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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sunday In The Park With George (1986)

In 1884, the painter Georges Seurat (Mandy Patinkin) is fiercely committed to his Art at the expense of relationships with his mistress (Bernadette Peters) and his mother (Barbara Bryne) among others. Though his new technique (pointillism) is considered radical, he perseveres in the originality of his artistic vision rather than convention. Based on the musical play with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and directed by Terry Hughes. This is one of the great musicals of the American theater. Sondheim was never interested in simple hummable tunes (though he can write a great melody) and his score for SUNDAY IN THE PARK is a complex and layered thing of beauty. As George(s), Patinkin gives an intense powerhouse performance that very often seems to be veering toward showing off but thankfully never quite crosses the line. This isn't a "movie" but a filmed production of the stage version with the original Broadway cast and director Hughes does a fine job of placing the camera in the right place at the right time. Sometimes, a wide angle for us to see the whole staging and sometimes a close up when necessary. Mention must be made of Michael Starobin's stunning orchestrations. With Dana Ivey, Charles Kimbrough, Brent Spiner and Robert Westenberg.   

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