Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sweet Smells

 It's been a favorite movie of mine forever,
so why shouldn't I love the musical as well?
And I do...
Sweet Smell opened on Broadway in March of 2002,
closed in June of 2002,
so not everyone else did, unfortunately.
John Lithgow as JJ,
Bryan d'Arcy James as Sidney Falcone
(as opposed to Falco in the movie? Weird.),
Stacey Logan and Kellie O'Hara.
 Music was by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia.
The production, I read somewhere, was supposedly 
insanely attentive to the tiniest of period props.
Like Mad Men, 
even the letter head and the pens, 
though mostly unseen by the audience,
was "of the time." 

 Bryan, John Noseworthy (who played Dallas),
Kellie O'Hara (Susan), John (towering over everybody),
and Stacey Logan (Rita).
Despite an early close,
7 Tony noms,
and a win for Mr. Lithgow.

 Nifty sets by Bob Crowley
(somethin's coming, I don't know what it...I'll stop!).

 So how does Bryan stack up against Tony? 

 Back in 1957, 
Tony Curtis "fought hard" for the role of Falco,
evidently tired of his "pretty-boy" roles.
Ernest Lehman began writing the screenplay,
(he wrote the novelette for Cosmopolitan
(no, not THAT Cosmopolitan)
back in 1950),
but it was ultimately dismantled and re-written,
AS they were filming,
by Clifford Odets.

 Tony with the wonderful Barbara Nichols 
as Rita.

 Music for the film was a combination of Elmer Bernstein's
orchestral score and The Chico Hamilton Quintet's jazz numbers.
John Walters of The Guardian called it 
"the sonic equivalent of a well-mixed Manhattan: 
seven cool cues by drummer Chico Hamilton's adventurous band, 
and 14 orchestral blasts by Elmer Bernstein".

Lancaster and Curtis had worked magic in Trapeze,
and United Artists wanted to repeat the "pairing."
But Burt was scarey, on set and off,
intimidating to many on the production.
That worked its way into the film, nicely.
Director Alexander MacKendrick 
added an interesting touch to the character:
a thin film of Vaseline over the lenses of Burt's glasses,
which gave him a menacingly blank stare.

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