Springingtiger's Blog


That Man’s Smiling At Me

As a toddler in the 1950s one of the highlights of my week was, according to my mother, watching the Liberace Show on television. I used to sit enthralled and, as Liberace looked into the camera, I’d shout out, “Mummy, that man’s smiling at me”. I always liked Liberace.

It was with considerable trepidation that, today, I went to see “Beyond The Candelabra”. Liberace is so representative of happiness for me I was worried the film might spoil him for me. It didn’t do him any favours, but it didn’t take away any of the warmth. I was left feeling that, however flawed, and he was, he was still fundamentally a kind, loving, big hearted man.

It would have been so easy to ridicule Liberace and send him up, but I felt that the film makers actually treated him with understanding, even respect. I thought Michael Douglas’ portrayal of Liberace was sensitive and affectionate. Matt Damon was amazing as his lover Scott and together they very well portrayed a truly loving relationship. I didn’t recognize Debbie Reynolds, another star with whom I fell in love as a child, as Liberace’s motherbut, but she was good. I found the film moving and sometimes sad and yet strangely uplifting. I realise now that Liberace was not just smiling into a camera, he really was smiling at me (and, admittedly, the audience he loved and who loved him), he was smiling at me and the little boy I was is, and always will be, smiling back.

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