If you love gorgeous period clothing and interior design, be sure not to miss the new film, Florence Foster Jenkins. Tom Huizenga wrote a charming and fact-filled review of the Stephen Frears film which you must read.
Pearl was a big movie goer her entire life, even after she needed a wheelchair to transport her from her car in the parking lot to her seat in the theater. She would have enjoyed watching this biopic about a colorful, well-liked woman. It takes one to know one. Like Pearl, Florence knew how to dress, how to wear big jewelry and how to have a good time. They both owned supper clubs: Florence had the Verdi Club and Pearl owned Critic’s Choice. And they both loved to sing. Where they differ is that Pearl could carry a tune, masterfully; Florence could not!
Pearl had a Florence Foster Jenkins album in her eclectic record collection. She got a real kick out of its kitchy quality. Judy Kaye did a masterful job of bringing Flo Fo back to life in the 2005 Broadway production of Souvenir, with co-star Donald Corren playing her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. Then there’s the French version, Marguerite, starring Catherine Frot . In it, FFJ’s character is reformulated under the name Marguerite Dumont, a clear jab at Margaret Dumont, the straight-woman foil in the hilarious Marx Brother’s Night at the Opera. Meryl Streep and Simon Helberg do a swell job with the roles of Florence and Cosme in the newly released film, with Hugh Grant playing Florence’s companion/director/sometime-husband, St. Clair Bayfield.
She may have been known as “the diva of din” for her inability to reach the high notes, but was it merely an act or had the arsenic and mercury used to treat her syphilis caused a ringing in her ears that prevented her from hearing just how bad she sounded? You be the judge.