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Vincente Minnelli

What are your thoughts about him as a director, artist, and man?

by Jungle Redreply 7304/17/2010

"Cabin in the Sky" is, in my opinion, the greatest movie musical ever made, and that he made it at such a young age is remarkable.

by Jungle Redreply 103/02/2010

Thirty-eight or so films, and not one that I like.

by Jungle Redreply 203/02/2010

Certainly the best all around director at MGM in the Golden Age (and that's saying something) because he made masterpieces--or at least a lot of very good-to-great films--in pretty much every genre except horror, sci-fi, and westerns.



Costume Drama/Literary Adaptation: MADAME BOVARY


Romance: THE CLOCK

Musicals: MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE BAND WAGON, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, GIGI (the latter two Best Picture winners)

Fantasy: CABIN IN THE SKY (also a musical)


He was also the quintessential MGM director; he had a great eye for framing and images and color. He's the only director who stayed at MGM into the 60s and worked out his long-term contract.

He brought the best out in Judy--and though primarily gay, he loved her and there's no doubt Liza is his child. The difference in Liza and Lorna is the difference in their fathers.

I watch his films over and over again and almost always find them exceptionally well-made. True there are some bombs in there, but the main difference is his early bombs (YOLANDA, PIRATE) are interesting whereas his later bombs (GOODBYE CHARLIE) are just kinda flat.

by Jungle Redreply 303/02/2010

Fabulous assessment R3!!!

by Jungle Redreply 403/02/2010

No love for me you bitches? My sperm gave you your Liza--with a Z!

by Jungle Redreply 503/02/2010

Genius of a director and apparently a nice man. Always wondered if he and Gene Kelly had that affair that Judy accused them of?

by Jungle Redreply 603/02/2010

Much of his work embarrasses me - dated and gives an impression that he remained a window dresser at heart. He did wonders for Garland's looks and confidence, certainly, and much of "Cabin in the Sky" is wonderful, if faux. He did appear to take his work seriously, though, and to give it his all. His all just couldn't manage profound, intelligent, and witty.

by Jungle Redreply 703/02/2010

Liza is definitely more her father's child than her mother's - it's known as 'style over substance'.

by Jungle Redreply 803/02/2010

Whether they had an affair or not, he is to be forever praised for giving us Gene Kelly's magnificent ass and muscular thighs in that short=shorts tight onezy he wears in the "Pirate Ballet" in THE PIRATE.

by Jungle Redreply 903/02/2010

I still think he's amazing and R3's list tells why. I'd love him just for The Clock alone, my favorite Judy Garland movie.

by Jungle Redreply 1003/02/2010

I remember reading that Louis B. Mayer, upon seeing the rushes of "The Pirate", thought some scenes were pornographic and wanted them burned. I assume Mayer was referencing Kelly's ass and basket in his pirate tights, but I think also some romantic clinches between Kelly and Garland that, obviously, we have never seen.

by Jungle Redreply 1103/02/2010


Offsite Link
by Jungle Redreply 1203/03/2010

There is an excellent new bookabout Minnelli and his films. A HUNDRED OR MORE HIDDEN THINGS by Mark Griffin, film critic for The Boston Globe.

Link is to an interview Griffin recently gave about the book.

Offsite Link
by Jungle Redreply 1303/14/2010

Isn't there another new biography of Minnelli as well?

by Jungle Redreply 1403/14/2010

Griffin's book is the newest book on Vincente Minnelli. It's featured in the new Now Playing magazine from Turner Classic Movies which means it will also get mentioned throughout April on the TCM cable channel.

by Jungle Redreply 1503/14/2010

What about Vincente's other daughter, Liza's half-sister? Whatever happened to her?

by Jungle Redreply 1603/14/2010

There is another recent bio, but I have heard it is nowhere as good as the one by Griffin.

by Jungle Redreply 1703/14/2010

Liza's half-sister Christianae (aka Tina Nina) lives in suburban Mexico City. She's done a lot of work in the name of Chrisitanity/Catholicism, including recording an album or two and writing some children's books. She had a tv show for a while. Her son Vincent, Liza's nephew, is a priest. I don't know what her daughter does. Both Tina Nina and her daughter attended Liza's wedding to Count Chocula.

