AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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txfilmfan
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by txfilmfan »

I Love Melvin wrote: June 7th, 2024, 6:58 am
skimpole wrote: June 7th, 2024, 1:27 am Is there a reason why TCM doesn't show Damn Yankees or L'il Abner?
Li'l Abner is Paramount, so that may be part of it, but TCM has shown it. I remember discussion on the old TCM site about the print they showed; memory fails but it was some kind of work print which hadn't been yet been trimmed to the proper theatrical ratio, so you could see the light grid and other "offstage" elements in some of the shots. I don't have a clue about Damn Yankees being among the missing; it's Warner Brothers and TCM is all about Warner's these days. The same with Pajama Game, also Warner's. There was a restoration at the TCM Film Festival a couple of years back so I was all excited thinking we'd be seeing it on the channel any time now, but no dice. Prime has pan-and-scan VHS-era prints of both, but at this point in time that's a needless indignity for viewers.
This was a frequent topic on the old TCM forum, at least for Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. The speculation was that there was some underlying complicated rights issue that had changed over the years (possibly due to a death of one of the rights holders, if held with an individual as opposed to a corporation, trust, LLC or the like). But that was when you couldn't find either on any service anywhere. Since then, as you noted, it has popped up on Amazon and other ad-supported services. But these prints, as you noted, are terrible.

Damn Yankees and Pajama Game copyrights were claimed in 1986 by something called Tartan Enterprises, which apparently hoped to cash in on expiring copyrights at the time. It's likely this was an unsuccessful move, as the copyright database has numerous claims by the original authors and their successors afterwards.

Making it more complicated is that Pajama Game is based upon, of course, the stage musical, which was in turn based on a book. And depending on how the film rights were negotiated, the original book copyright holder could claim to own a piece of the pie, and the individual songs and score could be separately claimed as well. It can get very messy quickly.

There is a 2023 entry in the copyright database regarding Pajama Game that may shed some light, filed on behalf of Nathaniel Bissell, Amarantha Martin and Alexander Bissell. Nathaniel Bissell was Richard Bissell's son, who passed away in 2022. Amarantha and Alexander are Nathaniel's children. Richard Bissell was the author of 7 1/2 cents, the original source material of the musical. He was also involved with the original stage musical, and the stage musical version of Damn Yankees.

The document filed in 2023 was a "Certified Order Authorizing Small Estate Administration", which is a probate record regarding an estate, presumably that of Nathaniel Bissell, who passed away in 2022. In the copyright DB record, it includes the following items, to which apparently these heirs are asserting rights: the original play, the theatrical film and source novel for Pajama Game, and the stage musical, musical play and score, made for TV film and theatrical film for Damn Yankees.

It seems that the Bissell's chose to distribute their rights via individual ownership rather than forming some sort of legal entity to manage them. Thus, whenever a family member passes away, the rights must be probated through that individual's estate. Richard Bissell (the original play's author) had 4 children and who knows how many descendants from there. But it's likely each one has some claim, depending on what was specified (or not) in a will, and it's likely that the rights will go through this same sort of thing whenever someone in the family passes away.

And if the other authors involved (Adler, Ross, Abbott, Wallop, and so on) did the same, you can see how complicated it can be. If the rights are held by or asserted by dozens of individuals at this point, it can be nearly impossible to get everyone on the same page.
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Hibi
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by Hibi »

Thanks. What a HORROR SHOW. So no one is making any money. Makes sense. :(
kingrat
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by kingrat »

I remember seeing Pajama Game on YouTube in a reasonably good print, although that was a few years ago.
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Hibi
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
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txfilmfan
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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Hibi wrote: June 7th, 2024, 11:27 am I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
Last time I saw it on broadcast TV was around 1983 or early 1984, when I was in college, from a station in Oklahoma City. It was on late. This would've been around the time local stations started broadcasting around the clock and they had lots of hours to fill.

