Fanny

I worked slowly on my lecture notes and graded some papers.  I watched “Fanny,” the movie with Leslie Caron from 1961.  I thought that Caron gave perhaps her most appealing performance in this movie.  This was a musical without music.  I don’t know what the songs were like, but I could imagine them turning this movie into an unbearably long bore.  “Fanny” had some elements that were in “Gigi,” namely Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier.  I couldn’t see how the two of them could team up for another big box office hit, however.  This movie also made me think of Billy Wilder’s “Irma la Douce.”  I know that I didn’t want to hear Chevalier sing.  The Romeo figure in this story is Horst Buchholz as Marius.  He doesn’t want to be stuck in this village.  Buchholz was Chico of The Magnificent Seven.  I couldn’t see what was supposed to be so wonderful about him.  He didn’t seem to have much imagination or a sense of humor.  He didn’t seem to be worth waiting five years for.  The story treated Chevalier’s character Panisse rather cruelly.  His crime was that he was an older man.  It appeared that the only thing that would make the two lovers happy would be his disappearance, or death.  It feels like there is too much pain in this plot for it to be amusing, rather like “Intolerable Cruelty.”  There is a child who comes out of all these actions, and he is a real brat who is disobedient and not worth the grief.  Fanny’s mother horribly doesn’t pay attention to what the kid is doing, allowing him to go off on a boat and bring Marius into the conclusion.  The ending is supposed to be moving but is really just uncomfortable.  The movie seems like it’s more about fatherhood than it is about Fanny.  The part that feels like it’s about Fanny is her discovery that she’s about to have a baby.  I’m not sure that she’s gained any sense at all at the end.  Marius’ anger should have taught her something, and her son’s lack of awareness is alarming.  The kid is ready to drop everything and go off to America on a whim.  One strange thing about this movie is that it seemed to be moving too fast, like a record played at the wrong speed.  I had to check the playback speed, which did indicate normal, although I suspected that something was still wrong.  Is Leslie Caron enough to make an entire film worth seeing?  I would say no, although she did show some likable qualities.  “Fanny” did get a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but the award of course went to “West Side Story.”  Some good songs could have turned “Fanny” into a better movie, if not a classic.  Watching this movie, I was reminded of the Bee Gees song “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love).”  It was from their “Main Course” album, and it reached Number 12 on the singles chart.  After I finished with my class, I went over to the record store to browse, and I bought the Blu-ray of “Sleeping Beauty” and a CD of Allen Toussaint’s “American Tunes.”  I saw that George C. Scott’s “The Flim-Flam Man” was on the television.  After he drove the truck on the railroad track, I fell asleep.  Some of the people who died on March 11 include F.W. Murnau (1931), Alexander Fleming (1955), Oscar Meyer (1955), Erle Stanley Gardner (1970), Richard Brooks (1992), Vince Edwards (1996), Betty Hutton (2007), and Merlin Olsen (2010).  Today is a birthday for Thora Birch (35) and Terrence Howard (48).

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