Remember a while back when Liza said she'd like to help fund mission work for orphans in Peru (something like that) and all the gossips in the US sniggered? Those who knew about Tina Nina's work knew what Liza was talking about.

The last time Liza played Mexico City (2008?) she and Tina Nina did a few songs together during the show.

by Jungle Redreply 1803/14/2010

Judy Davis ruins everything her arrogany clumsiness touches.

by Jungle Redreply 1903/14/2010

He was a master. A pity (and a mystery?) that "On a Clear Day..." is so cruddy.

by Jungle Redreply 2003/14/2010

Not so much a mystery - he didn't have final approval on the editing of many of his later films, nor did he have the crews and facilities that he had during the Golden Era at MGM. After the studio system fell apart movies became much more about profit, less about artistry.

by Jungle Redreply 2103/14/2010

Though his visuals are hard to beat, the editing is painfully slow and some of the cuts so choppy/misappropriated in some of his movies (even GIGI and AN AMERICAN...) that I can't help but feel it was always more about the look of the film as a whole (even over individual scenes and how they played against each other) than the feeling and emotion of the actors/plot with him in the director's chair. Sacrilege, I know.

by Jungle Redreply 2203/14/2010

Was he a popular director with actors? Did many demand him as their director....even the butch ones like Kirk Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful)??

Or did they feel he cared more about the costumes and art direction?

by Jungle Redreply 2303/14/2010

The end of this clip is one of the funniest, campiest things I've ever seen, and I've seen The Pirate.

Offsite Link
by Jungle Redreply 2403/14/2010

R22 I think you reaction is a result of current editing styles. So much nowadays is MTV/action flick style cut, cut, cut, fast, fast, fast, go, go, go in order to mask the fact that most of today's writing really sucks.

Minnell's (and moany other older films) are really more like European films that are more introverted and people-oriented (e.g. Ponette, Au Revoir les Enfants) than extroverted and action-oriented.

by Jungle Redreply 2503/14/2010

"On a Clear Day" was his best musical, regardless of what the rubes say.

by Jungle Redreply 2603/14/2010

R25, while your argument may hold true for many of the people on here, I am actually a bit of a film snob (and, from appearances, so are you) so it is much more complicated than that. To be concise, it seems that there is a sloppiness and "they won't notice" laissez-faire attitude to a lot of the editing. I mean, just for example, look at Jordan on the carriage on what is so obviously a set juxtaposed with the actual Parisienne street in GIGI: the film barely matches up and the lack of any continuity is laughable (let alone no wind effect). Sure, film was far less sophisticated (as were audiences) but it is still sloppy and creaky. Same with the fade-ins from the postcards in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS which oftentimes just don't work technically, though the intent of the effect is in the right place. Many of his editing tricks are painfully dated and quaint, and that is just in comparison to films of the era let alone the modern day MTV meth-cut cinematography/editing we have now. He was a genius visualist, a sloppy editor and an average director who happened to have great material, sometimes, which he elevated.

by Jungle Redreply 2703/14/2010

I would like him a lot more if he'd really been as hot as Hugh Laurie.

by Jungle Redreply 2803/14/2010

Ah, no R22 - I'm not a film 'snob' though you certainly do seem to be.

by Jungle Redreply 2903/14/2010

[quote]What are your thoughts about him as a director,




[quote]and man?

Eh, not so much...

by Jungle Redreply 3003/14/2010

You need to remember that even during Minnelli's heyday at MGM the director normaly did nothave a hand in editing his film.

by Jungle Redreply 3103/14/2010

Thanks R13, I just purchased the Minnelli book by Mark Griffin. I read some of it at the Barnes and Noble, it seems very interesting in that it really focuses on his films in great detail.

by Jungle Redreply 3203/16/2010

Does the newest book address why Minnelli married four times?

