Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question

juice23
Broadway Star
joined:5/6/04
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/24/14 at 02:06am
I was just wondering if anyone had seen a copy of the September 2013 re-release of AT LIBERTY. I'm kicking myself for never buying it the first time it was in print.

My question is about cut material. The new release says "89 minute," yet the original DVD said "140 minutes." Does anyone know what they cut, or how they cut so much out of it without it being noticeable?

Any help is appreciated. If they massacred her show, I'll try to hunt an original print on ebay or something.
oasisjeff
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/07
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/24/14 at 03:13am
Since it is all individual stories/songs, I'm sure it is a very easy show to edit down without it being noticeable. That said, if you already want to see it, you'd probably also want to see it with those 50 minutes intact, so I'd track it down. It's probably not too hard to find.
Now t/d/b/a haterobics on here.
logan2
Leading Actor
joined:6/15/04
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/24/14 at 05:31am
juice23, the whole thing's up on youtube. Enjoy


Elaine Stritch At Liberty 2:25:15
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/24/14 at 10:33am
The 89 minute version cuts out all the untruths that she told. It should have been retitled At Liberty Sans Lies.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
frontrowcentre2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/05
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/24/14 at 08:25pm
And which "untruths" would you be referring to, Gothampc? Seems strange fro YOU of all people to complain about "lies" and "untruths" in light of all the false info you post here.


Any published autobiography has some parts where the author's memory is at variance with other published accounts. Here Stritch tells it the way she remembers it.

As to the original post, I wonder if this 89 minute edition is the abridged version shown on PBS. Do whatever you can to get the complete performance it is must-have.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

juice23
Broadway Star
joined:5/6/04
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/25/14 at 01:21am
I have a burned copy somewhere from NETFLIX years ago, and I just watched off youtube. Amazing.

I love her so much. I just wanted a hard copy for my collection, but I'm satisfied for the youtube rip on my iPad for now.

I'm going to grad school in CT, and every time I am on the Merritt Parkway driving to or from school to new york, I think about her story about covering Merman and also singing in Pal Joey in New Haven. Brings a smile to my face without fail.
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/25/14 at 06:57pm
"Merman, Merritt, New Haven, Shubert; Shubert, New Haven, Merritt, New York! Merman, Merrit, New Haven, Shubert; Shubert, New Haven, Merritt, New York! And you wonder why I drank!"
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/25/14 at 10:11pm
"And which "untruths" would you be referring to, Gothampc?"

Some of the stretching of the truth that Elaine has done. I think all of these incidents are in the show, but if they're from other sources, then I apologize.

Elaine mentions being considered for Dorothy on Golden Girls. While she may have auditioned for Susan Harris, I think it was just a courtesy interview. I've heard Harris say in an interview that she had Bea Arthur in mind when she wrote Dorothy. Plus Stritch didn't have the same draw that Bea Arthur had. Rue and Betty were well known on tv, but only Betty had carried her own show and that had failed. A sitcom about menopausal women needed an actress who had already carried a successful show and without Bea Arthur (or someone of her status) the series never would have been made.

There is a story she tells about doing a production of The Women. It ends with Stritch leaving the show and playing the victim saying that the other actresses ganged up on her. Yet, by her very own admission, she was drinking before shows. If you were an actor in a show, would you want to go onstage with someone you knew was drinking right before performance?

She talks about wearing two different earrings during Company. This may have been done in a rehearsal to see which color worked better on stage, but you do you think theater veterans Harold Prince and Steven Sondheim would let something stupid like that go before a paying audience?

She talks about thinking that "a piece of Mahler" was a pastry. Didn't she have access to a dictionary? Was there no NY Public Library or a bookstore in NYC?

All of these stories are great entertainment, but she really stretches the truth beyond credibility.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/25/14 at 10:22pm
She talks about thinking that "a piece of Mahler" was a pastry. Didn't she have access to a dictionary? Was there no NY Public Library or a bookstore in NYC?

Evidently not, as Sondheim retells this story in Finishing the Hat. Either he knows a good line when he hears it, or she really was that naive.

Quote (page 193):

"The song fit her perfectly, the only problem occurring when, in all innocence, she asked me what kind of pastry 'a piece of Mahler's' referred to -- she figured it had to be some sort of schnecken."

