Memphis Question

GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 03:46pm
I know I'm really late. I never paid much attention to the show while it was running, but last night I watched it on Netflix. I guess I liked it. Glad I didn't pay to see it, though, and some of it was pretty ridiculous - "Everybody Wants to be Black on a Saturday Night."???

The ending was really frustrating for me. We know Felicia's got a new fiance, and then Huey sings at the concert, and that's it. We're not told if they're getting back together, though I assume that's what we're supposed to believe. I don't know. It just felt very abrupt and unfinished to me. I guess my question is - did anybody else feel this way about the ending?
I leave the room smiling.
aasjb4ever
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/09
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 04:00pm
When I saw the filming (movie I guess?) and the tour, I didnít think they were going to end up together. I got that she still had a soft spot for him and probably still loved him, but not that either of them had any intentions of getting back together.
What a colossal piece of crap! It'll probably run for years.
latitudex1
Featured Actor
joined:7/9/08
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 04:34pm
The guy the show is based on (Dewey Phillips) married a white woman, became estranged from her due to his drug problems, and died at his mothers house. So it makes sense why they ended the musical the eddy they did.
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 04:58pm
I feel the same way, it is very unfinished and makes you want a sequel.
Some people can get a thrill, knitting sweaters and sitting still. That's okay for some people, who don't know they're alive!
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 05:32pm
A sequel??!! {runs from room screaming}
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 05:33pm
^I couldn't think of a nonbitchy way to say it.
I leave the room smiling.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 05:36pm
I only saw the filmed performance, but I don't think they get back together.

It's basically the same plot as THE WAY WE WERE, except black/white is substituted for Jew/gentile: two people love each other but discover they are too different to make a good marriage. The world intervenes. The final encounter is a rueful acknowledgement that they have learned their lesson, but will always love one another.

(I hated MEMPHIS, but not because its structure is similar to another novel/film. There are only a handful of basic plots; they are repeated all the time.)

(ETA: Yes, I know the OP is thinking, "What the hell is THE WAY WE WERE?")


Updated On: 12/24/12 at 05:36 PM
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 05:47pm
I know what The Way We Were is. Awesome film. But the fact that it was Jew/gentile wasn't the problem -- it was their view on everything else in the world.

I couldn't say I HATED Memphis, but I certainly didn't like it.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
mikem
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/04
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 06:04pm
I personally have a lot of issues with the ending of Memphis. Felicia has clearly moved on, but she insists that Huey, who is clearly worse off than before, sing at the concert with her. For what purpose? To make herself feel better? It's not for him -- she's blown him off up until then while she has gained some success. It's a selfish act on her part.

I think the ending really throws Felicia under the bus, and I'm not sure why the writers chose to do that.

"What was the name of that cheese that I like?" "you can't run away forever...but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start" "well I hope and I pray, that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart"
Updated On: 12/24/12 at 06:04 PM
Pauly3
Understudy
joined:12/12/11
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 07:50pm
I thought the ending wrapped things up nicely. There was no question to answer regarding whether the two main characters would get back together. They had clearly gone their separate ways - and did so without one or the other being "blown off" - and much time had elapsed prior to Felicia returning to Memphis (and engaged to someone else). The two had different wants and dreams, and each pursued them separately. The show effectively ends with "Memphis Lives In Me".

To wrap it up, Felicia starts her first national tour (in Memphis), and she wants the man who was largely responsible for launching her career to join her at that first Memphis concert. It was important to her to have him there. She clearly still cared for him and had respect for him. Why is asking him to appear at the concert seen as selfish or shallow?

GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 08:32pm
I know what The Way We Were is. Awesome film. But the fact that it was Jew/gentile wasn't the problem -- it was their view on everything else in the world.

Mama, I so rarely disagree with you, but I respectfully think you need to look at the film again. At first I wrote that their differences were "political", but then I realized that isn't actually the case. Hubbell and Katie generally agree on basic political principles.

The difference is one of character and their characters are based in large part on Jewish/WASP stereotypes: as a daughter of Eastern European Jews, Katie is driven to constantly fight for what is right and against fascist impulses from the government (such as McCarthyism). Hubbell doesn't really disagree with her political stances, but he is conditioned by generations of relative privilege to "go along to get along".

Things come to a head when Hubbell is given a choice by the studio to "drop" the pushy Jewish-radical wife or lose his contract. (Unfortunately, this key scene was deleted from the final cut of the movie, but the choice is carefully set out in the novel.)

Hubble even says to Katie during one of their reconciliations: "You want too much." She replies, "Ah, but look at what I have." "Pushy" Jew v. "laid-back rich" gentile.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 08:35pm
I think the ending really throws Felicia under the bus, and I'm not sure why the writers chose to do that.

I think your reading of the ending is fair, but I don't think that was the authors' intention. I think they saw the invitation to sing together as one last chance to revisit old times.

In real life, ex-lovers often find such events (not usually held on stage) as a form of bittersweet closure.
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 09:16pm
I never said I wanted a sequel. I meant that it makes me want to know at least what happens next. I don't know anyone (myself included) who could put up with a MEMPHIS sequel. What the hell would they call it anyway? MEMPHIS 2: [INSERT CORNY MOVIE TITLE HERE]
Some people can get a thrill, knitting sweaters and sitting still. That's okay for some people, who don't know they're alive!
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/24/12 at 11:59pm
Gaveston - interesting points you raise. I've never read the book (I'm not sure I knew there WAS a book, although I'm not suprised), so any observations I have come strictly from years of watching the film.

