Diva + Dreamboat = Dynamic Duo

by James Hampton

I just left the Inwood Theater and I can’t stop humming the “love theme” that Erich Wolfgang Korngold composed for the score to The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. Korngold was an established composer and had several operas, ballets, and orchestral works under his belt before Hollywood pressed him into service. He was nominated for 4 Academy Awards and won twice. But I digress from my title…

The Diva is, of course, the incomparable Bette Davis -- the Dreamboat is Errol Flynn. The two stars didn’t enjoy working with each other…well…OK…they really despised each other -- but the film is a wonderful technicolor adventure and relates directly to our January opera -- Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. Both the film and the opera explore the relationship of Queen Elizabeth I and her last lover, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. We may never know the extent to which either version is historically accurate -- but there is no doubt that each telling of the story is engaging.

Many thanks to all that came out to join us this evening. I hope to see you at other “Figaro in Flip-flops” events.

James Hampton, Artistic Administration Coordinator.

One Response to Diva + Dreamboat = Dynamic Duo

Gordon K. Smith, Film Historian says: August 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

Thanks for the presentation of THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX at the Inwood. It’s great to see these old films on the big screen as they were originally intended, in a venue dedicated to lovers of movies and all fine arts. Please do more! One technical note: When you’re showing a movie, such as TPLOE&E, made prior to the switch to widescreen formats in 1954, please project it in the proper 4×3 format. That night’s viewers might have noticed a slight distortion in the image, as a result of showing a pre-widescreen film in the wrong aspect ratio.