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The Boy Friend (1971)
Let me start by saying I love the sets and costumes for this show. I don't know how many backdrops they created but they are works of art. And Twiggy looks darling and perfectly turned out as a 1920's musical heroine.
The music is poor. It all sounds the same, it goes on and on and it's dreary. Here's how I confirmed this to myself. I was just wandering through my living room with the TV on listening. All of a sudden my ears were pleased by the sounds of some real music. The band had just started "You Are My Lucky Star" which is a real 20's tune written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed.
By comparison to other 20's tunes "You Are My Lucky Star" may just be average but compared to anything in "The Boyfriend" it is a radiant hit.
My advice to anyone wanting to stage this in an amateur production: study the sets and costumes. Throw out the story and music.
A policeman with dizzy spells thinks he is tracking a woman possessed by a suicidal dead spirit and he gets more than he bargained for.
Let's hearken back to a time when you couldn't have seen this movie unless you had seen it on its first run. Can you even imagine such a thing? Movies have reputations and legends spring up around them. In 1966, this movie was not one of those.
I first saw it about a decade after its release. I saw it in the auditorium of my all-girls Catholic high school with 400 screaming girls who, like me, were surprised and overwhelmed by what we saw.
The suspense and shock was increased greatly for me and all my friends because of the difference between what we expected to see and what we got to experience.
This was a very conservative Catholic school and seeing a movie was a rare treat. The movie we had been subjected to the year before was a real stinker with a moral (Your parents are doing their best so you should obey them in everything even if they are wrongheaded and negligent.)
So how did it happen that the nuns this year allowed us to see a tense wild tale of obsession and unpunished murder? The only explanation is that somebody goofed.
The Sisters of the Holy Name who ran our school had roots in the Bay Area. Some of them were homesick for Marin and San Francisco. So the way Vertigo was selected as our annual movie, I imagine, was this. One of them read a synopsis and ignoring the parts about sexual obsession and wife killing only noticed that there were scenes shot in Old San Francisco and San Juan Baptista. Add in a scenic drive through Monterey and it was practically a travelogue with the Presidio and Coit Tower.
My friend Patti and I were so engrossed in this viewing of Vertigo that we never forgot it and can instantly crack each other up by bringing it up. It was wonderful. We had come in late after lunch because we spent the end of the lunch hour dumpster diving for Patti's retainer which she had carefully wrapped in her napkin and thrown away for the third time that year. We had to sit on folding chairs in the back so we could clutch each other (not that way) and pinch each other to make sure this was really happening. This means that I wasn't paying attention to whether the nuns were in attendance. Something tells me that they were there because they didn't want to miss out. I hope they were there and I hope that they were as gratified as we were. I doubt it but I hope they were. And I hope that the homesick goofball who recommended it didn't get into too much trouble. The plot is kind of hard to understand on the first viewing so I doubt that any of them realized what a treasure they had dumped in our laps.
Friends seen from the Post-Friends era
It probably isn't fair to judge this show when it has been off the air for several years but that is what the internet is for isn't it?
I like certain superficial things about this show. The female characters are all physically attractive. They have very shiny hair, beautiful faces, great legs, tits, and eyes. When Rachel is bustling around in her designer clothes I just think no one on TV has ever looked so good. I love Phoebe's bohemian style and her complicated hair-dos that must have taken at least two stylists to arrange. Monica is played by one of the great beauties of this or any era.
The male stars are appealing as well. Ross passes himself off as a nerd who never got girls but he is tall and handsome with movie star good looks and an unfortunate hang-dog expression. Chandler is funny and lively. Joey is a beautiful hunk and a great comic actor.
I also like the sets. I feel that the girls' apartment influenced a whole era of home design. The rooms are adorned with a lot of stuff yet they don't seem crowded. If I were a young person aspiring to the lifestyle these people lead I would have studied that apartment for inspiration and I'm sure many people did either consciously or unconsciously.
On the other hand there is much about this show that is hard to stomach.
The romance between Ross and Rachel was what sparked much of the interest in this show, but as soon as they were happy together all the spark died out. Since the plots needed to be contrived in such a way that they would long for each other but never have satisfaction, we were subjected to some really dumb stuff. How much can you admire or care about a girl who only wants the love of her life when he is in love with someone else? She shows up at his wedding to Emily causing Ross to blow his vows and never set things right. We are expected to follow along with her when she never did the smart thing and always did the dumb thing. I give Rachel and Ross 10 out of 10 each on the annoying scale.
Speaking of dumb things what about Phoebe? It is so hard to watch someone try so hard to be quirky and only succeed at being obnoxious. I realize that we are supposed to find Lisa Kudrow incredibly talented at playing someone so untalented but it just got old.
Maybe if this show had only lasted 4 or 5 seasons I wouldn't be finding fault with it. But then there would be a lot fewer zillionaires in the world wouldn't there? "Just turn it off" I keep telling myself.