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 Posted:   Feb 25, 2014 - 5:37 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Trying again. THE PRESIDENT'S LADY isn't the only archival release with scanty documentation, but I find the lacunae here particularly frustrating.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2014 - 1:23 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

Trying again. THE PRESIDENT'S LADY isn't the only archival release with scanty documentation, but I find the lacunae here particularly frustrating.



Rozsaphile

Send me your name and address and I will send you a good dvdr of Presidents Lady
send to
joecaps@earthlink.net

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2014 - 6:10 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Very kind of you, Sir! Still at the same Rozsa Society address: PO Box 666 / Norwalk, CT 06852.

John

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 13, 2014 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

I could, however, wish for just a little more information about the movie and the score. Like who directed it, for starters! Are all the musical materials original with Newman or did he adapt traditional airs, as in HTWWW? If the story is not about Jackson’s presidency (as the title would seem to suggest), then what is the plot? Does “The Robards” refers to the couple (the Robardses) or to their household (the Robards’). What happens in that episode to evoke such passion (suggestive of biblical plagues!) from the composer? Who is Judge Hutton and why does the music pause to mourn his passing? Who fights “the duel”? This is an obscure movie. One can look up the historical events, but the real issue here is what the filmmakers, including Newman, have done with the raw materials of history and biography. Newman at least has done very well indeed. I’d love to know the whys and wherefores. The annotator’s heartfelt appreciation for Newman is manifest in her notes. But purchasers of this album likely share her feeling already. We don’t need to be reminded of Newman’s fabulous career. We want to know more about his achievement right here in The President’s Lady.

I would like to thank Joe Caps for sharing a video version of this movie. I saw the trailer back around 1962 (Saturday Night at the Movies) and am only now catching up with the film itself -- surely a longer interval than Fox's promotional department ever imagined! It's a rather good film, concentrating more on Rachel Jackson's experience than on the future president himself. The title is accurate in this regard. Andrew Jackson's military and political duties keep him off-screen for much of the second half, while the story concentrates on Mrs. Jackson's hardships. Susan Hayward is top billed and rightly so.

The musical score for this 1953 release falls in the period between DAVID AND BATHSHEBA and THE ROBE, and though smaller in scale, it is not unworthy of comparison with those two masterpieces. I am amazed that the music has not engendered more discussion here and can only imagine that the unfamiliarity of the movie is the cause.

As I mentioned earlier, the booklet notes leave much to be desired. Just for starters, let me now attempt to supply answers to some of the questions I posed back in 2008.

The director was Henry Levin, a longtime studio hand who has never received much attention. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is probably his best-known film in present company.

Original source music or period adaptations? I have no idea. For years I used to think that "The Promised Land" was Newman's theme, only to learn that it is actually a fairly well known folk melody. There could be some authentic Americana in this score, but I am unable to identify it.

The film is not about Jackson's presidency. It begins with the couple's first meeting in 1789 (also the birth of the United States) and ends (actually a kind of epilogue) with Jackson's inauguration in 1829. Rachel is deceased by this time, so the title reflects her place in the president's heart rather than the "first lady" status that she never actually held.

The third track, called "The Robards," is the music for Rachel's difficult journey from her parental home to the Robardses' place (i.e., the home of her obnoxious husband and his more sympathetic mother). The music reflects the hardship of the journey and Rachel's ambivalence about returning to a man she does not trust.

Judge Hutton? I forget. Need to watch this one again!

"The Duel" refers to a fatal encounter between Jackson and a man who had impugned his wife's honor. Despite the rather lurid cover art, this duel is not depicted in the film. The music underscores its aftermath, when a wounded Jackson returns to his home and his anguished wife. (The image of Hayward fleeing a violent mob is also from the publicity department's vivid imagination.)

It was good to hear this music in context, and my enjoyment of the excellent Varese record has been greatly enhanced. Thanks again to Joe Caps. And a strong recommendation of film and score to anybody who has yet to experience them.





 
 Posted:   Apr 14, 2014 - 8:56 PM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

Thanks to Joe I've also had an opportunity to view this film once again for the first time since the '60s. I thought that both Susan Hayward (playing a role somewhat similar to the one in DAVID AND BATHSHEBA) and Charlton Heston gave rock solid performances in this very satisfying Fox period film.That presidential main title of Newman's has haunted me for over 50 years.



Here's a quick synopsis of the film from http://charltonhestonworld.homestead.com/PresidentsLady.html ...

It's 1791 in Nashville, Tennessee. Susan Hayward is married to philandering Whitfield Connor, a local businessman, when she meets attorney Charlton Heston, and there is an instant attraction. Hayward is having a tough time with Connor, so her mother, Fay Bainter, suggests she go to Natchez, Mississippi, to get some breathing space. Since the area is fraught with danger, Heston volunteers & accompanied her to Natchez on the riverboat. En route, Indians attack the boat, and the experience brings Heston and Hayward closer together and they fall in love. In Natchez, Hayward initiates divorce proceedings at Heston's request. Meanwhile, Heston's law partner, John McIntire, sends a note saying that Connor has sued Hayward for divorce on the grounds of her adultery with Heston. The future president is stunned by this accusation (especially since it isn't true), but he doesn't let it stop him from marrying Hayward. During this day and age divorce was one of the worst scandals anyone could be associated with. Back in Nashville, Heston decides to run for office, but he is forced to put his political career on hold when he learns that Connor's divorce has only recently been made legal, meaning that Heston and Hayward have been living in sin for a year. This is not the sort of thing candidates want on their records. Heston and Hayward marry once more at Bainter's house and all seems well, but it isn't long before Carl Betz accuses Heston of stealing another man's wife. To uphold his honor Heston challenges Betz to a duel, in which Heston is wounded and Betz killed. Tennessee society never fully accepted Hayward because of her 'divorce', which causes her great unhappiness. Years pass and Heston is nominated by his party to run for the presidency. Heston and Hayward have grown quite old at this time in the story. The campaign was very arduous, which contributed to Hayward becoming ill. She is in the audience at a campaign rally when hecklers begin insulting Heston, bringing up Betz's death and Heston's premature marriage to Hayward and her divorce. When one of the hecklers calls Hayward a "woman of ill repute," Hayward faints. Ultimately, Heston is elected president. The night of the election Hayward is on her deathbed and Heston re-new his un-dying vow of love to her. Hayward dies in his arms as he weeps over her still body. Heston is distraught by Hayward's death but goes on to become the 7th President of the United States.

Chuck has stated saying about this famous President, "I think I admired Andrew Jackson more than any of the other men of that genre I've played." Heston says "In preparation for this film, DeMille had let me see his 1938 version of THE BUCCANEER to study the character of Jackson. DeMille also let me look at some research materials he had. He was very kind about it . In fact, he loaned me a combination research item and good luck piece; a lovely little wax statuette of Jackson, about ten inches high, which I kept in my dressing room while we were shooting THE PRESIDENT'S LADY. Afterwards, I duly returned it to him. " Heston continues, "Five years later, DeMille was planning to remake THE BUCCANEER. At the time, I don't think it was settled to what extent he was planning to involve himself in the production. I still had one picture left on the contract that Paramount had purchased from Hal Wallis. I asked to play Jackson in a cameo role to use up the remaining commitment. He thought it was a fine idea. The intended cameo role, however blossomed into a considerable part as the script developed. As additional recompense, DeMille gave me the little wax statue of Jackson to keep. This statue now sits on my home office desk. "

 
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