Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Too Good To Be True

Jersey Boys is coming out this week.  I like the Four Seasons but I'm not exactly looking forward to the film.  In general I don't like jukebox musicals--I like it when the songs are written specifically for the show, not the show written around old songs.  In any case, I doubt the cast sounds better than the original.

For that matter, I don't think Clint Eastwood is a great choice to direct a musical.  (Of course, I don't think he's much of a director in general.) He has an alleged affinity* for music--he even composes himself--but I've never seen it come out in his films.  Oh well, guess he can't be worse than John Huston directing Annie.

The film stars John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for the part of Frankie Valli in the original Broadway production.  Regular film producers might not have chosen him, but no-nonsense Eastwood did.  Here's Young talking about his film inspirations in The Hollywood Reporter:

I grew up watching Hollywood movies and some of my favorite movies of all time were Hollywood musicals, and my grandparents were big Broadway fans and talked about seeing legendary performances on Broadway like Yul Brynner in The King and I or Robert Preston in The Music Man or Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. Of course, those were before my time, so I never got to see those performances, except on film.  And so I knew when I had the opportunity to maybe do this, how historically significant it is in Hollywood musicals for someone to originate the role in the Broadway show and to be able to reprise their role on screen.

(Originally the Reporter spelled it "Yul Brenner."  Good to see some editor got to it only a bit after it was too late.)

Hollywood often picks stars over the original Broadway names, but these are cases of good casting--Frank Sinatra in The Music Man or Cary Grant in My Fair Lady just wouldn't have been the same thing.  Still, is Young's performance on Broadway thought of in the same way?  Are future generations demanding we get the original copy of Frankie Valli?

Also, one odd thing about these examples is each one is not a trained singer, but got through the songs more on personality.  Young was originally hired, I assume, in large part because he could sing like Fankie Valli.

So good luck, John, and all the rest.  Maybe I'll check you out, or maybe I'll stay home and listen to the Four Seasons on my iPod.

*The Hollywood Reporter says:

... it must be recalled that Eastwood has always displayed an enduring affinity for American popular music, an interest expressed in his music scene-oriented features (Honkytonk Man and Bird, not to mention his still-unrealized remake of A Star Is Born)...

That's funny. I consider Honkytonk Man and Bird (which have nothing to do with Four Seasons style music anyway) to be exhibits A and B showing Eastwood has never displayed any affinity for American popular music.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

CG here. If this isn't affinity, I don't know what is:

4:55 AM, June 18, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I stand corrected.

9:04 AM, June 18, 2014  

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