Monday, April 20, 2015

The lips don't cut it

Spielberg Gets A Hero For Gershwin Flick

2/01/2010 2:00 PM ET | Filed under: Film FlickersZachary QuintoSteven Spielberg

An interesting choice!

Steven Spielberg is reportedly starting work on a new bio-flick based on the life of composer George Gershwin. Slated to play the legendary piano man is Zachary Quinto. Steven and Dreamworks are so excited about the Heroes hunk coming on board that they have supplied him with accent and dialogue coaches to help him prepare to begin filming in April.

What an opportunity Zach! Guess it wasn't such a hard decision to hang up the pointed ears to take this role!

This has been kicking around the internet for some time now, about five years, and I am not sure what happened to the movie, whether it was ever made or not. My first reaction was that Zach is not very good George material. George was nervous, insecure, ingratiating, dazzling, enigmatic, charismatic, masterful, dreamy, extremely hyper, and knew he was a genius as surely as Beethoven knew (I mean, as Beethoven knew Gershwin was a genius). Zach is hella sexy and has melting brown eyes, and the brow is impressive, but the mouth? George's hallmark was the mouth, the pouty, bratty, sensuous lips that rendered his photo portraits so breathtaking. Strangely, it is very hard to find any shots of George smiling. Nor are there even many recordings, and almost NO film footage except a few ratty-tatty endpapers of home movies.

I said a long time ago that I thought Gershwin was a time traveller. It's weird he left so little permanent trace, except for thousands of portrait photos, many of them similar. Not even a newsreel, George? Only a minute and a half of I Got Rhythm? And what about recordings? By 1937, sound quality was quite good, a quantum leap beyond what it had been when he started out in that alley where they pounded on tin. Any studio would do back-flips to record Gershwin, wouldn't they? Instead, all we have are a handful of scratchy 78s played far too fast because they had to fit 15 minutes of music on a 9-minute side. And dying at 38 - what's THAT all about? Having a big hunk of junk in his brain that nobody knew about, then expiring in a hospital bed, completely alone. The whole thing is hella strange.

Staccato-tom-catto: Gershwin plays the Rhapsody

'Shwin playing 'Shwin. One can easily hear the way the piece has drifted and evolved. I love the "laughing clarinet" at the beginning. A lot of those sassy "wah-wah-wah"s have been toned down too much in recent recordings, I think. This is a smart-ass/kick-ass piece of music that reminds me of those frenetic old silent cartoons. We have a much more polished and sophisticated Rhapsody now, I think, but we've also lost something. Joa-jj's playing is frenetic and has a sort of hoppity-boppity style you don't hear now. There's some really interesting rubato touches. He kind of jerks the tempo around, toys with it like an all-powerful god, which he is. Overall, he's much more staccato-tom-catto than the rest of them Sometimes he just plays like he's in a saloon. (A genius can do that.) And OH how I wish they hadn't had to edit it to fit on one side of a record!

Rhapsody in black-and-white

"You had me at hello"

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