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A PEEK AT FLOWER DRUM SONG

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by haineshisway, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    I don't have any problem with a black actor playing Billy Bigelow, but what's been done so far is stunt casting. If you're going to cast Billy as black and leave Julie as white, their daughter damn well better be mixed race. Otherwise you're asking me to believe that biology doesn't exist. And you better account somehow for the radical change in the townfolks' reaction to what would have been heresy at the time and place where Carousel takes place. You could make all three black, which would ameliorate that townspeople reaction problem. A black couple would be far more likely accepted than a mixed marriage at that time and place. In short, I don't have problem with non-traditional casting if you do it believably. Just making Billy black without anything else fails the test.
     
  2. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    Blind casting can really take you out of a show or movie. We once saw a wonderfully talented Asian actress enact the role of Belle in a touring company of Beauty and The Beast. Not that we were really going to buy the story as real anyway, but it really caused a lack of suspension of belief every time she was on stage.
     
  3. RichMurphy

    RichMurphy Second Unit

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    As long as someone is talented enough to put over a role, I don't think it matters a bit what the person's race is.

    Two examples come to mind:

    When DC's Signature Theatre staged LES MISERABLES, Young Eponine was white but grew up to be a black girl! Older Eponine was played by Felicia Curry, who nailed the role. I might have been taken aback for a second or two, but once I realized she was playing Eponine, I just enjoyed her performance.

    The Carnegie Hall concert version of SOUTH PACIFIC, which was shown on PBS, starred Reba McEntire as Nellie Forbush, who is shocked to learn that her sweetheart Emile de Becque once had an interracial relationship. Um, maybe Nellie is nearsighted, because Emile was played by Brian Stokes Mitchell!. Again, I smirked for a second or two, but immediately got back into the show and enjoyed both of their performances.
     
  4. Message #84 of 126 Jul 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
    OLDTIMER

    OLDTIMER Agent

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    There seems to have been an effort in recent times to cast African Americans in gratuitous roles simply to redress the balance that these performers didn’t get a fair go in the past. But putting them in incongruous roles often makes a movie look artificial or just wrong or unbelievable. I wish filmmakers would stop doing this.
     
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  5. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Rob Marshall probably takes issue with part of that sentence. :)
     
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  6. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    Really?? so you would want Jonathan Price to wear Asian face if Miss Saigon is ever filmed too?
     
  7. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    :lol: My bad! Spielberg, of course, only produced the film. Apologies to Mr. Marshall.
     
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  8. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    My favorite was the ‘90’s Lincoln Center Carousel revival where Audra McDonald (who was brilliant) married Mr. Snow and had Asian children in Act 2. But what do I know?
     
  9. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Okay, my last word on the subject, I promise (don't make me go back on my word :angry:). I believe an actor should play any role that he can play believably. I have no problem with, say, Denzel Washington playing Marc Antony in a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar because it's Shakespeare's vision/version, not a historically accurate rendering. If, however, they did a historical film about Marc Antony that was ostensibly historically accurate with Washington as Marc Antony, I would have a problem as Marc Antony was not black. I'd have the same problem if, say, Viola Davis played Marie Antoinette. I have zero problems with a black actress playing Ariel in the live action The Little Mermaid. It's a fairy tale, it's not real, anything can and does happen in fairy tales. Just because the animated Little Mermaid was drawn with red hair and white skin doesn't mean the film has to duplicate it.

    I am of Hispanic descent but in the late 1990s, I was cast as a German Nazi soldier in a play. When I asked the director why he cast me in the role instead of one of the fair skinned blondish types that auditioned, he said "You gave the best audition." So may the best man/woman do the part. Now, I'm outta here :)
     
  10. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    It kinda was with the NBC live broadcast which was released on DVD.
     
