This post is about none of these things, but I figured it would get your attention. The subject I do want to address is something much more pressing for the church to address — live singing in movie musicals.
Before the start of The Bourne Legacy, I was forced to endure a short film about the making of the film adaptation of Les Misérables, the theater sensation that has literally been playing since before Victor Hugo wrote the book it’s based on. Literally. The film is due out Thanksgiving or Christmas or Kwanzaa or Lithuanian Independence Day or one of those holidays.
In the preview, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Hugh Jackman talk about singing “live” instead of merely mouthing the lyrics as the prerecorded soundtrack is played back on set. They made it seem as if this were something revolutionary, but of course there are plenty of precedents. (Anne Hathaway has a beautiful voice, by the way, and if you arched your eyebrow at the sight of Russell Crowe’s name, well, I suggest you return your brows to their proper angle in relation to the rest of your face. Crowe has a band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, and in it he plays music and sings words with his mouth.)
Slate has this post about the history of live singing, but it forgets a more recent example than the ’30s musicals, one that also happens to be a classic case of how a star-studded cast can’t save a crap film — Peter Bogdanavich’s At Long Last Love.
And here’s that on-the-Les Misérables-set preview I was talking about. The film is directed by Tom Hooper (John Adams, The King’s Speech) and looks gorgeous, frankly. Hooper has a visual style that mimics certain noir conventions: canted angles, deep focus, characters placed in the corners of frames as the set design bears down on them. Even though I am not a fan of musicals, I will see this, as I am curious as to whether or not it works as a film (the way, say, The Producers did not).
And here’s a sample of Crowe’s musical talents:
Please keep the discussion of the contentious issue of live singing as civil as possible. The first person who calls out a commenter as harboring Nestorian tendencies or being a closet Sabellian will be banned.