DATELINE: Being the Ricardos
With the recent controversy over the casting of a new biographical movie about Lucy and Desi, it seemed like a good time to reconsider daughter Lucie Arnaz’s 1993 documentary about her parents, Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie.
Lucie Arnaz is defending the casting of Nicole Kidman as Lucy and Javier Bardem as Desi. Indeed, we think it is most interesting to see them play the real people during one dramatic week that the couple played the Ricardos.
They are not remaking I Love Lucy.
Back in 1993, Lucie Arnaz directed and produced, interviewed people, collected film clips, and put together a fairly honest and direct look at her famous parents, warts and all. She never received the full commendation she deserved. As she said, her mother was a “pack-rat” and kept all kinds of home movies that Lucie never saw. They were from the decade before the TV show and before the kids arrived.
What can you say about two people who were always “on.” They were the epitome of show biz, but alas, when home, their love story didn’t have a script they could embrace.
Lucy was the Queen of Comedy and pratfall on screen, and she loved being a performer and working. Off-screen she might have given Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford, a run for the roses.
Desi was a talented man of show biz, and even more talented with business acumen, but never came out of the shadows. He loved Lucy too much. Their cultural differences, cute and remarkable, were also their downfall.
Desi’s Latino view of philandering infuriated Lucille Ball, but he was the love of her life. When two titans fall in love and clash, you have a big production called DesiLu, and you have shambles that make for great theater.
The home movies their daughter puts together are stunning and insightful. We suspect the movie docudrama of their lives by Aaron Sorkin will be even more stunning with brilliant actors playing the first great TV stars. We are, of course, most interested in who will play Fred and Ethel in Being the Ricardos. No word yet.