Duet for One [VHS]

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  • Brilliant, Overlooked Performance by Julie Andrews
    When will this be released on DVD! Julie Andrews, in the right director's hands, is capable of brilliance, and this film shows it. This is a raw performance by Andrews, in which she took risks she rarely took elsewhere (even in the films directed by her husband, who was perhaps not her best director). There's now a sad parallel in her character's plight and her own life (years after this movie) in that both Stephanie and Andrews each lose the talents that informed their lives and self-images: Stephanie loses her ability to play the violin (because of MS) and Andrews, about a decade after filming "Duet" lost her ability to sing. It's also sad that the industry didn't recognize Andrews' Oscar-worthy performance in DUET. If it had, or if the film had landed commercially, I suspect we would have seen Andrews in more strong, non-singing roles. But, alas, Andrews never seemed to fight public rejection (witness her leaving the movies for many years after failures in Star! and Darling Lili; Nicole Kidman (and many others) hardly pull roots after two consecutive failures). Anyway, the movie itself has flaws, but it's also brave in not giving us a typical Hollywood uplifting ending. Watch it for Julie Andrews' intelligent, gutsy performances. ...more info
    Tom Kempinski's play "DUET FOR ONE" was originally a two -character drama between Stephanie, a world-famous violinist who is stricken with multiple sclerosis, and her psychiatrist. The film opens the story up considerably to include many people in Stephanie's crumbling life. Julie Andrews' performance as Stephanie is a major dramatic revelation. Max Von Sydow reprises his role from the stage version (very reduced in the film) as her psychiatrist, and Alan Bates plays her philandering musician husband. The scene between Bates and Andrews in the car after a picnic is full of dramatic fireworks and painfully sad.
    The film also features early performances by Rupert Everett as Stephanie's pupil and Liam Neeson as Harry, a man Stephanie has an affair with after her marriage ends. But the film belongs to Julie Andrews, who gives a tour-de-force performance that completely shatters her "Mary Poppins"/"Sound Of Music" stereotyped image.
    The film is sometimes dire and often depressing. It also pulls no punches in its brutally honest, realistic portrayal of living with a disability. When her psychiatrist mentions she has choices in life, she responds, "You're right. There's crippled, very crippled, totally crippled, and dead. I just haven't made up my mind yet." To her lover Harry she says, "You like me because I'm a cripple. Come on, admit it, it turns you on. What's your speciality; paraplegics?" Stephanie does attempt suicide in an especially harrowing scene, but, thankfully, she is saved by her loyal housekeeper.
    As soul-wrenching as it all is, this overlooked drama is extremely worthwhile-- worth it for the strength of Julie Andrews' performance alone. It's a crime that Andrews did not receive the Academy Award nomination she clearly deserved for her work in this film. I found this film on Amazon Marketplace only on VHS. I hope it will someday be released on DVD....more info
  • Heartbreaking and Wonderful
    All of the people who claim that Julie Andrews' acting abilities are limited should sit down and watch this movie (right alongside "That's Life!"). This is "mature" Julie; no longer perky, or goody-two-shoes. This is Julie portraying a woman who literally loses everything (her motor skills; devastating to a violinist, her husband, her best students and ultimately her life). Yes, the movie is a little depressing at times and I concur with some of the other reviewers that Max von Sydow's and Alan Bates' performances were basically phoned in but this movie isn't about them. It's all about Ms. Andrews, and she is magnificent. It is a real shame this movie never opened wide release in the states (I saw it at a tiny art house in Washington DC when it opened). I keep praying that will come out on DVD but I'm not holding my breath. Whatever form you get this in, you absolutely must watch it. The scene of Julie (sick) watching herself on the television (healthy) still gives me the chills. A must-see film by all accounts. ...more info
  • When the reality overpasses the fiction!
    Julie Andrews makes the most robust performances on screen through this vivid, intimate and sadly adaptation based on a true and sensitive testimony of the real life. She is attacked by a degenerative sclerosis that eventually will lead to the grave. She plays the role of a famed violinist (in the real life she was a very talented cellist) who suffers this awful penury, nevertheless she possesses that untamed will, materializing this epic fight against the destiny. Backstage his husband a director is cheating her with another woman, artist too. Fine performances of Alan Bates and max Von Sydow.
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  • Julie Andrews at Her Best
    I give it 5 stars because of Julie Andrews' performance in this movie. Her acting talents are often overlooked. The movie is quite depessing and isn't for everyone. But if you're looking for a powerful movie this one is worth watching....more info
  • Julie Andrews at her best
    An understated film about a concert violinist's struggle with the physical and emotional traumas of multiple sclerosis is given life by Julie Andrews' performance, the best dramatic portrayal of her career. Her ability to reveal the character's motivations, fears and character traits, warts and all, is illuminating and rewarding, particularly in her scenes with husband Alan Bates, and protege Rupert Everett....more info
  • Incredible Andrews performance
    Julie Andrews gives a performance of amazing depth. A wonderful movie with a cast that includes Rupert Everett as her protege and Liam Neeson whom she has a steamy affair with. Not to be missed....more info
  • a reminder for all of us.
    This book speaks from the core of what life is al about. Without music, without being able to express yourself, without love and the sharing of one's love there is nothing in life left for to live. This book says it all and Miss Andrews has given us a message to think hard about. END...more info