Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Auf Wiedersehen, Darling

It is with great sadness that I note the passing yesterday of Eleanor Parker, who portrayed one of the most delicious villains in screen history, The Baroness from "The Sound of Music." If you only read the script, you would have simply written Parker's character off as a money-grubbing heartless shrew.

Thanks to her acting chops though, she infused humor and even sympathy to what could have been a one-dimensional supporting role. Because of Parker, the movie is given a bit of balance, keeping it from being too sickeningly sweet. She delivers some of the film's funniest and most memorable lines with understated relish:

"Darling, haven't you ever heard of a delightful little thing called boarding school?"

Can't you hear the audience hissing?

After hearing Maria and the gang sing, she quickly neutralizes the saccharine with this quip:

The Baroness: Why didn't you tell me?
Max: What?
The Baroness: To bring along my harmonica.

Only Parker could have made jealousy so much fun:

The Baroness: My dear, is there anything you can't do?
Maria: Well, I'm not sure I'll make a very good nun.
The Baroness: If you have any problems, I'll be happy to help you.

I mean really...how could a Baroness even begin to compete with a nun for an audience's affection? And yet, when she gives a tearful and knowing goodbye to her almost-husband Captain Von Trapp, you can't help but feel sorry for the woman who nearly had it all.

"Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun. Auf Wiedersehen, darling."

And while we're saying goodbye...Micechat recently posted that Disney has announced the impending demolition of the Fantasyland Skyway Station, featured here in this publicity art from March 1956, just three months before the Skyway opened to the public.

An August 1958 view of the finished structure:

The Fantasyland Station has been allowed to rot away, just like Fort Wilderness before it. Having seen firsthand what Historic Preservationists can do with dilapidated buildings, I find it hard to believe that nothing could be done to restore this adorably detailed little Chalet.

On the flipside though, while it is very sad to lose another part of the park's early history, there really is no point in keeping this building unused on a valuable piece of real estate hidden behind a canopy of trees that made it almost invisible to the public.

One thing I do feel strongly about though...they better put something damn good in its place.

See more vintage Disneyland Skyway photos on my Skyway web page.


K. Martinez said...

I never would've known about Eleanor Parker's passing unless I read it here. I didn't see it on the AP. Thanks for posting it.

Too bad about the Skyway chalet. Oh well. Another one bites the dust. If only they had the same enthusiasm for the PeopleMover track and finally put it out of its misery. Now that's a blight on Tomorrowland. Sort of like urban decay.

Anonymous said...

Like K. I hadn't heard yet of Parker's passing either!

I have mixed feelings about the Skyway chalet disappearing. I'm bummed I didn't snap more pictures of it on our visit in September, I only got one. I do hope something good though comes of its disappearance. I like the idea of them expanding Storybook Land to include many of the new princesses! Seeing Tiana's Place would be wonderful! Especially since it would sit just along the water.


JG said...

Sad to see the actress' demise, especially so close to the new version of the musical. Like the others, I did not see this in the conventional media stream. I can't say she registered much with me, but we should always pause to reflect on the passing of the accomplished stars of the past.

I will miss the Chalet too, but it's better gone. Seeing it alone in the woods made me really sad. Now it will be only in memory and photos, it will hurt less there.