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Arthur Shilov
Arthur Shilov

Someone To Watch Over Me

Keegan is determined to protect Claire and goes to extremes to do so. Venza makes numerous threats and attempts on her life, nearly succeeding at one point. Keegan and his wife Ellie separate over his involvement in the case. He and Claire acknowledge their love but Keegan cannot bring himself to simply abandon his family.

Someone to Watch Over Me

At the end, Venza, who draws out Keegan by taking his son hostage, is shot by Ellie and killed. Claire breaks up with Neil and intends to go to Europe to get over Keegan, who returns to his wife and son.

In the United States and Canada, it opened at 892 theatres on October 9, 1987, grossing $2.9 million over the four-day Columbus Day weekend, finishing sixth at the box office.[14]On its second weekend, Someone to Watch Over Me made $2,243,204 in 894 theaters (a total of $5.6 million over the ten-day period), rising to fourth. It then made $1.4 million in its third weekend a 38% drop, and $844,336 on its fourth weekend both finishing twelfth. On its fifth and final week, it made $1 million, a 20% increase for a total of $10.3 million.[14]

Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "There is something fundamentally wrong with a script in which the hero sleeps with the wrong woman. I am not talking here in moral terms, but in story terms. The makers of this film got so carried away by their High Concept that they missed the point of the whole story." He did, however, praise Lorraine Bracco for playing her role "with great force and imagination."[16] Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "Nothing that happens to these three characters is moving or even exciting. To keep the movie going until its absurd ending, the character of the murderer is changed, midstream, from an ordinary, run-of-the-mill New York mobster into a crazed psychotic. Howard Franklin's screenplay plays less like a feature film than like the pilot for a failed television series about New York policemen."[17] Variety called the film "a stylish and romantic police thriller which manages, through the sleek direction of Ridley Scott and persuasive ensemble performances, to triumph over several hard-to-swallow plot developments."[18] John Ferguson of Radio Times awarded it four stars out of five, describing it as an "intelligent thriller" which "remains one of Ridley Scott's most quietly satisfying works". He wrote that "it may lack the power of the director's Gladiator, Thelma & Louise and Blade Runner, but this is still beautifully shot and remains a stylish affair", and he praised the performances as "first rate".[19]

"Someone to Watch Over Me" was introduced in the first preview of the musical Oh, Kay! in Philadelphia on October 18, 1926, by Gertrude Lawrence, the British star of musical revues and musical comedy. The story was typical for Twenties shows that featured complicated plots tossing together the rich and famous with the hoi polloi. This one included American millionaires, flappers, British aristocrats hard-up for money, and bootleggers all involved in "mistaken identities and zany deceptions," which provide "the usual opportunities for the principals and chorus to burst into song" (Hyland, p. 112). "Someone To Watch Over Me," one of the great love songs in American musical theater history, is performed by Lawrence in the title role of Kay. During the second act, she appears on stage alone pouring out her heart to a rag doll. Kay, a British aristocrat disguised as a housemaid in love with an American playboy is feeling lonesome and insecure. She is despairing of her chances for winning his affection, or, for that matter, of ever finding anybody to care for her. She shares her feelings of needing someone to watch over her with the doll.

Apparently, according to Ira Gershwin's recollection, the melody for "Someone to Watch Over Me" was written before the Gershwin brothers had a clear idea of where it would be used in Oh, Kay! It was not unusual for the songs in Gershwin shows of the period to be at least sketched out before their exact use was determined. So while they were awaiting the snail-mail delivery of the book from Wodehouse and Bolton, George came up with a melody that was, as Ira tells it , "fast and jazzy," a rhythm tune that would most likely, had it been left alone, have turned out to be a "dance-and-ensemble number" to be used somewhere in the show. However, at one point while George was playing it for Ira, something caused him to slow down the tempo. One account suggests it occurred when their sister Frances Gershwin walked into the room and distracted George. In any case, upon hearing the melody played this way, both George and Ira were struck by its potential to become a "wistful and warm" ballad. They then decided to retain the slower version but put it aside until they discovered the right place in the show to use it. Only then would Ira would create an appropriate lyric (Lyrics on Several Occasions, p 111, paperback Ed.).

