Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Crastination by a Professional

It's another dreary cold cloudy morning here in paradise, so I'm taking my time about getting dressed and changing out the litterboxes on the balcony.


Last night went from empty to full when a theater friend (whose show I saw last week) suggested the Stanford Theater, which was showing two Jeanette MacDonald operettas. The first one was Maytime with Nelson Eddy, which has some of my all-time favorite music (by Sigmund Romberg) , plus a lot of faux opera in French without subtitles. The print was excellent, audio sounded super (it was nominated for an Oscar), and Jeanette's costumes were incredible. The movie starts and ends with MacDonald's character as a very old lady, and since I don't see the character listed separately in IMDB I'll assume it was MacDonald playing the role and her makeup deserved an Oscar plus her acting ability is far greater than I'd thought. John Barrymore plays the "bad guy" superbly. The movie has a cast of a couple of hundred in just the two May Day scenes, and then there are the casts of three operas to add to that. Cinematography is superb, excellent lighting. My only negative comment is many of the opera chorus costumes did not match the period/locale of the opera, and many of the soldiers in the operas were wearing mis-matched outfits (Russian hat with British jacket, etc.).  The sets and backdrops for the operas were all gorgeous.

It has been decades since I've seen the movie all the way through and only really remembered the ending. The opening credits are done in cherry blossoms, animated to dissolve after the name is displayed. Must have been expensive.

Bottom line: worth full price.

Before and after the movie there was the usual concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, always enjoyable.

Next up was The Vagabond King, the title role being played by a King - Dennis King. Also a baritone with a formidable voice, King is, however, not in the same league as Eddy on any level. The movie starts with a notice that the print was restored at UCLA under a grant from a 1988 fund-raiser at Stanford Theater, but the notice is scratched and missing frames. The print is horrible, and even allowing for 20 years of once-a-year use, the restoration was third rate. The film is scratched in many places, there are splatters and burn spots, embedded dust, jumpy splices with missing audio, just to name a few flaws. Colors are off, nowhere near the Technicolor original, and many scenes look like they are being shown on a magic lantern with luminosity fading in and out - probably due to uneven emulsion thickness on the original. Audio levels are all over the map, MacDonald's first solo is too loud, King's first solo starts so low he can barely be heard, then the audio comes up to normal, then over-modulates. Acting is horrible throughout, with the exception of MacDonald and Lilian Roth, who plays Huguette, a tavern tramp madly in love with the Vagabond King (who is madly in love with MacDonald, of course).  Music by Rudolf Friml is singularly forgettable. When the film started, there were about 20 people in the balcony with me, and twice as many in the seats below. By the end of the film, only three other people remained in the balcony, and less than a dozen below. It was that bad.

I had not had dinner, and was starving, but Pizza My Heart was on the way back to the car, and they are open till 2 am on Fri-Sat, so I stopped in and had a couple of slices of their slightly burnt thin-crust product. The noise level in the place was almost unbearable - very loud people yelling to be heard over all the other very loud people. As soon as I was done eating I left.

When I got home, I thought long and hard about it, and finally emailed the Indian recruiter telling him to take my name out of the hat, and if I had known he was working for Piepeople I would not have talked to him in the first place. A job would be real nice right about now. Sigh.

No plans for today except the litterboxes. Too cold & threatening for the park.

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