articles.) Yes, Dean did try unsuccessfully for some tv prior to his success on Broadway leading to "East of Eden"(and did appear in many live tv dramas in early 50's broadcast from NYC), and had bit parts in two movies before going to NYC, but neither he nor Newman tested for "Oklahoma". One ocassionally hears that this or that actor was " considered" for a role - a meaningless term as it often origins entirely from the imagination of PR people. However to claim these two "tested" ( implying costumed, make-up and filmed) is balderdash. And frankly I seriously doubt that nonsingers Dean and Newman were ever even "considered" for Curly, even if dubbing was not uncommon then, as Curly was too iconic a singing role to be dubbed and Rogers and Hammerstein were quite involved in the film's preproduction/casting.

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Sorry, Richard - Wikipedia strikes again. (Remember ANYONE can contribute ANYTHING to Wikipedia articles.) Yes, Dean did try unsuccessfully for some tv prior to his success on Broadway leading to "East of Eden"(and did appear in many live tv dramas in early 50's broadcast from NYC), and had bit parts in two movies before going to NYC, but neither he nor Newman tested for "Oklahoma". One ocassionally hears that this or that actor was " considered" for a role - a meaningless term as it often origins entirely from the imagination of PR people. However to claim these two "tested" ( implying costumed, make-up and filmed) is balderdash. And frankly I seriously doubt that nonsingers Dean and Newman were ever even "considered" for Curly, even if dubbing was not uncommon then, as Curly was too iconic a singing role to be dubbed and Rogers and Hammerstein were quite involved in the film's preproduction/casting.

 

 

Yes, that's true. R and H were involved in the Fox adaptations of their musicals, but on the other hand Deborah Kerr was dubbed in The King and I, so who knows? And if I remember correctly there was dubbing in South Pacific too.

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Yes, that's true. R and H were involved in the Fox adaptations of their musicals, but on the other hand Deborah Kerr was dubbed in The King and I, so who knows? And if I remember correctly there was dubbing in South Pacific too.

Yes, in fact, Rogers and Hammerstein actually produced the film version of Oklahoma! Everyone in that film did their own singing ( even Gloria Grahame - though HER vocals were pieced together from multiple recordings takes). I do note that dubbing was not uncommon in that era (Hello Marni Nixon!) but again that part of Curly was, IMHO, too iconically a SINGING role to be dubbed. That opening of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!'" coming from an actor pretending to sing would have been too disturbing for R and H (and maybe audiences) to have been tolerated. I have read (Imbd triva) independent of Richard's comment, that Fred Zinnemann (director) "wanted James Dean, but was overruled by Rogers and Hammerstin who vetoed Dean and went for the more conventional, Gordon MacRae." i think this is also nonsense (Who starts these rumors?) as Dean was only then filming his starring debut in East if Eden on location around the same time Oklahoma! was shooting in Arizona. So Zinneman wanted this unknown nonsinger for this big budget musical before James Dean had even appeared in a movie? I do obviously believe I am correct on the Dean testing business, but btw also feel you, Richard K., are an innocent victim of online misinformation. This factoid certainly never appears in the several credible biographies written about Dean - his brief life and career have been well documented.

Personally, i think MacRae is fine in the role. It's not Hamlet - and if MacRae is a little corny, well, SO is the role. (Laurie and Curly - what a pair!).

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Yes, in fact, Rogers and Hammerstein actually produced the film version of Oklahoma! Everyone in that film did their own singing ( even Gloria Grahame - though HER vocals were pieced together from multiple recordings takes). I do note that dubbing was not uncommon in that era (Hello Marni Nixon!) but again that part of Curly was, IMHO, too iconically a SINGING role to be dubbed. That opening of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!'" coming from an actor pretending to sing would have been too disturbing for R and H (and maybe audiences) to have been tolerated. I have read (Imbd triva) independent of Richard's comment, that Fred Zinnemann (director) "wanted James Dean, but was overruled by Rogers and Hammerstin who vetoed Dean and went for the more conventional, Gordon MacRae." i think this is also nonsense (Who starts these rumors?) as Dean was only then filming his starring debut in East if Eden on location around the same time Oklahoma! was shooting in Arizona. So Zinneman wanted this unknown nonsinger for this big budget musical before James Dean had even appeared in a movie? I do obviously believe I am correct on the Dean testing business, but btw also feel you, Richard K., are an innocent victim of online misinformation. This factoid certainly never appears in the several credible biographies written about Dean - his brief life and career have been well documented.