I did take a look at both recently on the streaming services, and when I saw the print, the first thing that popped into my head was "I can't believe we used to watch TV with such poor picture quality."
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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Hibi wrote: June 7th, 2024, 11:27 am I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
Both films were released on DVD in the 2000s.
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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Hibi wrote: June 7th, 2024, 11:27 am I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
My eyesight isn't great so I can't judge video quality. I purchased The Pajama Game on Blu-Ray.
Similar to Victor/Victoria on Blu-Ray, the dialog was okay but the music parts were too loud.
Amazon sells 2 different versions and you want the WB Archive Collection version.
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Hibi
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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CinemaInternational wrote: June 7th, 2024, 12:29 pm
Hibi wrote: June 7th, 2024, 11:27 am I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
Both films were released on DVD in the 2000s.
Good. Thanks.
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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jimimac71 wrote: June 7th, 2024, 1:08 pm
Hibi wrote: June 7th, 2024, 11:27 am I may wind up buying it, if the restored version is on Amazon. I may be dead before it ever airs on tv. It's been even longer since I've seen Damn Yankees (on local tv when I was a pre-teen!)
My eyesight isn't great so I can't judge video quality. I purchased The Pajama Game on Blu-Ray.
Similar to Victor/Victoria on Blu-Ray, the dialog was okay but the music parts were too loud.
Amazon sells 2 different versions and you want the WB Archive Collection version.
Ok. Thanks.
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I Love Melvin
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by I Love Melvin »

I know we're stuck with the list, but another one I'd try to find room for is George Cukor's Les Girls (1957), with some spectacular Jack Cole staging of the musical numbers. In the same way as Funny Face it's a great example of what's now called "mid-century modern" style and design. It plays out as Rashomon-like remembrances of a touring theatrical troupe at the libel trial of one who has put her memories in book form a number of years later. Gene Kelly and Mitzi Gaynor can generally be counted on as he pros they were, and I'd watch Kay Kendall in anything, but the surprise is Taina Elg as the third female member of Kelly's act (and the "authoress" in question). What a charmer. Together as" Barry Nichols and Les Girls" they bring off some really stylish Cole Porter musical numbers. I've run into people who don't care for it, so take your shot if you need to, but it's one I go back to every time it shows.

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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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I saw Taina Elg in Irma La Douce in Chicago when I was in JrHS. My first live show (a musical too!) & the whole cast was super. Scandalized my teachers though that my parents took me to such a show. Got to remember that this was back at the beginning of the '60s. 🤣

I liked Les Girls also.
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

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I Love Melvin wrote: June 11th, 2024, 6:44 pm I know we're stuck with the list, but another one I'd try to find room for is George Cukor's Les Girls (1957), with some spectacular Jack Cole staging of the musical numbers. In the same way as Funny Face it's a great example of what's now called "mid-century modern" style and design. It plays out as Rashomon-like remembrances of a touring theatrical troupe at the libel trial of one who has put her memories in book form a number of years later. Gene Kelly and Mitzi Gaynor can generally be counted on as he pros they were, and I'd watch Kay Kendall in anything, but the surprise is Taina Elg as the third female member of Kelly's act (and the "authoress" in question). What a charmer. Together as" Barry Nichols and Les Girls" they bring off some really stylish Cole Porter musical numbers. I've run into people who don't care for it, so take your shot if you need to, but it's one I go back to every time it shows.

Image
This might just be the last highly entertaining musical of the American studio-era.
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by skimpole »

jamesjazzguitar wrote: June 11th, 2024, 7:38 pm
I Love Melvin wrote: June 11th, 2024, 6:44 pm
This might just be the last highly entertaining musical of the American studio-era.
How does one define "American studio era"?
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by jamesjazzguitar »

skimpole wrote: June 12th, 2024, 4:58 am
jamesjazzguitar wrote: June 11th, 2024, 7:38 pm
I Love Melvin wrote: June 11th, 2024, 6:44 pm
This might just be the last highly entertaining musical of the American studio-era.
How does one define "American studio era"?
I define it as American made talking films from 1929 until the late 60s (68 \ 69).
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Hibi
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Re: AFI's 25 GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS OF ALL TIME

Post by Hibi »

Yes. 1957 seems to be the end of the line as far as the Hollywood musical factory went. (Funny Face; Silk Stockings; Les Girls. (Granted Silk Stockings wasn't an original).
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