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Alan Parker 

What is Alan Parker's coolest music-related film?
Fame 44%  44%  [ 4 ]
The Commitments 33%  33%  [ 3 ]
Pink Floyd: The Wall 22%  22%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 9

Alan Parker 
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Post Alan Parker
Unlike many people here, the film version of "Evita" was my first introduction to this musical. All I knew about it before seeing it was that this was the musical where "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" and "You Must Love Me" came from (songs they played on the local radio a lot - mainly because the buzz was that this movie could win Madonna an Oscar, and idea that had me incredulous...). That, and the fact that it was directed by Alan Parker...

Now, as a film student, I have the greatest respect for Alan Parker - who is, in my view, probably one of the most underrated directors working today - and am surprised he isn't more well known.

Two of his non-musical films : "Birdy" (the story of a traumatised Vietnam-vet's attempts to rehabilitate) and "Angel Heart" (a film-noir detective thriller with supernatural overtones) are in my top ten. And of all the "80s Dance Movies" (ie "Flashdance", "Dirty Dancing") that I grew up suffering through (on account of my Mum's fondness for the genre) only Parker's "Fame" featured any halfway plausible characters n' situations I could relate to.

And generally his other films throughout the 80s and early 90s struck a chord with me ("The Committments", "Pink Floyd: The Wall", "Missisipi Burning").

I came to "Evita" with no preconceptions regarding the differences between the film and the stage version - which is probably why I don't hate it like a lot of other people here. I have the film to thank for making me a fan of the musical - making me seek out Tim Rice's book on making the original stage version, acknowledging that Andrew Lloyd Webber actually has some talent despite what the highbrow critics say and that "Phantom" was no fluke...

Are there any other fans of Parker or the film version of "Evita" on the board? Anyone with a story similar to mine, who didn't care much for this musical or Lloyd-Webber/Rice but were somehow awakened by this movie?

Oh, and while I'm at it, another poll...


Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:35 pm
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My first introduction to "Evita" was also the movie. And GOD did I hate it! It was only later, after "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Chess" made me a Tim Rice fan that I checked out the "Evita" concept album and decided that I hadn't given the musical enough credit.

The movie of "Evita" now represents, for me, the final step in the musical's descent from edgy rock opera to pop glitz-fest.

I generally am not impressed with Alan Parker as a director. However, I do love "The Wall".

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Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:23 pm
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I don't hate the movie, because it's an evolution of the stage show (which is necessary to make a profit and to provide reaction from modern audiences).

The film is decent, but does not completely live to it's possible potential. Madonna is not a brilliant actress, by any means, and didn't give the entire depth necessary for the role, but she cannot be blamed entirely, as it's also in the director's hands. Granted she is difficult to work with and on many occasions would throw a hissy about a reshoot so the director can only go so far--hissy or not, she should have been pushed, it would have made the world take notice of any possible potential for future roles (and the rate it's going, she could have a chance to play Norma Desmond because she has somewhat of a selling name). Unfortunately, the movie suffers and could have stretched more creatively, rather than being limited.

Favorite Parker musical film would have to be Fame.


Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:44 pm
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Dustin wrote:
(and the rate it's going, she could have a chance to play Norma Desmond because she has somewhat of a selling name)


Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. I think "Swept Away" has finally decisively killed Madonna's movie career. (Thank you, Jesus, for small favors.)

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Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:22 pm
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:lol: Well, we can hope. . .but if there's rumors of Liza in Sunset Blvd, I would rather see Madonna. . .or worse Streisand 8O (but do you think Norma was really Jewish??)


Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:13 pm
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Fontinau wrote:

I generally am not impressed with Alan Parker as a director.


I guess what I admire most about Parker is his versatility - his willingness to tackle a variety of different genres throughout his career, occasionally twisting the conventions of the genre round a bit or combining different genres together : such as "Angel Heart", one of the earliest attempts to combine film-noir with horror....
other movies since then, such as "Fallen" have tried for a similar feel and went belly up.

Dustin wrote:
Madonna is not a brilliant actress, by any means, and didn't give the entire depth necessary for the role, but she cannot be blamed entirely, as it's also in the director's hands.


This is what I don't get... everyone is slamming Madonna...

I seem to be the only one who thought she did a brilliant job of embodying Eva Peron - though I concede that probably has a lot to do with the fact that both Eva and Madonna were profoundly egocentric opportunists who used their sex appeal to climb up the ladder of fame n' fortune. That, and the fact she didn't have to remember much spoken word dialogue... ...still, I think she was born for the role of Eva, at any rate, I was struck by the physical resemblance when I saw the film...

The reason the Perons don't come across with much "depth" is because Parker has remained reasonably faithful to Rice's original book...

...and Rice's book portrays Eva as a self-absorbed, power-hungry harlot. That's why she comes across as a self-absorbed, power-hungry harlot in the film.


Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:46 pm
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Jaded Mandarin wrote:
I seem to be the only one who thought she did a brilliant job of embodying Eva Peron -


I don't think Madonna did a 'brillaint' job portaying Eva. Perhaps its just my contempt for Madonna, but I don't think she ever fully grasped the character she was playing. However, I do give her credit for at least trying to play the character, which is more than can be said for Patti LuPone. :roll:

What I really want to know is: Given that Madonna has never been a big box office draw, that she's not exactly the best actress, and that they were willing to alter the keys of the songs to accomodate whoever they cast, WHY oh WHY didn't the film makers hire Michelle Pfeiffer?!?

Jaded Mandarin wrote:
The reason the Perons don't come across with much "depth" is because Parker has remained reasonably faithful to Rice's original book...

