The Singing Detective [Spoilers]

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by DeborahK, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Now that the DVD set has been out for a few weeks, I thought we might talk a bit about this amazing series. Anyone who has not watched their DVDs yet be warned: This thread will contain many spoilers.

    My brother has just been here for one of his annual visits and to my surprise he had never even heard of TSD, much less watched it back when it was originally aired on PBS. So I introduced him to the series and, like junkies, we watched the whole thing in just a few days. I was amazed and gratified to see how well it holds up. It is still absolutely brilliant -- not dated at all. My brother was completely blown away by it and declared it to be "The Ulysses of television" and said he thought it was the best piece of television he had ever seen -- very high praise from him.

    All that having been said, I would be interested in knowing what others think of the ending -- whether or not you think Marlow is alive and well or if you thing he is dead. I know they left this purposely ambiguous, and a pretty good case can be made for either scenario, but what do you all think?

    In retrospect, one of the things about the series that confuses me a little, is that in the first couple of episodes I thought that Marlow was just then writing the novel we see playing out in his head. Then it turns out that he is just going over an already published work. I find this confusing because 1.) we never do find out who killed Sonia (or are we to believe that, like Philip's mother, she killed herself?) and 2.) why those two characters who accost him in the climactic scene seem to be asking him to tell them who they are. If they are characters from a completed novel, shouldn't they already know who they are, even if we viewers don't really know?

    I haven't listened to the entire commentary and maybe some of this is explained in that, but in case it isn't I thought I would toss these questions out.

    One last thing: Do we know who does the singing in the series? I didn't see any credits given to any singers, but find it hard to believe that all these people did their own vocals.

    Thanks,

    Deborah
     
  2. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Stunt Coordinator

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    An amazing piece of work. Michael Gambon is simply outstanding. As far as the singing is concerned, nobody does their own. It is all original music that the actors lipsynch. Michael Gambon's various numbers with the band are by different performers. I recognize Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers. I don't have an answer for your other questions. I really need a second viewing.
     
  3. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Hi, Mike,

    Thanks for the reply and for the music performance information. I wonder why there is no attribution for the original performances? Perhaps the rules about this are different in the UK.

    Yes, it is an outstanding piece of work. And I am finding that it really sticks with me. Even two weeks after completing the set I am thinking about it and find that it sort of haunts me.

    Deborah
     
  4. Mike Levine

    Mike Levine Agent

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    Mike Levine
  5. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    As I mentioned in the other TSD thread I've been watching with the subtitles on. They often give artist credits, I specifically remember Ella Fitzgerald being identified.
    Along with all its genius, The Singing Detective has been a big lip synching fest.

    Jim
     
  6. DeborahK

    DeborahK Supporting Actor

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    Jim,

    Thanks for the tip regarding artist attribution via subtitles. I am going to have to try that.

    Mike,

    Thanks for the link to the Savant review. I am subscribed to the Savant's column (among others) but somehow, I keep getting mysteriously unsubbed. Your post reminded me that it has been some weeks since I have gotten a Savant e-mail. Time to go a sub yet again.

    It is a careful review, and it cleared up a few points for me. The point that Philip is rewriting the novel in his head clears up my confusion about his writing a book that is already completed. His point about the two padded deadbeat characters pleading for their real identities also made a lot of sense. But I take exception to a couple of things he says. For one, I did not find the singing tedious at all and I loved the clever shoot-out ending. I guess that is one of the things that separates us mere viewers from the critics: We have not necessarily had the time or opportunity to see absolutely everything so we are not quite so tired and jaded about certain liberties and devices. [​IMG]

    One point of Savant's confused me a bit: Was not Mark Binney/Finney also the name of the man Philip's mother gets it on with in the woods? I assumed he was the father of the school boy that Philip falsely accuses and that the incident in the woods was partly what made Philip chose him over another child.

    Anyhow, good stuff.

    Deborah
     

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