Thursday, July 22, 2004

It's De-nitpicky, complete w/ corrections that came in within hours, ah, me.

2 related matters:

1) Scott Saul:

"Just listening to the version of 'Anything Goes' that comes on the De-Lovely soundtrack [....] and was struck by the line from the opening verse:

"If today, any shock they should try to stand,
'stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would've landed on them."

Strange, because it's such a clear source for Malcolm X's famous put-down, "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us."

Given that Malcolm began as a Roseland hipster, the connection seems more than just serendipitous, no?"

(back to fjb): Really interesting, but I wonder -- "land[ing] on Plymouth Rock" is a common enough phrase that independent chiasmus wouldn't shock me. Also, if Malcolm heard it clubs or in dance arrangements, it's less likely that he'd have heard the verse. A connection I've never seen made before, though.

2) Couple of paragraphs I cut from the Slate piece for length (that is, the eds didn't even see 'em):

The dismissal of Porter’s own work in Hollywood is especially misleading. There, the songwriter prospers by diluting his art, dashing off the supposedly banal “I Love You” for Nelson Eddy in Rosalie on a bet, and reducing the vulgar Louis B. Mayer to tears. This song was indeed a response to a titular challenge from Monty Wooley – as was “Miss Otis Regrets” – but it first appeared in Mexican Hayride: Claptrap, but Broadway claptrap. Rosalie may have been a ridiculous film, but “I Love You” is not a ridiculous song: Its lyrics, like those of “Night and Day” and “Begin the Beguine,” are goopy, but the melody line is inventively harmonized, with chromatic touches of a piece with Porter’s best.

On the other hand, “In the Still of the Night,” the film’s prime instance of Porter at his most heartfelt and commercially unconstrained, originated in a Metro production; namely, Rosalie. It’s no surprise that a New Hollywood fixture such as Winkler, who produced Raging Bull and Rocky I through III before turning to direction, would take a swipe at Old Hollywood; but it might have been more accurately aimed. All indications are that Porter, when teamed with Arthur Freed’s production unit, worked more smoothly under Mayer than for his next boss, Columbia’s Harry Cohn. When Winkler can stage “Be A Clown” as effectively as Vicente Minnelli did in The Pirate -- the over-edited antics here are patently unfunny -- then let him mock MGM, the now-diminished and apparently self-hating studio that released De-Lovely.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?