Sunday, January 8, 2017

January is Bustin' Out All Over

I've been told it's all in the hips.

The unexpected beauty of deciding to walk to see a 60th anniversary screening of "Carousel" this afternoon was that by some miracle, the city had cleared the bike lane on Leigh Street, which just happens to be my regular route when I walk to Movieland.

It was a good thing, too, because most of the sidewalks were a crusty mess.I didn't even feel guilty because I only saw two bikers using the lane in the two miles there, so it wasn't like I was displacing any cyclists to speak of.

Halfway there, a truck pulled up next to me and the guy inside smiled and asked, "Are you going to the end?" Nope, just to the movies. "Would you like a ride?" he asked. Thanks, but I'm just getting my exercise.

"Good for you! Okay, cool, enjoy your movie," he said, waving as he pulled away. I prefer to think he was just a nice guy and not an ax murderer, but I guess I'll never know.

Going to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic "Carousel" wasn't just about wiling away a frigid afternoon away from home, it was the latest in my ongoing effort to get up to speed on films I should've probably seen decades ago and haven't.

But apparently between the weather and the fact that most musical fans have already seen it, I was the sole occupant of theater #11. That's never happened before, although I've watched a film there with as few as four other people, but today? Just moi.

Because it was the 60th anniversary screening, it began with an interview with its star Shirley Jones dishing about the long ago shoot. Like how Frank Sinatra had been cast opposite her and they'd recorded the entire soundtrack when he abruptly quit the day filming was to begin.

Seems that the love of his life, Ava Gardner, had called and said that if he didn't show up on the set of the movie she was filming, she was going to have an affair with her co-star Clark Gable. Sinatra was on the next plane out.

Shirley said the director gave her a handful of quarters and told her to call her friend Gordon MacRae and ask him to substitute. "Give me three days to lose ten pounds and I'll be there," she claims he said and the rest is musical theater history.

Where the movie shone for me was the location shots from Maine (the beach shots looking exactly like the Maine beaches I recall from my one and only month there when I was ten), the elaborate ballet-like choreography of Agnes de Mille (shades of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" with so many acrobatic male dancers) and how uncharacteristically dark the story was (talk about a love story ending badly, he's already dead when the film opens).

And I, of all people, can appreciate a clambake that begins when someone yells, "Butter's melted!" and pulls a pitcher of it off the top of the mess of roasting clams and lobsters.

By the time I left Movieland to walk home, the sun was low in the sky but it was a tad warmer than when I'd arrived and the wind had settled down, both major pluses.

Half a mile from home on Clay Street, a guy on a bike passed me slowly on the ice-covered street. Isn't that difficult to do on this mess, I asked him.

"You just need to stay on your toes," he said, rounding the corner onto Hancock Street and wobbling some in the process.

"It's all in the hips!" he called over his shoulder, offering me one last bit of advice.

Isn't everything?

No comments:

Post a Comment