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It's official - we're collecting Musicals

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Ollie
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It's official - we're collecting Musicals

Postby Ollie » February 1st, 2010, 4:08 pm

Well, for decades, I've barred the door against the OKLAHOMAs and SHOWBOATS, the SEVEN BRIDES and those other musicals, but as we've added more from the '30s and '40s to our collection, Wifey and I have been debating our great enjoyment of those early musicals, but somewhere about 1960, they sort of - like Elvis - died figuratively from my enjoyment capability.

So, we've started collecting more of the early musicals to see how many we like, dislike and can tolerate on at least one re-watching. And we are wondering why.

Something silly like HIPS HIPS HURRAY started this journey, I think. A simple, fairly dumb film with a lot of singing and dancing - nothing particularly memorable - but completely enjoyable. Yet, throw out 7 men and 7 ladies around picnic tables, and I wanna find the OFF button so quick! WHY? Dunno.

Why can Hollywood's earliest years of Sound Production deliver so many enjoyable films with singing and dancing, yet, in two decades or so, they've perverted those into something I find distasteful? Is there something about the early use of stages and nightclubs that seems "more realistic or tolerable" to me, rather than some great philharmonic orchestra joining Julie Andrews in some lovely alpine meadow?
Last edited by Ollie on February 3rd, 2010, 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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movieman1957
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby movieman1957 » February 1st, 2010, 4:37 pm

Is there something about the early use of stages and nightclubs that seems "more realistic or tolerable" to me, rather than some great philharmonic orchestra joining Julie Andrews in some lovely alpine meadow?


Yes.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 2nd, 2010, 7:48 am

The thirties musicals grow on me more and more. While I don't ever think you will come to tolerate The Sound of Music and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers musicals like Singin in the Rain, The Bandwagon, An American in Paris, The Pirate and Easter Parade are a lot of fun and contain a lot of talent.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Ollie
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby Ollie » February 2nd, 2010, 11:52 am

I know that, for every 'genre' I claim to love or hate, I've got almost as many exceptions as rules. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - why do I enjoy Donald O'Connor's wild MAKE 'EM LAUGH when I can't enjoy SHOWBOAT? Why can I 'excuse' the whole GOOD MORNING routine - rolling over a couch by 3 people correctly balancing and stepping just right?

Why can I tolerate - EVEN pull out and watch (!!) PAINT YOUR WAGON? Well, because of Lee Marvin and Ray Walston. Apparently, those two can do just about anything and I'll find a reason to enjoy it.

I wonder about my "emtional donations" to films and why, for other films, I apparently refuse the same generosity? Is it the cast? ("Throw Franklin Pangborn into a film, and I'll find a reason to like it." Mike Mazurki. Una O'Connor and dozens of others. Is their mere appearance the key to unlocking my heart of cinematic 'forgiveness' and tolerance? I am beginning to suspect so - it's not The Stars that make my favorite films 'rewatchable' - it's the supporting cast.)

I'm not a Fred Astaire fan, or Bing Crosby. Yet, throw in Ginger or Bob, and I'll watch those films.

I do think "staging" is fairly important for my enjoyment of musicals. The "out of the blue" orchestral operatics somehow irritate me. Yet, when I see Judy Garland leaning into a haystack, fretting about rainbows, I apparently have no problem with THAT. And the entire PAINT YOUR WAGON should be nothing but an irritant to me, yet I will stop what I'm doing and watch that, scene after scene, song after croaking, raspy song.

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movieman1957
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby movieman1957 » February 2nd, 2010, 12:02 pm

I am really enjoying your self analysis.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

Ollie
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby Ollie » February 2nd, 2010, 12:12 pm

Musicals might be the litmus test for me. I have a long-standing prejudice against them, so finding ones that I like is a numeric oddity and, now, I'm finding large numbers in a certain era. It makes me wonder about the Why's and Why Not's.

Why are these early versions so enjoyable to my palate? How can Hollywood's earliest efforts entertain me but, decades later with such greater "sophistication" (cough cough gag gag), so much supposed "market research" and thoughtful feedback - why are those so UNentertaining?

I can't say, "I'm stuck in a rut and only like the Old Musicals" because they're new to me (whereas I suspect I'm 'stuck in a rut' when it comes to Errol Flynn's action films versus today's CGI barf-bag-isms).
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movieman1957
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby movieman1957 » February 2nd, 2010, 12:16 pm

(Whereas I suspect I'm 'stuck in a rut' when it comes to Errol Flynn's action films versus today's CGI barf-bag-isms.)


There I gladly join you.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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JackFavell
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby JackFavell » February 2nd, 2010, 1:05 pm

I think there is a valid comparison there - the large scale MGM musicals are akin to the CGI fests we have today....

I find that I can suspend my disbelief for a rag tag, motley pre-code with a microphone hanging in the picture better than I can the CGI fake fests we are subject to today... I simply look at these newer films and think, I wish I thought this was real."

