I have been somewhat taken aback when reading that plans are afoot to do a movie about Serguey Rachmaninoff focussing on his ‘private’  life. Some people look forward to that on the Rachmaninoff Society’s webpage, some not. I would have liked to give my five cents worth, but for one entry, I cannot become a member. It says that Bruce Beresford is supposed to be the director of such a movie.

Under the assumption that all of the above is fact, I would have liked to input this:

How fascinating! How would Bruce Beresford like to have a movie made about him that focussed on his real or imagined dalliances and which treated his works as garnish? Is even the presumably ‘serious’ segment of the movie industry trying to serve us Mills & Boon, engaging in voyeurism? Is the focus on the trivial trying to distract us from more important matters that we should not think about? Sex is only one of many aspects in life; 97.6 % of life is NOT sex. 

I watched the Gaugin movie with Nastassia Kinsky and found the focus on the relationship angle made a boring storyline. I have studied Rakhmaninoff’s life in great detail. It was really interesting and there is so much in it – and then you focus on the relationship angle? Yawn, yawn!

To those who rejoice  ‘Finally, such a movie!!’ I’d say, the reason why this movie is being planned at THIS stage looks like this to me: Rachmaninoff’s copyrights move into the public domain in 2018 and if you plan to release the movie before the 28th March 2018, the heirs still benefit, so the heirs are interested. A movie before 2018 will also create some protectable designs and/or create a product which extends Rachmaninoff’s copyrights.

You don’t plan for such a movie because you have suddenly discovered an interest in yet another variation of a love triangle or several triangles. You do this to tap into the public’s interest in the famous Rakhmaninoff name and create products that earn royalties – if Rachmaninoff’s heirs are also investors in the movie. That’s the nature of survival in the arts.

If the Rakhmaninoff heirs are not part of the project, then the product will come out AFTER March 2018 and it will not earn royalties for them. The Gilbert & Sullivan movie release was in the year their copyrights entered public domain. Excellent timing, when you consider it takes seven years to make a movie! Full marks for planning. Either way, it is carefully selected timing for whichever business structure applies.

I have studied Rachmaninoff’s life in great detail – and I mean DETAIL, for my historical novel LA PLEVITSKAYA. (  http://www.amazon.com/Plevitskaya-Gypsy-singers-Tsarist-Russia/dp/1456553879/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1301187500&sr=8-2  )The Great Plevitskaya, who I discovered through my Rachmaninoff studies, was a friend of his and her life story is a lot more interesting than Rachmaninoff’s love life – I can tell you. Public domain music galore, too, which can be turned into copyrighted versions, or shoe in one or two original songs which make money for decades.

Rachmaninoff was a man who took his responsibilities very seriously after having had a father who had failed to do so. He was also very generous in many ways to many people. Reducing his life to love triangles is primitive and a misrepresentation of Rachmaninoff’s life. Sorry Bruce! If that’s really your path, or not one just written up for the pre-publicity drive, then it will probably be one of those movies that ‘looked like a good idea at the time’.

If I could get you to read my Plevitskaya book you would probably discover how stale an idea it is to create a Mills & Boon on a Rakhmaninoff theme. Take a bet?

Comments welcome


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