As for the Golden Girls anecdote, it is oft recounted how hard it was to convince Bea Arthur to take it on (her agent called her and said he'd heard she was working on a new series, she said "what? no!" and discovered they were sending the script around looking for a Bea Arthur type, she read the script and loved it but heard about the other two initial choices and told Rue McClanahan she didn't want to do "Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens" and was finally convinced when Rue told her she and Betty White had switched roles, which appealed to Bea enough to finally accept the part). It took asking Rue to prevail upon her and explain the casting switch to seal the deal. I have no trouble believing that Elaine got a shot in the meantime, especially since Betty White confirmed it in a Paley Center interview. I don't believe they'd have actually given her the part, but I do believe they interviewed and read other people to try to get Bea's attention.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik
Updated On: 1/25/14 at 10:22 PM
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/25/14 at 10:39pm
Of course Sondheim knows a good line. He's written thousands of them.

But Stritch also could have approached Sondheim, already knowing what it was, just to yank his chain. Stritch was a master at creating a stir. Merman tells in her autobio about Stritch riding her bike in Central Park in a bra and getting stopped by a policeman. Do you think Stritch was that dumb?

Also the year Stritch won the Tony Award, she gets up onstage and fumbles around with her speech. She starts playing the victim when the orchestra starts to cut her off and the show went to commercial with her being hysterical. Did she think she had all night to talk or was she doing it to create a stir or yank someone's chain?

If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Updated On: 1/25/14 at 10:39 PM
Jacobonce
Swing
joined:10/2/13
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 08:20am
"A sitcom about menopausal women needed an actress who had already carried a successful show and without Bea Arthur (or someone of her status) the series never would have been made. "


"Two's Company" was a big hit in the UK. Stritch carried it for four seasons. She wasn't exactly a novice when it came to TV, regardless of which side of the pond she was on.
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 10:06am
Do you think Stritch was that dumb? [...] Did she think she had all night to talk[...]?

Frankly, though admittedly I've only worked in this industry for a short time, I will simply say that actors are a rare breed, to put it as politely as possible, and not even a bit of this would surprise me if it were the case.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 10:19am
I appreciated At Liberty for what it was, Stritch's look back on her career, warts and all. It wasn't presented as a documentary, and I have no assumption that any of her stories are 100% factual. They're her recollections of her life, and it provided me with one of the most memorable nights I've ever had in a theater.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 11:39am
"Two's Company" was a big hit in the UK. Stritch carried it for four seasons."

Actually, she didn't carry the show. Donald Sinden was her co-star.

At the time of The Golden Girls, having co-starred in a British sitcom wouldn't have had that much impact. I was very in tune with British culture and I didn't know about Two's Company until it was released on DVD. In America it wasn't a high profile show like Upstairs, Downstairs was.

I still maintain that Susan Harris needed Bea Arthur (or someone of her caliber) to sell Golden Girls to the network.

It's difficult to tell whether Stritch's account of the story has any fact or is completely embellished. Would she really go into an audition that she seriously wanted, ask to change the dialogue to "Pass the f*cking hors d'oeuvers" or whatever the line was? That sequence just comes off more nasty than funny.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
oasisjeff
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/07
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 12:52pm
"It's difficult to tell whether Stritch's account of the story has any fact or is completely embellished."

You're walking this back pretty far from the "untruths" of your original reply.
Now t/d/b/a haterobics on here.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 02:50pm
I'm not walking anything back.

Elaine says that she asked if she could change the dialogue and used the "F" word. All I would like to know is if that really happened or was it just embellished to make the story more interesting? If that really didn't happen, then it's a lie.

I think madbrian's comment "It wasn't presented as documentary" is a valid point. The reason I'm so interested in this is that Stritch won the Tony for this over Bea Arthur's show which seemed to pretty much tell the truth about Bea's career.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 03:25pm
The message of Stritch's story is that she blew the audition. She blames no one else, although I think she claims that the writer had an instant dislike for her. We'll never know if she really dropped the 'F' bomb, and if she did, we'll never know if that was the reason she didn't get the part. I thought Stritch's acceptance and ownership of so much of her struggles over the years gives her a lot of credibility. So, while I don't think her stories should be taken as an historical account, I tend to buy what she's selling.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
oasisjeff
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/07
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/27/14 at 03:32pm
So there's no different between calling something "untruth" and then saying "I would like to know if that really happened"? Seems like you were pretty certain initially...

So your concern is that your impression is that Bea's show was more truthful than Stritch's, based on no empirical evidence, and that it won the award from a show you thought was better, despite the truthfulness of the show having no bearing on the award?
Now t/d/b/a haterobics on here.
logan2
Leading Actor
joined:6/15/04
Elaine Stritch at Liberty DVD question
Posted: 1/28/14 at 02:29am
Bitching about untruths in At Liberty is like complaining there's a glare from the sun shining off the gold in Heaven.

Just be thankful it was recorded and released on DVD. Elaine won't be with us forever.