I randomly came across this movie when it was on free to air TV a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Based on the life of a real person – and I actually looked up the real woman and was happy to see how historically accurate the movie is – Florence Foster Jenkins tells the story of a Gilded Age New York socialite who, near the end of her life, decides she has what it takes to become a famous opera singer.
The problem? She can’t sing to save herself. She becomes infamous rather than famous.
This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. You laugh and laugh … and then suddenly you’re crying because it really is a tragic story.
Meryl Streep actually trained as an opera singer (something I just learnt), and – much like the character of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera – in order to sing badly, you first have to learn to sing properly.
The real woman really was an appalling singer, and because she paid to have records of her voice made, you can listen to her even now. She’s even worse than in the movie.
The costumes in this movie are worth your time alone.
Streep was ROBBED of the Oscar for this performance (it went to La La Land that year), and both Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg (who is most famous as a sitcom actor, but who is actually a trained concert pianist) were nominated for Golden Globes for their parts. They’re both brilliant, too.
US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972 resulted in significant changes in relations between the two countries.
During the visit, Nixon and his wife attended a performance of the communist ballet Red Detachment of Women. The ballet, based on a 1961 film of the same name, which itself was based on a book, was staged on the 22nd of February, 1972.
Red Detachment of Women, one of only a few ballets permitted in China during the Cultural Revolution, is still in the repertoire of the National Ballet of China.
This 1950s image shows dancers of the Borovansky Ballet in the snow scene from The Nutcracker. The company, created by Czech immigrant Edouard Borovansky and his wife Xenia in the 1940s, was used as the basis for The Australian Ballet, which was founded in 1962.