Juan Pons as Tonio lip-syncs the Pagliacci Prologue in Unitel's 1982 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, with Georges Prêtre conducting the La Scala orchestra. (Ignore the other clowns Zeffirelli's inserted, mere distractions.) We even get to see the traveling players arrive in the Calabrian village, with Plácido Domingo as the master of the troupe, Canio, and Teresa Stratas as his wife and costar, Nedda.
If I may? If I may?by Ken
Excuse me if I present myself thus alone.
I am the Prologue.
Because the author is putting
the old-style masks
In part he wants to revive
the old customs, and to you
once again he sends me.
But not to tell you, as before,
"The tears that we shed are false,
by our agonies and our suffering
don't be alarmed."
The author has sought
to paint truly for you
a slice of life.
He has for maxim only that the artist is a person,
and that he must write for people,
and draw inspiration from what's true.
A nest of memories in the depths of his soul
sang one day, and with real tears
he wrote, and his sobs beat time for him!
So then, you'll see loving, yes, the way
real human beings love; you'll see hate's
sad fruits, miseries' agonies.
Cries of rage you'll hear, and cynical laughter!
And you, rather than our poor
actors' costumes, consider
our souls, because we are people,
of flesh and bone, and since in this orphan
world, just like you, we breathe the air!
I've told you the concept.
Now hear how it worked out.
Let's go -- begin!
Hanging on the grimy wall of my college newspaper office was a yellowed sheet that was the "key" to the 5-point rating system we used for movie reviews. Oh, I pooh-poohed the numerical ratings, on the ground that how can you reduce a sensible evaluation to a number? But the fact was that our readers all too clearly paid more attention to the ratings than to the ever-so-wise reviews.