27 May 2000 | Jamie-58
Nothing like the Dame
Lewis Milestone said this film should have been called "Melba" like he should have been called "Napoleon". And he wasn't kidding. This 'biopic' has absolutely nothing to do with Dame Nellie Melba; people who complained about historical inaccuracies in "Amadeus" and "Topsy Turvy" should get a load of this!
For those who don't know, Nellie Melba was one of the most vigorous, dominating figures in the Arts at the turn of the twentieth century. Through her awesome talents and sheer determintaion she went from an obscure farmer's wife in Queensland to the reigning prima donna of her generation.
She was emphatically not the twittering soubrette that Patrice Munsel and company would have us believe, and its hard to find a single point where this film corresponds to reality. Madame Munsel's shrill, piercing tones also bear little resemblance to Melba's sublime and bewitching voice.
Taken on its own terms, "Melba" is a dead bore, a technicoloured and garish pastiche of what fame does to destroy love. Its quite ghastly and not even good camp.