Cleveland 1951. Pre-med student Artie Shoemaker dreams not so much of a medical career but a life in the theater, against the wishes of his working class parents. Despite having no ...
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Cleveland 1951. Pre-med student Artie Shoemaker dreams not so much of a medical career but a life in the theater, against the wishes of his working class parents. Despite having no experience in the theater whatsoever, he is hired as the props man at the Kempton Hills Park Theater, an open air venue that is part of the summer stock circuit. The resident leading man at Kempton Hills is Harry Crystal who, along with some of the other more experienced company members, is working toward more lucrative and higher profile acting jobs. For most, including Harry, the goal is back to Broadway. For some, that Broadway dream is more a delusion than a true possibility. Despite being a bit of a divo, which grates on many of the other crew members, Harry takes inexperienced Artie under his wing both in terms of guiding him through his current position in props, as well as a general life in the theater. Part of that general life includes romantic couplings, the person who Artie ultimately chooses, ... Written by
It's understandable that one reviewer called the show scenes in the movie,"musicals", and Hollywood did make screen musicals of them. But they are excerpts from the genre of operetta. This was a pre 1940 style of "light comic" music drama, originating in Europe, at the turn of the century. Among the leading composers were Franz Lehar, and Victor Herbert. The cast had to have operatic voices, and sing, not talk the song a la Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady". Of course in direct rebutal, to what I just said, Frank Langella, a non singing actor, sings "Someday", in a sotto voce (soft) style a la Perry Como. If someone says, "Summerstock, and operetta", and you go, "Huh?", this is not the movie for you, which is why about seven people saw it. This was summer live musical theatre, where youngsters with stars in their eyes, and pros who were never superstars, performed operetta classics in local theatres all over the country, like "The Merry Widow", "Rose Marie", and "The Desert Song". The plots are corny and ludicrous....but the songs...."Someday", "One Alone", "One Kiss", make me cry, because I remember how long ago it was when I first heard them and their beauty captures me more and more. Frank Langella is wonderful, as the romantic male lead in all the shows, who you know is not going to make it to stardom. Glynnis O'Connor, as the ingenue who breaks Tom Hulce's heart is impressive, and to show what an unstable field showbiz is, imdb has no credits for her from 98 to 02. I think Tom Hulce is a highly underrated actor. There's something so endearing about him, but the great roles don't seem to be offered to him today. I own this film and I've watched it over and over. As the pros say, "highly recommended".
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