As the 100 members of the MGM Symphony Orchestra take their seats, an off-screen narrator introduces the music and provides the credits to the cinematographer, editor, and sound supervisor. The music is Otto Nicolai's "Overature to the Merry Wives of Windsor," conducted by Johnny Green in the MGM Concert Hall. Green and the other men are in white tie and tails, the four women are in black. Most of the film consists of long takes, slow pans, some camera movement including crane shots, as well as zooming slowly out and in. Green conducts, the orchestra plays, and the film ends. Written by
Nothing but music in this film, but it's not about the music at all
A most bizarre short. It's nothing more than a filmed performance of the attractive but very lightweight overture to the opera "Merry Wives of Windsor" by the romantic German composer, Otto Nicolai. The performance is OK, nothing special. But what makes this bizarre is that the short has no credits, NONE, nada, zilch -- neither orchestra nor conductor are ever identified, and the music itself is named only at the end as a kind of afterthought.
From the POV of MGM apparently the only thing that mattered about this short was that it is in CINEMASCOPE, and that in fact is the only information about the film that is provided. Clearly the audience is supposed to pay more attention to the shape and size of the screen than to anything that is taking place on the screen. Half a century later, when the technology of cinemascope is, while still impressive, pretty old hat, the audience is likely to watch this short and wonder what the hell is going on.
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