Thursday, February 19, 2015

Will You Remember?

Most of today was spent at work. Today was my 7 hour day. We really weren't that busy. I spent a lot of the time putting items back on the shelf. We'd get a line or two, then it would fade quickly again. It was so quiet by 4PM, I didn't even need to wait for my relief.

When I got home, I went right in the bath. It was so cold today (barely 15 degrees), I needed just to get warm! It felt great. I haven't had a bath in a while. I soaked for an hour as I looked over the old Wilton cake decorating books I got from Mom and listened to vocal standards written by Jules Styne (who did the music for Gypsy and Bells are Ringing, along with countless movie songs).

Began Maytime while eating escarole and tomatoes with eggs and Colby cheese for dinner. This 1937 vehicle for Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy was their biggest hit. Former opera diva Marcia Mornay (MacDonald) relates her tragic tale to a young woman thinking of pursuing a career and leaving her sweetheart behind. Marcia was once the toast of Europe, but she made the mistake of thoughtlessly agreeing to marry her music tutor and manager Nikoli (John Barrymore) after her successful debut in the court of Joseph Napoleon. Taking a cart into Paris, she encounters poor music student Paul (Eddy) at a local student watering hole. They eventually fall for each other after one delightful May Day fair, but she's already promised to Nikoli. When they're reunited in New York, she's married and the most beloved opera star in the world, and he's up-and-coming. Trouble is, no matter how much they try to hide it, they're still in love...and Nikoli does not handle jealousy well.

I'm not normally fond of this kind of soap opera melodrama, but MGM (who specialized in overstuffed romances) handles it very well. It was MacDonald's favorite of her films, and Barrymore comes off almost as well as her insanely jealous husband. Eddy apparently wasn't as impressed - it was too frilly for him - and many modern critics echo his sentiments about it being too campy.

For all the melodrama, it's a touching romance with some great operatic sequences, including the famous "(Sweetheart) Will You Remember?" duet. I consider it to be the best of the MacDonald/Eddy movies. Highly recommended, especially for fans of the stars, opera, or tragic romances.

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