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WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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phil noir
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WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby phil noir » December 20th, 2008, 10:12 am

I quite often watch musicals, but don't always think it's worth starting up a thread for each individual film - so I thought I'd start up a more general thread as in the Silent Film/Pre-codes forum.

Well, last night I watched the second of Fred Astaire & Rita Hayworth's films together: You Were Never Lovelier (1942). Set in Buenos Aires, it has Fred as a gambling dancer from New York who is hired by Rita's interfering father Adolphe Menjou to impersonate her fictitious admirer. The plot hardly matters: the songs were by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer and included 'I'm Old-Fashioned', 'Dearly Beloved', and 'Shorty George'.

Although I don't necessarily think RH was the world's greatest actress (her performance is a little arch here), she looked sensational, and her dancing with Astaire was just out of this world. Of course he had many great partners, but I think she was one of the best - she's so graceful.

Apparently because there wasn't enough room to practice their dances on the Columbia lot (both were perfectionists), they took over rooms at a nearby funeral parlour, having to stop, of course, whenever a viewing was in progress.

feaito

Postby feaito » December 20th, 2008, 12:06 pm

I love this film Phil Noir, in fact I'm very fond of the two musicals Fred & Rita made together. I think that Rita never looked so beautiful as she appeared in these films.

You are right, the plot hardly matters, but Rita's beauty and her dancing with masterful Astaire is top-notch.

For me this film is also special, because it's one of the very few films from the Classic Era that includes something from my country. The "Chiu, Chiu" song which is performed by Xavier Cugat , Lina Romay et al, was written by a Chilean songwriter (Nicanor Molinare) and was very popular here for many years. I love this number and I watch it every once in a while. Besides, Jerome Kern is one of my favorite songwriters.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » December 20th, 2008, 4:07 pm

I watched Take Me Out To the Ball Game today. Not the most famous of the Kelly Sinatra outings but great to watch. It made me smile so much, the story itself was written by Kelly and Stanley Donen. I remember erading an excerpt of Esther Williams biography, she didn't care for either man which was a shame. She thought they were full of themselves. I can imagine they were with that much talent.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Moraldo Rubini
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Postby Moraldo Rubini » December 28th, 2008, 8:09 pm

I recently saw Cadillac Records, based on the story of the Chess Records label. I guess there's some controversy about its accuracy, but it's an interesting tale of the music of its time (1950's RnB). Eamonn Walker is vibrant in the smaller role of Howlin' Wolf; Jeffrey Wright, as Muddy Waters seems to be popping up everywhere (he's also in Quantum of Solace, played Colin Powell in W and was also in the latest Indiana Jones installment -- busy year!). Beyoncé Knowles' rendition of "At Last" is a beauty, and her interpretation of Etta James is gritty-to-raw. When Mos Def appeared on the screen, I knew it was Chuck Berry. He nailed the small role.

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Garbomaniac
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Postby Garbomaniac » January 3rd, 2009, 6:21 pm

That is my FAVORITE Rita musical, next to Cover Girl. One with Fred and one with Gene.

Image

You'd think I'd be able to find a picture of Rita and Gene dancing together, but no dice!


Anyway, recently I have been watching new musicals:
DreamGirls - A+
High School Musical I & II- A+
Mama Mia - C

melwalton
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musicals

Postby melwalton » January 3rd, 2009, 9:49 pm

We watched THE KING and I. A very good one, par for R & H . Some good songs, SHALL WE DANCE, I WHISTLE A HAPPY TUNE And a very good segment about UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. I think Marni Nixon did the singing. .... mel

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » January 11th, 2009, 11:06 am

I re-watched Roustabout with Elvis and Barbara Stanwyck on his birthday, last week. I don't know if this falls under the category of musical but I did want to mention one or two things. In this one, he was starting to act a little. In Jailhouse Rock and King Creole he did fairly well at developing his character, but his best was actually Wild in the Country. In Roustabout he was mainly angry, at people and at circumstances, but by the end of the movie he had turned pretty much human.

