One of Hollywood's most famous casting blunders, letting Lucy star as Mame instead of Angela Lansbury, who had conquered Broadway in the same role, was a mistake of epic proportions, not unlike the decision to deny Julie Andrews the starring role in the movie version of My Fair Lady. The legend is that Lucy wanted it really badly and even put up some of her own money to guarantee her spot. I bet Desi Arnaz could have talked her out of it, but something tells me she never asked his opinion.
Continue reading: Mame Review
The film is based on Gore Vidal's bestselling 1968 novel, which gave us Myra as a magnificently over-the-top symbol of changing sexual mores, greed, revenge, Hollywood, and how they all intersect. In the hands of director Michael Sarne, the story became a messy sex farce; Vidal stepped away from the project, and for good reason. In the book, Myra romanticizes the great movies of the 1930s, arguing, in fact, that it was the best decade ever for movies. This inspires Sarne to raid the 20th Century Fox vault and cram in seemingly dozens of clips from Laurel & Hardy and Shirley Temple films, sometimes ironically, but mostly sitting there like a bad joke told at a dinner party. (It may be that Myra's sole usefulness is that it inspired a similar idea in the HBO TV series Dream On, actually done well.)
Continue reading: Myra Breckinridge Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.