Last night my jazz trio played a concert in Temecula California consisting of songs from movies. The opening set concentrated on mid-century themes–‘Tender Trap’, ‘Wives and Lovers’, ‘Two For The Road’, ‘Sunday In New York’ etc. By far the most beautiful of the songs, and the the one that got the warmest reception, was the ballad ‘Maybe September’ from the 1966 movie ‘The Oscar’, starring Stephen Boyd and Elke Somme and featuring a slew of mid-sixties stars and sort-of stars in cameos. The film has consistently been referenced as the ‘worst film ever made’ which it most definitely isn’t. It’s clumsiness, it’s static style and cliched script certainly place it on the low rung of movies of that period. Still there’s an odd charm to it. It turns up on TCM occasionally and frankly it’s a rather enjoyable watch (in a lousy sort of way). Chief among its virtues–perhaps its only virtue really–is the above mentioned song. Above I offer a typical scene from the movie (it’s marked as a ‘trailer’ but it obviously isn’t) as well as Tony Bennett’s majestic recording of ‘Maybe September’. Bennett is also in the movie, playing a friend of the ruthless actor/lead played by Boyd named Hymie Kelly. Several discussions are had during the movie about how a half-Jewish, half-Irish fellow named Hymie Kelly got his name. It apparently never occurred to anyone that casting the undeniably Italian-American Antony Benedetto in the role rendered these ruminations ridiculous since he clearly isn’t either Jewish or Irish. Couldn’t they just have changed the name of the character to one more suitable for Bennett’s lineage? A name like, say, Raymond De Felitta? This is the sort of weird/lousy stuff that makes ‘The Oscar’ unusually poor. By the way, when Bennett saw the movie he was so appalled that he vowed never to act in a movie again. And he didn’t…


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4 Responses

  1. LOL I love this movie !!!! Have not heard it mentioned in ages.. I think I have a copy on VHS will have to have a bad movie night and watch it for the 50th time

  2. I’m about to watch & listen, but I can’t imagine anything topping what your Trio did last night! I’m still in that room
    under the spell you cast! Thank U!

  3. Courtney: no appearances on the west coast yet and working on one on the east coast in the fall. Now I feel like watching ‘The Oscar’ too!

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