I recently saw the film of the William Luce play “Barrymore.” Christopher Plummer reprises the central (and nearly only) character. The play depicts the great American actor John Barrymore in the last year of his life. Plummer, as usual, is great.
My interest in the film is natural since I did see the play at the Music Box Theatre in 1997. The play and Plummer impressed me greatly then and although there was a 15 year interlude between the play’s run and the film it still does. I am glad they preserved and in some ways enhanced the original stage version.
The play leans heavily on Shakespeare which is understandable since John Barrymore essayed many of the Bard’s main characters. The whole thing meshes together in a very natural and poignant way while mixing in many a well placed soliloquy.
To be honest, it was first seeing the play in 1997 which is responsible for my own recent found respect for the greatness of Shakespeare.
Since Django only lived to the age of 43 it may seem odd to refer to any point that could be considered a “late” period. Yet, the recording he did from about 1948 until his death in 1953 are what I am referring to. This was the period immediately following his short tour of the United States with Duke Ellington. Django was very influenced by Bebop at this point and recorded many pieces that reveal that influence. He also went for a more “electric” sound at this point.
I always have had a deep appreciation for this “late period Django” and some of the tunes he wrote during that time like “Nuits De Saint-Germain Des Pres” and “Fleche D’Or.”