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  #1  
Old 06 December 2013, 01:30 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Default The Sound of Music

Enjoyed that last night. I am ashamed to say I was a little disconcerted when I noticed that the Mother Superior was a woman of color but that is my fault. I noticed a couple of scenes that were not a part of the movie. Plus a the eidelveiss song at the end was not as stirring as in the movie.
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Old 06 December 2013, 01:58 PM
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RichardM, it was based on the stage musical, so that's why the scenes felt out of order. The movie moved a bunch of things around.

I enjoyed it. I felt the acting was pretty flat (but a couple of FB friends pointed out that the lack of an audience may have had something to do with that).

I love Audra McDonald's singing, so I really watched it just to hear her sing "Climb Every Mountain". Any scene she was in was fantastic.

Carrie Underwood was okay. I really liked "Lonely Goatherd" but songs like "Something Good" didn't work so well.
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Old 06 December 2013, 02:18 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Her operatic voice made Climb Every Mountain the highlight of the performance.
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  #4  
Old 06 December 2013, 02:22 PM
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Carrie Underwood's voice and look were great. Her acting? Not so much.
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Old 06 December 2013, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
I am ashamed to say I was a little disconcerted when I noticed that the Mother Superior was a woman of color but that is my fault.
In Austria in the 1930s? I thought she was wonderful, but historically far-fetched.
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Old 06 December 2013, 07:46 PM
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In Austria in the 1930s? I thought she was wonderful, but historically far-fetched.
I believe in theatre today it is considered inappropriate to restrict parts to a single race unless it is relevant to the part. So in this case it is not important that the character be a particular race but in Big River Jim would have to be black and Huck white to make sense.

dewey
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Old 06 December 2013, 07:51 PM
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I wonder how far that extends? For example, would most directors not cast a non-white von Trappe family since pro-Nazi Rolfe would probably not want to date a non-white Liesl?

Last edited by GenYus234; 06 December 2013 at 07:54 PM. Reason: managed to misspell every name
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Old 06 December 2013, 08:12 PM
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See also: Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, the 1997 TV production. The King was white, the Queen was black, their son the Prince (is Giving a Ball!) was Filipino. The stepmother and one stepsister were white, the other stepsister, Cinderella, and the fairy godmother were all black. But it was a fantasy.
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Old 06 December 2013, 11:09 PM
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I believe in theatre today it is considered inappropriate to restrict parts to a single race unless it is relevant to the part.
That's generally true, yes. However, I don't think anyone should feel ashamed or awkward for raising their eyebrows at a black Mother Abbess in 1930s Austria. It's not racist or shameful to recognize that it's rather anachronistic.
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  #10  
Old 06 December 2013, 11:57 PM
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Actually, Audra McDonald was not the only black actress in the performance. In the opening scene, the young postulate next to the space where Maria was supposed to be was black. That caught my attention at first. But I do think it is somewhat racist of me to have noted it and felt the need to comment. I was surprised but not upset in the least.
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Old 07 December 2013, 12:06 AM
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Color blind casting generally works fine and opens up a far greater range of roles for actors, instead of limiting them to parts written for their particular ethnicity. I can see how it might be a bit distracting in SoM, since Black Europeans would have been a target for Nazi persecution. It seems like it would put more attention on the Mother Superior and change the importance of the role.
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Old 07 December 2013, 12:15 AM
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Yes, in many roles you're meant to ignore it, the same way that you ignore the fact that all of these Austrians are speaking and singing in English. I've seen a black MacBeth, e.g., and really it's no more anachronistic than having women playing the women's roles.
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Old 07 December 2013, 12:29 AM
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How about Macbeth with only women?
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  #14  
Old 07 December 2013, 01:26 AM
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I can Kenneth Branagh's film takes on Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. Both films had multi-racial casts; indeed Denzil Washington had one of the lead roles in "Much Ado"

And there have been a number of versions of Hamlet where Hamlet was played by a woman. Perhaps the most notable of these was Sarah Bernhardt. I believe that there is even a silent film version, where Hamlet is not only played by a woman - but as a woman.

It's been a few years since I was interested in Shakespeare, so my memory might be wrong.
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  #15  
Old 07 December 2013, 03:56 AM
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I'd watch Audra McDonald read the phone book, but I thought that the casting choice was a bit jarring for a period piece meant to evoke a specific time and place. As always, though, she nailed it.

Carrie Underwood's singing was quite good, I thought - her acting, though, left a lot to be desired. Reminiscent of 2nd-rate high school theater, the "look at me, I'm acting!" school of acting. Very self-conscious and artificial, rather than truly emotionally connected. "Here's the part where I make a frowny face so you can tell I'm upset. Now is when I should turn my head quickly to the side to show that I'm ashamed." It was particularly noticeable opposite the relatively strong emotional performance by the actor playing Von Trapp.

