What's new

david hare

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
564
Real Name
david hare
I believe I've already said I saw an evening with Donen at Lincoln Center where he spoke between musical numbers from his films (he signed my program the cover of which was a picture of him directing Hepburn in Funny Face.) The clip of Steam Heat was in very poor shape. He lamented that this is what happens over time to film. It's too bad he didn't live long enough to see this bluray. I know he was already 94 but with just a bit more time...
Well Harvey Evans is still alive.
At least he made it to Warner's restored Seven Brides. HIs commentary track on the new disc of that is a master class in directing.
 

david hare

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
564
Real Name
david hare
Yoou’re right about that. The remastered Blu Ray came out just a short time before Donen’s death so I’m hopeful someone kept him in the loop. He was still very much alert then. I wrote a big celebratory piece about him largely basing it on that commentary. I called him as the greates and the only true inheritor to MInnelli for the musical genre. I still think he’s the most underrated American director especially by the “serious” auteurists.
 

lark144

Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,345
Real Name
mark gross
Yoou’re right about that. The remastered Blu Ray came out just a short time before Donen’s death so I’m hopeful someone kept him in the loop. He was still very much alert then. I wrote a big celebratory piece about him largely basing it on that commentary. I called him as the greates and the only true inheritor to MInnelli for the musical genre. I still think he’s the most underrated American director especially by the “serious” auteurists.
When I was 19, and a young dyed in the wool auterist with visions of Minnelli, Ophuls and Anthony Mann dancing in my head, a girlfriend of mine professed an admiration for Stanley Donen as he was a "warm director" and I greeted this opinion with a snort and an eyeroll. But this was long before I saw "Indiscreet", "Funny Face" & "Two for the Road", which are now three of my favorite films. And even watching Donen's minor films now it's difficult for me to take my eyes off the screen; for instance, "Deep in My Heart" which I was watching the other night. In spite of the tepidness of the script and second hand, musty storytelling, many scenes brought tears to my eyes. Donen's films don't seem to have a stylistic consistency, on a superficial basis, in either theme or visual style, and yet, every frame of a Donen film, in its use of composition, color and pacing, is instantly recognizable. Call it beauty, call it emotion, call it human, call it love. In a way, that point of view might be inferred from Fred Astaire's dance on the ceiling in "Royal Wedding". While Donen was responsible for many technical innovations--Gene Kelly's dance with Jerry the mouse in "Anchors Aweigh". Gene Kelly's nocturnal duet from "Cover Girl" & the aforementioned ceiling pirouette by Astaire--those innovations weren't wholly technical but also aesthetic as well as emotional. They come from the human form and everything that entails: grace, joy, poise and connectedness. Just as Stanley Donen as a teenager sat in the darkness of a movie theater and thrilled to the movements of Fred Astaire which seemed to make that darkness come alive and connect him with the other patrons sitting near him, now we sit in the dark and thrill to Mr. Donen films as well, for they come from the same place.
 
Last edited:

david hare

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
564
Real Name
david hare
Funny Face is just fighting The Pirate now for my favorite musical of all time. Coming close behind Les Demoiselles de Rochefort and The Bandwagon. My other choices are probably too perverse for this forum.(They include Fassbinder's Whity.) Donen has a trademark crane up and revers swoon shot. He uses it on Audrey in Funny Face for "How Long has this been Going On"; he uses it on Charisse and Kelly in the Broadway Rhythm ballet in which he swings right up above the singer(s), then swoops back down and closes in on a two shot close. If that ain't an expression of sublimity in the cinema I don't know what is. Mizoguchi does these sorts of travelings at the end of Ugetsu Monogatari and Sansho Dayu!! I think expression of human emotion at this lyrical height places Donen in that firmanent.
 

