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Ridiculous and Sublime: Julie Andrews in “STAR!”

Julie Andrews in “STAR!” singing “The Physician.”

Yesterday afternoon, with virtually nothing on the television since it was Christmas Day, I watched Julie Andrews in “STAR!” with my parents.

I remembered the Movie from when I was a little girl.  I must have been about seven years old when I saw it in the theaters.  It was strange then, and it’s strange yet.

The musical numbers are fantastic.  I doubt there’s any such thing as a bad Julie Andrews musical number.  She knocks all of them out of the ballpark.  Every song in this movie is a sublime treat.

But then, there’s the dialogue.

“STAR!” tells the story of an English actress named Gertrude Lawrence, one who was way before my time.  Aside from this movie, I know very little about her.  After seeing this movie, I wouldn’t want to know much about her, since she is portrayed as a shrill manic lunatic of a woman.  I know she was “Anna” in the original cast of “The King and I” with Yul Brynner on Broadway in the early 1950s, right before she passed away, and if that had been the main thing she was remembered for, it would have been preferable to this strange film.

If this movie was meant to be a tribute to Gertrude Lawrence, it falls flat.  She’s portrayed ambitious, but not in a classy way.  From her starting days in the chorus, she cares more about upstaging the other actresses than anything else, walking all over them.  It’s hard to watch that and feel too much sympathy for her.  The Gertrude character is a colossal jerk.

Then there’s the scenes with the men in her life.  “Honestly,” I said to my father during one of the blessed commercial breaks, “it’s hard to watch a movie where you not only don’t want to see the girl get together with the guy, but hope the guy runs like Hell away from such an awful, self-centered, impossible girl.”

Dad agreed.

See what I mean?  It’s sublime in terms of the musical numbers and ridiculous in the dialogue.

Daniel Massey is very cute as Noel Coward, and many of the songs in the show were written by Coward.  They’re great.

I recommend the soundtrack album of this movie wholeheartedly, and even have it on CD, but unless you want an ear ache bar none, give viewing this turkey a pass.

Andrews performing well-done but tragic rendition of the song “Limehouse Blues.”

This post first appeared on Splendiferous Everything | The Official Blog Of Ca, please read the originial post: here

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Ridiculous and Sublime: Julie Andrews in “STAR!”


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