The Politically Incorrect Show - 12/06/2001
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Tuesday June 12, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down!]
I left the studio yesterday in a state of exasperated fascination. A propos of nothing in particular, I had had two calls about the movie, Moulin Rouge, which, on the basis of the TV ads for it, I'm tempted to go & see. The two callers, both intelligent & articulate, couldn't have been further apart in their assessment of it, one describing it as "horrible," the other as "magnificent" & not-to-be-missed. I wanted to go see it there & then. One thing the latter caller said, however, put me right off - that the camera work is rapid-fire, MTV-like & hand-held. Call me a stuffy old fart if you will, but I get sea-sick watching that sort of thing. I'm convinced that it's just a sop to the short concentration spans & need for constant stimulation of today's generation of mumbling morons - don't linger on a shot long enough for a thought to register, just a sensation; then move on to the next shot like an aeroplane in an air-pocket. Ugh!
As it happens, I had spent the previous evening with some friends watching the Mario Lanza movie, Because You're Mine. Though Mario himself detested it & loathed every second he spent filming it, it's actually a thoroughly delightful romp, about an opera singer who gets drafted into the army & falls in love with his opera-loving sergeant's sister. It may have been, as Mario deemed it, an unworthy successor to The Great Caruso, but it's huge fun. There's a delightful scene where Mario, at the piano, is putting his sergeant, James Whitmore, through his vocal paces in an aria from Rigoletto. The singing is excruciatingly bad, & Mario's facial asides are hilarious. Whitmore cracks on the high note at the end, & Mario obligingly sings it for him. Then the assembled parties dissolve into laughter as the hapless Whitmore grabs the sheet music in a huff & says to Mario, "Why is it so easy for you & so tough for me?" "Practice!" replies Mario. "And you have to have the larynx to go with it," chimes in Whitmore's sister, for whom Mario's hots are now at boiling point. "You have one of the prettiest larynxes I ever saw," Mario shoots back, his black eyes glistening wickedly.
Well, forgive me, but that's my kind of movie. At the end of it, we had a discussion about "schmaltz." One of the songs in the movie is adapted from Brahms. It's called The Song Angels Sing, & includes the lyrics, "We kiss in the light of a world all aglow; this is our night - I love you so ..." The MTV generation would fall about laughing at such lyrics, but I think it's their loss. As Jerry Hadley observed in his speech at the 1995 Mario Lanza Ball in Philadelphia, this generation - of singers & non-singers alike - has forgotten what honest sentimentality is, & is impervious to the joys it bestows.
Which brings me back to Moulin Rouge. Is it my kind of movie? I guess there's only one way to find out ... but I'm loathe to spend the time & money on it if all I'm going to get from it is sea-sick!
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