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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

BUTTERFLY GOES to the MOVIES # 3

Oct 22, 2012 10:02:00 AM
By BLO Staff

MADAME BUTTERFLY (1932)

Based on the Belasco play with music incorporating bits of Puccini. Sylvia Sydney is quite affective as a delicate and wistful Butterfly going against her image as a film noir tough girl heroine. She worked with such Hollywood stars as Spencer Tracy and Henry Fonda and in such classic 30's pictures as Fritz Lang's FURY and Hitchcock's SABOTAGE (both 1931) but she is perhaps best remembered by contemporary audiences as the gravel voiced Juno in Tim Burton's BEETLEJUICE (she's the one who exhales her cigarette smoke out throught her knife slashed throat - If you haven't seen the movie, don't ask...just go see it) - John Conklin - BLO Artistic Advisor

Mary Pickford in a silent version (1915)

Implied racism or just good clean fun?

2 clips from a very curious 1962 film directed by Jack Cardiff and starring Yves Montand and Edward G. Robinson... and Shirley MacLaine. A complicated plot which somehow ends up with MacLaine in full geisha drag fooling everybody and appearing in a movie version of Puccini's MADAMA BUTTERFLY where she sings Un Bel Di (don't ask) Silly,even vaguely grotesque ... but not unwatchable!

We've seen Sylvia Sydney, Mary Pickford, Marlon Brando, and Ricardo Montalban putting on Japanese makeup and here's another slue of Hollywood actors in "yellowface"

Topics: Cary Grant, Geisha, Hitchcock, Japanese, Madama Butterfly, madame butterfly, Mary Pickford, Puccini, Racism, Shirley MacLaine, Spencer Tracy

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