hank (hank) wrote,

A true earwrom

"Earworm" has become common parlance for any song that gets stuck in your head, but when I think of them, I think of ones that get in their when you're not expecting them, and even if they'd be the last one you'd consider twice. I'm thinking about this because right now, I've got a beaut running around in my head.

My Tivo has learned to know me enough that any highly rated film that shows up on Turner Classic Movies gets recorded. Thus it was that I got to watch "Rose Marie," with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

Time has not been kind to this film, although it does have charm. But modern audiences are going to find it a bit silly to have folks suddenly singing like this (I can remember people laughing out loud at the "Indian Love Call" number back in '74 in "That's Entertainment"), and the less written about the sojurn in the Indian village, the better.

It's also an interesting relic in another way, as the role of the ne'er-do-well brother of Jeanette MacDonald is played by an impossibly young "James Stewart." It's a little like Richie Cunningham playing the part of the Fonz, although Stewart is good enough to pull it off. It's basically an old-fashioned (and it was old-fashioned when it came out, in 1935) operatta, where the opera singer from the Big City falls for the Mountie who's chasing down her brother.

The song that's caught in my head is the song that introduces the character Nelson Eddy plays in this movie, the Canadian Mountie. Some care was taken in the movie to make Nelson Eddy as macho as possible, which is one of the reasons the film looks so funny today, as Nelson Eddy is perhaps the gayest human male I've ever seen. He could tweak the gaydar of 90 year-olds from Kansas City who are convinced they've never seen a gay man. The only way he's convincing as a Mountie is that I'm certain he will always get his man.

And so the filmmakers went to some trouble to butch him up, starting with his very first entrance, riding at the head of a troop of Mounties. And when this hyperventilating, over-testosteroned Mountie troop enter, they're singing what's meant to be a lusty Mountie song--"Dead or Alive! We are out to get you--Dead or Alive!" If you put it in a theater today, there wouldn't be a dry seat in the house.

And THAT, of all things, is what's gotten caught somewhere in the back of my brain. I'll be walking over to Peets and whistling:

Deep deep ba-deep!
Deep de-deep de-deep da-deep deep ba-deep!

Could've been worse, of course. I coulda been Rick Roll'd.
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