Monday, March 23, 2015

At the Movies - Lucy (2003)

After seeing Everybody Loves Lucy a few weeks back I was inspired to find out more about the charismatic redhead so when this movie popped up on YouTube I just had to watch.

Lucy (2003) tells the story of Lucille Balls rise to fame and her tumultuous relationship with husband Desi Arnaz. The movie starts with Lucille as a young girl in the midst of her first romance with a local bootlegger. In order to put an end to the relationship Lucille's mother save the money to send her to drama school in New York. However drama school does not go as Lucille planned and after the principle returns her tuition telling her she does not have what it takes Lucille returns to her family home.
The family suffer a setback and are left peniless when a local neighbourhood kid is paralysed while target shooting with Lucille's grandfather and her brother. Lucy does not give up and spends the 1930's working as a cigerette girl and model. Lucille soon manages to get herself a contract and ends up in a string of B movies. 

Lucy meets and befriends Caroll Lombard and Lucy and Desi meet whilst working on a film together. They eventually marry but while Lucy's career continues to soar Desi's film contract gets cancelled and when he gets sick of being recognized as Lucille Ball's husband he turns to womanizing, drinking and gambling. 

After recovering from Lombard's death in 1943, she moves to Metro Goldwyn Mayer and becomes a red-head for her new picture DuBarry Was a Lady, with fellow comedian Red Skelton (Mark Clare). All is not well on the home-front, however, what with Desi away in the service and persistent rumors of his infidelity. The death of her grandfather, Fred Hunt, and a devastating miscarriage only makes matters worse.
After being released from MGM, silent movie legend Buster Keaton (Ian Mune) takes Lucy under his wing, convinced of her talent as a clown. Her comedic skills further gestate on her new radio program, My Favorite Husband. Lucy not only becomes more convinced of her comedic abilities, but of her desire to work with Desi to keep them together.
Gathering the radio team together, the idea for I Love Lucy is formed and pitched to CBS. Although skeptical of the public's readiness to buy Arnaz as Ball's husband, the couple set out to prove them wrong by performing musical and comedy routines on the road, and the network gives way, convinced the show will flop.

It proves a huge success, however, and remains a favorite for the next six years, overcoming a communist scare and even incorporating Lucille's real-life second pregnancy into the show, forever changing the shape of television.

By 1958, their company, Desilu had bought the former RKO studio where Lucille had once worked, and continued to expand as a television empire. Lucy and Desi's relationship problems increase, however, with Desi's worsening alcoholism and Lucille's fierce commitment to her craft making her more and more difficult to work with.

By 1960, it was obvious they could not go on, and prepared to end their show along with their marriage. The film concludes after the taping has ended, with Lucy and Desi walking out of the studio, hand in hand, no longer a couple but still friends, bonded for life by what they had accomplished.
Although this movie has a lot of bad reviews I absolutely adored it. The film has a perfect balance of comedy and drama topped of with a heart wrenching and bittersweet ending. I thought Rachel York perfectly embodied Lucy and got her mannerisms and sense of comic timing down pat and Danny Pino made a fab Desi. True fans of Lucille Ball will pick up on the inaccuracies on the movie such as some recreations of episodes of I Love Lucy that did not occur and events not in the correct chronological order but the movie is highly entertaining and is a must for Lucy fans.

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