Glasgow, Scotland — REVIEW: Film Documentary about the enchanting Marvin Hamlisch and What He Did For Love.
“I have to confess that beyond the musical ‘A Chorus Line’, I did not know much about the composer/conductor /songwriter/all-round musical genius upon entering the cinema. Upon my exit, Hamlisch gained a new fan.” — Gillian Furmage.
Hamlisch’s talent was abundantly clear at a young age, and he was accepted into Juilliard at the tender age of six, making him a bonafide child prodigy. His parents, who immigrated from Vienna shortly before the outbreak of World War II, have expectations of him becoming a classical pianist. However, Hamlisch fancied himself as more of a Richard Rodgers — Cole Porter than a Horowitz.
This juxtaposition is continued throughout the documentary, with clips shown of Hamlisch’s musical comedy routines, and others of him as a composer, silent and sombre.
Hamlisch’s story is star studded from the outset, with Christopher Walken weighing in on his time at a Children’s Performance School with Hamlisch, and stories of the composer visiting Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland to play for them.
At nineteen, a musical-minded Hamlisch became a rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl, and in doing so met Barbara Streisand. This cemented his musical theatre ambitions and his new dream became to have Streisand sing one of his songs- a dream he realised with the Oscar-winning The Way We Were.
The film details the musician’s illustrious works, from film scores to original songs to musical theatre sensations. Hamlisch is one of only 12 people to have won a Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy award. His smash hit ‘A Chorus Line’ also earned him a Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The darker moments in Hamlisch’s life are also mentioned, with the passing of his beloved mother, and the bittersweet reality of achieving so much so young. It is often implied that the older Hamlisch yearned to re-create his earlier successes.
Now on DVD – Film: Marvin Hamlisch — What He Did For Love. Includes Extras with footage never seen before.
The tributes to Marvin Hamlisch the man are poignant and it is clear that he was a huge character who was surrounded by friends and admirers. The closing scene of interviewees singing snippets of his songs is the perfect summation of a man whose live was molded by music and love.
BBC Art Screen: From Glasgow to Broadway
Posted on 15/04/2014 by Gillian Furmage