Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love
USA, 2013, 85 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Biographical, Documentary, Music
Marvin Hamlisch followed his passion and made it happen. In turn he inspired all who have heard his music to find joy in life. He was accepted into Juilliard at age six to study classical piano, but he had a crusade to get Gershwin and Cole Porter into the concert halls.
In a time before Broadway musicals remade films, composers like Hamlisch captured the essence of the era. A Chorus Line spoke to a 1970s New York yearning for a rebirth and a generation seeking individualism. Hamlisch revised “I Hope I Get It” until it not only represented that desperate struggle experienced by hundreds of hopeful performers pursuing their dream of becoming a Broadway sensation, but also the strife of any one person trying to make a mark in a unending sea of conformity. There were 21 curtain calls on opening night.
This documentary is also a perfect crash course on how important music is in being the “emotion lotion” of film. Cinematic synaethesia is the combining of an image and sound to create meaning that individually represented would not have the same effect. Everyone is familiar with the song “The Way We Were”; very magical on its own, however, Hamlisch insisted (despite the cost even if it came out of his own pocket) that he could redo the cue at the end of the film coinciding with Barbra Streisand touching Robert Redford’s hair. The result is one of cinema’s most iconic moments.
The above are just two examples of his epic résumé. He made no apologies in doing whatever made him absolutely happy. Those interviewed in this doc (Streisand and Liza Minnelli, among others) not only reflect on his contribution to Broadway and film, but on his philosophy of life. As Rupert Holmes observed, “When Marvin passed, it was like the circus had left town.” Indeed, things haven’t seemed as much fun since.
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DIRECTOR: Dori Berinstein
Producer: Dori Berinstein
Editor: Penelope Falk
Screenwriter: Dori Berinstein
Cinematographer: Alan Deutsch, Jimmy O'Donnell