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Review: Tulip Time (2007)

Directed by: Marco de Stefanis, Tonino Boniotti | 53 minutes | documentary | Featuring: Alexandra Leschan, Judith Leschan, Ketty Leschan,

The father of three sisters Leschan falls unhappily and his career as an acrobat is over. However, bread has to be put on the table and one day their mother announces that she has arranged a job for her three daughters as dancers in an itinerant company. They wave goodbye to father and the four of them travel through many countries. By coincidence they come into contact in Turin with maestro Carlo Prato who is looking for three female singers on the radio who can let the Italian audience enjoy the swing of the Andrew Sisters. The sisters are not singers, cannot read a note, have no notion of music, but he designs a special system for them with which they sing together as if through a small miracle of harmoniously.

The successes they achieve are unprecedented. Hundreds of thousands of 78 rpm lacquer records are sold and everyone knows their music. The sisters live like stars, appear in films and even meet Il Duce. But as the laws and restrictions on Jews become more and more serious, the three sisters and their Jewish mother have a problem. Especially after the outbreak of the war, their situation becomes dire and glamor life makes way for the perilous struggle for everyday existence.

The paints a poignant and vivid picture of past glory, thanks in large part to the staging of the sisters’ contemporaries. They are positive or less positive about the ladies, but they were there and that is special in itself. This direct glimpse into the kitchen of history, in combination with the many historical images, beautifully captures the atmosphere of glamor and glitter in those pre- years. From a human point of view alone, the wave movement that the sisters experience as children of traveling artists, to the absolute stardom in a foreign land and then the downfall that takes place through no fault of their own, is intriguing. But also from a point of view it is fascinating that apparently you are not musically educated,

The only two things that mar this entertaining and especially fun are the voice-over and the spoken text. The voice of is far too loud for the gentle Sandra who is the eldest of the three sisters and who is performed speaking speaking. As a viewer, you are shocked by the disharmony between the beautiful, serene face and that smoked voice of Kitty Courbois with clear diction, but an abundance of volume, at least as far as this is concerned. In addition, Arthur Japin’s lyrics are drably sentimental and hardly credible as Sandra’s train of thought, if you have to rely on what others say about her who may know.

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