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Monday, March 21, 2011

Finian's Rainbow (1968)

Finian's Rainbow was a bit of a disappointment for me. The story didn't make much since, even if you tried picturing yourself in their fictional world. Fred is too old at this point to impress with his dancing, and nobody else really stepped up in that department either. It's packed full of songs, and you'll love Petula Clark's voice, but even most of the songs weren't for me. Tommy Steele played a leprechaun in this movie, and his performance at times was great, and at times just annoying. He really went for it though, and had as much energy as any character I've seen on film. I guess I'm glad I watched it, but it's not something I ever plan to watch again.

Most of the routines I would have liked to have shared were not available for embed on YouTube. ("When The Idle Poor Become The Idle Rich", "Rain Dance Ballet", "The Begat" & "When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love")

Old Devil Moon
This is the only clip from the film I'm embedding & it's sung by Don Francks & Petula Clark.

Look To The Rainbow
An older, but still talented Petula Clark.

That Great Come And Get It Day
Sammy Davis Jr. singing a song from the movie.

More Info: (Source)
- Because of its satire on racism, this popular 1947 Broadway musical was considered such a hot potato in Hollywood that studios would not touch it unless they were allowed to change the story. Its original creators, E.Y. Harburg, Burton Lane and Fred Saidy, held out and by 1968 it was able to be filmed with very few changes.
- This was Fred Astaire's last (non-compilation) musical.
- One early attempt to film the musical was as an animated feature to be directed by John Hubley. It was during development of this unfinished project that Hubley first collaborated with future wife Faith Hubley (then Faith Elliot). The soundtrack for the animated film was already completed and the entire film had been storyboarded. The voice talents included Frank Sinatra (as Woody), Barry Fitzgerald (Finian), Jim Backus (Senator Rawkins), Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and from the original Broadway cast Ella Logan (Sharon) and David Wayne (Og). The project died when Hubley refused to "name names" when he testified before The House Un-American Activities Committee. Hubley was blacklisted and Chemical Bank, which was providing the financing, withdrew funding for the proposed film. Artwork done for the movie appears in the PBS documentary "Independent Spirits - The Faith and John Hubley Story" and the Sinatra prerecordings are available on the CD Box-set "Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964."


  1. Odd thing... although they did have the town built, and some scenes were filmed outdoors, a huge chunk of the movie (including the Devil Moon clip above) was shot on a soundstage. Reportedly, Fred Astaire didn't want to sing and dance "in cow dung", so the greenery was shipped indoors.

  2. Fred shouldn't have to dance in dung. It would be like Doris Day singing in the middle of a NASCAR race. :p