Song Of The Day 12/23/2014: Oliver Reed & Joyce Blair - "Baby It's Cold Outside"



Christmas Week: I first fell in love with the singing voice of the late Oliver Reed in his role as Frank in the movie adaptation of The Who’s Tommy. Such a deceptively complicated, nuanced role for the burly antagonizer from Wimbledon. His duets with Ann-Margret from the film are lithe minuets, studies in the hypnosis of degrees, testaments to the capacity of the vocals to shift a mood from light to dark with disciplined, airy security. Why, just have a look at how totally Reed owns this moment in “What About The Boy?”
Perhaps I could offer a more immediate, concise example of Reed’s ownership of Tommy and the delicacy of his gilded pipes as he responds, with all due elegance, to Ann-Margret’s pleading “Do You Think It’s All Right?”
Well… goodness, this is a little embarrassing. But surely Reed rebounded with “Uncle Ernie,” where he –
Okay, okay. Maybe Reed’s musical presence in Tommy makes me long for the revelation of Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon, or George Burns in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper. But he really does achieve a kind of charm – uncomfortable, pervy and kind of malevolent, what with the drink-spiking and all – in this version of the classic holiday duet with minor British actress Joyce Blair. Yes, I think it’s all right.

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