Personally, i think MacRae is fine in the role. It's not Hamlet - and if MacRae is a little corny, well, SO is the role. (Laurie and Curly - what a pair!).

 

 

I'm not saying I believe Dean was tested, just that dubbing was done in other R and H movie adaptations........ Emile was definitely a pivotal character in South Pacific as was Anna in The King and I........

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I'm not saying I believe Dean was tested, just that dubbing was done in other R and H movie adaptations........ Emile was definitely a pivotal character in South Pacific as was Anna in The King and I........

I'm not saying I believe Dean was tested, just that dubbing was done in other R and H movie adaptations........ Emile was definitely a pivotal character in South Pacific as was Anna in The King and I........

I

 

I can't disagree, although R and H did have less input/control on the film adaptations of their hit musicals after Oklahoma!, which they directly produced.

 

Speaking of alternate casting - Frank Sinatra actually began shooting Carousel in the lead, but quit the film when he found out he would have to act each scene twice - once for the road show 65mm version and one for the general release in regular Cinemascope. Sinatra was a good actor and I think would have done well in the part (but as a star was impatient and hated acting multiple takes, let alone two completely different filmed versions. He said maybe if they PAID him for two movies... ) Gordon MacRae replaced him. (James Dean was dead and unavailable.)

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Yes, I heard that about Sinatra and I think he would've been better in the part (though a bit too old)....

 

I cant imagine why Dean would've even been interested in doing a musical. Cant see him in that part. (Oklahoma, I mean!)

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FWIW I enjoy the film version of Oklahoma, even if Zinnemann's direction is kind of flat and Gordon Macrae is a blank as an actor. Rod Steiger is a great Jud and does his own singing (he trained for the opera when he was young).

 

Imagine what Oklahoma might have been like if the role of Curly had gone to an actor they tested for the part: James Dean (they would have dubbed the singing). I can almost see Dean as Jud, but Curly???

 

How about Curly as Curly, he be the only actor with the right idea.    :D

 

Western.jpg

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 I have read (Imbd triva) independent of Richard's comment, that Fred Zinnemann (director) "wanted James Dean, but was overruled by Rogers and Hammerstin who vetoed Dean and went for the more conventional, Gordon MacRae." i think this is also nonsense (Who starts these rumors?) as Dean was only then filming his starring debut in East if Eden on location around the same time Oklahoma! was shooting in Arizona. So Zinneman wanted this unknown nonsinger for this big budget musical before James Dean had even appeared in a movie? I do obviously believe I am correct on the Dean testing business, but btw also feel you, Richard K., are an innocent victim of online misinformation. This factoid certainly never appears in the several credible biographies written about Dean - his brief life and career have been well documented.

 

I've read that Dean tested "and was considered for" the role of Curly in some R&H biographies.

 

The idea that Dean tested for it is not improbable at all. He did not leave NY for the West coast until Feb 1954 at the earliest, and the film apparently had a long preproduction process. He could have been tested during the previews for The Immoralist (where Kazan saw him) or even earlier. 

 

The improbable parts of the story:

 

1) That he was "considered" for the film

 

2) That Zinnemmann or anybody wanted him for Curly -- rather than Jud, where his casting might have made some sense

 

Can be argued.

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Vertigo2 said: That opening of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!'" coming from an actor pretending to sing would have been too disturbing for R and H (and maybe audiences) to have been tolerated. 

 

The strongest portion of the movie, imho. A handsome guy riding a horse smiling & singing along corn rows? Yummy, I like it at least.

 

But isn't the actor just lip synching a playback anyway? We all know there isn't a boom mike following that horse walking.

 

Sure, it's more believable if it's his own voice, but what's the difference if it's an actor doing the lip-synch or the person whose voice is recorded on the playback? Why do you think one is more believable than the other?

 

I always wondered what it would be like on a set during a singing number like that. Would the actor really sing, albeit softly? Or just mouth the words?

 

In A STAR IS BORN the scene where Judy Garland is being filmed singing, the playback is so loud, it drowns out her voice if she is singing along with herself.

In MY FAIR LADY obviously Audrey Hepburn sang the songs during the filming. Marni Nixon syncronized her singing to the film of Audrey's mouth moving, pretty seamlessly, I might add.

