Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Is, I Promise, My Absolute Last Post On This Subject



Comics writer/pop culture blogger Mark Evanier notes that the Academy has now posted the "In Memoriam" montage on YouTube, finally allowing us to see what the remarkably misguided show producers and director ignored with their hyperactive, performance-obsessed camera. It's actually a lovely short film, and Queen Latifah's voice works beautifully over the images (as several critics have noted, they should have just had her pre-record the track over the film in the first place, thus sparing us the confusing split between remembrance and live performance). As Evanier points out, it's not perfect:

Patrick McGoohan was in some pretty good movies and George Carlin was in more than you might think...but neither was included. Nor was Eartha Kitt. Nor was composer Neal Hefti. Nor were Harvey Korman, Earle Hagen, Mel Ferrer, Alexander Courage, John Phillip Law, Irving Brecher, George Furth, Beverly Garland or Guy McElwaine.

True, true-- but we do get Manny Farber and Jules Dassin and Claude Berri and Kon Ichikawa, none of whom are "obvious" choices or household names, but all of whom are deserving (to say nothing of Charles Joffe, former producer and manager of Woody Allen, whose work helped bring to fruition the most important voice in '70s American film comedy, and John Michael Hayes, ace screenwriter for Alfred Hitchcock). And for me it's always a pleasure to see clips of Cyd Charisse and Evelyn Keyes.

So kudos to the Academy for trying to rectify their error, and "boo" to show producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark for their blind adherence to stage show aesthetics. Then again, given how ruthlessly he reduced the great George Cukor down to a cheap punchline in Gods and Monsters, I can't be too surprised that Condon could be so insensitive about Hollywood's great past.

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