Friday, December 22, 2017

A Pain in the Ice

Two formidable ladies join forces, and the result is... curious.

Dame Julie and Miss Peg have a game go at this almost surreally stream-of-consciousness medley - a sort of crystalline distillation of a night out at a particularly genteel gay piano bar - and if nothing else they seem to be having a good enough time doing it. If Lee's recent biography, Is That All There Is? is to be believed, there might be more than a grain of truth in the quip thrown off so laboriously by Mr. Ustinov at the top of the clip - the diva was going through a phase in which she apparently believed that standing up caused her to gain weight, and so is a totally recumbent presence as The Sugar Plum Fairy. Beyond that, she was so displeased with something about the initial blocking of the number (she believed it emphasized her backside, somehow) that she withdrew in full collapse to a London hospital until changes were made. In the end, the filming recommenced to her satisfaction, but, as was not especially unusual by this point in her career, Lee is alternately glorious and appalling - but she has a great few lines on "Just in Time" that almost make up for the mawkish whole...

Despite coming from the Dame's 1973 Christmas special, only a few notes have a holiday tinge, and that's perhaps for the best - Lee also performed the lugubrious Yuletime number featured herein a few years ago, and a little of that goes a very long way.

Should you care to, you may catch the whole spectacular here; it's a positive festival of awkward dialogue and forced holiday spirit.


  1. I kind of enjoyed that. In high school terms, it's bad girl Peggy trying to get good girl Julie to smoke a cigarette in the girl's bathroom. She takes a few puffs but doesn't cough, as one might expect. Bad girl Peggy thinks "Hey, she's not a goody-two shoes after all!" But good girl Julie has to get going to algebra class, leaving bad girl Peggy a bit perplexed.

    Um...My analogy may make it look like I was smoking something, and not a cigarette...

  2. They have a weird charm together, but the attempt to stick to the plot concept (as much as there is one) is nothing but problem. When they get going (Sentimental Journey for instance) they sound great.

  3. Thank you, sweetie, for reminding me of this fabulously camp clip - it is an old favourite of mine! It always looked a bit "lesbian seduction"-ish to me... Jx

    1. Glad it's not just me thought that! I always think Judy Garland and Peg look like they're on an awkward first date, while we're about it.

      Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey, too. Don't you wish they were your two mums?

  4. OK, Jon came right out and said what I was a bit too timid to say. Peggy does look like she's trying to seduce Julie. For all her glamour, there always was something a bit butch about Peggy. She DOES end up seducing Julie musically, since the latter's not really known for her jazzy style. Actually, Julie holds her own quite well with Peggy in that regard. I wonder if Peggy could do as well with "Do-Re-Me" or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"

  5. I hadn't really though about it, but there really is something more than a little Skinemax-ish about it, isn't there - answering the never-asked question, "What would it look like if two beloved international superstars decided to make an Emmanuelle sequel?"

    Well, now we know...