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re: BRIGADOON on TCM; I figured out its weak spot
Posted by: AlanScott 11:31 pm EST 03/08/19
In reply to: BRIGADOON on TCM; I figured out its weak spot - bmc 05:05 pm EST 03/08/19

I think that Kelly's singing is among the least of the film's problems. It's not that I disagree with you when you say that his voice is not really right, but I think it's good enough that if the rest of the film worked, it would not significantly hurt the film. And I'd even say that the low-key quality of Kelly's vocals may be a better choice for a film version of this show. I'd say that a bigger problem is cutting back on Fiona's singing (not to mention that awful "Waitin' for My Dearie" dance) and some of the choreography she is given, which undercuts her character. As choreography, the "Heather on the Hill" dance is quite nice, but would Fiona do some of that, even metaphorically? I don't think so.

And like the Goulet TV version, why cast a great ballet dancer as Harry Beaton and then barely allow him to dance? It's crazy that Barry Jones as Mr. Lundie dances more than Hugh Laing does, and Barry Jones proves himself a better dancer than I ever would have expected. In fact, Jones dancing at the wedding may be one of the best things in the movie, which is a sign of how inadequate the movie is.

I think I'd never seen the complete film till a year or so ago on TCM. I think I'd seen it decades ago in a heavily cut version on the local 4:30 movie on ABC in New York, and since then I'd seen parts of it on TCM but had never seen it from the beginning. It has a bad reputation but my impression of it from the parts I'd seen was not particularly negative. But when I watched the whole thing, I really understand why it's not well-regarded. I wish I could remember of the specifics of what I found so wrong about it. But we know that Minnelli himself was very unhappy with it, and I certainly felt I could see why.

I think David Brooks is still the best Tommy on recordings of the score.

Oh, I just remembered one other specific thing I disliked: Jane is so unpleasant (and she is also is on the recent recording). Really, she shouldn't be. They're just not right for each other, but if you really just look at her lines, she's very reasonable and patient with him, and he even seems to recognize that. I think it's wrong to make her a snotty bitch. We really don't need to have the deck stacked so totally against her in that way.
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