Out of all the 35 or 40 movies Elvis made, only about 7 give him a character to play with. Other than those 7, his movies were all that patterned plot someone wrote just for him, to the point where the name of the film didn't matter, they were all the same. Even his return from the Army was a rehash of the boy meets girl theme. You really only went to see him and hear his new songs since most of them were beach type movies. Even his biggest production cost movie Viva Las Vegas was just a bigger, more expensive show.

The saddest thing about Elvis' movies is that you don't get to hear his true singing voice. To really get the full impact of Elvis Presley's voice and the unbelievable range he had, you have to listen to either one of his Christmas CD's, or one of his religious CD's.

His voice was easily equal to Sinatra, Crosby, Como, and Bennett but because he was always held to those little dippity-doo movies and songs in them, unless you were a fan and listened to everything he did, you never knew how good he really was.

Anne (Now off my soapbox)
Anne


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movieman
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Elvis films

Postby movieman » February 13th, 2009, 1:25 pm

Anne,

The Elvis musical is a genre on it's own. You can call the genre the "Elvis Movie".
Especially his light films of the 1960's.

The "travelogues" are one part of Elvis' filmography. His earlier "musical dramas" is another.

And then we have the, mostly, straight drama of "Flaming Star", "Wild in the Country" and "Kid Galahad".

One of his comedies sticks out as a good one: "Follow That Dream". Here Elvis gives one of his best performances doing a comedy character.

I recently re-watched "Roustabout" for the first time since ca. 1988 or 1989.
"Roustabout" is better than many of the others because the director John Rich had a vision or wanted to do something with his material and cast. The lighting is very good and unique for a 1960's Presley musical (I'm talking use of light and shadows here).
The old pro Lucien Ballard was cinematographer.

Barbra Stanwyck and Leif Erickson were experienced actors. It's a pity Elvis and Joan Freeman had zero chemistry together. I wish Ann-Marget could've done this one. The film is, in large part, filmed on location. There's no use of 'back projection' which was the norm in those days.
The singing scene in the ferris wheel was originally done in one take. In fact, filming a scene like this in one take was previously not attempted. Unfortunately, the producer Hal Wallis edited in a shot of the man working the weel interrupting the long take.

Elvis' later films tried to be more adult in themes and in Elvis' characters. But, it was too late to change his on screen image. He wanted to, again, perform on stage in front of an audience.

You can say a lot about Elvis' movies, but they are often very entertaining (especially if you like Elvis music and pretty girls).

These are, supposedly, his worst movie work:

"Kissin' Cousins" (I, actually like this one) from producer Sam Katzman ("King of the Quickies")

"Harum Scarum" (producer Sam Katzman) (not seen)

"Paradise Hawaiian Style" (not seen)

"Clambake" (not seen)

"Double Trouble" (seen twice)

"Easy Come, Easy Go"

"Stay Away, Joe" (not seen)

Sincerely,

Mr. Even B.

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » February 13th, 2009, 9:43 pm

movieman

The movies you listed that you have not seen are all basically what you referred to as Elvis Genre movies. Easy Come, Easy Go is a little different but the most familiar plot is: Elvis is just released from the Army, Air Force, Navy, whatever, and by some wild circumstance is in the position of watching either little children or teen-age girls during their vacations or a weeks trip. The girls, or kids, inevitably get lost or into some kind of trouble and Elvis goes through several levels of Keystone Cops altercations to get them back before their parents show up. While doing this there is usually an aunt, older sister, teacher or some other lovely lady to help him.

Stay Away Joe is probably the very worst movie he made. It's much worse than Kissin' Cousins. Charro is really a good cowboy movie and Elvis does a good job as an understated Clint Eastwood strong, silent type. Blue Hawaii is the most beautiful to see, especially the wedding ceremony at the end. Loving You was a complete take-off on his own career and why in the world they chose grandma Lizabeth Scott as the woman he gets a crush on is beyond me. His best job to me, was King Creole with one of his best chemistry's with Dolores Hart. Having a little mutual admiration society thing going on with Ann Margret during Viva Las Vegas was a pleasure to behold with both of them putting forth their best efforts. That turned a pretty routine movie into a good one. The songs were all upbeat and they both had a chance to strut their stuff.