More important, he didn't seem close to his daughter, Christiane Nina and his grandchildren. Is that true? If so, what happened?

As to this films, Minnelli made a half dozen masterpieces. But, I will never catch myself saying "Gee I haven't seen a Vincente Minnelli in a while."

by Jungle Redreply 3303/16/2010

The last biography I read on him ("Hollywood's Dark Dreamer") was a real snoozefest. Almost no personal details whatsoever. For example, Minnelli had an affair with a man for YEARS in New York that was glossed over in about 3 paragraphs--what the fuck?

by Jungle Redreply 3403/16/2010

[quote] Does the newest book address why Minnelli married four times?

Yes. He was a notorious pussyhound who just love slamming his dick into some hot twat.

by Jungle Redreply 3503/16/2010

Did anyone here catch Liza's tribute to him "Minelli on Minelli"?

by Jungle Redreply 3603/16/2010

"Does the newest book address why Minnelli married four times?"

I haven't read the book, but you have to remember Vincente Minnelli was from a completely different time period. He was born in 1903. There was no such thing as "openly gay" when he was a young man, except in rare circumstances and if you wanted a career where you would be known to the public it was absolutely out of the question. Many, many gay men and women of his time period married opposite-sex partners because that's just what people did back then. He was a product of his times.

by Jungle Redreply 3703/16/2010

Made some good film as a director, but I can't imagine how he ever made a living as a decorator.

Or maybe there was a time when pastel draperies on everything was fashionable.

by Jungle Redreply 3803/16/2010

R34 the relationship that supposedly existed in New York can't be confirmed as anything beyond a standard friendship. The only basis for it is claims by one person (with a reputation for elaboration and sluttiness) who bragged about it to others years later, but there are no photos of them together, no letters, no indication they lived together, no one who can first hand attest to the truth of the relationship - nothing to substantiate it as a sexual relationship.

R33 after Minnelli and Tina Nina's mother divorced she moved to Mexico and took Tina Nina with her. When she remarried it was into a high powered Mexican media family. Her husband was later Governor of one of the Mexican states.

by Jungle Redreply 3903/16/2010

Does Liza weigh in on the Griffin biography? Was it done with her cooperation? Has she ever publicly commented on Vincente's supposed homosexuality?

by Jungle Redreply 4003/16/2010

"Has she ever publicly commented on Vincente's supposed homosexuality?"

I don't think Liza is the best person to ask when it comes to inquiring about one's homosexuality.

by Jungle Redreply 4103/16/2010

Griffin writes in his introduction that Liza didn't respond to him and that he was unsuccessful in tracking down Tina Nina to make direct contact with her.

Word is that Streisand was contacted but wanted editorial control of her comments so she was a no-go for Griffin.

by Jungle Redreply 4203/16/2010

Does anyone know the title of the coffee-table book (I think) that was published a while back that featured his set designs, etc? Not strictly speaking a bio, perhaps - supposed to have very lavish photos.

by Jungle Redreply 4303/16/2010

R40 the post of R43 above seems to be the reaction of either 'Liza Inc' or a certain other NYC interest to the Griffin book - resurrect a book from over 20 years ago that covers little more than his films, sorted by genre, but is sanctioned by a paragraph or two from Liza.

It's an ok book, but the best combinations to read are Griffin's book, Minnelli's own memoir, and a new collection of film criticism essays compiled by Hunter College professor Joe McElhaney entitled "Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment".

by Jungle Redreply 4403/16/2010

Joe McElhaney is the idiot who wrote about the work of 15 people at Maysles Films and titled it "Albert Maysles."

by Jungle Redreply 4503/16/2010

Ann Miller said everyone on the lot knew he was gay. She claimed he wore more eye shadow than she did.

by Jungle Redreply 4603/16/2010

yet no one could verify any gay relationships on his part, not even the gays who ran in the Cukor and gay party circles (which DID exist, so not all of Hollywood was in the closet)

