“..and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” pic.twitter.com/dS3lPp1wOz. The first sign of trouble comes when Sondheim suggests to the tiring diva, “I have a feeling we oughta take it down a half tone, just because it’s late.”. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. EW.com - PopWatch Pennebaker and the crew made nearly the entire film in the confines of a recording studio; Columbia (now Sony) was recording the album under the aegis of the record producer Thomas Z. Shepard, joined by Sondheim himself. When the image zooms out to reveal Stritch’s place among her fellow-singers, it’s clear that she’s the dramatic center even of numbers in which she doesn’t solo. The opening song of Sondheim’s 1970s musical Company introduces the main character, Bobby, the five married couples he is friends with, and his three girlfriends. Often, a performance of great intensity, when filmed, seems merely to be recorded, neutralizing both its cinematic essence and its theatrical one. Sondheim was a prodigy who grew up under the mentorship of his father figure, legendary musical lyricist Oscar Hammerstein; he learned his craft so well that his musical theater debut was writing the lyrics to West Side Story when he was just 27. It’s now finally been released in digital form for the first time ever, through Criterion — and it’s marvelous. Pennebaker’s documentary has been nearly unknown except to true theater zealots, surfacing only as rare YouTube clips and the occasional esoteric reference. The cinematography throughout is both agile and probing: the cameras keep physical distance from the performers, zooming in for closeups of a skin-tight proximity. The essence of theatre is the fear factor—an anxious astonishment at being in the very same place as a performance so extreme that one dreads it spilling offstage, even as, in its emotional power, it’s already doing so. One Good Thing is Vox’s recommendations feature. The executive producers share what they believe makes Sondheim's work so distinctive, and what they hope viewers take away from the documentary. Directed by Tony Award-winner and frequent Stephen Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, Six by Sondheim is a highly personal profile of a great American artist as revealed through the creation and performance of six of his iconic songs.Read More What Pennebaker captures is all of the tension, humor, and frequent wry exasperation of a legendary creative team as they spend a long, grueling day wrestling with one of Broadway’s most famous and challenging musicals. Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Will Help the World Recover From the Bitter Pill of 2020, Why ‘Mank’ and ‘Borat 2’ Are Serious Oscar Contenders in a Very Strange Year, ‘Soul’ Aims for Oscar Glory as Disney Shifts to Streaming, but Not All Films Deserve the Same Release, Introducing ‘Deep Dive’: Damon Lindelof and His Team Go Behind the Scenes of ‘Watchmen’, ‘Succession’: How Editing Helps Every Dinner Scene Come to Life — Deep Dive, Becoming Hooded Justice: The ‘Watchmen’ Craft Team Analyzes the Emotional, Pivotal Scene – Deep Dive, 38 Must-See New Movies to See This Fall Season, Zoe Lister-Jones Shook Up Hollywood with Her All-Female Crew, Now She’s Doing It with ‘The Craft: Legacy’, I Was a ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant, and I Saw How Alex Trebek Embodied the Pursuit of Knowledge. She keeps her radiantly acerbic good humor, joking with Hastings as well as with Sondheim, who casually raises the tension, warning her that “this is the permanent recording, therefore it’s important.” Stritch’s first rendition is filmed in a single, uninterrupted four-and-a-half-minute take, and its intensity is almost unbearably great.

Here, as throughout the film, the documentary shifts perspectives, from the performers at their microphones to the glassed-in and soundproofed control booth, where Shepard and Sondheim evaluate the performances (in unstinting terms that the actors don’t hear) and make decisions.

Pennebaker Is Crowdfunding a New Documentary on Chimpanzee Rights. Richard Brooks’s passionate and cinema-centric drama, from 1969, burrows deeply into one woman’s harrowing experience of domestic life. ‌If you’re a current HBO subscriber, you might already have access to HBO Max — all of HBO plus blockbuster movies, must-see series, and new Max Originals. Of course, younger audiences know her Emmy-winning turn as Jack Donaghy’s sharp-tongued mother in “30 Rock,” and Broadway fans will never forget her Tony-winning one woman show “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” the film version of which incidentally united her with Pennebaker decades later. Pennebaker’s esoteric opening line sets us up for a bit of egocentrism — and the studio where Company was recorded was swimming in it. Only rarely does the opposite happen—that a performance of hypnotic cinematic allure also seems as if it’s bursting through the screen. The Trump legal team’s failed Four Seasons press conference, explained. who died over the weekend at the age of 94, 'Documentary Now! Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox. The cult hit documentary for the cult hit musical is finally on a cult hit streaming platform. The former CEO of Google has applied to become a citizen of Cyprus. “And it was so good of Penny to get it, because it tells a big story. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights.