Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Christopher Plummer's Yackin'

Wow, I did not realize what an ornery old man Christopher Plummer is. The Sound of Music is really the only movie I (and most people I think) have ever seen him in, much to his dismay, I'm sure. I knew there was some weirdness between him and that movie, but I finally got the chance to listen to him begrudgingly recall his experience on the Sound of Music Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition DVD audio commentary. This is not to say that he isn't wildly entertaining.

My friend recently purchased this DVD and we've been looking forward to listening to the commentary on it for awhile. It wasn't quite as amazing as it could have been...it wasn't like they were all sitting together watching the movie and talking. That's the best kind. But basically Julie Andrews talked most, and they broke in with comments from the others (Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr who played Liesl, and the choreographer) during their scenes. This is what I learned (all of these were actually said or at least heavily insinuated by the various commentary...ers):

- Christopher Plummer hates kids. He hates them because they steal his thunder, being so darn cute and all.
- Julie Andrews feels somewhat the same way about the kids but has the tact to not actually say it.
- Christopher Plummer likes booze.
- Christopher Plummer plays the piano, but cannot sing or play guitar.
- Austria is cold and wet.
- Christopher Plummer is a huge pain in everyone's butt. Strangely, they all seemed to at least mildly enjoy working with him. Unless they're just being polite, which is likely.
- Christopher Plummer thought Eleanor Parker (The Baroness) was pretty hot and he kind of wanted to dump Maria for her.
- Charmian Carr is pretty sure that when they shot the scene with the Captain coming in to sing The Sound of Music with the children (after Maria and the Captain fight), the kids actually started to cry in real life because they finally thought maybe Christopher Plummer didn't hate them. In reality, he did hate them. He was just acting. He did like Charmian Carr though because she was 21 and he could give her booze.

There you have it. Now you don't even need to watch the commentary. In the end, Christopher Plummer did act like he enjoyed his experience, and he even said he ended up liking the children, though I'm not completely convinced.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sad Tuesday

I got really sad about a few things today (besides the usual world hunger, etc...)

1) I was listening to the My Fair Lady soundtrack (Julie Andrews version of course) and it gave me a hankering to watch the movie. But then I realized Julie would not be in the movie. Dang it!

2) Then I got really sad that Julie Andrews can't sing anymore. This didn't really hit me until I watched Princess Diares 2 the other day (Yes, I watched Princess Diaries 2, do you have a problem with that? In my defense, I really only watched the Julie parts). In this movie, Julie sings a teenie bopper song called Crowning Glory, or something like that. This is very exciting because she's not really supposed to be able to sing since her throat-surgery-gone-bad a few years back. Anyway, I was all happy that she sang finally...it wasn't anything amazing, she kind of half spoke/half sang it, but it was good. Then I listened to the audio commentary with Julie and Garry Marshall. She started going on about how she was nervous about singing, but the song was written in a low key for her and she sort of joked that the song only consisted of about 5 notes. 5 notes?? This song, in an easy key with practically no range, is about all she can handle and that is sad.

3) I will never see Judy Garland live—not on t.v. or in person or ever alive anywhere.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Like It Hot

Wow, I forgot how amazing this movie is. And skanky. I got the chance to watch it last night with some friends for our old movie night, and it was wildly successful.

I hadn't seen it in awhile, and I didn't really remember how suggestive some of the humor is. I'm sure some of it was over my head the last time I saw it. It's pretty skanky, but very clever with nothing blatantly raunchy...you really have to be paying attention to catch all the jokes. It's why I love old movies! The jokes got some big laughs which was a lot of fun. It's so much better watching a funny movie with a group...the laughter is contagious.

Let's talk about how incredibly ugly Jack Lemmon is as a woman. He's scary. Not just physically, but his laugh...it's strange. He was clearly having too much fun. Tony Curtis actually sort of looks like a woman to begin with so it worked out well, I think. Marilyn Monroe needs to get a bra. But otherwise, she's lovely.

Funniest part: when all the ladies cram into Jack Lemmon's bunk on the train. I think the guys in our group are seriously wondering if girls really get into their pjs, mix drinks in a hot water bottle and have tickle fights when there aren't any guys around. I'm pretty sure we don't. Except for the tickle fights.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Rain in Spain

As part of my Julie Andrews stage, I'm currently enjoying my My Fair Lady (1959 Original London Cast)CD. I've listened to it approximately 3 times straight through today at work. Pretty said, I know, but apparently it's great work music.

I have some background with My Fair Lady. It's the first movie I remember being obsessed with, around the age of 4 or so, after watching it at my grandma's house. I obviously didn't know what it was really about. What I did know was, at the beginning she had ugly clothes, and at the end she had pretty clothes. Isn't that all that really matters? I remember one time, after a viewing with my grandma, I asked her if Henry and Eliza got married at the end. It's true that there's really no closure, and that's upsetting to a 4 year old. (The whole Eliza and Henry in love question is still up for debate I think, but that's another blog post!) I had a doll named Eliza, a fish named Eliza and I had a recurring dream featuring Eliza. It's comforting/disturbing to know that my obsessive tendencies started so long ago.

