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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Musical Must-Sees


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#21 film lover 293

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:36 PM

I"m leaving out box-office hits and well known films.  Most of these were box-office bombs, regardless of quality.  The 80's:

 

"Popeye" (1980)--Robert Altman musical starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall really tries to recreate the comic strip world.  Definitely worth a watch.

 

"Pennies From Heaven" (1981)--People weren't ready for a serious Steve Martin, and MGM lost 19 million on this musical with fine dance numbers and stars lip-synching to popular songs of the Depression Era.  Bernadette Peters and Jessica Walter costar.

 

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (1982)--The film of the last show of the Off Broadway tour of the Stephen Sondheim musical.  Stars Angela Lansbury and George Hearn.  Highest recommendation.  Songs: "Have a Little Priest", "Pretty Women", etc.  TCM is showing this August 19th.

 

"Forbidden Zone" (1982)--Oingo Boingo and Susan Tyrell.

 

"Pirates of Penzance" (1983)--Linda Ronstadt, Kevin Kline, and Angela Lansbury star in this adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that bombed at the box-office due to Universal's releasing strategy and despite good reviews.

 

"Voyage of the Rock Aliens" (1984)--Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson in a sci-fi musical.  Look for the two MTV videos stuck into the film.

 

"That's Dancing! (1985)--Gene Kelly hosts this takeoff on the "That's Entertainment!" films.  Definitely worth a watch


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#22 LawrenceA

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:37 PM

Do you want a list for the 80's and 90's?

 

Do you want a list of films that aren't three stars? (None I'd rate below 2.5/4).  My list is fairly short--shorter than the 50's post.

 

Sure. I've probably seen most of the 80s and 90s movies, but a few notables may have slipped past me. And i'll take as many recommendations as I can get.



#23 film lover 293

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:15 PM

About "Godspell" (1973)--It's been over 10 years since I've seen it, but I remember the musical score being good ("Day By Day", "By My Side", etc), nice location photography (New York City), but film had a near terminal case of the Cutes.  I can't recommend OR say avoid it.

 

"Hair" (1979)--I think Milos Forman directed it, but I missed this one.

 

Two questions:

 

Do you want a list for the 80's and 90's?

 

Do you want a list of films that aren't three stars? (None I'd rate below 2.5/4).  My list is fairly short--shorter than the 50's post.


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#24 TopBilled

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:03 PM

I've seen the Streisand A Star is Born, as well as the That's Entertainments. 

 

I have Jesus Christ Superstar recorded to watch. 

 

What about Godspell, The Slipper and the Rose and Hair? These I've heard of a lot but haven't seen.

 

I can speak about THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE. If you like fairy tale musicals with stupendous production values and a mostly British cast, this is a must-see. Richard Chamberlain, however, is probably not the best choice to play the prince but he's still entertaining. Writer-director Bryan Forbes cast Kenneth More and Edith Evans in key supporting roles. It was Evans' last screen appearance. Also, he was able to get Margaret Lockwood to come out of retirement to play the wicked stepmother.

 

The costumes are great and so are the songs, written by the Sherman brothers. At 143 minutes, it's a bit long, but sumptuous nonetheless and worth seeing. 


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#25 LawrenceA

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 05:09 PM

I've seen the Streisand A Star is Born, as well as the That's Entertainments. 

 

I have Jesus Christ Superstar recorded to watch. 

 

What about Godspell, The Slipper and the Rose and Hair? These I've heard of a lot but haven't seen.



#26 film lover 293

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:57 PM

The 1970's: 

 

"Darling Lili" (1970)--Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson star in this spy melodrama/musical.  The moviegoing public was tiring of roadshow musicals and this one lost a bundle, around 20 million.  Still, it's an enjoyable watch.  Song: "Whistling In The Dark".

 

"Song of Norway" (1970)-- Starring Florence Henderson and Toralv Maurstad (sp?).  My pick for rock bottom of the road show musicals.  The plot revolves around Edward Grieg's struggle to make a national music for Norway.  A snore inducing plot, but the instrumental music is very pleasant, and the cinematography made me want to visit Norway.  Unfortunately, there are also lyrics that are not pleasant to listen to, shots of dancers with their legs (or arms, heads, etc.) partially out of the frame when they come running by, shots that are stolen from "The Sound of Music" (Florence Henderson running down a hillside toward the camera, etc.,), everyones' hair is dyed the SAME shade of blond.  This movie serves up cliches as if they were being shown for the first time (just one example--a singing hayride: "The Bandwagon" parodied this back in 1953!) Mind bogglingly awful.  Film is on YouTube.  