...and Rice's book portrays Eva as a self-absorbed, power-hungry harlot. That's why she comes across as a self-absorbed, power-hungry harlot in the film.


Actually, I think Tim Rice bent over backwards to give Eva some redeeming (or at least sympathetic) qualities in his book.

As he said the Webber, "Okay, she was a bitch, but make her a wonderful bitch!"

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Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:32 am
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Fontinau wrote:
Actually, I think Tim Rice bent over backwards to give Eva some redeeming (or at least sympathetic) qualities in his book.

As he said the Webber, "Okay, she was a bitch, but make her a wonderful bitch!"



Actually, you are correct. Rice had a passion for Evita, and was sympathetic for her plight, as well as showing harsh realities. ALW was the one who considered her to be one of the most corrupt and detestable characters he's written about, and hated her.

One more reason I think the song You Must Love Me was drivel and should never have been included, as the show lyrics were already strong enough, with correct characterization from the actress to convey the harsh and the sympathetic. To add was unnecessary with the exception of time length to the film.

Madonna, I didnt hate in the piece (Actually, compared to Antonio, the worst Che to speak of) she was brilliant. However, looking at her other work, she does indeed limit her potential as an actress. And that is partially to blame to the director. ALW was stated that he would never work with her again. . .but I don't really believe that to be the case if he has a film to sell.

Patti I will save my comments, as I believe she is one of the best of the stage Evas, along with Helen Schneider. (But with Patti, you hate or love her. . .)


Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:29 am
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Fontinau wrote:

WHY didn't the film makers hire Michelle Pfeiffer?!?


Well, there was a musical she did way back called "Grease 2"... :roll:

That, and the fact she looks nothing like Eva Peron might have had something to do with it.

Dustin wrote:

Actually, I think Tim Rice bent over backwards to give Eva some redeeming (or at least sympathetic) qualities in his book.


Yeah, she had a rotten childhood and came from a poor background...

But, to me, that is no more substantial than Frederick Trumper whining on about how his Mum sleeping around caused him to become a psychological screw up in "Chess".

However, I don't think her character really needed softening, considering the reality of the Peron's regime, but that has been touched upon in another post ("What do you think of Eva?") which keeps popping up every now and again. I don't think the central character in any drama has to be sympathetic to hold one's interest - but I do think it helps if they go for a balanced portrayal... and I do think "You Must Love Me" is one of the most misinterpreted songs in the whole musical in that respect. To me it just seems like another song in which Eva pleads for the absolute devotion and adoration of those around her - like a junkie suffering from withdrawls and in need of a fix. "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" is the only really questionable song for Eva I think... but it shows her learning the tricks of the trade from hard experience as opposed to the stage version : where as a country-bumpkin-teenager she knew exactly what to do from the start.

I know Fontinau is going to take me to task for saying this:
But "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" was just a commercial for a pop single in the original stage version - and it held up the plot terribly. At least in the movie it serves some purpose in driving the narrative forward.


Wed Feb 11, 2004 6:53 pm
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Jaded Mandarin wrote:
But "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" was just a commercial for a pop single in the original stage version - and it held up the plot terribly. At least in the movie it serves some purpose in driving the narrative forward.


Now now, Jaded Mandarin, I'm not THAT predictable, am I?

Much as I love "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", I agree that the show could do quite nicely without it (and without "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina", for that matter). I understand why it's in there - to give the actress playing Eva a rest before she belts out "A New Argentina" - but dramatically, it's dead weight.

However, as awkward as giving "Another Suitcase..." to Peron's Mistress, I hate giving it to Eva a dozen times more.

In the original musical, Eva is shown as always being in control, manipulating those around her, even while just a peasant girl. (Poor Magaldi never knew what he was getting himself into. :lol: ) Then, in the second act, Tim Rice slowly began to humanize her. She has those little reflective moments in "High Flying Adored" and "The Actress Hasn't Learned the Lines...". And then, in "Waltz for Eva and Che", suddenly she lets fly at Che; she knows her actions are wrong, but declares has no other option. We see her mounting desperation as she becomes obsessed with being vice president. And finally, on her death bed, Eva's motivation is fully revealed:

Remeber, I was very young then,
Thought I needed the numbers on my side,
Thought the more who loved me the more loved I'd be,
But such things cannot be multiplied.

This concept began to fall apart when they cut "Eva's Sonnet" and "Eva's Lament" in the London stage production. Giving Eva "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" does even more damage.

Jaded Mandarin wrote:
But, to me, that is no more substantial than Frederick Trumper whining on about how his Mum sleeping around caused him to become a psychological screw up in "Chess".


I really hate seeing people dismiss "Pity the Child" as a song where somebody whines about how mean his parents were. That's part of the song, yes. But the point of the song, is that Freddie is lamenting the kind of man he has let himself become because of the defences he built up during his childhood. He shut off his emotions to avoid dealing with his parents' behavior. Now he is lamenting his inability to emphasize with Florence; to open up to her or provide support for her. The song is not an indictment of his parents; it's an indictment of himself.

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Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:58 pm
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Fontinau wrote:
[Much as I love "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", I agree that the show could do quite nicely without it (and without "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina", for that matter). I understand why it's in there - to give the actress playing Eva a rest before she belts out "A New Argentina" - but dramatically, it's dead weight.
Don't Cry For Me Argentina is actually based upon a real speech that Eva gave on that very balcony in the film. (my 2 cents).

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Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:31 am
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Jaded Mandarin wrote:

Well, there was a musical she did way back called "Grease 2"... :roll:

That, and the fact she looks nothing like Eva Peron might have had something to do with it.


Well, that and the prepared demos 8O


Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:53 am
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