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
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