L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, June 15, 2013

With a Song in My Heart - alternate casting

When I was a kid, there were quite a few films that I saw multiple times on television.  Those were the days, in the 60s and 70s, when they played old movies in the afternoon and late at night, times when I was very likely to be watching.  There were certain of them that influenced me greatly, that helped shape - or warp - my young, impressionable mind.  The King and I, Wuthering Heights, Astaire and Rogers' films, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films were some of them.  Later, films like The Leopard and The Go-Between.  One of the big ones for me was With a Song in My Heart, starring Susan Hayward, the "biopic" of singer Jane Froman, filled with glamorous musical numbers and a whole lot of suffering:  the struggles she endured after being severely injured in a plane crash during WWII, the worry over whether they'd be able to save her crushed leg, and whether she'd ever walk again.  Great stuff.  The always wonderful Thelma Ritter is in much of the film, too, playing Froman's fictional nurse and confidant, Clancy.

During the recovery from my recent - not really severe, at all - injuries, mostly to my knee, my dear G has been a sort of real-life Clancy, doing everything for me, keeping us going.  As hard-working and good-tempered as she's been, through all of this, I couldn't help but think of that other plucky nurse.  Also, when the situation really started getting me down, and I felt like abandoning myself to full-throttle whining, I would think about the real suffering of Froman and compare it with my own situation, then compare both with the beautiful Hollywood suffering of the film version, and it'd be enough to tamp down some of my drama queen tendencies and make me laugh at myself.  Yes, all my pain will be redeemed and - some day - my leg brace will come off and... I'll walk!

Not surprisingly, for G's birthday, yesterday, I'd planned on a nurse theme for her card.  Something pretty simple.  But then I imagined a Photoshop sequence based on one of my favorite scenes from the movie.  Then I realized that I didn't have enough time to finish and still be able to give it to her on her birthday morning, so I reverted to the original plan.  Luckily, I then had enough time during the day to finish this second one, as well.  I gave it to her last night at dinner.

If you've never seen the movie... well, hmm... maybe what follows will make no sense at all.  Sorry if that's the case.  You should rent it; highly recommended.


(This scene comes when Jane is in the hospital again, at her lowest ebb, when it looks like they might have to amputate.  I've used some of the actual dialogue from the scene.)

And then this is my little craft project for putting the images together into some sort of a card-like format.  All very last minute - and totally unplanned - but it came out OK in the end, I think; kinda cute!


  1. if only i could be as cool as clancy. sweetie, this was such an incredible card - and you've topped it off with such a lovely entry about how and why it came about. thank you again.

    1. You're totally as cool as Clancy, sweetie. Just glad that I didn't give you quite enough trouble that you had to give me a Thelma Ritter style tongue lashing. Thank you for everything - mwah!

  2. OMG - you are slaying me with this! SO funny - and I never even saw the movie, but I certainly recognize the theme. Amazing job on the faces, Stephen!

  3. This is not just one of my favorite posts ever, but this is one of my favorite experiences! LOVE YOU BOTH!

  4. It may be slightly off topic, but have you seen the Susan Hayward film Backstreet (1961) in which she portrays an aspiring fashion designer who leaves Nebraska for Manhattan and has a "backstreet" affair with a married man (the ridiculously handsome John Gavin)?
    I re-watched it last night, pondering the appeal of those so-called Women's Pictures (today they would be referred to as chick flicks, a demeaning phrase if ever there was one) and wondering why some of them rise above their tawdry themes to become stylish and memorable (Now Voyager, bits of Affair to Remember) and others simply grate (Stella Dallas, both versions).

    In any case, Backstreet is very, very good of its kind--to that list of sumptuous tear jerkers I might add Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows (and its brilliant spawn, Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven). Sadly, Backstreet isn't readily available, but it ought to be.

    1. I've never seen Backstreet--love the title, of course. I'll have to hunt it down. Hayward has never been one of my favorites, though she does suffer divinely. And, like Bette Davis, she was never afraid to scrape off the glamour when the part called for it; her absolute lack of "varnish" in some scenes of I'll Cry Tomorrow, lurching around in the harsh daylight of a gritty LA, is really quite shocking.

      And veering even further off topic, I'll never forgive Julianne Moore (who I think very overrated, anyway; she's so self-conscious an actress, and not in a good way like Streep is, for example) for being noticeably pregnant (when her character wasn't) in Far From Heaven, and ruining the line of her wonderful costumes. In our modern age, people have ways of avoiding/timing baby-making, after all; I can barely stand to watch the otherwise brilliant film her bulgingness annoys me so. Ah, but aren't I catty and frightfully outraged at such an early hour of the day?! ; )