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 2nd, 2010, 2:19 pm

You have to suspend your belief somewhat with musicals when people just burst into song at the slightest whim and just go along for the ride. I like the polished MGM musicals of the forties and fifties but equally like the thirties musicals, finding their characters the most endearing, it depends on what mood I'm in as to which one I choose to watch.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Ollie
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby Ollie » February 2nd, 2010, 2:55 pm

Have you discovered what elements you use (even subconsciously) to 'suspend belief'? This is part of my "Donating a positive emotion" to a film.

It's as if by walking in, sitting down in front of the screen, I've just clicked off certain critical analytic switches in my peabrain, and almost automatically I assign it a positive expectation value.

Suspension-of-belief films - musicals, monster films, end-of-the-world disaster films - might benefit from interesting concepts but seldom do I judge them on "almost realistic". Yet when they achieve some realistic setting, I do give them higher marks. I think this is why I enjoy so-called musicals that are staged in nightclubs or theaters. But if they don't, then those films can receive positive values if they can be "a What-If film for me?" - could it happen and how would I behave. Jurassic Park, for example. If I'm gonna steal company secrets, count on the weather being bad and dinosaurs to attack me - ie, carry a weapon OTHER than my glasses, Wayne Knight!

There are non-suspension-of-belief films - crime dramas, heists, romance, comedies, dramas. I think if those make me leap into suspension-of-belief then they violate some tenet in my mind, and usually suffer accordingly.

This is as close to a stated analysis of my film rating emotionalism. I hope, at some point, I'll have the tolerance to see those '60s musicals I've always avoided to see if I can possibly erect some basis for Likes and Dislikes. ha ha - yeah... right.

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ChiO
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby ChiO » February 2nd, 2010, 3:26 pm

CCF wrote:

You have to suspend your belief somewhat with musicals when people just burst into song at the slightest whim and just go along for the ride.


A few years ago, I saw ROMANCE & CIGARETTES (John Turturro, 2005), a musical comedy with some very dark elements. Turturro was at the screening. He was asked something along the lines of "Why did you make such an unrealistic musical, with garagemen breaking out in song and dance in one scene, when you're known for your realism?" I thought he had a very interesting take on it (I paraphrase):

Everyone talks about realism, especially in drama. But how many murders have you witnessed? How many shootings or explosions have you seen? Ever been to the Wild West? And that's realism? But everyone -- everyone -- has walked down the street singing to themselves and thinking of a dance step. I just showed it. The musical is the most realistic type of movie.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
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kingrat
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby kingrat » February 2nd, 2010, 3:52 pm

Some films show us earth, some show us purgatory, some show us hell. Musicals show us glimpses of heaven. Astaire and Rogers, Gene Kelly, Eleanor Powell--heavenly dancing.

The problem with musicals is finding stories equal to the music. Since that usually doesn't happen, the next best thing is keeping the story out of the way of the music.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: It's official - we're colleting Musicals

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 3rd, 2010, 4:47 am

I think Turturro has a good point there, I've never thought of it like that before.

KR it's so true, I watch musicals for the singing or dancing or both and if it has a plot to that's even better. The stellar performers don't need much of a story to make a highly entertaining film.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Ollie
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Re: It's official - we're collecting Musicals

Postby Ollie » February 3rd, 2010, 3:59 pm

I certainly think Turturro's argument is interesting when he proposes "Almost everyone has done this at some point..." At the same time, filming commonly-accomplished tasks would put us into everyone's bathroom a time or two a day. Yeah. Realistic. But desirable? Is that the goal of film? I hope it won't extrapolate into his, at least. Leave that to the Larry Flynts of the world. Please.

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mrsl
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Re: It's official - we're collecting Musicals

Postby mrsl » February 3rd, 2010, 8:19 pm

.
the suspension of belief comes very easily to me. Of course 7 brothers go out and dance and sing in the middle of their forest. Why wouldn't a whole town sing as they walk along to a clambake, or ride horses and wagons to a barn raising, and hey, don't all miners sing as they dig out a mine so gold dust falls through the cracks in the floors above? Unfortunately, any movie watching calls for a huge amount of suspension of belief. You know the story is not true, yet you're watching it, aren't you? Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler never went to a college that protected the students from themselves, nor does an understudy get to play the lead in an opening night. On the other hand Bruce Willis, and Sly Stallone could not get beaten up like they did, and revive within minutes to finish the fight.

It's all make-believe, but no matter what genre it is, it's a form of fine entertainment. I admit I never really cared much for 42nd Street until I saw it on stage in Las Vegas by an off Broadway group. Since then I watch the movie and remember how it looked in real life. I know most men hate musicals, but it's not much different from putting their belief in Chuck Norris fighting off 9 guys by himself.

I guess it's like me with such a dislike of todays' horror movies with all their CGI and arms and legs flying off from bomb sites, yet I loved Them, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc. As for what is termed a musical release of the last 10 years, I say ha, ha. Moulon Rouge has no comparison to Gigi (whose climactic scene is at the Moulon Rouge), and Chicago can't hold a candle to Love Me or Leave Me (both gangster motivated movies). There were some individual great performances like Catherine Zeta Jones was marvelous. I could only ever handle about a half hour of Moulon Rouge, but that was enough for me to know that movie was a dud as a musical.

But, that's just my opinion!

.
Anne


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