Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meglio Stasera

"Meglio Stasera - Fran Jeffries, born Frances Makris on 18 May 1937 in San Jose California, was a singer/actress/model in the 1960s and early-1970s. She had a cameo role in the 1963 movie "The Pink Panther," in which she sang this song "Meglio Stasera" (It Had Better Be Tonight)."

We watched the movie The Pink Panther last night, and this song and dance number was arguably the best scene in the movie. It's a visually lush film--Yves Saint Laurent did the costumes, including a hot pink ski sweater, bright yellow turtleneck, deep orange glittery gown, and those amazing haute couture giant fur hats of the sixties. If you enjoy sixties fashion, this movie will not disappoint.

It's kind of a weird movie in some ways because the pacing is very slow. Modern audiences aren't used to this style of film. You have to have the patience to sit back and let it slowly unfold, because the plot works itself out in a meandering, leisurely way. It was filmed in the Italian Alps and the streets of Rome, so the scenery is dazzling. The movie also stars one of the prettiest actresses I have ever laid eyes on; her name is Claudia Cardinale. She looked to me a little like Natalie Portman and a little more like Catherine Zeta Jones, but more beautiful than either one. Because it's so visual and slow-paced, this is really a movie to see in the theater if you can, or at least on a large, high-definition TV.

As the very first Pink Panther movie, it hasn't yet turned into what the Pink Panther franchise later becomes--a star vehicle for Peter Sellers. So it's surprising to watch this one and realize that that Peter Sellers isn't even the main character yet. The Clouseau character isn't as exaggerated as he later becomes and he actually speaks with a fairly normal mild French accent, although he still lovably stumbles and trips his way through all of his scenes. (And he's cute in the scene above, where he gamely allows Fran Jeffries to pull him onto the dance floor.)

Oh, also there is a scene with a big costume ball, which I loved because I love Halloween. It's fun to look at the different costumes. I spotted Lady Godiva, the Mad Hatter, a mermaid, a zebra, a knight...and two gorillas!

Note: If you watch the clip above closely, you can spot a young skinny Robert Wagner. He's wearing a yellow V-neck sweater.

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