Friday, October 19, 2007

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Deborah Kerr died yesterday. Probably best-known for rolling in the surf with Burt Lancaster in "From Here to Eternity" (not a bad thing to be remembered for, I grant you), to me, dear reader, she will always be "Mrs. Anna" aka British governess Anna Leonowens in "The King and I," one of Childe Rhino's keynote films. Obviously, I only ever saw it on tv but it made a HUGE impression on me. Was it the oriental setting? At that time, Thailand/Siam was so exotic that not even the Blue Peter team had been there on one of their famous Expeditions. I certainly didn't know anyone who'd been and never dreamed I would ever go there myself. (Although I DID think I would go to the Moon and eventually live there - luckily, I'm not a betting man.) Was it the razor-cheekboned Yul Brynner, all slinky, sexy and powerful, like a panther? It wasn't the annoying children, that's for sure. No, the reason I loved it was the scene when Mrs. Anna (in a HUGE meringue of a dress) and the King (in his best pyjamas) whirl round the empty throne room (is it a polka?) singing "Shall We Dance?." I just found it wonderfully, impossibly romantic. Not (necessarily - my italics) the swirling round the room in a big dress. It was the feeling that, no matter how hard they fought it, no matter how wary they were, or how impossible the situation, it was inevitable they would fall in love. Even Childe Rhino felt there was something beautiful in that. I say "impossible" and, unusually for a musical of its time, it doesn't have a happy ending. Mind you, also unusually for its time, it features an overlong Thai musical version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." - I think they call it "Very Small House of Uncle Tom." But that ballroom scene, for me, is touched by magic. :::Sigh::: Romantic Rhino - who knew? Next week "Brief Encounter" with Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto ("Rach' 2" as we musicians call it) - Bring your own tissues and an eclair.

9 comments:

Katia said...

That ballroom scene is one of my favourite moments in musical history. I love the swirling dress, the energy, the spiral towards the inevitable fall in love. Beautiful. And you know I love my musicals ;)

amy said...

The giant dresses were definitely my favorite part of that film. Especially in the Getting to Know You scene -- they just seemed so over the top, it had to be parody.

The Late Bloomer said...

Oooo, musician -- Rhino? What instrument do you play? I am a former musician -- haven't tickled the keys in years, but I played the piano for more than 15 years when I was younger. Piano is one of my (long-lost) passions.

The Late Bloomer said...

P.S. ~ I LOOOOOOVE Rachmaninov!

maitresse said...

I was so sad to hear this! and I love that every news station is airing the "shall we dance" scene. it's not just the dress that is amazing in that scene-- it's the way it flounces to the R&H music! "shall we dance? (duh dum dum dum)/ on a bright cloud of music shall we fly? shall we dance?"

rhino75 said...

Katia, prepare to be swirled!! I'll just put on my jammies and away we'll go!! Amy, the ultimate song about amotional manipulation. "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you" and then I'm going to sit in my car outside your house for three days until...LB, hidden talents!! I (mis)spent my youth learning to be a very bad pianist and a mediocre singer. But all pianists and romantics, past and present, love Rachmaninov, don't they? Maitresse, "Will our hearts say goodnight but not goodbye? (da-dum dum dum)" She didn't make it onto TFI, unfortunately :-( displaced by Cecilia and the strike - meh!

Teema said...

Hi! I've been lurking around your blog and I love your humor. Hope that you don't mind that I linked to your page. Thanks!

Starman said...

Ah yes, musicals! They just don't make them like they used to.

rhino75 said...

Teema, welcome!! You can never go wrong with flattery - keep it coming!! ;-) Starman, it's true, though "Hairspray" was a good attempt.