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Mack the Knife or Threepenny Opera: the movie

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DMsquared2
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/07
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I watched this recently and was amused but very unimpressed. Roger Daltrey!?

Fortunately the original film version done in 1931 with Lotte Lenya is being released by the Criterion Collection on DVD so I'll soon see that.

Anyone else care to comment on the film?
Kringas
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joined:5/27/05
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I bought it from Ebay in a fit of Threepenny mania about three or four years ago. It has its shortcomings. The music has lost most of its German flavor and that's a shame. Kurt Weill's haunting score is what makes the show what it is, and to hear it (for a lack of a better word) Broadway-ized was a little sad.

What it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in camp. There are a multitude of dance numbers, which are don't contribute much (though don't really detract from anything). The sets have a very 60s back lot feel, and the movie feels a lot older than it is.

I like Julia Migenes in it a lot and I like that it manages to pay homage to Brecht's (the original German book and lyric writer) concept of the theatre of alienation.

Honestly after the first time I watched it I thought that it was really a lot better than it had any right to be.

ETA: DM, have you ever seen the 1931 version? It's really kind of tough to get through. It has its moments, though.

I really want to see the one from the 60s.
"How do you like THAT 'misanthropic panache,' Mr. Goldstone?" - PalJoey
Updated On: 8/8/07 at 12:31 AM
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PalJoey
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I have the Sammy Davis Jr/Hildegarde Knef/Curt Jurgens version on video.

Wacky!
Kringas
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I like during the group chorus of "Mack the Knife" where the screen is filled with people who have been directed to slide to the left and then back to the right.
"How do you like THAT 'misanthropic panache,' Mr. Goldstone?" - PalJoey
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DMsquared2
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joined:7/23/07
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kringas: I haven't seen the 1931 version but plan to.

I think the choreography in Mack the Knife is mostly absurd and over the top.
Kringas
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Oh, it is. But there's a part of me that just loves it.

I'd like to see the French version that was shot concurrently with the original 1931 version. Is that going to be included with the Criterion Collection?

Mack the Knife is really imperfect, but I just can't help but enjoy it. On its own merits, it entertains me. It borders on the surreal at times, which is part of its charm, I guess. I wish that "Pirate Jenny" wasn't abbreviated, because I thought Migenes did an admirable rendition. Like I said in the other post, she's pretty terrific in the role.
"How do you like THAT 'misanthropic panache,' Mr. Goldstone?" - PalJoey
Kringas
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joined:5/27/05
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PS I had no idea that Criterion was doing this until you mentioned it, DMSquared2. While I don't love the movie, I'll want this for the supplemental material. I'd like to hear your opinion on it. And thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Any other thoughts about the Raul Julia movie? I was just so pleasantly surprised that it wasn't nearly the mess I thought it would be. I still hold out hope that someday before I did someone will find the way to film it and do it justice (the same wish I have for Follies).
"How do you like THAT 'misanthropic panache,' Mr. Goldstone?" - PalJoey
Updated On: 8/8/07 at 08:19 PM
roquat
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I was also pleasantly surprised. The cast is dream-perfect, the conception not bad at all (the shift to a theatre stage at the end actually makes sense) and it would be hard to match the grand passion and fury Julia Migenes brings to "Pirate Jenny". Julie Walters' character work and singing are so good I was praying she would be given a chance at Mrs. Lovett in the "Sweeney" film, instead of her "Harry Potter" whackjob alumnus, Helena Bonham Carter. It's almost like a messy, mixed-up summer-stock version of "The Threepenny Opera" that someone filmed, with echoes of "Oliver" and "Les Miz" thrown in. And it's far livelier than the deadly dull 1931 version is whenever Lotte Lenya isn't onscreen.

I would KILL to see the Curt Jurgens/Sammy Davis version.
I ask in all honesty/What would life be?/Without a song and a dance, what are we?/So I say "Thank you for the music/For giving it to me."
Kringas
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joined:5/27/05
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I always thought that no matter what you say about it, the end really does fulfill Brecht's intentions of alienating his audience.
"How do you like THAT 'misanthropic panache,' Mr. Goldstone?" - PalJoey