Anne Bancroft

Home

 

Anne Bancroft: Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man (1970)

Folks, we need to find a way to get someone to release this show on DVD. If I don't at least post these clips to share this incredible talent, then this incredible talent collects dust on a shelf somewhere, never to be seen again.

The quality here comes and goes -- after all, it's 37 years old. I'm not posting the show in its entirety because I prefer to stay on the safe side with clips. To any further complaints, I have only to say that here at FAnnetastic!, you get what you pay for!

A great deal of time and love went into this project, and I hope you enjoy it. Tremendous thanks to my friend and fanne Jody H., without whom this page would not be possible!

Obscure Videos: '70s Specials
by Ken Mandelbaum 12-02-05
source

Barbra Streisand's television specials from the '60s and '70s have just been issued on DVD, and Liza Minnelli's celebrated '70s special Liza with a Z is to be re-aired by Showtime next year and subsequently released on DVD. Today, I'm looking at a pair of '70s musical specials starring two other notable divas. Neither has ever been released on home video; the first is eminently worthy, even if it's not the sort of thing that tends to get released.

Anne Bancroft always said she wanted to do a Broadway musical, but she never got around to it, turning down Funny Girl and no doubt other offers as well. But on February 18, 1970, the country saw the dramatic actress in an Emmy-winning special that demonstrated how glamorous a musical star she might have been. Its full title was Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man, and the show consisted of a series of sketches, often musical, each allowing the star to appear as a different woman, with the male guests seen mostly as foils.

After a prologue in which we get the thoughts of a baby girl just before she's born...

Prologue
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

...Bancroft, still at the height of her Graduate glamour, goes into a musical number called "Look At Us Now." Bancroft lip-synchs to her own tracks during the program, and the voice is deep, husky, and surprisingly confident and appealing.

Opening song
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

In "Valerie," we are privy to the inner thoughts of a bride and groom as they march down the aisle. Dick Shawn is the groom, John McGiver the father of the bride, and Bancroft neatly registers a range of moods, from despair to elation.

Valerie
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

Next is the first in a series of three "Joanne" sketches, consisting of blank-verse poems by Judith Viorst. In each, Bancroft is a different contemporary woman, first explaining why "married is better..."

Joanne 1
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

...then offering her feelings on "the other woman..." 

Joanne 2
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

...and finally pondering the nature of "true love."

Joanne 3
(requires Flash)a
Watch (click only once)

In "Katharine," the star is a medieval lady, joined by six knights in full armor for an elaborate but arch song-and-dance routine (choreography by Alan Johnson) that embraces such musical puns as "The Night Was Made for Love," "You and the Night and the Music," and "Tonight."

Katharine
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

Bancroft and Jack Cassidy are a pair of lovers engaged in a steamy embrace on a rug by an open fireplace in the spoof "Libby." At her sultriest, Bancroft still manages to bemoan the inequality of women, and how they're still "in shackles," even though she clearly has Cassidy wrapped around her finger.

Libby
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

As "Phyllis," the star reclines on an enormous rug (textile company Monsanto produced the special) and supplies a dandy rendition of the Styne-Loesser song "I Don't Want to Walk Without You, Baby."

Phyllis
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

In "Eugenia," Bancroft is a drop-dead glamorous matron who is packing to leave. The man in her life is Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill, who sings "Stay" (Sondheim-Rodgers, from Do I Hear a Waltz?) to her, as she continues to toss garments into a suitcase. At song's end, the lady says she'll stay, and the man gets the tag line, "The things you have to do to keep a maid!"

Eugenia
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

In "Bebe," David Susskind appears as a producer who auditions a young hopeful for a new musical. Bancroft is the girl asked to sight-read the song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Unfortunately, the girl takes the lyric at face value, and sings the phrases "potato-potahto," "tomato-tomahto" without differentiating between the pronunciations.

Bebe
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

A somewhat obscure routine is "Trixie," in which an aging lady keeps on changing partners (while singing Berlin's "Change Partners") as the decades shift from the '30s to the '60s. One of the dancers is Lee Roy Reams, who would, years later, appear in The Producers, written by Bancroft's husband, Mel Brooks. The last man the lady in the sketch rejects is the famed dance instructor Arthur Murray.

Trixie #1
(requires Flash)

Watch (click only once)

Trixie #2
(requires Flash)

Watch (click only once)

Trixie #3
(requires Flash)

Watch (click only once)

Trixie #4
(requires Flash)

Watch (click only once)

In "Lillian," program producer Martin Charnin manages to sneak in a song from his recent musical flop (music by Edward Thomas) Mata Hari. Bancroft is a mother reading a letter from her soldier son. That letter becomes the song "Maman," sung by Dick Smothers. It's an anti-war number which must have seemed particularly pointed during the Vietnam period of the special.

Lillian
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

Finally, there's the sketch for which this program became famous, "Paula," written by Thomas Meehan, who would go on to write Annie with Charnin and The Producers with Brooks. Here, Lee J. Cobb is a psychiatrist, and Bancroft his glamorous patient, relating the events of a recent nightmare in which she hosted a cocktail party for none other than Peruvian singer Yma Sumac. As Miss Sumac insisted that everyone at the party be on a first-name basis, the hostess was forced to introduce each new arrival to Yma. The guests include Ava Gardner, Abba Eban, Oona O'Neill, Ugo Betti, Ida Lupino, Ulu Grosbard, the Aga Khan, Mia Farrow, Gia Scala, and Uta Hagen. This leads, of course, to the celebrated series of introductions, i.e. Yma-Ava, Yma-Ulu, Yma-Abba, Yma-Uta, Yma-Gia, Yma-Mia, Yma-Ida, Yma-Ugo, Yma-Oona.

Paula
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)

That routine was the most memorable of the night, but Bancroft tops it in her finale, singing one of Cole Porter's most haunting songs, "Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye," sporting a black dress and a long string of pearls and offering a knockout rendition of the number.

Annie
(requires Flash)
Watch (click only once)


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."

Home ] Up ]

FAnnetastic! Copyright 2006 by ImagineThat Productions
Please read
disclaimer

Having trouble? Not seeing all of the gorgeous pics, slideshows, pop-ups?
Download Java!