On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (film)
|On a Clear Day You Can See Forever|
VHS cover artwork, circa. 1991
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||Howard W. Koch|
|Written by||Alan Jay Lerner|
|Based on||On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
by Alan Jay Lerner
|Music by||Alan Jay Lerner (Lyrics)
Burton Lane (Score)
|Cinematography||Harry Stradling Sr.|
|Edited by||David Bretherton|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$14 million|
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a 1970 American musical/romantic fantasy film directed by Vincente Minnelli. The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is adapted from his book for the 1965 stage production of the same name. The songs feature lyrics by Lerner and music by Burton Lane. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is considered one of the greatest musical films ever.
At the behest of her ultra-conservative fiancé Warren, scatterbrained five-pack-a-day chain smoker and clairvoyant Daisy Gamble attends a class taught by psychiatrist Marc Chabot for help in kicking her habit. While undergoing hypnosis, it is discovered she is the reincarnation of Lady Melinda Winifred Waine Tentrees, a seductive 18th century coquette who was born the illegitimate daughter of a kitchen maid. She acquired the paternity records of the children housed in the orphanage where her mother worked and used the information to blackmail their wealthy fathers. She eventually married nobleman Robert Tentrees during the period of the English Regency, then was tried for espionage and treason after he abandoned her.
As their sessions progress, complications arise when Chabot begins to fall in love with Daisy's exotic former self and Daisy begins to fall for him, and his university colleagues demand he either give up his reincarnation research or resign his position with the school. While waiting for Chabot in his office, Daisy accidentally hears a tape recording of one of her sessions; and when she discovers Chabot's interest is limited to Melinda, she storms out of the office. When she returns for a final meeting with him, she mentions fourteen additional lives, including her forthcoming birth as Laura and subsequent marriage to the therapist in the year 2038.
- Barbra Streisand as Daisy Gamble
- Yves Montand as Marc Chabot
- Larry Blyden as Warren Pratt
- Bob Newhart as Dr. Mason Hume
- Simon Oakland as Dr. Conrad Fuller
- John Richardson as Robert Tentrees
- Jack Nicholson as Tad Pringle
- Roy Kinnear as Prince Regent
- "Hurry! It's Lovely Up Here" - Daisy
- "On a Clear Day" - Orchestra and Chorus
- "Love with All the Trimmings" - Daisy
- "Who Is There Among Us Who Knows" - Tad with Daisy (cut before the film's release)
- "Melinda" - Marc
- "Go to Sleep" - Daisy
- "He Isn't You" - Daisy
- "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" - Daisy
- "Come Back to Me" - Marc
- "On a Clear Day" - Marc
- "On a Clear Day" (Reprise) - Daisy
Alan Jay Lerner made a number of changes in adapting his stage play for the screen. The character of Frenchman Marc Chabot originally was Austrian Mark Bruckner. The period of Melinda's life was shifted ahead by a decade or two, her family background is different, and the cause of her death was changed from drowning at sea to unjust execution. In the stage play, the question of whether Daisy really was a reincarnation of Melinda went unresolved, but the film script made it clear she was. The character of Daisy's stepbrother Tad Pringle was added, although most of his scenes and his song "Who Is There Among Us Who Knows?" ended up on the cutting room floor. Additionally, the future of Daisy and Marc's relationship was altered, and several ensemble musical numbers were excluded from the film.
New York City locations include Central Park, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Pan Am Building, the Upper West Side, and Lexington and Park Avenues. Scenes set in the UK were filmed at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Kemp Town, and East Sussex.
Cecil Beaton designed the period costumes. It proved to be his final project.
Paramount Pictures originally intended the film to be a nearly three-hour-long roadshow theatrical release, but executives ultimately had Minnelli cut nearly an hour from the running time. Along with Tad's song, the deleted material included "Wait Till We're Sixty-Five," a duet between Daisy and Warren, and "She Isn't You," Marc's response to Daisy's "He Isn't You."
In "A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli" (Da Capo Press, 2010), author Mark Griffin examines the excised scenes, including a song entitled "People Like Me." According to Griffin: "Even among die-hard "Clear Day" fans, this missing number is something of a mystery. It's often referred to as "E.S.P.," which may have been the song's title at one point. Stills of [Barbra] Streisand wearing a futuristic outfit at the Central Park Zoo have surfaced, offering what appears to be a tantalizing glimpse of this deleted sequence. In [Alan Jay] Lerner's script dated April 18, 1969, Montand's character croons "People Like Me," which features the lyrics, "To a sober-minded man of reason, E.S.P. is worse than treason." It's been suggested that throughout the song, there would have been cutaways to Streisand in her various incarnations - past, present and future."
In his review in The New York Times, Vincent Canby called it "a movie of fits and starts" and added, "because the fits are occasionally so lovely, and the starts somewhat more frequent than Fifth Avenue buses, I was eventually hypnotized into a state of benign though not-quite-abject permissiveness . . . The movie is quite ordinary and Broadway-bland in most of its contemporary sequences. Miss Streisand, as a 22-year-old New Yorker whose Yiddish intonations are so thick they sound like a speech defect, defines innocence by sitting with her knees knocked together and her feet spread far apart, a mannerism she may have picked up from Mary Pickford. Minnelli's camera also is hard-pressed to find interesting things to look at in the humdrum settings . . . and a lot of the time it just records exits and entrances, as if it all were taking place on a stage. However, the movie, Minnelli and Miss Streisand burst into life in the regression sequences, filmed at the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. Minnelli's love of décor transforms the movie into very real fantasy, and the star into a stunning looking and funny character who mouths her arch, pseudo-Terence Rattigan lines as if she were parodying Margaret Leighton. She is so fine, in fact, that if I didn't know she was not terribly good at lip-sync, I would suspect someone else was reading her."
TV Guide rates the film 2½ out of a possible four stars and comments, "[It] boasts great sets and costumes, but its script leaves much to be desired, and even the usually reliable Vincente Minnelli is unable to inject much life into the proceedings."
Time Out London says, "Minnelli is able to decorate his material with beguiling visual conceits - the opening time-lapse photography, the colour contrasts between past and present. But he can do nothing to combat the script's length and shallowness, and there are some thumb-twiddling moments in between Burton Lane's delightful songs. The two star performers make an odd team, with their varying kinds of professionalism and vowel sounds."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever at Box Office Mojo
- "The Top 100 Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time". Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- "100 Greatest Film Musicals". Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- On a Clear Day at DVDVerdict.com
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever at Rotten Tomatoes
- New York Times review
- TV Guide review
- Time Out London review
- "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 46
- "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
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