Mitzi Gaynor had the talent to be a big star in Hollywood. After her spectacular performance in "South Pacific" everyone expected greater things, but instead of being the breakthrough launching pad for superstardom, it ended up being the culmination of her career in film. Yes, she made a few more movies, but nothing that built her star power. Maybe it was the change in fashion and fewer musicals. I don't know. When you look at her ability to really dance, to really since, and she could actually act, well, how could she not become a superstar? And she did, but not in Hollywood, but in Las Vegas.
Her abilities to sing, dance, be funny, engage an audience, and her boundless energy were perfect for a long Vegas career. Then in 1967 she did an unlikely number, "Georgy Girl" on the 39th Academy Awards broadcast. It stopped the show. Someone realized they had to use this huge talent on TV and they gave her a special in 1968. When it was a hit, she got a second and then a third annual special. All in all, there were ten of these wonderful extravaganzas. Bob Mackie gave her perfect costumes to show off both her body and her movement and the numbers were all about showing off her strengths. For a decade people loved them.
The main part of this DVD is a series of cuts from those shows, commentary by Mitzi and her fellow stars, friends, and industry admirers. Well, a selection from that big universe. In the extras, you get Mitzi and Bob Mackie looking at the designs he made for her and talking about them, Mitzi talking about being on the Ed Sullivan show with the Beatles when she was a huge star and they were just becoming known and how wonderful they were. Two clips of Mitzi as "The Kid", a couple of full length comedy sketches from her specials and 8 full length dance numbers. These are not set up to be serious "art", they are about having fun. But the dancing and singing is top notch stuff.
It also appears that she is going to tour in 2009. I have no idea what it will be, but I am sure he fans will be quite delighted to see her and hear from her. If you don't know this great talent, which would blow almost anyone today off the boards, this disk is a great intro. And if you do know her, this disk is a great delight.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI