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Subject: Re: Porgy and Bess film
From: Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:46:36 -0500

text/plain (45 lines)

> Fascinating article from the Hollywood Reporter on the 1959 Preminger film
> of Porgy and Bess, and why it's practically impossible to see it.
> -holy-grail-missing-movies-977567

Those of you who still follow newsgroups probably saw a number of chances
to download the film.  I guess it's in part inspired by the 1942 Cheryl
Crawford production that tried to change the opera into a musical - thus
it is with the film.

And oh, what an incredibly dull film it is.  Very static - camera angles
taken entirely as if watching from the audience.  Long takes.  It really
takes effort to watch this thing.  Looking at the sets and costumes made
me reflect that these "poor" residents of Catfish Row are as well off as
most middle class people of today.  (I'm also one of those - appparently a
minority - that thinks the entire work - the opera and all its
manifestations - is way too patronizing (and thus racist - directly or
indirectly) to be much more than an anachronistic embarrassment.)

But oh, when you hear Robert McFerrin's voice (which, as a baritone,
sounds entirely different from Sidney Poitier's voice), it's almost enough
to make the effort worthwhile.

Better to leave holy grails to Parsifal.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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