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Actors who lip synch are singing along with the track, not just moving their lips.  I think the biggest difference between someone who is synching to their own vocal vs. to another person's vocal, is that the true singer knows how they felt, singing it, and can convey that enotion far more easily than someone who was not doing the singing.  That, and with so many people who can sing and act, it's always rather stupid to have to watch someone we know isn't singing. There was a time when nobody knew, so nobody cared.Today, it's different.  People know everything.  There's not nearly the same magic of the movies, that once was.

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There is an interesting scene in Inside Daisy Clover where is Natalie Wood is shown in a recording studio, recording a song with an orchestra for a scene being projected (although studio SOP was to record the songs first, then film to them). Since Wood was presumably dubbed for the scene, we are watching someone dub for Natalie Wood as she is "dubbing" herself -- sort of a double dub.

 

FWIW, tap dancing sequences had the tap sounds dubbed in later -- saw an interview where Gene Kelly let that cat out of the bag.

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Actors who lip synch are singing along with the track, not just moving their lips.  I think the biggest difference between someone who is synching to their own vocal vs. to another person's vocal, is that the true singer knows how they felt, singing it, and can convey that enotion far more easily than someone who was not doing the singing.  That, and with so many people who can sing and act, it's always rather stupid to have to watch someone we know isn't singing. There was a time when nobody knew, so nobody cared.Today, it's different.  People know everything.  There's not nearly the same magic of the movies, that once was.

 

While I agree with what you're saying here,  but I'm not sure how to take in that last sentence.   To me it is saying that in the 'old days' since the fraud of lip singing was pulled off with such style and nobody knew it was talking place that this was magic.    Put this way it just doesn't sound right,  but the funny things is there is truth there as well!

 

But I know how you feel about the movie My Fair Lady and to me this is a case where there was little to no magic when Audrey is lip singing.    I wish I had the memory of a live Andrews performance!

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While I agree with what you're saying here,  but I'm not sure how to take in that last sentence.   To me it is saying that in the 'old days' since the fraud of lip singing was pulled off with such style and nobody knew it was talking place that this was magic.    Put this way it just doesn't sound right,  but the funny things is there is truth there as well!

 

But I know how you feel about the movie My Fair Lady and to me this is a case where there was little to no magic when Audrey is lip singing.    I wish I had the memory of a live Andrews performance!

Yes, nobody knew how everything was done, like today, so the movies were magic.  Nodbody cared if somebody was dubbing someone else, because they didn't know about it.  MY FAIR LADY was really the first time people cared.  Even with THE KING AND I, Kerr's dubbing was known and people, mostly, didn't care (there were those that believed Maureen O'Hara should have played and sung the role of Anna, even then), because while it was a hit show, it wasn't iconic, in the way MFL was.  The stars, particularly Andrews, appeared on all the popular variety shows of the day, and the record album was the biggest-selling album of all-time, any genre, so the one thing that everybody knew, was Julie Andrews as Eliza, VOCALLY.  So to not cast her was one thing, but to cast somebody who couldn't sing the material, was met with tremendous backlash. It was THE topic of the day., for quite a long time, while the film was being made.  The film was still successful (mostly due to its name recognition), but it wasn't nearly as successful as Warner had predicted it would be, or it should have been.  He predicted the Number 1 show of all-time would become the Number 1 film of all-time.  It wasn't even the Number 1 film of 1964.  Today, people do care, and I don't believe you can get away with dubbing.  Besides, so may mediocre singers today, are declared "AMAZING", that it almost doesn't matter whether you can sing or not.  For the record, as bad in the acting, as I think Hepburn is in the role of Eliza (and that's pretty bad), I think she is horribly let down by her director (despite his award, he didn't have a clue), and the dubbing.  She would have been better served if they had used her own vocals, inadequate as they are.  At least it is her own emotion, her own voice.  Not once does Marni Nixon's voice sound like it's coming from Audrey Hepburn.  For all the money spent, it's just so stupid and jarring.  Completely takes you out of the moment of the song.