Needless to say, having loved the movie so much, I was slightly devastated when I found out that Audrey Hepburn's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. I was slightly more devastated when I found out that Julie Andrews probably should have been in the movie, having played the role on Broadway and in London. But she was really a nobody in Hollywood at the time of the movie and was passed over for the role. However, had she been in the movie, she may not have been in Mary Poppins, and that would have been truly devastating.

So I've come to terms with all this dubbing business. I can't deny that Audrey Hepburn was a fabulous Eliza, even if she didn't do her own singing. However, when it comes to soundtracks, the London stage version has mostly spoiled the movie's musical numbers for me. Everything about the stage version is superior; the orchestra, ensemble and of course Julie Andrews. No offense to Marni Nixon, but it really doesn't get any better than Julie Andrews. Luckily, Rex Harrison was in both versions, and rightly so. He's the only Henry Higgins that I've seen or heard that doesn't look and sound completely homosexual. I suppose one could argue that Henry Higgins does act slightly gay, but I don't really think he's supposed to be. He's just British. hahaha

Anyway, moral of the story, if you're looking for the My Fair Lady soundtrack, please, I beg you, buy the original Broadway or London cast recording.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Sound of Music!

I forgot to mention how completely amazing it was to see The Sound of Music on the big screen! I've seen it in the theater before at the sing-a-long, but it was nice to watch it without all the sing-a-long extras. I loved hearing the audience reactions, especially because I've seen it a few too many times and I always know what's coming. There was one woman near us that was especially expressive. She entertained me.

All I can really say about the movie is that it's amazing. It really is one of the best movies ever. This is a fabulous site with some silly analysis of the movie and characters, and it's hilarious! Check it out!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Julie Andrews, I Love You!

Julie Andrews was amazing last night. I think she might be the nicest person alive. If she's just faking being nice, I'm impressed she can pull it off so well. Or it could just be her British accent. But I'm pretty sure she's just nice. She was gracious and lovely and she very sweetly answered all these audience questions that I'm sure she's answered a million times before. She has only good things to say about everyone and everything she's been involved with.

She was about a half hour late due to some suburban rush hour traffic. Before the question and answer time, they showed a nice video with some of her movie and TV clips, including lots of funny clips with Carol Burnett. The best part was a blooper reel from her show that I didn't even know existed, "The Julie Andrews Hour." It was hilarious. Who knew Julie Andrews made mistakes??

I posted some video of the Q&A here. There were quite a few questions from kids about Princess Diaries which was cute. Also, lots of questions about her books and writing. She's been writing for 30 years, which I didn't know. She wrote her first book in the 60's for her step daughter. She was asked about the Gwen Stefani song, Wind Up, in which Gwen sings parts of the Lonely Goatherd. Julie said she was impressed with it and her and Gwen have exchanged flowers and gift baskets. Apparently that's what you do when you're rich and famous. Gift baskets.

Here's a cute clip of Julie on the Ellen show.

So I might be obsessed with Julie Andrews now.

Monday, May 7, 2007

My Brush with Fame

I really can't say that I've ever met anyone famous, but this is about as close as I've come so far.

Last October, a movie theater in the area (the same one Shirley Jones was at) hosted a Hitchock festival. I was pretty excited, of course. The first night they showed Vertigo and Hitchcock's daughter was there to answer questions and whatnot before the movie. She also was signing autographs, if you really wanted Alfred Hitchcock's daughter's autograph.

Anyway, the second night was a bit more eventful; they showed The Birds, and Tippi Hedren was there, along with Veronica Cartwright who played the little girl in the movie. They were out in the lobby signing autographs and doing their thing before the movie started.

We sat down in the theater and I went to the ladies' room before the movie started. It was pretty empty in the rest room, except for one other person in a stall. When I came out to wash my hands, standing at the sink next to me was none other than Veronica Cartwright! Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Veronica Cartwright: Hi
Me: Hi
(washing hands)
(I try to get the stupid automatic paper towel dispenser to work, to no avail)
Veronica Cartwright: This one works.(referring to the automatic paper towel dispenser on her side)
Me: Thanks, these things never work right.

Yes, it was that exciting. I later realized she was the sister of the girl who played Brigitta in The Sound of Music, Angela Cartwright (I knew she looked familiar!), which kind of made it more exciting. But not really.

Her and Tippi both seemed very nice and pleasant and had lots of interesting things to say about Hitchcock and movies in general.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Julie Andrews is Coming to Chicago!

If you live in the Chicagoland area-or anywhere in the midwest-you won't want to miss Julie Andrews at the Tivoli theatre in Downers Grove. It's really an event to promote her book, but they will be showing The Sound of Music and she will be answering audience questions. Click here for info.

The Tivoli is my favorite movie theatre and seeing the Sound of Music there is going to be amazing! Seeing Julie Andrews in person will also be amazing, of course. The theatre was built in 1928 and restored by Classic Cinemas awhile back. It has one screen in a large auditorium with a fabulous old theatre atmosphere complete with a Wurlitzer theatre organ. Yes, part of the fun of the Tivoli is the organ interludes on the weekends. They usually show second run films for $3, but every so often they have a special event. This is definitely the most exciting event they've had. I can't wait!