I really don't understand the gay habit of labeling others as gay based on the very same gay stereotypes that gays have been fighting against ~

"he wears make-up" "that's so gay"

I think Liza hits the mark for many of the Garland/Minnelli claque with "they want us to be like them"

The guy had fantastic artistic and story-telling sensibilities and worked like a dog throughout his career. In the eyes of gays does he have to be gay in order for that to be true?

by Jungle Redreply 4703/16/2010

Vincente was and remains an enigma with regard to homosexuality or bisexuality or whatever the hell he was. He had every single stereotypical earmark of a classic Hollywood queen but he also had perhaps the best closet in the world. No stories have ever been verified. And no one, including his daughter, will ante up ANY information of any kind. It's all speculation and opinion. Which is the case for a lot of old Hollywood except there is more "smoke" to the fire for many other old Hollywood gays.

by Jungle Redreply 4803/16/2010

Didn't someone have info on his boyfriend, the other Leonard (Vincente's real first name), a window dresser whom he left behind in NYC. Vincente introduced him to Judy when they were honeymooning in 1945?

by Jungle Redreply 4903/17/2010

When will Roddy McDowell's meemoirs be published? All the answers are there, you know.

by Jungle Redreply 5003/17/2010

Any mention of Minnelli in any of Cecil Beaton's various biographies or diaries? I'd have loved to see those two in a room together.

by Jungle Redreply 5103/17/2010

It's Lester, R45, and no, no one can confirm beyond they were friends.

by Jungle Redreply 5203/17/2010

I believe Vincente had a rich fantasy life but there is nothing fact based that shows he conducted his life as a gay man, closeted or otherwise. Yes, there were always the rumors that Judy found him with Gene Kelly during the making of "The Pirate". But Garland's mental state during the making of that film suggests these rumors are just the product of her insecurities. There were a lot of hot, good-looking men on the MGM lot, and none of them, in later years, ever came forward with stories about Minnelli.

by Jungle Redreply 5303/17/2010

Roddy's memoirs are sealed for 100 years after his death. And Beaton says some not nice things about Minnelli in his diaries around the time they worked together on GIGI.

by Jungle Redreply 5403/17/2010

I agree r53.....and with all those hot, good-looking men wandering around the MGM lot during the making of The Pirate, does anyone really believe Gene Kelly would choose Vincente? There's simply no logic to that rumor.

by Jungle Redreply 5503/17/2010

r55, well, Vincente WAS very talented and engaging and he WAS the director of the film. He and Gene had a wonderful working relationship. Minnelli, while far from "hunk" material, was still relatively young then and his intelligence and charm (which snagged Judy, too, remember, when SHE could have married a lot of other, more classically handsome men) might have charmed Gene into some sort of physical relationship. Gene Kelly was a smart man. And he appreciated TALENT above all else. And Minnelli had talent. I could see it happening. The two of them spent long hours together collaborating on their films. Who knows what led to what?

by Jungle Redreply 5603/17/2010

The late great Betsy Blair, who was married to Gene Kelly from 1940 until 1959 or so, vehemently denied in print (in her autobiog) and in person when asked if Gene and Minnell had an affair, or even if Gene was gay.

And Arthur Laurents, who was a member of the Kelly's Saturday afternoon volleyball crowd and Sunday night house party crowd, and was an out gay man in the 40s (his lover, who also came to the events, was Farley Granger) has also said in print and in person that Kelly was not only NOT gay, but a bit homophobic.

So I don't think there was anything between Kelly and Minnelli. Minnelli's boy toys were most likely hunky bit players and hot chorus boys.

by Jungle Redreply 5703/17/2010

Minnelli doesn't strike me as that sexual at all. A romantic? Yes. But not sexual. I think he didn't get around like you guys are implying (rampant promiscuity = yet another gay stereotype).

by Jungle Redreply 5803/17/2010

I always thought that Minnelli was the perfect husband for Garland, because he was probably not sexually demanding, and she was by some accounts frigid and afraid of sex. They were both romantics, but low-sexed.

by Jungle Redreply 5903/17/2010

Oh, please, R59.

