A Wee Tribute to a Sweet Musical Sound…
My post remembers the lovely Charmian Carr, a much loved musical actress from my youth and childhood.
Evening Primrose – Trailer, Michele Martinez. www.youtube.com
I was really sad to hear that Charmian Carr had passed away last week. I watched The Sound of Music (1965) as a kid almost yearly, as nine times out of ten it was the Bank Holiday movie, the other time usually being a James Bond film. It tells – of course – the story of the nun Maria Von Trapp – Julie Andrews – who becomes a governess and falls in love with the children’s widowed father played by Christopher Plummer. With lots of memorable songs and and an unforgettable dance. This the first film which showed a surprising actor – here Christopher Plummer – dancing a recognisable waltz. As I saw the same dance later in two movies to perfection and parody. The Slipper and the Rose (1976), by Richard Chamberlain in the former and in Top Secret (1984) by Val Kilmer, in the latter. It was interesting to read more tales off-screen tales about Charmian, with her sadly hurting her ankle when rehearsing the 16 going on 17 song to standing on a box to look taller than her screen brother. Nicholas Hammond – later to star in Dynasty a Guilty Pleasure (2005) and Dallas (1978-91) – had grown during filming. I loved Charmian in this musical, and recently wrote about her and this film HERE.
She had a wonderful singing voice and I was surprised to learn that she only did one more film, also a musical, Evening Primrose (1966). The music is written by Stephen Sondheim and it tells of Charles Snell who lives in an apartment store, finds others live there too and falls in love with Carr’s character, Ella Harkins. The film I haven’t seen but looks well worth tracking down after seeing the trailer, for her distinctive singing voice alone. It has Anthony Perkins in it as Snell, who seems to initially from the trailer just narrate his lines til he bursts into song. I hadn’t heard about this film, a TV movie, which on hearing about Darlin’ Husband called “Psycho the Musical”. Which by sheer coincidence, is how he enters the trailer by pulling back some curtains. Perkins then appears to sing and dance throughout the store and on escalator.
I don’t know which film Perkins is more terrifying in. TBH it’s more than a bit bizarre seeing the man you associate with Psycho (1960) singing especially as the ribbing continues from the other half. But then after recently seeing Russell Crowe’s singing and remembering Pierce Brosnan… I was so happy to see Ms Carr as I associate her with musicals unlike some Hollywood names. Last time I saw an apartment store used for such routine was Mannequin (1987) with Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall dancing their wee socks off. And TBH I can’t remember if escalators were involved.
Despite this being her second movie I happily I read that Ms Carr left show business after this to bring up her family. A lovely reason. I can see her singing songs in thunder storms and when they felt sad about favourite things. And with a house with a gazebo. I always remember Carr’s 16 going on 17 song as Liesl with Rolf, her Hitler Youth first love. As a kid, I imagined – and played out – such a duet with a boy of my dreams (but not so politically inclined), complete with dance routine. Sadly had no gazebo. As for Charmian, and I’m sure millions of others she will always, always be Liesl, 16 going on 17.