My whole bedroom was Elvis, my book covers were Elvis, my clothes had Elvis as much as I could find, my locker at school was papered with his photos, etc. I guess you could call me a fan, and I never missed a movie. He was the first thing that ever made me defy my parents because I saw no harm in him like they did with never even seeing one of his movies - that I found unfair, so I rebelled. Unfortunately however, he opened the door to so much of the garbage we have now, but unlike my parents, I do watch them on MTV or whatever when my grandson calls and tells me someone is on and I can then form my own opinion, and I give him an outlet to yell at an adult when we 'discuss' his choice of entertainers.

Anne
Anne


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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************

klondike

Re: Elvis films

Postby klondike » February 13th, 2009, 10:05 pm

movieman wrote:
"Harum Scarum" (producer Sam Katzman) (not seen)


"Stay Away, Joe" (not seen)


These two films boast two separate & unique mileposts in Elvis' film performance arc:

in Harum Scarum, Elvis karate-chops an attacking leopard;

in Stay Away Joe, Elvis chats with Katy Jurado while she bathes outdoors in a vintage copper tub;

any other value one might derive from either film would likely be highly subjective.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 15th, 2009, 10:33 am

I've tried Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. I love Elvis to listen to, his voice, it's difficult to describe, it's warm, seductive, soothing. That's probably the best word, soothing. I haven't quite found my stride with the movies. The comeback concert is a different matter, I LOVE that :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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mongoII
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Re: WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby mongoII » February 28th, 2009, 5:28 pm

I've seen "Chicago" recently and it was pretty good. Loved the hoity toity in-sync dancing of Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Joseph Goodheart

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Professional Tourist
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Re: WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Professional Tourist » March 3rd, 2009, 10:38 pm

I watch Judy Garland musicals on DVD fairly often, most recently probably A Star is Born and Summer Stock. Of the more recent musicals, I really enjoy Dreamgirls. I saw it three times when it was in theaters, and then bought the DVD. :)

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phil noir
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Re: WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby phil noir » March 23rd, 2009, 11:06 am

I just watched Down Argentine Way this weekend. One of Twentieth Century Fox's gleaming Technicolor musicals with Don Ameche, Betty Grable and (in her American debut) Carmen Miranda. I find Betty Grable a bit on the bland side (I don't dislike her; I just prefer Alice Faye's singing voice as well as her general persona), but Don Ameche was excellent, a real charmer, and Carmen Miranda, although having little to do with the plot, showed the star quality that TCF would make use of in The Gang's All Here, etc.

Some other nice performances: Charlotte Greenwood and her slighly disturbing rubber-legged dancing as Grable's aunt; Leonid Kinskey hilarious as a local guide-cum-gigolo; plus the astonishing Nicholas Brothers as a nightclub act. And the title song is amazingly catchy - I couldn't get it out of my head.

feaito

Re: WHAT MUSICALS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » June 25th, 2010, 11:56 pm

I watched "Hit the Deck" (1955) a pleasant, amusing musical, which while no masterpiece displays an array of talent and an impressive cast: Tony Martin, Vic Damone, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, J. Carrol Naish, Kay Armen, Gene Raymond, Walter Pidgeon, Jane Darwell and Richard Anderson. Beautiful cinemascope ratio and vibrant Eastman Color. Fine tunes such as "Hallelujah", the haunting "More Than You Know" and the joyous "Ciribiribin". Finely staged dances. Beautiful women, clothes and definitely above average and unpretentious. Pure entertainment. Handsomely looking. Gene Raymong playing a lecherous type is something untypical. And Ann Miller, Jane Powell and Debbie Renolds are always a joy to watch and listen. Kay Armen's voice is quite an instrument. I had never seen this musical before. Tony Martin and Vic Damone are tops in the voice departament too and Tamblyn's dances and acrobatics are fantastic.

Has anyone seen the original 1930 version released by RKO? I think that there was a Silent based on the story upon which the musical at its turn was based: "Shore Leave"... Never seen it either.


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