Victor Fabian is a musical genius whose eccentricities are kept in check by his wife, until she discovers him "auditioning" a sultry young pianist. She walks out on him and his career ...
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Victor Fabian is a musical genius whose eccentricities are kept in check by his wife, until she discovers him "auditioning" a sultry young pianist. She walks out on him and his career promptly starts skidding. The temperamental maestro must again win his scorned wife.Written by
Geoffrey Toone and Martin Benson had previously appeared with Yul Brynner in "The King and I" (1956), playing Sir Edward Ramsay and the Kralahome, respectively. See more »
My compliments to Mother, Mr. Wilbur. Tell her we'll take her request and let her know in 5 to 10 years. In the meantime, if she must hear a military band she can join the Army. I also have a piece of advice to her about piccolo players and what she can do with -...
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Unlike Saratoga with Jean Harlow where you can easily tell that the star was in some kind of distress while making the film, there is absolutely no trace of any of ill health in Kay Kendall's sprightly and last performance. A kind Providence left her just as I'm sure she would want to have been remembered by her many fans in Once More With Feeling.
The film is adapted from the original play by Harry Kurnitz which ran for 263 performances in the 1958-59 season on Broadway. Kurnitz was a screenwriter of long standing with an impressive list of credits so I'm sure he had no trouble getting this play sold to the screen and wisely with the proviso he adapt it for film. The play was produced on Broadway by Martin Gabel as a star vehicle for his wife Arlene Francis in the part that Kendall had on screen. Her husband was Joseph Cotten and the part of their manager was played by Walter Matthau.
Cotten's role was taken by Yul Brynner as the egotistical symphony conductor with his wife, talented harp prodigy Kendall. There's is a stormy relationship and Brynner's got a roving eye. It roves to Shirley Anne Field who turns out to be not a child prodigy of 12, but a shapely young thing of 21. Too good to resist for Brynner, but the last straw for Kendall.
The problem is that in the world of classical music, she's the attraction, him they put up with. Manager Gregory Ratoff finds that Brynner's best solo offer is Fargo, North Dakota, quite a come down from the London Symphony.
After this the film and play start looking a whole lot like Twentieth Century. That doesn't mean it isn't good, just not truly original. Brynner and Kendall play well off each other. In the supporting cast I like Mervyn Johns as the director of the Liverpool symphony with whom Brynner is campaigning for a position with or without Kendall. In the midst of the classical music, he who has the Liverpool Symphony deficit as a tax write off for his canned goods firm demands The Stars and Stripes Forever in all concerts and played with piccolo players standing. Is there any other way? Will the Philistine get his way?
Stanley Donen directed Once More With Feeling at a nice and bright clip and he had his own little joke in the credits. Donen who directed several MGM musicals both alone and in collaboration with Gene Kelly had scores by Romberg, Gershwin, etc. Now of course he's dealing with Wagner, Beethoven, Tschaikovsky, and of course John Philip Sousa.
And this review is dedicated to Kay Kendall, who left a nice body of work in her short life that ended at 33. And to my sister Nancy who left us at 34. Both are sorely missed.
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