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Secret Voices of Hollywood

 
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 5735

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Secret Voices of Hollywood Reply with quote

Documentary revealing the secret world of the `ghost singers', who provided the vocals that were dubbed for Hollywood screen legends. The programme includes footage of the classic movies in which the songs appeared.


I'm looking forward to this programme ..I've long been fascinated (Marni Nixon especially) with how near the speaking voices of the stars secret singers are...


Marni Nixon, Betty Noyes and Bill Lee aren’t household names... but they should be. During a prolific era of “ghost-voicing” in Hollywood musicals, they sang as, respectively, Audrey Hepburn, Debbie Reynolds and Christopher Plummer. This bewitching documentary pulls back the curtain on a controversial technique that has gone the way of the ark (for better or worse, non-singing actors now have a stab, viz: Moulin Rouge!, Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables).

Lovely singing from both Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge

As far as the movie moguls were concerned, it was a trade secret and should remain one. This meant that, for years, cinemagoers thought that Natalie Wood was actually singing as Maria in West Side Story, and Mark Lester in the lead role of Oliver! The former was famously disgruntled at being sung over (her own version of I Feel Pretty, heard here, is fine, if a little thin). Lester, on the other hand, was thrilled at his perfect pitch (courtesy of Kathe Green, daughter of the film’s musical director). As Lester now says, “You wouldn’t want me to sing. It would destroy that wonderful image of that little boy singing. Just don’t go there!”

As for the invisible singers, there’s a happy ending. It’s very much a case of credit where credit is due.


On BBC4 at 9pm on Sunday.

http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/cnwn6n/secret-voices-of-hollywood
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FleetingEileenM



Joined: 30 Mar 2010
Posts: 4975
Location: Hampshire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting Becky, thanks. Sunday at 9pm is rather crowded this weekend with the programme you've just mentioned, Downton Abbey and, sadly, the last programme from Russell Davies until his new series starts in December Sad.
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's repeated on Tuesday at 10-30,Eileen.
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FleetingEileenM



Joined: 30 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm recording it Becky - just about to end, I think - so I'm looking forward to seeing it.
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Colin



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 916

PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the same story with the silent-era movie actors who looked fab on the silver screen but whose voices just didn't befit the image - so their dialogue was replaced in the final track. Of course, they than had the problem of people asking them if they were speaking with their real voices when doing public appearances!

I didn't know this programme was on (I was away all weekend) so I'll catch it on iPlayer. Thanks for flagging.
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much to enjoy in this programme about the story of the secret singers...loved it!

Good on Marni Nixon for what she did for her profession but I thought her rather mean, taking pleasure in the fact that the orchestra who she worked a lot of the time with did less than their best when backing Natalie Wood. Crying or Very sad

Rita Moreno was in another documentary not that long ago ...can't remember which one ...she is good value as a talking head ..still a very attractive woman at 81!
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Colin



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I eventually managed to watch this last night. What a marvellous insight into this secretive world!

One thing occurred to me. When music from the classic hollywood musicals is featured on Radio 2, such as by Des Carrington, Michael Ball or EeeePeeee, we've become accustomed to their announcing a song from (for instance) South Pacific and sung by Debbie Reynolds. BUt Debbie Reynolds didn't actually sing the song despite being credited on the sound-track album.

I remember perusing my dad's album cover while the LP rattled out of our record player speakers (this was before The Beatles so young lads were forced to listen to Dad's Music if they didn't have their own records); my dad would be whistling and signing along to the songs without having a clue as to the true identity of the singer on the record.

Top marks to Marni Nixon for having the guts to stand up and assert the ghost-singers' true rights!

An excellent and illuminating programme of a sort we're more likely to see on BBC 4 than any other channel these days.
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FleetingEileenM



Joined: 30 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got round to watching it at last and found it fascinating.

Good for Deborah Kerr for publicising very early on after the release of "The King and I" the fact that Marni Nixon sang for her, in spite of angering the studio bosses at the time who wanted it kept a secret.

I found it hilarious that in "Singing in the Rain" in which (as every fule know) Debbie Reynolds as Cathy Seldon dubs the singing voice of Lena Lamont, yet in the song "Would You?" her own voice was dubbed by another singer Laughing.

