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RolandL

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Wow...memory plays tricks...I must have seen Norway and Finians Rainbow at two of the 3 theaters after the Warner was sliced and diced.

I had seen many Roadshow films at the Warner prior to the converting it into 3 theaters.
Exodus was my first followed by El Cid, Mad World and Greatest Story Ever Told, Grand Prix-among others ...

What I recall - that the projection booth was in the orchestra thereby partially blocking a full view of the screen even though the screen was quite large. Remember recall marveling that Mad World didn't have the seams in the screen that previous Cinerama films had.

Also, sometime in the early 60's I believe that the Warner went through a refurbishing and modernizing of the theatre. Perhaps prior to the Mad World run.

All the roadshow theatres in Times Sq of the 50's and 60's were really showcase theatre with great sound and projection.

Warner was really only converted to two theatres with the orchestra being the same and the balcony as a second. The backstage became the third theatre.

Having the projection booth in the orchestra was the only way to show 70mm Cinerama films properly on a deeply curved screen.

Three panel Cinerama was shown from 06/05/53 to 05/17/59 at the Warner. They did not show another Cinerama title (70mm) till Mad World 11/10/63.
 

lionel59

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Yes, the movie is a mess, but having watched it tonight for the first time all the way through since its original 70mm engagements, I found it as entertaining as I remembered -- the music, the beautiful scenery, the goofball choreography, the melodramatic script, the inept direction and editing, and the "made for Cinerama" scenes such as the carriage race at the beginning and the runaway hayride (both staged on curvy, narrow mountain roads of course).

What I didn't remember was how pleasant Florence Henderson's performance and vocals were. I guess I took Mrs. Brady for granted in the 70s. Also, this time Robert Morley reminded me of Mr. Creosote in MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE. He looked like he was about to explode.
Hi. I am still waiting here in Australia for my copy to come. I also have not seen it since 1971. Your summation is encouraging to me re the good salvageable elements in it. I have the LP soundtrack converted to cd and Henderson's voice is great. (As with Shirley Jones-who was offered the role of Mrs Brady- on THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, they occasionally derived ways to give her solo singing opportunities.) I recall Florence in the '80's promoting a strange New Age-sounding "answer" called The Mental Bank. Nonetheless, her stage musical career is more illustrious than her later efforts. I recommend listening to the 1954 Broadway cast recording of FANNY, her "break out" role, I think. If you know the Leslie Caron movie, the tunes will be familiar to you. They elected to use them as underscore, an odd decision considering Joshua Logan also directed the stage show.
(Funny side note, the advertising was originally going to proclaim 'Joshua Logan' s FANNY ', until someone pointed out to Logan the crude double meaning!)
 

KPmusmag

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As for Bells Are Ringing, Kismet, Deep In My Heart and Hit The Deck getting released, I suspect that they were all in pretty good shape and needed only minor spiffing up to be ready for HD.

Warner Archive has released those on blu-ray some time ago. I just checked amazon and they are all available.
 

roxy1927

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In a theater like the Warner Cinerama did they make the screen smaller for 70mm Cinerama? Do you know the dimensions of the screen for the 3 strip as opposed to the single strip? And what were the differences of the curvature? I wonder if there were those who said but this isn't really Cinerama, you're just show a 70mm film on a curved screen.
 

lionel59

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Joshua Logan's fanny? Anatomically impossible .. although I have heard that our American cousins have got things back to front re that terminology,,,,,,
Funny! Being Americans, they of course only thought it was advertising his rear end.....
Speaking of Leslie Caron, I once met her after a stage performance with Louis Jourdan in Melbourne in 1980. Both nice people. I believe Jourdan's son sadly took his own life. According to Caron's autobiography, Audrey Hepburn was hoping to do the film of GIGI. Caron did the role in the non-musical stage play in London. If GREEN MANSIONS was Hepburn's compensation from Metro, she got the poor end of the bargain.
I recall Caron saying on a TV interview that the only country GIGI was unpopular in was France. Guess that adds up. A movie set in France, based on a classic French novella, filmed there with mainly French stars and everyone is speaking English......
 

roxy1927

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Fanny came out at a time when film musicals were out of fashion which is why it and Irma use the musical numbers as background music. Unless of course it was Rodgers and Hammerstein or huge successes like Music Man and Gypsy.
 

lionel59

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I have Kismet. Love the music (mostly by the great film composer Alexander Borodin) but the movie is only so-so.
Yes. Lavish and beautifully sung, but flat and stagey for the most part. Howard Keel said that Minnelli was not interested in the show and gave little or no direction, busying himself with his upcoming production of LUST FOR LIFE. His payoff from MGM for doing KISMET was to be able to do his Van Gogh film, which (pardon the pun) was seen as "art-house" and less likely to make money. Ironically, it did better than KISMET,the losses of which- with those of JUPITER'S DARLING & IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER- helped to kill off the MGM musical.
Interestingly, the movie of KISMET played in 1956 at the Metro in Collins St concurrently with the highly succcessful stage production with Hayes Gordon at the Princess Theatre. I believe both were well reviewed.
I had the LP soundtrack of KISMET ie. the versions released in the '70's and
' 90's. MGM now seem to give it inordinate praise. The notes on the cover of the latter LP compared it to GONE WITH THE WIND due to its lavishness (a ridiculous comparison even from that respect) and the expanded CD soundtrack ignores its box office losses and mixed reviews in its liner notes, saying the only person unhappy with it was Minnelli, who had been compelled to direct it in order to do LUST FOR LIFE.
I must say that the Blu Ray transfer is superb and gives a great rendition of its visual splendour, one of its key assets. I would love to see the 1930 65mm Wide Screen 2-tone Technicolor version discovered and released on blu ray.
(On my fantasy list with THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS and Jeanne Eagels' JEALOUSY). The earlier, silent version, also with Otis Skinner, is available for viewing. The Colman/Dietrich version is colourful and fun, but I kinda miss the songs.
Apologies for being semi-off Topic, but at least the same creators of KISMET did SONG OF NORWAY!
 