I agree that they believe in the same political and basic things, and that their differences come from outlook on responsibilty to those opinions - I just never saw those outlooks coming from their religious backgrounds. Maybe because most of the mention OF their religion comes from them. It's one of their differences, but it's the easy one to overcome. I don't see, from the movie, that their problems come from their religious upbringing.

I am now intrigued to read the book to see the original intent.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 07:12am
Wait a sec! It appears I have misinformed you. Wiki makes no mention of the novel, though Amazon sells used paperback versions here:

http://www.amazon.com/Were-Streisand-Redford-Movie-Tie-/dp/0380152894/ref=la_B001HD3FQK_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1356436747&sr=1-8


The cover of the paperback bills it as "A Novel by Arthur Laurents, Now a ... Major Motion Picture." But Wiki says THE WAY WE WERE was developed by Laurents as a detailed treatment for Ray Stark, then a screenplay (which was rewritten by 10 or more others). From that a lousy movie was made so director Sydney Pollack tried to put it back as Laurents originally wrote it. I'm honestly not sure where along the way the novel was written, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were a "novelization" written after the final cut.

I read it decades ago, but except for the missing scene I mentioned, the novel version seemed very true to the screen version.

(The missing scene comes after Redford and his best friend are sailing on Hubbell's yacht and playing the game of "Best". The friend (Bradford Dillman) says, "Best year?", and Hubbell replies with the years he was married to Katie.

In the next scene, she is visibly pregnant and her first line is "I wish we were old and all this was behind us. Promise me you'll stay until the baby comes."

Why is he leaving her? He just said his best years were those when he was married to her. The missing ultimatum from the studio is in the book and makes the transition make more sense.)

But I think you'll find the stereotypes (which are basically ethnic and not founded in theology) in both versions. Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand circle one another warily as if each were encountering some exotic new species for much of the film.



Updated On: 12/25/12 at 07:12 AM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 07:16am
^^^^Do I know how to hijack a thread or what? Sorry, Glinda.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 07:19am
They ARE different animals, he's the golden boy that never had to work at anything. She's the activist that fights for and against everything. He's never been asked to be "better" than he is, she is always fighting to evolve into more.

They will always love each other, but cannot be together, which is heartbreaking in itself.


If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 07:21am
No doubt based in part on Laurents and his own, longtime domestic partner, the very WASPy Tom Hatcher. (Who did, in fact, stay together until Hatcher's death long after the film.)

I think if you'll consider the period in which the story begins (the 1930s), Jewish "golden boys" who came from privileged backgrounds no doubt existed, but that wasn't the perception of the ethnic group and certainly isn't true of Katie. Jews were still fighting to be admitted to exclusive private colleges like the one where Hubbell and Katie apparently meet.

Hubbell Gardner, by contrast, is the ultimate WASP cliche.

But I agree with your post above. One Amazon commenter called it an "oil and water story", and I think the same can be said of MEMPHIS, obviously for different reasons.

Updated On: 12/25/12 at 07:21 AM
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 07:33am
Except I really didn't care for Memphis.

This is one of the best hijacked threads...eva.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/25/12 at 06:55pm
Nor did I, but not because there wasn't a story to be told. It was just told in a very annoying way, particularly the leading man, who was all affectation and no acting.
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 10:22am
To return to the topic at hand --

1. "Everybody Wants to Be Black..." is not a "book" song. It's a "radio" song.. I feel that you are wanting to judge it in context of the book when you shouldn't. It would be like complaining the "Call Me Maybe" or any of the RuPaul catalogue don't work in the conte t of my life...

2. The finale... Music aside. Felicia had to flee Memphis not just for her career but for her safety. One should infer that she's been able to return u til her tour brings her through. Why is it a stretch that she wants her triumphant return to include the man who helped launch her and whom she loved / loves but can not be with if for no other reason than his own stubbornness?

3. I did not care for the show when i saw the original broadway company. The first national tour cast forced me to rethink that.
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 02:00pm
I was never under the impression that it was written to hint that Huey and Felicia would get back together. To me, the ending went to show that in the end, Huey's true love was the music, and he sacrificed everything else for it.

A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 12/26/12 at 02:00 PM
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 03:25pm
Broadway guy it may have been a "Dior" song but it was only there because the creators WANTED it there. "Call me Maybe" WASN'T written to be played at a moment in your life- that piece of crap was.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 04:49pm
... Neither is that song. Its not a character song, plot song.. Its a song performed by a group on the radio. Nothing to do with a specific moment in life...
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 08:59pm
Well, I thought most of the songs in MEMPHIS were crap, but as a hook, "Everybody Wants to be Black on a Saturday Night" is actually rather a good one.

It speaks to a paradox of racism: the envy that came hand-in-hand with the disparagement and prejudice. Yes, the stereotype of blacks was that they were stupid, lazy and criminal; but it was also that they were hypersexual, great dancers and able to cut loose and have a good time, unlike the more repressed white Protestants of the mid-20th century.

VOLUMES have been written on the interaction of condescension and hatred with envy. The title of the song, at least, captures the idea rather succinctly.

And the plot takes place during a period when young people were embracing black culture--but especially music--with arms wide open. The song just acknowledges what the music industry was discovering: that white teens were rejecting the sanitized "white versions" of pop songs (see Pat Boone) in favor of the black originals.

It's actually a very important thematic issue in the story of MEMPHIS.

Updated On: 12/26/12 at 08:59 PM
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Memphis Question
Posted: 12/26/12 at 11:27pm
exactly Gaveston. And it is not a song intended to propel plot, but displays the cross-pollination of black and white cultures (unneeded) in the context of radio song.

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