In the first decade of the twentieth century Miss Marie Lloyd is the biggest female entertainer in England, adored by her public, in a biography commented on in song by 'the Showman'. ...
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In the first decade of the twentieth century Miss Marie Lloyd is the biggest female entertainer in England, adored by her public, in a biography commented on in song by 'the Showman'. Marie's first marriage is to fellow music hall entertainer Alec Hurley but it ends in divorce. She then marries Percy Courtenay, an adoring fan, but he is side-lined as Marie's popularity grows and this marriage also ends in disaster. Whilst Marie is a huge hit with the public because of her down-to-earth attitude, some fellow performers, such as Nelly Powers, find her act vulgar and a Mrs. Chant takes Marie to a tribunal, claiming that her songs are obscene. Marie simply points out that any vulgarity is in the minds of the listener and is acquitted. However, she is considered too rude for the Royal Command Performance, in which Alec appears, and finances a very successful 'Command' performance of her own. Ever unlucky in love, however, her last relationship is with a much younger jockey, who abuses her ... Written by
don @ minifie-1
This definitely had a very strange feel to it, almost as if it had been first conceived by an aficionado in about 1964 but got shelved and handed eventually to a lot of Media Studies students after languishing in a box for 40 years.
So what sort of a job did they do?
Well it really needs to be split into two parts, the story/ portrayal; and the "production". Firstly the production.
They did not know how to present this did they?
Did they think it was beyond us? That their subject was too long dead for people to have heard of her? I'd like to point out that, despite Marie Lloyd's death in 1922, and myself not being born until 1964 and despite my not being a theatre or musical comedy fan I can honestly say I knew most of the words to most of the songs.. (which I found slightly scary), so the producers need not have been so apologetic that they felt the need to shove in a completely irrelevant and out of place "Prologue" character whose inclusion, as the only representative of an ethnic minority, can only be regarded as the worst sort of self-conscious, politically correct tokenism.. and they didn't even bother to get him to sing in a period "Music-Hall Style" but to warble Edwardian songs a la Marvin Gaye. It was a bad mistake to make. Never "apologise" for the past and create a revisionist version of it (This has also occurred in the Recent "Robin Hood", in "The Ruby in the Smoke" and others.. and frankly, it is jarring) If you are presenting a period piece it has to be accurate to the period in my view or the whole effort is wasted. Nil Points for this uncomfortable and amateurish device. Rubbish
Turning to the original point of the whole thing ie. the story of Marie Lloyd.. again a feeble effort really, poorly planned out, evidence of "don't care-ishness" about it all However......... What saved this whole thing were the performances. Jessie Wallace was remarkably believable as the main character and seemed to have made at least some considerable effort to copy the singing style of the era which almost made up for her evident lack of singing talent. The men surrounding her were all played well and never eclipsed Jessie's tour de force of character acting.. she really lit up the screen. What a pity that she should shine so brightly in such a disastrous fiasco of a production.
I'd like to see this as a stage play actually. I think it would work better that way
Fantastic songs, all so familiar from childhood for me. I was singing along, and laughing out loud, and crying along with Jessie, who was desperately hobbled by a mostly limp script and all the other bizarre shenanigans
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