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TJPC

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Both Kismet and Song of Norway use classical themes arranged and with added lyrics by the same arrangers. These two — Wright and Forrest (?) I believe, also were responsable for “operas” based on Tchaikovsky etc. that were sung by Jeanette MacDonald in some of her movies. Their most recent credit was much of “Grand Hotel” on Broadway.
 

roxy1927

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I find the best thing about Kismet are the Jack Cole dances which are straight from Broadway. The women's dances when they are presented to the Caliph as possible bride's are pretty raunchy. What were the parents thinking who brought their children to Radio City at Christmas? I find it lumbering(Minnelli's worst movies are his stage adaptions) with more than its share of longueurs. Keel managed to pack on the pounds since 7 Brides and some of it looks impossibly cheap especially Night of my Nights. Tony Duquette's high school project done the night before it was due. As opposed to his lavish This Heart of Mine and Coffee Time. Metro was having a real economy drive. But most criminal of all is the wholesale slashing of This Is My Beloved one of the most beautiful songs in the score. Damone is so far superior to Kiley on the obc who sounds like he's singing Hajj. At least we get a full Stranger in Paradise including the goosed peacock.
 

lionel59

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I find the best thing about Kismet are the Jack Cole dances which are straight from Broadway. The women's dances when they are presented to the Caliph as possible bride's are pretty raunchy. What were the parents thinking who brought their children to Radio City at Christmas? I find it lumbering(Minnelli's worst movies are his stage adaptions) with more than its share of longueurs. Keel managed to pack on the pounds since 7 Brides and some of it looks impossibly cheap especially Night of my Nights. Tony Duquette's high school project done the night before it was due. As opposed to his lavish This Heart of Mine and Coffee Time. Metro was having a real economy drive. But most criminal of all is the wholesale slashing of This Is My Beloved one of the most beautiful songs in the score. Damone is so far superior to Kiley on the obc who sounds like he's singing Hajj. At least we get a full Stranger in Paradise including the goosed peacock.
Interesting comments.
KISMET was a pretty bawdy show which was toned down somewhat for Hollywood. 'Rhadlakum' had its lead-in dialogue and verses awkwardly edited out of the final cut (the deleted sequence from a work print in b+w is an extra on the blu ray), but even so the song is clearly about an aphrodisiac. The mutual sexual attraction between Haaj and Lalume is very evident and they plan to consummate it at a desert oasis without benefit of marriage and regardless of how soon the Vazir's execution takes place. (In the play Haaj drowns him and it is viewed as an execution by the Caliph, but the Breen code wouldn't tolerate that). It was not written as a "family show", like many other musicals which now seem to have that label given to them.
Yes, And This Is My Beloved is truncated, but still stirring and sung better in the movie than by the original stage cast.
One of the Princesses dancing raunchily for the Caliph is Reiko Sato, who had a prominent role as Helen Chao, the seamstress who sings Love Look Away (via Marilyn Horne) before a big dream ballet in FLOWER DRUM SONG. (Her character suicides in the novel, which was made very family friendly by Rodgers and Hammerstein)
Re Night of my Nights, I find it nicely staged, particularly with the shots of the reflections in the pools. Do you think the decor should have been more genuinely Middle Eastern? Vic Danone was lacking as an actor, but sings that and other songs very well. Maybe George Sidney, who directed Keel in - I think- his best acting performance in SHOW BOAT, may have been a better choice for this property.
 

john a hunter

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I enjoy some of the numbers very much but unable to watch it all in one sitting.
As you say Borodin was a great film composer but as you also say, the production looks cheap.
I always think it looks like it was filmed in a paint factory after an explosion judging from the over the top colour.
Incidentally the "Kismet" music was recorded in hi rez surround by Telarc and the Cincinnati Pops
A great recording to hear if you have SACD.
 

roxy1927

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Is that the recording that includes Bolero?
Yes Night of My Nights is nicely filmed with the reflecting pool. I read once and I wish I remember where that MGM due to budgetary reasons was going to cut the entire procession but Duquette said just give me a little money and I can come up with something. Imagine if he had done it instead in the mid 40s? It would have been amazing.
I agree This is My Beloved is beautifully sung which makes it all the more frustrating that it isn't allowed its full expanse. What would it have added to the length of the movie but a few minutes?
City Opera had a terrific production in the 80s I saw a couple of times when Sills was director. Also a wonderful staging of the gorgeous The New Moon. We'll probably never see those kind of traditional lavish productions again. The audience has died off.
 

RolandL

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In a theater like the Warner Cinerama did they make the screen smaller for 70mm Cinerama? Do you know the dimensions of the screen for the 3 strip as opposed to the single strip? And what were the differences of the curvature? I wonder if there were those who said but this isn't really Cinerama, you're just show a 70mm film on a curved screen.

3-strip 67ft by 24ft
70mm 81ft by 30ft
 

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