  11. Mark Mayes

    Mark Mayes Stunt Coordinator

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    My concern is that a lot of children and young adults watch these restaged or reimagined ideas and get first impressions of the past that paint a pretty picture of easy opportunity for historically marginalized people.
    This minimizes the struggles they were really going through at the time.
    I say this because my own images come from historical films I saw when younger that gave me a sense of what representations were not reflected and then finding out why not.
    Something like "Mary Poppins Returns" is a fantasy that asks us to buy into a stylized musical comedy construct...no one is looking to it for historical accuracy. But for young people it is nevertheless an introduction to the 30s perhaps, and they may not realize that it's just as fantastical that minorities were given decent jobs in London banks. Or that they were not in council or attendance of Queen Elizabeth as in the recent film about Queen Mary of Scotland.

    Anyway, I did buy "Flower Drum Song" on Vudu and won't watch my DVD again, except for the extras. Thanks for the heads up.
     
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  12. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Sorry, you're all over the map here, friend. Don't put words in people's mouths. That is where this argument goes. No, in the time period that Carousel is set, a white woman would not have publicly taken up with an African American and a white man like Enoch Snow would not have married an African American. So, there's that, isn't there. You cannot compare Mickey Rooney's performance to Juanita Hall - I mean, you think you can win this argument with such an inane comparison? No one said that only white people are best for a role - that's you, friend, and not a single other person in this thread. No one is talking about putting anyone in blackface, that's you, friend. Juanita Hill is not in YELLOW make-up, for God's sake. Seriously. You can live in this PC world of yours - I'll go enjoy Mr. Brynner as The King.
     
  13. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Yes, remember when this thread was positive and praising a beautiful new transfer of Flower Drum Song? I do.
     
  14. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    I have seen many plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, local performances, and High School performances where it was color-blind casting and it never bothered me. I never thought about what will the townspeople would say or the race of the child. None of that takes me out of the performances.
     
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  15. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Uh...ok. Since nothing you said makes one iota of sense in response to anything I said, we’ll have to leave it there. Although, for the record, I fail to see the “inanity” in comparing the casting of a non-Asian actor playing a Japanese character with a non-Asian actor playing a Chinese character. Seems pretty apples to apples to me. But we’ll have to disagree on that point as well.

    Meanwhile, back to the beautiful HD transfer of FDS.
     
  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Yes, by all means back to that.
     
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  17. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    At the time of the original FDS, R&H scoured the country for Broadway-ready Asian actors and actresses (or people who looked Asian) to cast. That's why you had Juanita Hall (black) and Larry Blyden (white) in the cast with Pat Suzuki (Japanese), Ed Kenney (Hawaiian), Jack Soo (Japanese), Miyoshi Umeki (Japanese again), Patrick Adiarte (Filipino) along with Keye Luke and Arabella Hong (the only two actual Chinese or Chinese-American) in the lead cast.
     
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  18. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    Not buying a Vudu copy of anything and definitely not FDS for all the reasons discussed above which are just as important as any steaming digital transfer quality discussion is.
     
  19. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    No one got upset when Rock Hudson played those very WASP roles in films such as Pillow Talk. Yet he was Native American. At least I think he was, judging by some of his earliest film appearances.
     
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  20. Message #100 of 126 Jul 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    How did Samuel Goldwyn end up with the TV rights when R&H sold the film rights outright to Universal, unlike the self-produced films of Oklahoma! and South Pacific? I saw that same logo when The Disney Channel showed it on their festival of almost every Rodgers & Hammerstein film in 1991. Why Universal never released a widescreen laserdisc of that or Sweet Charity has to be one of the most baffling decisions they ever made (other than the circumstances that led to that vault fire, of course).

    There was also a BBC production as well.

    Then maybe a more appropriate point of comparison isn't to Flower Drum Song but to another Blake Edwards movie made seven years later: The Party, where the very white and English Peter Sellers, after having created the very French character of Inspector Clouseau and the very German character of Dr. Strangelove, plays a man from India. Seems like critics were more forgiving of that*, but not so much when Sellers tried something similar twelve years later with the coldly-received The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, which ended up being his last film. And when Edwards actually cast an Asian actor in something, it was to cast Benson Fong as the screeching Chinese chef in S.O.B. This was more than a decade after Fong had played a businessman who could speak non-fractured English in The Love Bug where he helped the protagonists against David Tomlinson, whose movie career would end with Fu Manchu.

    *The late Arte Johnson had a similar character on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
     
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