10 August 2007 | Chip_douglas
The only place to truly experience The Mamushka
Have you ever noticed how many times the making of the movie special features snippets of scenes that were ultimately cut from the finished film? My guess is it's because the camera crews capturing the behind the scenes are only invited to the set on the days when either the most spectacular stunts, or the most unimportant exposition is filmed. Take the 1977 "Making of Star Wars" documentary. It features alternate takes of both Biggs on Tatooine and Red Leader talking about Luke's father. "The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark" shows a tantalizing glimpse of what the infamously cut short sword fight would have looked like (had Indy not shot first) and in "The Godfather Family: A look inside" we see an alternate take of a discussion between Pacino and Garcia in a garden (often seen in publicity shots). The "Making of the Addams Family" offers some fantastic insight into the musical number 'The Mamushka', which was ultimately edited down to just the knife juggling part and a single line by Raoul Julia. Of course since these programs are shown to promote the films in question, they are mostly shown to the public before they actually see the film. Imagine this reviewers shock and disappointment when watching the film on the big screen and being deprived of the promised show stopping tune (it can still be found on the soundtrack in it's complete form, but alas without the visuals) .
Written especially for the film by Broadway legends Comden and Green, seasoned musical performer Raul Julia confesses awe and nervousness in this documentary about performing the song and dance number. As noted before, nearly all of the lyrics ended up on the cutting room floor, but several of them can both be seen and heard here.We see bits of Peter Anastos choreography (featuring Angelica Houston's Morticia on tambourine, the Amor twins and several other, unidentified lady guests. There is quite a good look at composer Marc Shaiman (aka The Sweeney Sisters' piano player Skip St. Thomas) in make-up as conducting, amongst others, Thing on base and a snake charmer. Also, costume designer Ruth Myers explains all about the strict dress code the main cast was subjected to (Angelica could hardly move in that tight fitting dress) and gives us a brief rundown of the party guests.
Other highlights in this brief half hour include a look at the set, including lots of details and paintings hardly visible in the film. The secrets of Thing: according to FX guys Alan Munro and Lou Lazarra, every single form of special effect was used to make Thing move (this was all still before CGI). Insights from director Barry Sonnenfeld and the entire cast except for the interview shy Christopher Lloyd (Angelica mentions playing a mother put her in the mood for some children of her own, Carel Struycken explains that Lurch is probably made up out of deceased Addamses from the graveyard), the original teaser trailer (set at a cinema, with slightly different make-up and costumes) and a look at Hammer's Addams' Groove. They didn't show the entire video, because that was being marketed on it's own collectible video tape featuring no less than 2 versions and a making of (ah, the nineties!).
9 out of 10