The idea for Lawrence to include a rag doll in her performance of "Someone To Watch Over Me" originated with none other than the versatile multitasker George Gershwin himself, who was apparently not only the composer but a momentary propman, choreographer and director. He recollects, "This doll was a strange looking object I found in a Philadelphia toy store and gave to Miss Lawrence with the suggestion that she use it in the number. That doll stayed in the show for the entire run" (The Gershwins, Robert Kimball and Alfred Simon, Eds., New York: Atheneum, 1973, p. 75). Gershwin's thought was that the singer's vulnerability and need for someone to care for her would be intensified by having her alone on stage with only a doll to sing to. It certainly worked for the audience. Jablonski quotes one of the Philadelphia reviewers on Lawrence's performance: She would have "wrung the withers of even the most hard-hearted of those present" (Jablonski, p. 131). Gershwin scholar Michael Feinstein, writes that there is a photograph of Lawrence with the rag doll in which she appears "impossibly coy," yet Ira described her performance to him as "pure magic," and "by all accounts mesmerizing" (Feinstein, p. 185).

Writing in 1972, Alec Wilder, states that he heard that the 1926 Gertrude Lawrence Broadway performance of "Someone To Watch Over Me" in Oh, Kay! was taken at a tempo "fast to the degree that none of the ballad quality associated with the song for so many years could have been present" (p. 137, hardcover Ed.). He explains this by noting that the only direction George Gershwin included on the sheet music was "sherzando" (in a playful or sportive manner), implying that Lawrence and the orchestra must have done it that way. That Gertrude Lawrence sang the song "scherzando" on stage, despite what Wilder may have remembered hearing, was not the case. The notion that she did runs counter to Ira Gershwin's comments in his Lyrics on Several Occasions (published originally in 1959). There he states that the music originally marked "scherzando" was intended to be used for a dance number, but when George and he realized it would work better as a ballad (See above.), it was decided to put the newly slowed down version of the music aside "until the proper stage occasion arose for it" (p. 111, paperback Ed.). This all occurred before George and Ira had even seen Wodehouse's and Bolton'sbody background-color: #FBECD5;book. The spot for the song finally settled on came mid-way through act 2 and found her singing it as a ballad. Although there is no known recording of Lawrence's on stage performance, her 1926 New York studio recording as well as her 1927 London recording, are presumably both taken at similar tempos as her contemporaneous stage performances, a tempo described by Ted Gioia as "an animated medium pulse" not atypical for the performance of a ballad. Either Wilder's threshold tempo for a ballad is quite low or he must have heard or remembered incorrectly how Lawrence sang it. He is, of course, exactly correct about "the ballad quality associated with the song" ever since. Here is how she recorded it during the run of the show:

Both Deena Rosenberg and Michael Feinstein have stated more or less flat out that the Gershwin's never wrote a song for a show without a dramatic context in mind. The Twenties was a period in the history of American musical theater when musical shows were transitioning away from the revue format into show scores featuring songsbody background-color: #FBECD5;integratedinto a plot. Nothing, of course is ever absolute, and "Someone To Watch Over Me," though written during the aforesaid period by songwriters who were on the cutting edge of modernity in musical theater, was nevertheless, not written with an exact dramatic context in mind. George Gershwin composed the music knowing only the show's general structure, a structure that would include, like all shows of the time, up-tempo dance numbers; therefore, he wrote a lively piece of music and labeled the tempo "scherzando" (lively and playful). He believed he was writing a rhythm number that would get plugged into the show to accompany an animated dance. Ira knew this also and believed he would write a lyric to suit such a number but couldn't do it until "we knew the exact spot where [the piece] would fit" (Furia, p. 58). However, when (as described above) they discovered that the melody was actually more suited to becoming a ballad, plans had to change. The song would go into a slot where a ballad, not an ensemble dance number, was needed. Moreover, when, after the lyric had been written, the number was moved from one act and scene to another, Ira, was faced with the fact that his lyric would now somehow have to fit a different dramatic context.

Philip Furia explores the change in positioning of "Someone To Watch Over Me" from Act 1 to Act 2 and how that effected the integration of the song into the story. The book-writers Wodehouse and Bolton, required only one thing from the songwriters and that was for them to come up with a "lady-in-waiting" song, a song about a lady waiting for her love to come along, that would be long enough to cover a scene change. They were apparently not that concerned with integration. Ira, however, Furia notes, needed more integration as well as inspiration than this rather mechanical requirement provided and found it in the complexity of the title character, Lady Kay. She was not the generic flapper of earlier Gershwin shows but a multi-faceted figure, one who came from wealth but was streetwise, one whose personas in the show included an "urbanely flippant" society lady, a housemaid with a brash Cockney accent, and an innocent, vulnerable and naive young woman. With the exception of Gertrude Lawrence, few musical comedy performers of the day could have played a character with such a variety of traits and personas. 041b061a72


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