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Yes, nobody knew how everything was done, like today, so the movies were magic.  Nodbody cared if somebody was dubbing someone else, because they didn't know about it.  MY FAIR LADY was really the first time people cared.  Even with THE KING AND I, Kerr's dubbing was known and people, mostly, didn't care (there were those that believed Maureen O'Hara should have played and sung the role of Anna, even then), because while it was a hit show, it wasn't iconic, in the way MFL was.  The stars, particularly Andrews, appeared on all the popular variety shows of the day, and the record album was the biggest-selling album of all-time, any genre, so the one thing that everybody knew, was Julie Andrews as Eliza, VOCALLY.  So to not cast her was one thing, but to cast somebody who couldn't sing the material, was met with tremendous backlash. It was THE topic of the day., for quite a long time, while the film was being made.  The film was still successful (mostly due to its name recognition), but it wasn't nearly as successful as Warner had predicted it would be, or it should have been.  He predicted the Number 1 show of all-time would become the Number 1 film of all-time.  It wasn't even the Number 1 film of 1964.  Today, people do care, and I don't believe you can get away with dubbing.  Besides, so may mediocre singers today, are declared "AMAZING", that it almost doesn't matter whether you can sing or not.  For the record, as bad in the acting, as I think Hepburn is in the role of Eliza (and that's pretty bad), I think she is horribly let down by her director (despite his award, he didn't have a clue), and the dubbing.  She would have been better served if they had used her own vocals, inadequate as they are.  At least it is her own emotion, her own voice.  Not once does Marni Nixon's voice sound like it's coming from Audrey Hepburn.  For all the money spent, it's just so stupid and jarring.  Completely takes you out of the moment of the song.

And yet, the complete opposite is the case concerning Rex Harrison's singing in My Fair Lady. For reasons you mention, he absolutely refused to lip-sync, stating he never sang a song the same way twice - it wouldn't work.. even if he lip-sync'd his own performance. A mini microphone was created and inserted in his tie(s) which captured his live performances on film.

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And yet, the complete opposite is the case concerning Rex Harrison's singing in My Fair Lady. For reasons you mention, he absolutely refused to lip-sync, stating he never sang a song the same way twice - it wouldn't work.. even if he lip-sync'd his own performance. A mini microphone was created and inserted in his tie(s) which captured his live performances on film.

Barbra Streisand has complained about synching to her own voice.  She's really horrible at it, and it shows.  By the time she did A STAR IS BORN, she sang live.

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Yes, nobody knew how everything was done, like today, so the movies were magic.  Nodbody cared if somebody was dubbing someone else, because they didn't know about it.  MY FAIR LADY was really the first time people cared.  Even with THE KING AND I, Kerr's dubbing was known and people, mostly, didn't care (there were those that believed Maureen O'Hara should have played and sung the role of Anna, even then), because while it was a hit show, it wasn't iconic, in the way MFL was.  The stars, particularly Andrews, appeared on all the popular variety shows of the day, and the record album was the biggest-selling album of all-time, any genre, so the one thing that everybody knew, was Julie Andrews as Eliza, VOCALLY.  So to not cast her was one thing, but to cast somebody who couldn't sing the material, was met with tremendous backlash. It was THE topic of the day., for quite a long time, while the film was being made.  The film was still successful (mostly due to its name recognition), but it wasn't nearly as successful as Warner had predicted it would be, or it should have been.  He predicted the Number 1 show of all-time would become the Number 1 film of all-time.  It wasn't even the Number 1 film of 1964.  Today, people do care, and I don't believe you can get away with dubbing.  Besides, so may mediocre singers today, are declared "AMAZING", that it almost doesn't matter whether you can sing or not.  For the record, as bad in the acting, as I think Hepburn is in the role of Eliza (and that's pretty bad), I think she is horribly let down by her director (despite his award, he didn't have a clue), and the dubbing.  She would have been better served if they had used her own vocals, inadequate as they are.  At least it is her own emotion, her own voice.  Not once does Marni Nixon's voice sound like it's coming from Audrey Hepburn.  For all the money spent, it's just so stupid and jarring.  Completely takes you out of the moment of the song.

The incompatibility of Nixon's singing voice and Audrey's speaking voice is the major problem with MFL. Aside from that, I think it's one of the better screen musicals, though I think that, e.g., GIGI and THE BANDWAGON are better.

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Barbra Streisand has complained about synching to her own voice.  She's really horrible at it, and it shows.

 

Watch an old clip of Eric Burdon of The Animals ("House of the Rising Sun"). He's really bad at it.

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