Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TODAY’S MENU – Some MOVIES, a POLITICAL OBSERVATION, and a BROADWAY SHOW TUNE (hey show tunes are oldies, too!)

The other day, I was watching (my third time at least) the 1995 movie, The American President – that’s the one with Michael Douglas as the handsome widower Prez and Annette Benning as the feisty lobbyist (it’s been on a lot lately, probably because of the unfolding U.S. election drama). I really like that movie. It has lots of snappy one-liners in the dialogue, and Michael Douglas is another in a long line of fictional movie and TV Presidents we might wish were real ones. A few others that stand out for me are Henry Fonda, a steady and thoughtful man in a nuclear crisis (the original Fail Safe), Kevin Kline, a steady and thoughtful stand-in who's better than the real thing (Dave), Bill Pullman, a steady and thoughtful man who kicked some serious alien b…well, I’m not really sure what they have “back there”…in a nasty invasion crisis (Independence Day) and Morgan Freeman, a steady and thoughtful man in a killer comet crisis (Deep Impact). I don’t think Gregory Peck ever play the Head of State, but I’m sure if Atticus Finch had run for the highest office in the land, he’d have won by a landslide. Anyway, Morgan Freeman isn’t the only African American actor to take on the role of POTUS. Others include Lou Gossett, Jr., James Earl Jones, Chris Rock, and Dennis Haysbert.

There is also a surprising number of women actors (I hate that “ess” they tack on to indicate a woman) who have played the President (like, Presidentess?!) on both the big and small screen, starting as early as 1953! So it seems life is only now getting around to imitating where art has been at for quite some time. Anyway, back to The American President. I was watching the scene where Douglas and Benning (I want the name of her personal trainer!) are dancing at the State dinner. The music the band is playing catches my ear every time. It’s from the Broadway show, The King and I, and a long time favorite of mine, “I Have Dreamed.” The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic opened on Broadway in 1951, so it’s getting pretty antique, but this still one of the best love songs out there. There are quite a few video posts of this song on YouTube to choose from, but I liked this cover by Matt Monro (1930-1985). What a terrific voice. With his smooth style, he influenced everybody from Mama Cass Elliott and Karen Carpenter right up to Michael Bublé.

Matt Monro, "I Have Dreamed"

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