Another stand-out moment for me was the story of how Audrey Hepburn really didn't want to be chosen to play Eliza in the "My Fair Lady" fiim instead of Julie Andrews as a huge well-known movie star was needed to carry the film. But as apparently Audrey said to Julie later: "I just didn't have the guts to turn it down".

There's a letter in today's Telegraph from a lady who watched the programme and was "devastated" to discover that in "The Sound of Music" it was not Christopher Plummer's voice singing "Edelweiss".
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie Reynolds wasn't in the film South Pacific Colin!

H
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I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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Colin



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
Debbie Reynolds wasn't in the film South Pacific Colin


Call it a Senior Moment, Helen! Smile

South Pacific, the film, starred Mitzi Gaynor in the female lead role of course.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have them too!

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I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 5735

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FleetingEileenM wrote:
I've got round to watching it at last and found it fascinating.

Good for Deborah Kerr for publicising very early on after the release of "The King and I" the fact that Marni Nixon sang for her, in spite of angering the studio bosses at the time who wanted it kept a secret.

I found it hilarious that in "Singing in the Rain" in which (as every fule know) Debbie Reynolds as Cathy Seldon dubs the singing voice of Lena Lamont, yet in the song "Would You?" her own voice was dubbed by another singer Laughing.

Another stand-out moment for me was the story of how Audrey Hepburn really didn't want to be chosen to play Eliza in the "My Fair Lady" fiim instead of Julie Andrews as a huge well-known movie star was needed to carry the film. But as apparently Audrey said to Julie later: "I just didn't have the guts to turn it down".

There's a letter in today's Telegraph from a lady who watched the programme and was "devastated" to discover that in "The Sound of Music" it was not Christopher Plummer's voice singing "Edelweiss".

I was discussing this programme with my daughter ...she hasn't had chance to watch it ....and she was taken aback when I reeled off some of the instances where a ghost singer had replaced the actor's voice She knew of a couple but thought they were the exceptions!
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unclebuck



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched this last night, and also found it interesting.
Only gripe was, as is so often the case these days, they had decided to make a 1 and a half hour programme with 1 hour's worth of material. Hence lots of shots of trees/sky/windows with somewhat rambling narrative.
Nevertheless, fascinating insight, particularly into some of the studio politics.

It was presented very much as a by-gone era, but I wondered if some of the voice-artists work had more recently simply been channelled into the world of animation? There has never been so much big-production animation for kids, and a great deal of it contains songs. Just a thought.

#### Note: this post has been edited for durational accuracy! ####


Last edited by unclebuck on Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 5735

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unclebuck wrote:
Watched this last night, and also found it interesting.
Only gripe was, as is so often the case these days, they had decided to make a 1 hour programme with 45 minutes worth of material. Hence lots of shots of trees/sky/windows with somewhat rambling narrative.
Nevertheless, fascinating insight, particularly into some of the studio politics.

It was presented very much as a by-gone era, but I wondered if some of the voice-artists work had more recently simply been channelled into the world of animation? There has never been so much big-production animation for kids, and a great deal of it contains songs. Just a thought.

It was on for an hour and a half. (did you nod off,perhaps?... Smile )
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Colin



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could have been even longer, it was so captivating!
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John W



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 3360
Location: Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I missed the programme, so the RT site I've clicked Follow which should alert me to a repeat.

I have more interest in pre-1950 films and music, and I've long been aware of singers, voices dubbing the film stars. In my podcasts I usually give some background to songs and frequently refer to the IMDB (Internet Move Database) for films featuring songs, and that site will often bring out some surprises. I recall Jean Harlow getting the voice of Virginia Merrill, Eleanor Powell getting Marjorie Lane's voice, Rita Hayworth getting Nan Wynn and there's many other examples.
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becky sharp



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 5735

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John W wrote:
Well I missed the programme, so the RT site I've clicked Follow which should alert me to a repeat.

I have more interest in pre-1950 films and music, and I've long been aware of singers, voices dubbing the film stars. In my podcasts I usually give some background to songs and frequently refer to the IMDB (Internet Move Database) for films featuring songs, and that site will often bring out some surprises. I recall Jean Harlow getting the voice of Virginia Merrill, Eleanor Powell getting Marjorie Lane's voice, Rita Hayworth getting Nan Wynn and there's many other examples.
There was mention,in the programme,of two other women who sang for Rita.
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