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Tony Grist

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Behind The Candelabra [Jan. 1st, 2016|10:21 am]
Tony Grist
The days are past when an actor playing a musician could be filmed from the chest up, with cut-away shots of someone else's disembodied hands on the keyboard; now the audience demands a full performance- which Michael Douglas delivers- not only playing the piano but playing it as Liberace did- with panache and very, very fast.

The film follows a predictable arc. An innocent Scott Thorson (by what combination of make-up and computer wizardry did they get Matt Damon to look so young?) enters Liberace's lair just as the star's previous lover exits- handing in his gold signet ring at the door- and we know exactly what the poor child is in for. There are good times, there are bad times, there are lawyers - and the morality tale is capped with a redemptive final twist. The peculiar mix of egomania, bravado, greed and moral cowardice that was Liberace is viewed from a distance- and God only knows what it was like to be on the inside, looking out from through those eyes which- thanks to plastic surgery- would never completely close. Here's a revealing titbit; the house was full of pianos but Lee never played them- and never practised- because making music was something he only ever did on stage. It's essentially a TV movie with a better than average director (Steven Sonderbergh) and some bigger than average actors- not only the leads but Dan Ackroyd, Rob Lowe and Debbie Reynolds.

If you'd asked me who I could imagine playing Liberace and Thorson you'd have hung about all day before I'd have come up with Douglas and Damon- but they're both astonishingly good.

[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2016-01-01 01:36 pm (UTC)
Many many years ago, he played here at the State Fair He was on a protected stage, and it rained and rained . Mom and I wandered in and out of buildings as he played on and on, chattered and smiled. He was a showman, was Mr. Liberace. I have not seen this movie...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-01-01 02:03 pm (UTC)
I suspect he was one of those people who are only ever really happy on stage. The rest of his life seems to have been a joyless scramble after possessions and sex.
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[User Picture]From: resonant
2016-01-05 02:35 am (UTC)
"eyes which- thanks to plastic surgery- would never completely close."

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-01-05 09:14 am (UTC)
Grim, eh!
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