Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saw the film "Florence Foster Jenkins" - Who Was She?

movie poster
Tom has a CD from the 1940s singer "Florence Foster Jenkins" and was anxious to see the movie, so to get out of the house and not in the heat we saw the film by the same name on Sunday. Tom loved it. I thought it was good. Although I wasn't really interested in it, I enjoyed it and you will, too.

This is based on a  true story, starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg, and directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena). One of the highlights for me (Rob) was the funny performance and facial expressions of the pianist, who is played by :"Howard" (Simon Helberg) on the Big Bang Theory. He was hysterical.

WHAT IS THE MOVIE ABOUT? -  It tells the inspirational true story of the eponymous New York heiress who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer even though she couldn't hold a tune!  The promoters said "the film celebrates the human spirit, the power of music and the passion of amateurs everywhere."

WHO WAS FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS? - Here's an article from the Los Angeles times that explains who she is (see below the video)


Los Angeles Times
In the new biopic, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” Meryl Streep plays the title role of a wealthy philanthropist with the desire — but not the talent — to be a singer. The Stephen Frears film is based on the real-life character who was a prominent figure in New York arts scene for almost half a century.

Born into a wealthy Wilkes-Barre, Penn., family, Nascina Florence Foster took piano lessons up until the age of 15, when she married 30-year-old Dr. Frank Jenkins, who most likely gave her syphilis, a then-incurable disease. When the pair separated after three years, she kept the doctor’s name and returned to music, attending the Philadelphia Academy of Music.

Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944), who will be played by Meryl Streep in the biopic "Florence Foster Jenkins," was a singing socialite who was unaware of her poor singing ability. (Getty)
She moved to New York City and with the help of her father’s inheritance started programming musical recitals, often for women’s groups. During one performance in 1909, she met St. Clair Bayfield — played by Hugh Grant in the biopic — an accomplished English actor who became her partner and later her manager.

Jenkins still dreamed of being an opera singer and she started giving performances for some of the groups she supported such as the Verdi Club. Her singing, which was by all accounts awful, was greeted with enthusiasm by club members no doubt grateful for her sizable contributions. She continued to do live performances for decades.

Though she received generally terrible reviews from critics after releasing her first record, Jenkins remained convinced of her vocal talent. She considered the critics ignorant and held private performances to which they were not invited.

When performing, Jenkins would dress in extravagant homemade costumes and throw flowers into the audience. The highlight of her career came on Oct. 24, 1944, when she performed at Carnegie Hall where tickets were for once available to the general public (and music critics).
Two days after the performance, the blissfully oblivious singer suffered a heart attack, and one month later she died in her Manhattan home at the age of 76. During her last days, Jenkins reportedly said, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next