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Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest frustrations in his life. He meets an innocent young school teacher, Eileen, who seems to hear the same music, but when Eileen learns that he's married, and that she's pregnant with his child, she runs away. Arthur gives up everything to find and protect her, but fate and the music haven't finished with Arthur Parker. Written by
The BBC original was composed of six episodes, each a bit over an hour long. Their titles are: 1: Down Sunny Side Lane 2: Love Is The Sweetest Thing 3: Easy Come, Easy Go 4: Better Think Twice 5: Painting The Clouds 6: Says My Heart See more »
I remember seeing this on TV when it first came out. I was changing channels, and here were these woman, tap dancing on a coffin, lip syncing, "I'll be glad when you're dead, you rascal you." I was hooked.
It was the first time I ever saw Bob Hoskins, who managed to make a character who was truly awful somehow loveable.
It's a depression-era story, and while the story itself is grim, somehow the telling is joyful, with the cast breaking into "song." The songs are wonderful old songs, and they just mouth to them, and it creates a surreal feeling, but one that works, because it's as if this is what they are feeling (and could have felt at the time in the vernacular of the old songs).
The whole telling of this story is so original and vivid that you must watch it when you can.
==> Don't confuse this with the movie version, directed by Herbert Ross, with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters has spectacular production values (unfortunately, the biggest production number was actually cut), but Steve Martin, great as he is, just doesn't make you like and feel for him the way Hoskins does. Bernadette is sufficiently waif-like, but she lacks Gemma Craven's grittiness.
Christopher Walken is the highlight of the film, doing an incredible song/dance/striptease on a bar that shows what a great dancer he is.
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