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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Fantasticks (2000)

A boy (Joey McIntyre) and a girl (Jean Louisa Kelly) are next door neighbors and in love. But they have to keep it a secret as her father (Joel Grey) and his father (Brad Sullivan) are bitter enemies. What they don't know is that their fathers are in cahoots figuring that if they are against each other it will bring their children together ... which is what they want. THE FANTASTICKS opened off Broadway in 1960 and played for 42 straight years! It was a minimalist musical with no sets and an "orchestra" consisting of 2 people (some productions use just a piano) and usually played in very small theaters. Transferring it to film would automatically eliminate the intimacy of the piece and it's tricky in finding a cinematic equivalent. The Michael Ritchie (DOWNHILL RACER) film version was made in 1995 but stayed on the shelf for five years until a very limited 2000 release. It was also shorn of 22 minutes from the original cut. I'm not particularly attached to the show (I've only seen it once years ago) so I rather enjoyed the film. However, I did watch the original longer cut which works better. The show's signature song Try To Remember was saved for the film's end in the 2000 cut which was a mistake since it sets the tone for what follows. The uncut version restores the opening song as well as re-instating another song Plant A Radish which was also cut. Ritchie is too literal minded in some of the numbers making them way busier than they need to be. But the show's essential charm remains. With Jonathon Morris as El Gallo.  

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