There's an old Donald O'Connor musical called There's No Business Like Show Business
. It might be more familiar to people as an early Marilyn Monroe vehicle. Anyways, it's not a great movie. Far from it. But it's occasionally fun one, and there's one number in particular that always struck me as a perfect use of Donald O'Connor's immense talents (that he isn't regularly brought up in the same breath as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly is a sin). At one point in the film, Donald O'Connor's character says goodnight to Marilyn Monroe. He leaves and finds himself in an adjacent garden area with statues. And he sings about falling in love with her and starts dancing as all of the surrounding statues come to life and join him in this exuberant celebration of ecstatic new love. I want to say the song is "A Man Chases A Woman Til She Catches Him" but I could be wrong.
That moment always worked because in a film chock full of people randomly breaking into song, the track matched the intensity of O'Connor's character's emotions. I mean, if you'd just experienced intense sexual/romantic tension with Marilyn Monroe, you'd probably want to burst into random song & dance in a public place yourself. Your feelings would be that dramatic and over-the-top. It worked because of how ridiculous it was, not in spite of it. And I get the same vibes from The Lumineers' latest video, "Ophelia," albeit in a much more subdued sense.
I wrote a piece last week about The Lumineers who had dropped the first single, "Ophelia," off their upcoming second album (and the broader implications of indie music snobbery)
, and I'm not going to rehash those points except to say that, as I predicted, "Ophelia" has turned out to be a grower. The mellow folk ballad about an intense love is paired with a video that finds the Lumineers' frontman, Wesley Schultz, having an out-of-body experience as he sings "Ophelia" on stage and then transitions to dancing in the streets as his soul/consciousness/whatever leaves his body.
Clearly, Wesley Schultz isn't Donald O'Connor. Have you ever seen Singin' in the Rain
, and specifically the bit for "Make 'Em Laugh?" Donald O'Connor was a national dancing treasure and I'll brook no disagreement on this front. But, that's alright. Wesley Schultz brings an egalitarian appeal to this subtle dancing. It's the way I would feel after a great date and I'm walking the girl to the subway and suddenly I can't get "We Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady
out of my head as I walk by myself back to my apartment and there's a skip to my step and I'm humming showtunes and I'm getting strange looks from passerbys and I couldn't give fewer f***s because that's how happy this person made me. The Lumineers get that in this video, and now I'm uncertain that I'll even be able to hear this song without having visions of Wesley Schultz doing his Gene Kelly-lite moves in modern streets. And I'm pretty sure you'll feel the same way.