Lucy bawls and Desi babalus in “Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie.” CBS’ telepic on TV’s First Couple was a hit, and there’s no reason to think this footage from the family archive won’t also draw a curious crowd.
Peeved at the docudramatic depiction of her parents, Lucie Arnaz and husband Laurence Luckinbill put together their version of Lucy and Desi’s entwined careers, blissful romance and dysfunctional demise.
Home movies of the newlyweds reveals Desi’s charming vigor and Lucy’s sad-clown side. Off-camera, he was the life of the party. She played it straight.
Augmenting these touching, silent snippets are scenes from his and her movies , press clips and interviews by Arnaz with family friends and relatives, who seem more forthcoming and blunt with her.
Desi emerges as loving (if sometimes absent) father and tireless worker. Lucy comes off as cool, shrewish and increasingly difficult.
The playboy conga king philandered. His redhead bride proposed doing a TV series to keep him at home. He had the genius to do “I Love Lucy” on film and eat the deficit in exchange for ownership. Desilu under his reign became one of TV’s most powerful studios. The pressure drove him to drink and broke up an already shaky marriage.
A healing exercise for Lucie and Desi Jr., this scrapbook memoir sometimes gets psychobabbly. But it’s worth it for the behind-the-scenes insights into what drove their parents together and then split them in two.