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A few words about…™ Lady Sings the Blues – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

B-ROLL

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They might've thought Janet was a little too young, as she would've been 11 during the shoot. She'd only just started on "Good Times" and had no other formal acting or performing credits at that time.

Mills probably wasn't enough of a box office draw!
Dorothy is twelve in the OZ books. That would be closer to the age of Miss Janet (I was advised I have to call her that per her song "Nasty" :cool:). Lady D was considerably older and Liza's mom was 16, Dorothy Dwan was roughly 19, Violet McMillan was roughly 27, Bebe Daniels was nine, and Romola Remus was approximately eight years old when they respectively played Dororthy Gale on film.

(Fairuza Balk was roughly ten years old when she played Dorothy)

As to Lady Sings The Blues - this was made during an era when historical accuracy for bio-pics was of eschewed in favor of drama and entertainment.

Sir Neville Marriner did not like the portrayal of W.A. Mozart in Amadeus but agreed to assist with the music to promote Mozart's music to a wider public, as arguably LSSTB did for Miss Billie Holiday. I find both films to being entertaining.
 

noel aguirre

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They should have stuck closer to the BROADWAY version and used either Stephanie Mills or maybe Janet Jackson. After all Janet could have handled it as she did "Good Times" and man can she sing.......

They might've thought Janet was a little too young, as she would've been 11 during the shoot. She'd only just started on "Good Times" and had no other formal acting or performing credits at that time.

Mills probably wasn't enough of a box office draw!
Nobody was going to take that role from Ross- she had clout and wanted that iconic role no matter what revisions were needed.
Watching the relatively recent Live TV version it totally worked with a teenager and the original Wizard of Oz story line. No self doubting 30ish schoolmarm as Dorothy needed.
 

noel aguirre

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LSTB reminds me very much of I’ll Cry Tomorrow as told w a sledge hammer. No nuance by on the script but Ms Ross does deliver a convincing performance of someone but not necessarily Lady Day- just think of it as the Dreamgirls version of the Supremes story.
And after having seen Audra McDonald portray Billie Holliday nothing else will ever come remotely close.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Nobody was going to take that role from Ross- she had clout and wanted that iconic role no matter what revisions were needed.
Watching the relatively recent Live TV version it totally worked with a teenager and the original Wizard of Oz story line. No self doubting 30ish schoolmarm as Dorothy needed.
^^^^ this. Lumet wasn't thrilled about Ross' casting, if memory serves, but went along with it for the opportunity to direct a musical.
 

John Maher_289910

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They might've thought Janet was a little too young, as she would've been 11 during the shoot. She'd only just started on "Good Times" and had no other formal acting or performing credits at that time.

Mills probably wasn't enough of a box office draw!
Apparently, neither was Ross. I do think Ross deserved the Oscar for LSTB.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Dorothy is twelve in the OZ books. That would be closer to the age of Miss Janet (I was advised I have to call her that per her song "Nasty" :cool:). Lady D was considerably older and Liza's mom was 16, Dorothy Dwan was roughly 19, Violet McMillan was roughly 27, Bebe Daniels was nine, and Romola Remus was approximately eight years old when they respectively played Dororthy Gale on film.

(Fairuza Balk was roughly ten years old when she played Dorothy)

I tend to view "The Wiz" as its own beast, so I don't think it has to follow Dorothy's age in the book.

If Wiki is right, Dorothy is supposed to be 16 in "The Wiz" original stage production, and Mills was 17 when she originated the part.

So an 11-year-old Janet would've been too young for the part as done in the original "Wiz".

I think she's retrospective "good casting" anyway, since she was just another Jackson kid in 1977 - and not even one with any showbiz career beyond a couple small spots on TV with her brothers.

A big-budget movie wanted a star - otherwise why not just use Mills?
 

Colin Jacobson

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Apparently, neither was Ross.

Point taken! :D

But Ross was clearly very famous, so she was still a star to theoretically attract attention.

I think the biggest problem with "The Wiz" was simply that it was a pretty lousy movie. It couldn't recapture the charm of the stage production - it got too infatuated with its big budget and production values...
 

Thomas T

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Disagree Liza made "Cabaret" haven't liked any live version of the musical after seeing Liza. Have seen all the revivals. Sorry, Liza owns Sally....... And the OSCAR.
Disagree with you! Liza was miscast. Oh, she was dynamic and gave a great performance but not only does she NOT "own" Sally, she's all wrong as Sally. Sally Bowles is a second rate performer in a sleazy Berlin dive. She dreams of stardom but it will never happen because she's just not special enough or talented enough. Minnelli is a high powered performer. If a talent scout saw HER Sally, he'd snap her up in an instant. Minnelli is as wrong for Sally as a Judy Garland or a Barbra Streisand would have been if they had played her.

The role of Sally was originated by Jill Haworth (Exodus, The Cardinal, In Harm's Way) on Broadway. Other actresses who have played the role on Broadway or the London stage include Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Natasha Richardson (who won a Tony for her performance), Judi Dench, Brooke Shields, Teri Hatcher, Molly Ringwald and Sienna Miller. Guess what they all have in common, they're not singers. Unlike Liza, you can believe they'd be toiling away in a dive waiting for a break that will never come.

Just my two cents :D
 

bujaki

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Disagree with you! Liza was miscast. Oh, she was dynamic and gave a great performance but not only does she NOT "own" Sally, she's all wrong as Sally. Sally Bowles is a second rate performer in a sleazy Berlin dive. She dreams of stardom but it will never happen because she's just not special enough or talented enough. Minnelli is a high powered performer. If a talent scout saw HER Sally, he'd snap her up in an instant. Minnelli is as wrong for Sally as a Judy Garland or a Barbra Streisand would have been if they had played her.

