CITY ISLAND: PARTRIDGE DAY?
It's Obama Day--sorry, Election Day, and I'm proud to announce that instead of watching 24 hours of non-stop election coverage, I'm watching (mostly listening really) to a very charming movie called "Come On Get Happy", a dramatization of the backstage story involved in the making of the seminal 1970's hit TV show, "The Partridge Family". I became obsessed with the Partridge's when they first hit syndication--this must have been in the mid-seventies, just a few years after they began airing. Naturally, being a wise-ass ten year old, I was drawn to the wise-ass ten year old Danny Partridge (the ever-since doomed and self-destructive Danny Bonaduce). Oddly, I was also rather attracted--though I was too young to quite put words to it--to Shirley Jones who played the mother, Shirley Partridge. Somewhere around the same time I caught her Oscar winning turn in "Elmer Gantry" and was pleased and not necessarily shocked to discover that Mother Partridge was at heart the true hussy that I somehow felt her to be. In any event, the low-budget, low-aiming little biopic that plays behind me offers a number of witty touches--the guy playing Keith really chews it up, creating a convincing and obnoxious portrait of a twenty-year old rocker who is thrust into the spotlight playing and representing everything he despises. Also, they use what sound like actual music cues from the original show to underscore the dramatic scenes--a very deft little piece of musical period setting. By the way, the director of a great many episodes of the original Partridge Family was a man whose other work completely eludes me, but whose name I will never forget: E.W. Swackhammer.
Below I've posted a shot of the wonderful Carrie Baker Reynolds (who plays Denise in "City Island") walking upside down. That is, she is being viewed by Tony (Steven Strait) while he bends down to pick up some lumber--he sees her through his legs. When I described the shot, my DP said it wasn't necessary to turn the camera upside down, that it could be "flipped" later in the film lab. But I insisted that we do it for real. What the hell fun would the dailies have been the next day if we hadn't had this to look forward too? Also, for the hell of it, I've included the season two opening and closing credits of "The Partridge Family". Happy Patridge Day--make that Obama Day...
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:13 PM