Quartet

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All roads in Quartet lead to the big closing number of Verdi’s Rigoletto, where we’ll finally hear the voice that made Smith such a celebrated opera star. Except Hoffman chooses not to show the performance, instead cutting to a final shot of Beecham at night as the soundtrack swells with another version of Verdi’s piece. There are practical reasons for this, of course: While many in the cast are seasoned opera performers of advanced age, Smith, Courtenay, Connolly, and Collins are not, and it would be unthinkable to have them use their own voices. But Hoffman’s decision to not even overdub—which, granted, carries its own set of problems—makes the ending a wash. To quote Milhouse from “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie,” “When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” Hoffman’s answer: “Never.”

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