In 1926, the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female movie-goers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »
In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
The assistant stage manager of a small-time theatrical company (Polly Browne) is forced to understudy for the leading lady (Rita) at a matinée performance at which an illustrious Hollywood director (Cecil B. DeThrill) is in the audience scouting for actors to be in his latest "all-talking, all-dancing, all-singing" extravaganza. Polly also happens to fall in love with the leading man (Tony) and imagines several fabulous fantasy sequences in which the director is free to exercise his capacity for over-the-top visuals in this charming 1920's era flick.Written by
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The screen rights for the film were originally bought by MGM producer Arthur Freed in 1967 for Debbie Reynolds to star. After Reynolds turned the part down, Liza Minnelli was briefly considered for the role of Polly Browne before Freed shelved the project to concentrate on his Irving Berlin revue, "Say It with Music" (which was never filmed). See more »
The 1987 re-release by M-G-M/United Artists Classics restored 26 minutes that had been trimmed for the original theatrical release from director Russell's initial 134-minute cut. The longer version included two songs, "It's Nicer in Nice" and "The You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me Blues" as well as the seven minute Grecian bacchanal party fantasy. See more »
Ken Russell's homage to Hollywood Musicals of the early years, while outrageous as usual, is remarkably enjoyable. It was ruined in its American release by MGM's James Aubrey's hack job--he cut almost 30 minutes out of the film. Not merely content to cut entire numbers, he laid his heavy hand on every single number and scene, eliminating 30 seconds here, 2 minutes there, until nothing had been spared his hatchet. His reasoning was that no one wanted to see a two and a half hour musical. Besides he could get another showing in if he cut it. Wasn't it a surprise when the film bombed in the States?! Elsewhere it was a smash hit. With the cut footage restored, the VHS print shows, particularly, the salutes to Busby Berkeley and other early musicals. Twiggy is charming; Tommy Tune as the giant American hoofer is wonderful; and Russell's "stock" company of English actors carry off the zaniness with just the right touch. Oh, please, release the Widescreen version on DVD. I need to use it to end my History of the Film Musical class.
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