(John Podhoretz’s article appeared in The New York Post, 6/30; via the Drudge Report.)
For more than four decades, screen mavens have been eagerly awaiting the time when Steven Spielberg would bite the bullet and make a full-blown movie musical. Now he’s done it. It comes out at Christmastime.
And he’s going to be canceled for it.
Yes, sometime around Thanksgiving, Spielberg — whose work over more than half a century now runs the gamut from unprecedented blockbusters and franchises (“Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park”) to painful works about hinge moments in history (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) — is going to go through the fires of cultural and political hell.
Let me explain.
Two years ago, when he announced he was going into production on “West Side Story,” Hollywood cognoscenti understood Spielberg was swinging for the fences as a potential capstone of his glorious career.
The most successful director of all time remaking a beloved 1961 film that itself won an Academy Award for Best Picture and nine others besides? He would only take such a reputational risk if he saw gold — Oscar gold — at the end of the rainbow.
The eagerness to see what Spielberg could do as the director of a musical arises from a five-minute dance number he included in his notorious flop “1941” back in 1979, in which a sailor evades a beatdown from a soldier in a USO hall by sliding under tables, running up the sides of walls and Lindy-hopping himself to safety.