lark144

Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,345
Real Name
mark gross
Funny Face is just fighting The Pirate now for my favorite musical of all time. Coming close behind Les Demoiselles de Rochefort and The Bandwagon. My other choices are probably too perverse for this forum.(They include Fassbinder's Whity.) Donen has a trademark crane up and revers swoon shot. He uses it on Audrey in Funny Face for "How Long has this been Going On"; he uses it on Charisse and Kelly in the Broadway Rhythm ballet in which he swings right up above the singer(s), then swoops back down and closes in on a two shot close. If that ain't an expression of sublimity in the cinema I don't know what is. Mizoguchi does these sorts of travelings at the end of Ugetsu Monogatari and Sansho Dayu!! I think expression of human emotion at this lyrical height places Donen in that firmanent.
That's very nice, David. I like that reference to Mizoguchi, though those crane shots in "Funny Face", for some reason, bring to mind the tracking shots in "Chikamatsu Monogatari" in particular, especially the beginning, where the camera swerves around the two main characters, who are going to become lovers, though they don't know that yet. You need two to tango. Camera movement in Donen is a dance with both his actors and us, a joyous embrace.

(btw, A lot of early Fassbinder--not just "Whity"--seems to take the form of a twisted, plan-sequence musical, the strange stylistic bedfellows being a fusion of late Dryer & middle-period Donen--for instance, "The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant" and especially "Beware of a Holy Whore" with those meticulously planned movements of camera and people while snatches of jukebox songs suddenly emerge onto the soundtrack to make everything even more rhythmic and syncronized, yet also referring to something else, beyond sound and vision.)
 

roxy1927

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 10, 2018
Messages
549
Real Name
vincent parisi
During the evening Donen talked about filming the shot of Astaire in Funny Face getting out of the cab at the Arc de Triomphe which begins Bonjour Paris. He said that it was done early in the morning and the camera was hidden(I wanted to ask him how do you hide a VistaVision camera.) Whenever he saw the film again he would tear up seeing Astaire begin his walk down the Champs Elysees. I marvel at how achingly beautiful Paris seemed in the 50s.
 

AnthonyClarke

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2010
Messages
2,420
Location
Woodend Victoria Australia
Real Name
Anthony
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort is my number one choice, followed, oddly enough, by South Pacific. Then For Me and My Gal. As for 'Demoiselles', its mysterious magic has haunted me for years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PMF

MatthewA

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
9,466
Location
Salinas, CA
Real Name
Matthew
Totally agree, David. Donen is a trademark for quality, whatever the genre, musical (Singin' in the Rain) or suspense (Charade) and everything in between.
Too bad his career didn't end on such a high note. Blame it on Rio, anyone?*

*Other than Webster's grandpa who mentioned renting it one night in one of the first-run syndication episodes.
 

Robin9

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
5,893
Real Name
Robin
Too bad his career didn't end on such a high note. Blame it on Rio, anyone?*

*Other than Webster's grandpa who mentioned renting it one night in one of the first-run syndication episodes.
I enjoy Blame It On Rio but I don't think it's an especially good film!
 

MatthewA

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
9,466
Location
Salinas, CA
Real Name
Matthew
No worse than all the Annie haters who probably drove poor Ann Reinking to an early grave! I thought this thread was about The Pajama Game and how incredible it's going to look and sound on Blu-ray. If those two YouTube clips are any indication, there will be very little wrong with this disc.

It's too bad he didn't live long enough to see this bluray. I know he was already 94 but with just a bit more time...
Well Harvey Evans is still alive.

Doris Day didn't make it either. I actually was at her last birthday party in Carmel, CA. Peter Marshall was there; they had been in a film called Starlift in 1951. So were Rich Little and The Doris Day Show's Jackie Joseph.
 
Last edited:

roxy1927

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 10, 2018
Messages
549
Real Name
vincent parisi
But Doris Day didn't think much of her movies as Molly Haskell found out much to her Chagrin.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
346,914
Messages
4,794,755
Members
141,935
Latest member
jakeallen27
Top