Monday, November 21, 2011

Musical Film "My Sister Eileen" Contains Opera References

At the opening of the film, the girls are in their first apartment when they hear operatic singing coming through the window. The landlord declares, "Maybe it's the next Lily Pons or Helen Traubel." Cut to the trio exiting the apartment to find a woman hanging up laundry while she sings "Voi che sapete" from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Full synopis for the film: "Two innocent sisters from Ohio hit Greenwich Village and must cope with wall-shaking subway construction, the neighborhood kooks, and a whopping $65 a month for an apartment. My Sister Eileen is one of those 'Look out, world, we're conquering Manhattan!' movies, with Betty Garrett as a plain, would-be writer and Janet Leigh as her knockout sister, an aspiring actress who draws men like milk draws kittens. The 1955 movie's well-scrubbed Greenwich Village is a delightful fantasy playground. The city was never like this, but it probably should have been. In one of his early roles, Jack Lemmon (crooning one of the Jule Styne-Leo Robin songs quite charmingly) plays a magazine publisher, one of the many Young Men with Ideas he would play in the subsequent decade. Even more interesting is the presence of future director Bob Fosse, as a soda jerk who romances Leigh. Fosse also choreographed the film's musical numbers, and his dances include a delightful quartet at a bandstand and a sensational showdown with Tommy Rall. Fosse and Rall try to outdo each other in a male rivalry dance that will remind Fosse fans of his obsession with hats. The breezy direction is by Richard Quine, who cowrote the script with another future director, Blake Edwards. The original source material, stories by Ruth McKenney, formed the basis for a play and a nonmusical 1942 Rosalind Russell movie, also called My Sister Eileen (in which Quine played the Fosse role); there was a Broadway musical adaptation of the stories, Wonderful Town, which is not related to this film." [Source]

1 comment:

  1. Wow, surprisingly I never knew this.I have been reading your blog a lot over the past few days and it has earned a place in my bookmarks.Thanks for sharing with us.
    Bud Mayo