The role of Sally was originated by Jill Haworth (Exodus, The Cardinal, In Harm's Way) on Broadway. Other actresses who have played the role on Broadway or the London stage include Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Natasha Richardson (who won a Tony for her performance), Judi Dench, Brooke Shields, Teri Hatcher, Molly Ringwald and Sienna Miller. Guess what they all have in common, they're not singers. Unlike Liza, you can believe they'd be toiling away in a dive waiting for a break that will never come.

Just my two cents :D
You hit it right on the head! Liza's Sally would have been cast in German movies. Hell, she might have played Lola Lola!
 

Matt Hough

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That analysis of Sally is correct for the stage version of Cabaret, but Bob Fosse re-conceived Cabaret for the screen, and one change he made was that Sally, rather than being a mediocre talent, was a dynamic one not yet discovered. The Kit Kat Club is a dive. Who says Sally wasn't discovered by a film producer the day after she has her abortion and Brian (re-conceived from Cliff in the stage version) leaves for home? We don't know what inevitably happened to her.
 

Thomas T

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That analysis of Sally is correct for the stage version of Cabaret, but Bob Fosse re-conceived Cabaret for the screen, and one change he made was that Sally, rather than being a mediocre talent, was a dynamic one not yet discovered. The Kit Kat Club is a dive. Who says Sally wasn't discovered by a film producer the day after she has her abortion and Brian (re-conceived from Cliff in the stage version) leaves for home? We don't know what inevitably happened to her.
Somehow I missed Fosse's statement that he reconceived Sally Bowles for the screen that she was a dynamic talent waiting to be discovered ;) I tried googling it but couldn't find it so if you could provide a link to the interview with Fosse it would be much appreciated. Unless, of course, that was your analysis and not Fosse's.

Even Christopher Isherwood, the author of the original source material (who was a friend of Minnelli's) thought she was all wrong for the role and told her so to her face. And that is documented in the documentary Chris & Don: A Love Story.
 

Robin9

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Sally Bowles is a second rate performer in a sleazy Berlin dive. She dreams of stardom but it will never happen because she's just not special enough or talented enough. Minnelli is a high powered performer. If a talent scout saw HER Sally, he'd snap her up in an instant.
That issue is one of the many faults with the movie version of Pal Joey: the idea that someone in that era who could sing as well as Frank Sinatra would be scratching around in second rate venues hoping desperately for a big break!
 

Thomas T

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That issue is one of the many faults with the movie version of Pal Joey: the idea that someone in that era who could sing as well as Frank Sinatra would be scratching around in second rate venues hoping desperately for a big break!
True. I suppose that's what's called a "suspension of disbelief" that is needed to make it work. I have a similar issue with The Goddess (1958) as I have with Cabaret (and to a lesser extent with Pal Joey). Kim Stanley is brilliant and gives a shattering performance. But again, she's as miscast as Minnelli. Stanley is a great actress and an attractive woman but she's not remotely sexy (and she'd agree). As a Marilyn Monroe sex symbol, she's unbelievable. Fred Zinnemann wanted Stanley for the Donna Reed role in From Here To Eternity but Harry Cohn thought Stanley was sexless and turned her down.
 

David_B_K

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I do not agree with the idea that people should be non-singers in certain musicals. Maybe the reality of the play is that the character is not that good a singer, or has other problems. But in the reality of me watching the performance, I would rather hear good singers than bad. I see no point in watching a musical in which the singers cannot sing. I would rather hear Liza belt out a song than hear a bad singer who may be closer to the reality of the play. (Maybe in the "reality" of the play, the people who are watching Sally in the club don't hear what we audience members outside the play's reality hear?).

As to Pal Joey, there is no question that Joey can sing. I think his problem is that he's a jerk and a skirt chaser. He steals Kim right out from under his friend who is trying to help him out. He has probably been black-balled from certain clubs for stepping on the wrong toes.
 

Matt Hough

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Somehow I missed Fosse's statement that he reconceived Sally Bowles for the screen that she was a dynamic talent waiting to be discovered ;) I tried googling it but couldn't find it so if you could provide a link to the interview with Fosse it would be much appreciated. Unless, of course, that was your analysis and not Fosse's.
It is my analysis and a correct one, in my opinion. Sorry we don't see eye-to-eye on it.
 

Stephen_J_H

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I do not agree with the idea that people should be non-singers in certain musicals. Maybe the reality of the play is that the character is not that good a singer, or has other problems. But in the reality of me watching the performance, I would rather hear good singers than bad. I see no point in watching a musical in which the singers cannot sing. I would rather hear Liza belt out a song than hear a bad singer who may be closer to the reality of the play. (Maybe in the "reality" of the play, the people who are watching Sally in the club don't hear what we audience members outside the play's reality hear?).

As to Pal Joey, there is no question that Joey can sing. I think his problem is that he's a jerk and a skirt chaser. He steals Kim right out from under his friend who is trying to help him out. He has probably been black-balled from certain clubs for stepping on the wrong toes.
I don't know that the suggestion is that it should be a non-singer so much as a person who can sing, but is not a "singer". Think of the many people who were dubbed during the musicals heyday because they didn't have the generally accepted musical "chops". The majority could carry a tune, but either had thin voices or limited range. This is what I understand the character of Sally Bowles to be. Perfectly acceptable within the confines of a hole in the wall like the Kit-Kat Klub, but not up to the task of filling Carnegie Hall with her voice, for example.
 

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