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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Queen Of The Stardust Ballroom (1975)

After her husband passes away, a widow (Maureen Stapleton) struggles to find her way in life alone. Despite two grown children and grandchildren, she is lonely. When a friend (Jacquelyn Hyde, THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?) suggests she join her at the Stardust Ballroom, she meets a mailman (Charles Durning) and a tentative relationship blooms. Directed by the renowned film editor (ROSEMARY'S BABY, COOL HAND LUKE) and occasional director (SPARKLE) Sam O'Steen, this is a lovely and moving late in life romance whose spell sneaks up on you. While there are some songs, I wouldn't call this a musical but a drama with music. The lovely score is by Billy Goldenberg, the lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman and Marge Champion was responsible for the dances. While Stapleton is not a singer (to put it mildly), she talk/sings her songs with an actress's authority so whether she can actually sing becomes irrelevant. Some thematic elements resemble Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS with the grown children resenting their mother's middle aged romance, Stapleton's shocked daughter cries, "You're a grandmother!". With Michael Brandon, Charlotte Rae, Martha Tilton and Nora Marlowe.

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