sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2016-08-24 01:43 pm

What kind of a foreign interpreter looks like that?

Like many then-viewers of Doctor Who, I ended up liking the writing of the Eleventh Doctor much less than his casting, but I still thought for six years that Matt Smith must have been an amazing Korovyev/Fagott in David Rudkin's The Master and Margarita (2004). I finally found visual confirmation:

Korovyev


He's missing the half-cracked pince-nez, but all of his plaids clash with one another. I'll take it. I have the diabolic on my mind because I dreamed last night about a black-and-white film of Damn Yankees which still starred Gwen Verdon—the irreplaceable Lola—but was otherwise much more Val Lewton than Broadway. I'm not sure it had any music. It might actually have been an adaptation of Douglass Wallop's The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (1954). It's the first dream whose particulars I've remembered in months.

[identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com 2016-08-24 07:28 pm (UTC)(link)
My instinct is to say I didn't much like the casting of Eleven, either -- but I'll admit that's because I can't separate the performance from what's being performed, and my annoyance at the writing bleeds over to Smith.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
My instinct is to say I didn't much like the casting of Eleven, either -- but I'll admit that's because I can't separate the performance from what's being performed, and my annoyance at the writing bleeds over to Smith.

I really liked (http://sovay.livejournal.com/318799.html) Eleven when he started, and I liked Matt Smith's weird, foreshortened, back-of-the-balcony face and his quick-moving lanky body. I liked the character increasingly less as the scripts went on, but it wasn't that I found Smith's acting inherently grating so much as I didn't like the way the show used him. He had not just a time-slipped, but an age-slipped quality in his first few appearances that I thought was incredibly effective for an immortal shape-changer who doesn't live linearly through anything; his Doctor looked too young to order his own drinks and too dorky to know what to do with them, but then he would start talking and that ancient, terrifying, alien dispassion would show through. I loved him as Amy's Raggedy Man, the tricksterish and affectionate companion of her childhood; there were some really interesting implications, soon discarded, that he was in part playing to her ideas of him, because he really liked who she imagined him to be—kinder, more heroic, more innocent than he felt he was or deserved to be. The outlines of that might have been the writing, but the emotional textures were Smith's. More and more, the only thing Moffat seemed to want from him was mercurial surrealism. He was good when he was quiet. He didn't get enough chances to be.
Edited 2016-08-25 00:40 (UTC)

[identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 08:46 am (UTC)(link)
My problem off the bat was that Nine was a little manic, Ten was more manic, and Eleven was even more manic-er. As you say, he was good when he was quiet, but they didn't give him enough chances to do that; instead he initially registered on me as Tennant Lite, Now with Added Caffeine. (I was exceedingly glad to see they toned it down with Capaldi, rather than cranking it up yet again.)

They did eventually differentiate him more . . . but they did so by a) making him really angry and hostile sometimes, and b) increasingly putting him in the middle of scripts that kept loudly pointing out how awesome the Doctor was and wasn't he just the most amazingly specialest person in the world who slept with Queen Elizabeth and kept getting called by Winston Churchill for help and gave Vincent Van Gogh the happiest day of his life and so on and so forth. And it is really, really hard for me to separate his acting from that, so that I can admire his performance without being profoundly annoyed by the script telling me to admire his character.

[identity profile] moon-custafer.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
Matt Smith as Koroviev--- oooooh..... Who was Behemoth? ETA -- Dean Nolan, must google him...
Edited 2016-08-25 01:07 (UTC)

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 01:19 am (UTC)(link)
Who was Behemoth? ETA -- Dean Nolan, must google him...

The name rings no bells, but I can see this person as a gigantic black cat:

Image

[edit] With cat ears, it looks like:

Image

I approve.
Edited 2016-08-25 01:22 (UTC)

[identity profile] ladymondegreen.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
Oddly, I'm reading about the making of Damn Yankees and about the dissolution of the Fosse and Verdon partnership. I wonder if my lack of sleep is shunting my dreams elsewhere.

[identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com 2016-08-25 05:05 am (UTC)(link)
I wonder if my lack of sleep is shunting my dreams elsewhere.

It wasn't a bad movie, just a little confusing in that I expected musical numbers and none were to be found.