I thought the actor playing Max was fantastic in the role. The kids were OK, although the youngest was having some real flatting problems (poor thing looked exhausted!)

Sets were terrific; lighting seemed a bit flat, but that may have been the effect of the framing of the TV. (The lighting paired with the costuming gave a few weird stage pictures - for example, the post-honeymoon scene had virtually everyone on stage in some shade or other of peachy pink, and in the soft amber light, everyone seemed to wash out into the walls - skin tones, clothes, and set all appeared to be uniformly pastel reddish-orange.) I thought the transition to the final concert was particularly well-executed, and even the climbing of the mountain for the escape worked fairly well.

Overall, I thought it was a fairly strong production. Hey, televised live theater in this day and age is pretty cool in any case.
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  #16  
Old 07 December 2013, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
Sets were terrific; lighting seemed a bit flat, but that may have been the effect of the framing of the TV.
My guess would be it was partially because of the live aspect of the production. On a typical edited production G-you can spend half of the production time altering lighting setups and camera filters between shots to find what looks best. On a live telecast you have to pick one setup and go with it.
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Old 07 December 2013, 08:22 AM
lavender blue lavender blue is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
I'd watch Audra McDonald read the phone book,
How about some Yahoo answers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
Carrie Underwood's singing was quite good, I thought - her acting, though, left a lot to be desired. Reminiscent of 2nd-rate high school theater, the "look at me, I'm acting!" school of acting. [...]It was particularly noticeable opposite the relatively strong emotional performance by the actor playing Von Trapp.

I thought the actor playing Max was fantastic in the role.
Agree on Carrie, but I also thought Von Trapp was overacting, especially at the beginning. Nerves, maybe? I also really liked Christian Borle (Max) and am glad that he and the actress playing Elsa Schrader got to sing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
... for example, the post-honeymoon scene had virtually everyone on stage in some shade or other of peachy pink, and in the soft amber light, everyone seemed to wash out into the walls - skin tones, clothes, and set all appeared to be uniformly pastel reddish-orange.) I thought the transition to the final concert was particularly well-executed, and even the climbing of the mountain for the escape worked fairly well.
Oh, so that was the problem? I knew that scene seemed off, but not why. It certainly wasn't helped by her rather ugly costume. And 6 year-old-me was always really amused by the nuns sabotaging the Nazis' cars, so I'm a little sad that didn't happen here (not in the stage show, I know).

Quote:
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Hey, televised live theater in this day and age is pretty cool in any case.
Agreed. And if it took having Carrie Underwood as Maria to make it happen, so be it.
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  #18  
Old 07 December 2013, 09:00 AM
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I'd missed the original broadcast, but found it on On Demand cable so I gave it a whirl. I already knew from commercials that Underwood's performance would be less than stellar, but I was curious about how Stephen "Vampire Bill" Moyer would do as the captain. His performance, along with Audra McDonald and Christian Borle pretty much saved the musical day. Even Carrie's voice, while technically fine, didn't have much emotional range. With so many young divas to choose from these days, they could have have made a better casting choice.

I did have fun watching it, because it turned into Sing-Along Sound of Music at my house. The doggies thought my performance was magnificent. The kitties aren't fans of the genre, though and gave me paws downs. I was ooohing and ahhing over the costumes, especially Fraulein Schrader's black party gown, which had me mourning my lost figure. Man, I loved that dress! Some costume designer at NBC is going to get an Emmy nod, I think.

All in all, I thought the experiment was successful, and wouldn't mind seeing more live theater broadcasted. Just be a little more selective with the casting.
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  #19  
Old 07 December 2013, 12:55 PM
Magdalene Magdalene is online now
 
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The rest of the amazing cast saved this from Carrie Underwood, who technically sang quite well, but couldn't act to save her life. And unfortunately, there was no emotion in her singing, which surprised me, since she is capable of that.

I was torn on the casting of Audra MacDonald--vocally, she was a dream. Visually, given what was going on in the place and time presented, she was a bit jarring.

However, overall I enjoyed this, and wouldn't mind seeing more live theatre on TV--but next time, cast a lead who's more qualified, please.

Magdalene
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  #20  
Old 07 December 2013, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavender blue View Post
Agree on Carrie, but I also thought Von Trapp was overacting, especially at the beginning. Nerves, maybe?
Could be nerves, or it could be that he was trying to act for a live audience that wasn't there rather than a television one. Stage acting needs to be toned down a bit for film.
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