Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Grab Bag: SINCERELY YOURS ""

Monday, June 10, 2013

Warner Archive Grab Bag: SINCERELY YOURS

Being that Warner Archive quite deliberately released SINCERELY YOURS to coincide with the recent premiere of Steven Soderbergh's new HBO movie BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, I couldn't help but check out that film the night it first aired. I had yet to see SINCERELY YOURS and I kind of wish I'd watched it beforehand. Not only because the film is made reference to in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, but also because the sadness and tragedy of that story certainly colored my viewing of SINCERELY YOURS. One of my favorite critics, Lou Lumenick(of the NY Post) watched them in reverse order I believe. His thoughts on them are here:
http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/movies/dueling_liberaces_sincerely_yours_jWTEQuYMugD5eVLFfhF6zL#axzz2UhX0bcU5

I've always found it fascinating to watch any movie that is built around a person or a fad of some kind. Whether it be the BMX biking in RAD, the skateboarding in THRASHIN' or Elvis in pretty much any of his films, I often find something quite entertaining about them. The way the movies always seem to point at the thing they're highlighting and say in no uncertain terms, "isn't this awesome"(or something to that effect). In the case of SINCERELY YOURS, this message comes in the very first scene, when we see Liberace(playing a very Liberace-like pianist named Anthony Warrin) performing for an excited audience. When a little girl in the crowd requests that Warrin play "Chopsticks", he dives in with aplomb and vigor. The shots in this sequence are selected in such a way as to really draw your eye to Liberace's masterful hands as they deftly bang away at the ivorys. He really is an amazing performer and seeing him in his native environment on the stage or behind a piano, one can certainly understand the phenomenon that he was. The film itself doesn't have too much in the way of plot, it really just finds a way to get Liberace from one scene of piano playing to another. Liberace isn't necessarily the most talented actor and often seems a touch uncomfortable in scenes wherein there is only dialogue being played out. But as I said, the performance scenes are quite enjoyable to watch. Overall though, veteran director Gordon Douglas(THEM!, ROBIN & THE 7 HOODS, SLAUGHTER'S BIG RIPOFF) puts together a decent enough little melodrama to wrap around the piano playing. He would later do the same kind of thing for Evel Knievel in 1971 with his last film, VIVA KNIEVEL!(which happens to be streaming in HD via Warner Archive's Instant service).

As with many of these type of vehicles, the filmmakers have surrounded Liberace with a very capable supporting cast. Bill Demarest is one of my favorite character actors of all time. He's in rare form here and is even featured giving himself a bubble bath while smoking a cigar. One of the film's main love interests is Dorothy Malone and she is welcome in any movie as far as I'm concerned. Also, one more lady pining for Liberace is Joanna Dru(RED RIVER, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON)who plays his assistant/secretary.




SINCERELY YOURS is available as an MOD DVD via Warner Archive: Here

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I collect albums, and somewhere along the way I've picked up a Liberace album. It's really good, I was surprised. In many ways, it's really too bad that music isn't very broad these days and fantastic music like this isn't heard.
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