Judy was a famous nymphomaniac who slept with, among others besides her husbands, Artie Shaw, Orson Welles, bisexual Tyrone Power, and had long affairs with Johnny Mercer and Joseph Mankiewicz.

The one thing she never was was FRIGID.

by Jungle Redreply 6003/17/2010

Clang, clang, clang, went the Trolley!

Ding, ding, ding, went the Bell

Zing, zing, zing, went my hearstrings

From the moment I saw him I fell.

by Jungle Redreply 6103/17/2010

"Home From The Hill" is one of my favorite Minnelli films. Classic family melodrama. It featured Robert Mitchum as a philandering Texas rancher, scenery-munching Eleanor Parker as the wronged wife, and HOT George Peppard as a studly young ranch hand.

by Jungle Redreply 6203/17/2010

Judy was like Madame Bovary. She loved romance, but not sex. Yes, she had romantic relationships with men, usually men older than herself, father figures who filled an emotional need. But I don't think sex was involved.

by Jungle Redreply 6303/17/2010

Finally, in the middle of the night, this thread took off! Where have you all been?

by Jungle Redreply 6403/18/2010

I know the framing device is ridiculous, but I love MADAME BOVARY. The ballroom scene is one of my favorite scenes of all time. The way the scene is choerographed to Miklos Rosza's (sp.) waltz is gorgeous fimmaking.

I've always preferred THE BAND WAGON to AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. I think it's more of Minnelli's film whereas PARIS is more of a Kelly film.

by Jungle Redreply 6503/18/2010

What a bummer that Roddy's memoirs are sealed for a century. By the time they are opened and read, nobody will care. It would be like opening the Nora Bayes papers and finding out that Gallagher and Shean shot heroin.

by Jungle Redreply 6603/18/2010

R60 you neglected to mention Yul Brynner ('while Liza was still in her crib' confirmed by his son, and Liza's good friend, Rock Brynner) and the 'sympathy fucks' from Sinatra (despite the fact that he hated sloppy drunk women).

Judy was a mess no one could clean up.

by Jungle Redreply 6703/18/2010

Good comment on him being a window-dresser at heart. I love the colours and sets of THE BANDWAGON, and his decor, particulary in THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE and DESIGNING WOMAN. All those splashes of yellows and reds ... pure Minnelli. He knows how to showcase ladies like Charisse, Kay Kendall, Dolores Gray and of course Judy.

But like Hitchock, Cukor and the others he was old and past it by the time the 60s arrived.

by Jungle Redreply 6803/18/2010

Don't forget he directed the bomb that exploded before making it to Broadway, "Mata Hari".

by Jungle Redreply 6903/18/2010

R65 I think Minnelli's version of "Madame Bovary" is the best filmed version yet made, certainly better than the Chabrol version with La Huppert. I love how the music in Rosza waltz scene builds to this incredible, almost painful ecstasy, at which point the ballgoers start screaming for the windows to be smashed open to get some fresh air- and the windows are smashed (an additional detail not in the novel IIRC).

by Jungle Redreply 7003/18/2010

John Simon said something to the effect in his review of "Minnelli on Minnelli" that Liza inherited her father's looks and her mother's judgement. Ouch.

But I digress. I've been wanting to see "A Matter of Time" for the longest time, and found it on Youtube.

Grainy video, but I'm curious to see why it was so bad.

Offsite Link
by Jungle Redreply 7103/19/2010

interview with Minnelli biographer Mark Griffin

Offsite Link
by Jungle Redreply 7203/19/2010

I disagree R59

Garland was so grossly insecure she'd sleep with anyone and Minnelli was so introverted and reserved that she undoubtedly wore him out with her neediness - emotional, sexual and otherwise. She wore out many, many people with her demandingly needy nature.

by Jungle Redreply 7304/17/2010
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