A large plot point in “City Island” (no spoiler, no worries) has to do with an acting class that Andy Garcia’s character is attending and their assignment for the week, which is to think of their worst personal secret and turn it into a monologue for the class to hear. In due course, Andy does so. But so did the other acting students. So, in due course, I filmed monologues–mostly improvised by the actors–with the intention of showing bits of them strung together, leading up to Andy’s big moment.
Guess what? IT ALL GOT CUT. All of it. I wonder if some of you reading this blog are starting to wonder if there is any of the movie left–or if, in a fit of self-censorship I simply erased my own movie. Fear not. There are still ninety-eight minutes of wonderful entertainment left. But the below edited “class monologues” sequence once again proves the futility of trying to anticipate what should be dropped from the script prior to shooting; I actually fought hard for all of the actors seen below to be hired, insisting that the sequence was of dire importance to the climax of the movie. Frankly, it didn’t even make it past the first assembly–as soon as I saw it (and at that time the film was running well over two hours) I said goodbye, never to cast a backward glance.
Still, the actors involved all did lovely jobs. Matthew Arkin tells the wonderful story centering on the cross-dressing boy who’s discovered by his farmhand father while in mid-Barbara Streisand impersonation. Louise Stratten in the blonde knockout who had an affair with her girlfriend. My sister, Eileen De Felitta, is the woman who finds herself without any secrets worth telling. And the great Marshall Efron is the man whose father shot his dog.
Marshall has been in every feature I’ve made, save for my documentary. A brilliant, versatile humorist/actor/writer/social observer/voice over artist/childrens book author, you may remember him from a wonderful PBS program of the 1970’s, “The Great American Dream Machine”, on which he wrote and performed in a variety of topical, satirical and sometimes plain nonsensical sketches. I remember this show from my youth–and thus was delighted to meet Marshall in the mid 1990’s and cast him in my first feature, “Cafe Society”. Since then, a movie isn’t complete for me unless Marshall turns up in it. He turns up in my movies “Two Family House” and “The Thing About My Folks”. Alas, in “City Island’ his speech has been cut. But he’s on view as one of the acting students and, thanks to YouTube, is now on-line giving his speech as well.
Additionally, a handful of other Marshall Efron video’s seem to be popping up on YT, so I’ve taken the liberty of posting one that appears to be recently made–a typically Marshall-esque send-up of the Food Network in which he creates a truly vile sounding meal and teaches you how to make it. In the comments section, I was surprised to read an angry viewer’s comment that they actually made the entire meal and tasted it before realizing that the whole thing was a joke. Have we stopped thinking and simply begun responding to any sort of input that comes our way on-line? The answer would seem to be yes, which was probably Marshall’s point in making the video in the first place. N’joy…