As we now have the movie trailer of the forthcoming ‘big screen’ version of the stage show it seems appropriate to ask the question as this snippet of action, script and music emerges, carefully crafted to entice followers of the stage show.. OK there is not enough to make a full critical assessment of the production but there are certainly enough indicators of the style and presentation to make some observations.
Clearly the structure and approach of the individual group members giving their perspective (as in the stage show) is retained and developed to take advantage of the benefits of a movie production rather than the stage. And the vocal presentation known to most of those who have followed the show will enable people to relate to John Lloyd-Young’s lead vocal. The similarity with the JB Cast CD sound is apparent as soon as the trailer starts.
Show fans will be excited at the prospect of the movie version from this 2:19 sec snippet.
But as a long term music historian maybe I won’t feel that the interpretation actually captures the essential legacy of the group and their unique sound. And I don’t think I will be alone.
But first there are several attractions to the film version apparent in this trailer.
- The Casting
Each of the group members characters immediately connect with personality and attitude reminiscent of the best stage performances. And two surprises immediately strike home. Firstly Christopher Walkden’s presence as Gyp De Carlo hits straight away. Secondly Bob Crewe’s portrayal is so like him that it is uncanny in appearance terms. The scene of him in the studio is a close copy of the photo set by George Schowerer taken in 1967. (albeit five years earlier) The actor , make-up and studio design capture the appearance of Bob in the Mirasound Studio.
- The Sets
Clearly care and good design have been used to create the sets for each scene taking advantage of extensive 60s simulation in design to portray the locations, cars and atmosphere. These will certainly enhance the action. The glamorous appearance of girls in 60s fashion it appears will be a feature.
- Additional Dialogue
With the opportunity to develop the play’s stage dialogue and to complement a more natural context the script writers have elaborated. How effectively this works remains to be seen and can’t be judged from this trailer?.
But like I said earlier doubts remain for me as a ‘purist’ studying the sound and its creation. Inaccuracies in the script/storyline are part of theatrical and movie productions and we know of the many fictions in the ‘play’ storyline from interviews. But the different arrangements of the songs (ie keys/tempo/harmony etc) have worn thin for me. Maybe it is working on ‘original’ sound of The MONO Archive ‘restoration project’ for 3 years but once again this sounds like a tribute group which I guess is a good as it could be. How could anyone re-create Bob Crewe’s overdubbed masterpieces? And Charles Calello’s masterful arrangements?. Appropriately adapted for stage and screen I guess Bob Gaudio will maintain!! But it also comes down to my allegiance to MY Four Seasons and the lack of respect shown to Gerry/Lee/Don and John…..The NEW Four Seasons we grew to love back in 1975 and 76. The mis-portrayal of these guys in the presentation of Who Loves You and December ’63 continues to rankle with me.
Saying that the show maintains an interest for successive generations of new fans doesn’t work for me. Would the portrayal of Frank Sinatra in a movie singing in such an ‘out of context’ way be accepted by anyone who loves his music.? No way.
We’’ll be able to fully judge the movie when it ‘premieres’ in June and although a chorus of fans will enthuse it……I’ll monitor the critics response and we’ll gather opinion for then.