Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Music Sequence from a Motion Picture that Lifts You

THE FUTURIST! has always had a fondness for movie musicals. HE never really cared for those big brash color MGM spectaculars ... no, he loves those old Fred Astaire RKO films with their funny farcical plots and glistening black and white set direction. The moment the talking stopped and Fred and Ginger Rogers danced and sang to replace the "words" they wanted to say or emotions that needed to be expressed ... that's when the magic began. And even after they stopped and found themselves settled back at the restaurant table or park bench they had started from before the musical magic took over, THE FUTURIST! still felt the effects of that fantasy and feeling.

In 1996 Woody Allen attempted to make a movie musical of sorts ... it was to be his usual mix of various characters, their romantic entanglements and regrets and hope. He purposely cast actors who were not known for singing and then let them sing. They did what Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did, but in the way the public imagined they themselves would do it if they could ... not as classy, not as melodic, but still with the feeling one feels when watching those old musicals. They feel special and romantic and as if those feelings, whether happy or sad, can enable them to dance on air.

THE FUTURIST! loved this experiment by his favorite movie maker. Oh, it wasn't perfect, not at all, but it achieved what THE FUTURIST! thinks Allen wanted to achieve ... maybe with a few false steps along the way. He recalls that when he saw another film at his local megaplex at the time, he sneaked back to the auditorium that was showing this film. He walked into the darkness and took a seat at the back and found he had crept in at one of the moments he loved the most ... the romantic dance along the Seine between Woody and Goldie Hawn. It's a bit much to call it a "dance", but this sequence expresses most of what THE FUTURIST! feels those musicals stirred in him as a young lad ... the magic mixture of song and dance and film. Goldie literally floats above and around Woody in a surreal moment only the movies can provide. Her lighter than air dance expresses her feelings about love and and her character's regret. It lifted THE FUTURIST!, too. Most movies don't extend their hand to you and take you away on a cloud like they once did ... and when they are over, you find yourself back where you started ... but left with the ghost of a smile.

Listen and watch:

written by Gus Kahn, Matt Malneck and Fud Livingston
performed by Goldie Hawn
from the film


Dara said...

I remember disliking this film when I saw it first, but that was years ago. It may warrant another viewing. I love the floating! And Woody's usual lack of cutting.


Lack of cutting is good. And Woody likes to set up his shots and just shoot. This film is an odd one in his catalogue. But, it makes TF! smile.