Monday, June 21, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: Genesis doing "No Reply At All"

Phil Collins infamously wrote "No Reply At All" for Disney's The Miracle Worker. This 1981 musical adaptation shouldn't be confused with other Disney flops from that dark era: the X-rated Tommy, cast entirely with animals; the misanthropic dreamscape Johnny Got His Gun; the sexually rapacious Annie Got HER Gun; and of course, Annie Frank, which denied both Holocaust and Jewry, and with which I always confuse The Miracle Worker.

"No Reply" expresses the title Worker's frustration at trying to communicate with her young charge, Helen Keller. The biggest controversy arose when Ron W. Miller, then Disney president, changed the Keller character's condition to an acute case of tinnitus, with which Miller's own son was stricken. The filmmakers dramatized this malady by inserting a piercing whine that sounded during most of the movie, rendering Collins's songs inaudible and chasing viewers out of the theater in droves. Collins countered with furious legal gesticulations. He is now wealthy.

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