Tonight, at a very late hour, just before we took Bruiser for his final constitutional of the day, the Historian called me in--A Room With a View was on. Oh, how I loved that movie when I first saw it, and then oh, how I loved the book. I walked in while Simon Callow was remarking that the Emersons had taken the cottage slash villa down the road a bit, and darling Helena Bonham Carter was fuming that she had spent so much time cultivating the Miss Allens, to no avail.
I said, "Look at him!" about Simon Callow, who was--believe it--so very young in this film. And then, "And Julian Sands--he was so beautiful in this movie!" He was indeed so beautiful--in the very next scene, with the (also so young, so lovely) Daniel Day Lewis as the effete and poncey Cecil. Such a rapture, to see them all in the flush of their youth, or at least of their younger years. We took Bruiser out and upon our return, resumed the film--our admiration of this forgotten and rediscovered beauty which inheres in youth and which always surprises me.
Earlier, I was watching Glee, a Valentine's Day episode. The Glee-sters were charged to find the best love songs, whilst love-drama swirled all about. When Mercedes began to sing her envoi to Sam, I thought from the very first piano chord, "It's going to be 'I Will Always Love You'," and then, when it was, I thought, "and it will be the Whitney Houston version," as it turned out to be.
Now, when that Whitney Houston version first came out, on the soundtrack of The Bodyguard, I loathed it (and secretly admired it, too, as is so often the way). I first came upon the song in my own youth, in the seventies, when Linda Ronstadt covered it:
Because those were the days when we all read liner notes on the back of LPs, I knew that the song was originally written by Dolly Parton, though it was probably years before I ever heard that version:
I always found the Whitney Houston version to be excessive, florid, self-regarding, too in love with the capacities of the voice to do justice to the modesty and perfection of the song:
But tonight, when I heard this young woman, Amber Riley, with her gorgeous, beautiful voice, sing the song just as--practically phrase for phrase--Whitney Houston had sung it, I heard it afresh, an homage to the greatness of the singer now just gone, who was herself so young, so beautiful, when she first sang it: