Vincente Minnelli Blogathon
Vincente Minnelli was a master of musicals and romantic comedies. He married Judy Garland in 1945 and was the father of Liza (with a Z) Minnelli.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) was his second to last film. While it certainly doesn’t rank among his best, it’s definitely worth a look, for Minnelli’s staging, the production design, mod costumes and, of course, the handful of songs by Burton Lane and Alan J. Lerner sung by Barbra Streisand.
Fellow blogger Matty Stanfield casts blame for the film’s failure especially on some inexplicable editing decisions. The pacing is uneven but musical sequences during the last ten minutes show the potential of the movie that might have been. Fans of Minnelli and Streisand should definitely take a look.
If you like lovable kooks, you’ve come to the right place. Remember the old Dorothy Parker line about using “horticulture” in a sentence? New Yorker Daisy Gamble (Streisand) is a horticulturalist with a secret life. Is there any other kind?
The secret life is so secret even she doesn’t know exactly what it is. So, she consults with psychotherapist Dr. Marc Chabot (Yves Montand). As soon as you can say Shirley MacLaine, he puts her through past life regression and begins to uncover hidden identities.
Suddenly, Babs is out of her mod minis and tights ensemble and cavorting like Marie Antoinette in gay Paris.
With a dizzying whiplash, the doctor snaps her back to the present and her own klutzy self with only a vague remembrance of her past lives.
Daisy has a square boyfriend Warren (Larry Blyden) but is also pursued by hip guitarist Tad (Jack Nicholson).
About Nicholson, blogger Stanfield writes:
Fresh from the drive-in treat of Psych-Out and the on-location shoots of both Easy Rider and Head, Jack Nicholson needed some cash. So his agent got him the supporting gig of “Tad” which would feature a dance and full-on singing duet with Barbra Streisand. He was fine with taking a break from the soon to be powerful BBS and his upcoming shoot of Five Easy Pieces to work with a legendary filmmaker and that funny girl from Brooklyn.
Without question, the heads at Paramount had no idea what a big deal Nicholson was about to become when they cut out nearly all of his scenes and his singing and dancing duet with Streisand. All the more painful, Paramount destroyed deleted footage. Nicholson is rendered to a minor role and all footage has been lost. A bit of the duet can be found somewhere on the YouTube universe, but it is muddy and incomplete.
Sad. But we’ll always have Paris. Or, at least merry olde England, in this case.
Filmed by Oscar Winning cinematographer Henry Stradling, Sr. [The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), My Fair Lady (1964)].
Costumes by John Anderson, Cecil Beaton, Arnold Scaasi, Shirlee Strahm. For a detailed look at the costuming of Barbra Streisand and Roberrt Redford in The Way We Were (1973), see GlamAmor’s post: http://www.glamamor.com/search?q=barbra+streisand
Thank you Love Letter to Old Hollywood for hosting. For a complete listing, click on the image.
I must admit I haven’t seen this film yet, mostly because I’m not the biggest Streisand fan (I know). But I do adore Yves Montand and Minnelli, so I’m hoping to catch it the next time I find it on TV. That’s a shame about Jack Nicholson’s cut footage. How interesting that duet must have been! Thanks so much for joining the blogathon!
Thank you! It may show up on TCM. There’s a good quality dvd but no Region 1 blu ray that I know of. Doris Day is another great blogathon idea! See you next year.
Oh boy – I bet Paramount was choked when they realized most of Jack Nicholson’s scenes were cut out of this film.
As for the film itself, I’ve never even heard of it. Judging by the images and the clip you posted, it looks gorgeous. Thank you for putting this on my radar! 🙂
Happy to make folks aware of this one. Everyone has heard the title song but few saw the movie. I forgot to mention that Bob Newhart also has a cameo. Nice work on Minnelli’s CABIN IN THE SKY.
This movie came out during one of those phases I go through when I am not a Streisand fan and I’ve never caught up with it. I’m not sure I ever will, but I enjoyed reading about the production.
This is definitely a Streisand personality picture. One doesn’t need to be a super fan but should have some appreciation for her talents. She carries it but there’s little chemistry with an aging Yves Montand until the finale when they sing together. Thanks for the tip about Minnelli’s THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE. Will look for it.