Everyone Says I Love You
I just purely do adore this movie. The critics liked it, too, but audiences in the US didn’t. It was not a flop, but it was a box office disappointment.
Woody Allen has made movies in just about every genre you can think of, except westerns (and I’d pay good money to see a Woody Allen western), war movies, and superhero cartoon idiocy. This was his only shot at a musical. And he went at it in a whole different way, as he is apt to do. He wanted ordinary voices for the main actors. The idea was, this was not Howard Keel or Barbra Streisand giving the old pipes a workout, this was ordinary people bursting into song. He went so far as casting it, and then telling the actors that they would be singing! That must have come as a shock to some of them. (Especially Drew Barrymore, who managed to convince Woody that she was such a terrible singer that she would have to be dubbed. And so she was.) Ironically, both Goldie Hawn and Edward Norton were too good. He had to ask them to tone it down.
The result is something unique and sweet. None of the star singers will knock your socks off, but none of them disgraced themselves, either. Even Woody sings a few choruses (he would almost have to, in this situation, wouldn’t he?), and while he’s probably the worst of the bunch, you don’t want to cover your ears.
So that’s the story part. It’s a light-hearted tale of new and old romances, filmed in New York and Venice and Paris, and it all looks glorious. These are rich people, and I never worried much about their problems, but I wasn’t really supposed to. But that’s only a part of the traditional Hollywood musical. The other part is the set pieces, and here is where my socks were knocked off and the top of my head exploded. There’s a hilarious number in a hospital, and another where a ghost rises from a coffin and dances a mambo of “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think” with other ghosts, and an insane number where a few dozen men and women in Groucho costumes sing (in French!) and dance to “Hurray For Captain Spaulding,” which was Groucho’s theme song from “You Bet Your Life.”
But the thing that makes this picture immortal is near the end. Woody and Goldie, who used to be married, are at that iconic location on the banks of the Seine, at night, Notre Dame visible in the background, and they are wryly recalling their relationship. They begin to dance … and Goldie goes flying through the air! She balances on his hand, she twirls like a pixie, all with effortless ease. Even Woody seems graceful beside her. It actually chokes me up, it is so beautiful.
Credit should be paid to the choreographer … but I can’t! Astonishingly, she is not listed anywhere at the IMDb. I think her first name was Graciella, something like that. She really did fantastic work. As did Dick Hyman, Woody’s longtime musical man. His scores are deep and lush, and always perfect for the settings.