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September 1998, Week 2


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 11:12:58 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (42 lines)
Edward O'Neill comments:
> It's very _Singing in the Rain_:  Piaf is a maid whose
> mistress is a silent star whose career will soon vanish
> because the onset of sound demands musical performers, and
> the mistress is tone deaf.
> Naturally, Piaf has to end up providing her voice.  There
> are some rather fun shots of Piaf looking at a microphone as
> if its from Mars.
> Of course, when she hears her own voice, she's dumbstruck
> and can't believe it's herself.  (I.e., she's 'natural' and
> 'unselfconscious' and the technology spoils this.)
> NB:  I believe this film is from 1946, and I'm not sure if
> anyone's ever noticed that _Signin' in the Rain_ is not
> exactly original in using this plot.
> I've never seen the film on video, but it's worth a trip to
> Paris.
I've often wondered if the SINGIN' IN THE RAIN plot device was actually
based on real events.  For example, when Hitchcock's BLACKMAIL was
switched from silent to talkie (the first in Britain), he was stuck
with a lead actress with a German accent.  He had to put an actress
(Joan Barry, I think) in back of the set to speak the words, while the
visible actress mouthed them, which accounts for her rather slow drawl.
Of course, in this case, both parties were aware of the "deception."
Don Larsson
Donald Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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