Lucy (2003)

This biopic of Lucille Ball covers 35 years of the comedienne’s life, from her time as a free-spirited teenager through to the last Lucy and Desi Comedy Hour in 1960. In the interim, Lucy tries acting classes and modelling, becomes a Goldwyn Girl, appears in a string of movies and falls in love with Desi Arnaz. Yet like its title character, this biopic doesn’t really hit its stride until her TV career starts.

 

When she’s in front of a television camera, audience or mirror, Rachel York is a riot. When she’s not performing Lucy’s comedy shtick however, York is hamstrung by an underdone script that deals with the rest of the story in a mostly perfunctory manner.  Early financial hardship; death of close friend Carole Lombard; Communist witch-hunts are all events endured without any dramatic effect, apart from causing an oft–remarked but little elaborated sense of doom.

 

The same applies to Lucy’s troubled relationship with Desi Arnaz. Though her husband’s infidelity, alcoholism and gambling are often on display, there is no attempt to explain why Lucy puts up with it. Of greater interest are the innovations Desi came up with while producing I Love Lucy.  The five minutes dedicated to this side of Desi’s personality are particularly instructive.

 

An end credit stating that the two remained friends for the rest of the lives is not only misleading, but also contradicts all that went beforehand.

cast, Rachel York, Lucille Ball, Danny Pino, Desi Arnaz
Rachel York
Rachel York

as Lucille Ball

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Danny Pino
Danny Pino

as Desi Arnaz

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Mark Clare
Mark Clare

as Red Skelton

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Ian Mune
Ian Mune

as Buster Keaton

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Frank Tuttle directed Roman Scandals, not Eddie Cantor.

 

Buster Keaton is depicted as being considerably older than his long-time collaborator Ed Sedgwick. Buster was in fact six years younger than Ed.

 

During a discussion about Lucy appearing before the HUAC, Desi mentions RKO is up for sale. These two events were separated by four years.

 

The final episode of 'I Love Lucy' was not filmed in front of a live studio audience.

 

Harriett is a composite character based on several maids Lucy had.

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Clip courtesy of Dimitri Bitu

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