Film Review – Bolt (2008)

August 15, 2014

Fictional Film

Germaine Gallois
Fictional film
Image by Truus, Bob & Jan too!
French postcard by Olympia/S.I.P., nr. 194/18. Photo: Reutlinger, Paris.

Elegant and beautiful French soprano and actress Germaine Gallois (1869-1932) was in vogue during the Belle Époque till the late 1920’s . She appeared on many portraits and photo cards.

Germaine Gallois was born in 1869. She was a student of Madame Paravicini, one of the major singing teachers of the late 19th Century. She made her debut at the Théâtre des Nouveautés, but she would appear, during her long career, at nearly all the theatres of Paris, even at the Moulin-Rouge. Her speciality was the waltz. Among her popular songs were the waltz ‘Tout Passe’ (1902) by Paul Gavault and Eugène Héros, music by Rodolphe Berger, and ‘Sans aimer Ah! Peut-on vivre?’ by Charles Nuitter, on music by Jacques Offenbach (from the operetta ‘Les bavards’).

In his book ‘France Fin de Siècle’ Eugen Weber states that Germaine Gallois never accepted a ‘sitting’ role. Sheathed by a corset that began under her armpits and ended close to the knees, two flat steels sprang in her back, two other along the hips, a cord between the legs maintaining the edifice that was held together by six metres of stay lace, she stood up, even during the intervals, from 8:30 P.M. to Midnight.

One of Germaine Gallois’ most famous interpretations was Mademoiselle Lange in ‘La fille de Madame Angot’ (by Siraudin, Clairville and Koning, with music by Charles Lecoq). She presented the part at the Paris Opéra on 28 Apr 1912 during a Gala performance. Another famous part was her Venus in ‘Isoline’ by André Messager. She also created the role of Madame d’Epinay in the musical comedy ‘Mozart’ by Sacha Guitry, with music by Reynaldo Hahn in 1925, at the Théâtre Edouard VII in Paris. It was a pastiche of the composer’s early works to fit beside arias written for Yvonne Printemps in a travesty role as Mozart. The story concerns the fictional adventures of Mozart on a visit to the French capital. The following year the successful production was presented on Broadway. Germaine Gallois died in 1932, at age 56.

Sources: Du Temps des Cherisies aux Feuilles Mortes, Eugen Weber (France Fin de Siècle), Historic, BroadwayWorld.Com and Wikipedia.

BOTTOM LINE: A wonderfully entertaining animated film with a strong story and characters, and with an unusual premise that borrows from “The Truman Show”.

THE GOOD: “Bolt” is an unusual film in that all the hallmarks of the typical journey you would find in a movie like this are here but the underlying premise is quite strange. Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) is a dog who is the star of a fictional television show; the twist is that he thinks it’s all real. With superpowers and a devotion to his “person” Penny (Miley Cyrus), Bolt spends his time saving Penny and the world from the green-eyed man, thinking that this is his normal life. When Bolt escapes this world and the television studio by a series of accidents, he finds himself in the real world where he is a normal dog without superpowers, much to his surprise. The resulting interactions between Bolt and the real-life animal characters are quite amusing and touching, particularly with Mittens the cat (Susie Essman) and the devoted hamster Rhino (Mark Walton) who continues to believe Bolt is a super dog even in the real world. Some of the creators behind Disney’s biggest animated films are behind this film and this shows prominently in the fantastic execution of the story and character, and the unusual premise upon which the whole thing rests. The character animation is quite good, particularly in the opening sequence where Bolt first meets Penny in the pet store, which leads in to a hilarious episode of “Bolt” saving the world from the green-eyed man (voiced by an evil sounding Malcolm McDowell). “Bolt” is a wonderfully entertaining animated film that both children and adults can enjoy.

THE BAD: The only aspect to “Bolt” that falls down is in the originality of its premise, or in this case, the lack of it. The idea of a character who does not know his life is a television show was extensively covered in “The Truman Show” with Jim Carrey, and as such, some of what we see here is not new. However, the sincerity of the characters and the amusing situations they find themselves in more than make up for this, to the point where it is not much of an issue.

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