Musical Monday: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Yes kids, it’s time for On a Clear Day You Ca– oh, forget it.
Look, the plot is all the hell over the place on this one and most of the songs are forgettable. We’ll try to keep up, but really, the only point to this movie is Barbra’s hair, makeup and wardrobe, all of which are divine.
Hit it, Babs.
See what we mean? That’s gotta be the weirdest opening to a musical we’ve ever seen. Ah, 1970. How you amuse us with your mainstream attempts to catch up with the decade-old counter-culture movement. Vincente Minnelli directing Barbra Streisand in a hippy-dippy musical about reincarnation and ESP. What’s not to love? We’re sure Allen Ginsburg and Ravi Shankar were there on opening night.
Anyway, here we are in Yves Montand’s psychiatry class. Yves plays Dr. Marc Chabot, who likes to hypnotize his students and humiliate them for kicks.
Barbra, who snuck in to the class, accidentally gets hypnotized into thinking she’s five years old and freaks the hell out. Yves is not amused and hypnotizes her into walking in front of a bus.
Actually, he just talks her down and tells her to leave.
The next day, Barbra shows up at his palatial office in another adorable outfit, chainsmoking and fast-talking her ass off. Oh, for the days when one could smoke in college offices and Babs wore eyeliner.
Anyway, she wants to be hypnotized into quitting smoking because her fiance insists on it. Incidentally, she’s about as believable a smoker as she would be a nun.
Yves agrees to hypnotize her partially to shut her the hell up and partially because he’s intrigued yet skeptical of some apparent ESP abilities, like getting flowers to grow by singing to them and knowing when the phone’s going to ring.
Well they had to advance the plot somehow.
Suddenly, she sits bolt upright in her egg chair and starts speaking loudly in a truly horrible “English” accent.
And just like that we’re in 1814 London and Barbra is a drag queen (which is kind of redundant when you think about it).
She is Melinda Tentrees, a haughty, slutty social climber with a taste for outrageous clothes and a habit of lapsing into a 20th century New York accent at the drop of a hat. She narrates her life story for Yves and us.
One day, at a drag queen picnic, she met Roger Tentrees, her destined husband.
That night, at the vagina hat dance, Roger can’t keep his eyes off her.
You see, Babs outdid all the other bitches in vagina hats and showed up in an ovary hat.
She seduces him by rubbing a wine glass on her tits and singing without moving her lips.
Apparently, that sort of thing worked in 19th century London. Then again, she was probably the only anatomically correct woman at the party.
Then, Vincente Minnelli discovered double exposures.
Later, Babs comes home to find her former step-brother, Jack Nicholson, hanging out on her roof and playing a sitar in a paisley shirt.
Seriously, how can you not love that? And if that doesn’t do it for you…
SWINGING MANHATTAN AND INFLATABLE FURNITURE, BITCHES!
We meet Barbra’s fiance Warren. A graduate student who appears to be in his forties, Warren is high-strung and controlling. He will be dispensed with before the final reel, of course.
The next day, she returns for another “session” with Yves. He puts her under and then sings about how he’s in love with Melinda. Then he sets fire to his psychiatry license. Haha, no he didn’t. But he should have.
No real reason for this screen shot, but if there are any budding drag queens out there, that’s how you want to do your eye makeup.
Y’know, she’s kinda dressed like a Barbie through this whole movie. Just saying.
Hoping that she will prove to be half as interesting as Melinda*, Yves takes her out for a drink over his burned license and nonexistent professional ethics.
Also, she wears nightgowns that match her sheets.
More hypnotizing. No reason for the shot other than to document every outfit she wears in this film.
Yves decides to go public with the case of the girl with the past life. His students are both stunned and really, really groovy.
The story hits the press and Babs hears about it on her transistor radio while she’s watering her plants. She doesn’t realize that Yves is talking about her, because he’s totally unethical and never told her about what comes up in her sessions.
This being 1970, the students immediately start organizing a rally and waving signs around.
You know, because it wasn’t like there was ANYTHING ELSE to be protesting.
At the university, old white men (and Bob Newhart) discuss what’s to be done. They tell Yves to knock it the fuck off.
Later, Yves puts Babs under again just so he can say goodbye to Melinda. She sings.
Even later, Babs is left alone in his office (great idea!) and she accidentally turns on the massive tape recorder which holds all the recordings to her sessions.
She sings again.
Yves shows up on her rooftop and she tells him that she knows everything. Because she’s wearing pants now, she has the strength to yell at him and tell him to fuck off.
The next day, again in pants (and looking like Rhoda Morgenstern), she tells Warren to fuck off too.
Feminism was all about fashion. Betcha didn’t know that.
Yves decides that the best way to rectify the situation is to stand on top of the Pan Am building and sing at the top of his lungs.
Babs is arrested for wearing Marlo Thomas’ clothes.
Another outfit check. Dig those sunglasses.
Pissed off at all his singing, she shows up, allows herself to be put under one more time, and reveals that she’s lived over a dozen lives and in at least one of them, in the year 2038, she and Yves will be married. Apparently he’s happy with that and lets her go. For some reason, she goes outside and holds a note for like 30 seconds.
And with that, the movie (and any vestiges of the counter culture movement) comes to an end.