 

"The Boyfriend" (1971)--Ken Russell's take on the 1950's Broadway musical that starred Julie Andrews.  Twiggy, Tommy Tune, and Glenda Jackson star.

 

"Jesus Christ Superstar" (1973)--Rock musical about the life of Jesus has more than a hint of disco.  Ted Neeley screams his way through his part (Jesus Christ).  Some good songs are mangled.  I didn't like it when I saw it over 20 years ago.  See it and decide for yourself.

 

"Lost Horizon" (1973)--Another musical bomb detonated in the 1970's, this one courtesy of producer Ross Hunter.  Was listed in the Medved book "The 50 Worst Films of All Time".  Isn't That bad, but it's in my bottom 20 of musicals.

 

"That's Entertainment!" (1974)--Highlights of the MGM musical.  You'll see a lot of stuff you already have, but there's also Elizabeth Taylor singing, and great numbers from mediocre films that you can decide whether or not you want to see the films ("It's A Most Unusual Day" from 1948's "A Date With Judy", etc.)

 

"At Long Last Love" (1975)--Film was deservedly ripped apart on initial release, but director Peter Bogdanovich re-edited the film in 2013, taking out the worst numbers and using alternate takes instead.  The re-edited version is worth checking out.  Madeline Kahn singing Cole Porter is near priceless ("Find Me A Primitive Man", "Well. Did You Evah", etc) Cybill Shepherd isn't bad (she just has trouble staying on key), Eileen Brennan talk-sings her way through songs.  Of the men, only John Hillerman is hopeless.  Film was on archive.org, but has been removed.

 

"A Matter of Time" (1976)--Vincente Minnelli's last film starred his daughter Liza.  Even the restored version TCM has showed twice is a mess, but Liza is in fine voice.

 

"A Star Is Born" (1976)--Barbra Streisand's version got the harshest reviews of all three versions, but is worth a look for the music, which varies from fair to very good (Evergreen).  Kris Kristofferson is excellent in his role.

 

"That's Entertainment, Part II" (1976)--Film is sloppier than the original, and doesn;t stay focused on music, but there are rarities very worth watching (Bobby Van's human pogo stick dance from 1953's "Small Town Girl". etc.).

 

 

 


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#27 LawrenceA

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:01 PM

I have 

 

Can-Can

Billy Rose's Jumbo

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Sweet Charity

 

already in my to-watch pile.

 

Thanks for the list!

 

Are there any 1970s musicals that I haven't seen that are worth checking out?



#28 film lover 293

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 02:43 PM

The 1960's--You've seen many of the major musicals of the decade, or others have already recommended ones you've missed:

 

"Can-Can" (1960)--Cole Porter scored film stars Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier, and Louis Jourdan.  Film is notable for MacLaine's energetic performance, Sinatra's definitive version of "It's All Right With Me", MacLaine and Sinatra duet to "Let's Do It", and the final Can-Can (MacLaine and Juliet Prowse have to leap down  a staircase in four (?) inch high heeled boots; both are/were trained dancers, but I hope they got hazard pay, because it looks dangerous as all get out.  Film drags between songs/dances, but is one of my favorites anyway.

 

"Bells Are Ringing" (1960)--Is essential viewing because this is Judy Holliday in her only film musical.  She recreated her Tony winning role here.  Director Vincente Minnelli seems bored, and botches the staging of two songs, but this is still a must see.  Song: "The Party's Over".  Holliday also did some jazz albums--I have two on cassette tape--they're good enough they should also be available on CD.

 

"Billy Roses' Jumbo" (1962)--Doris Day in her final major musical.  Film also stars Martha Raye, Jimmy Durante, and Stephen Boyd in this adaptation of Rodgers and Hart's circus-set musical.  Songs: "My Romance", "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", etc.

 

"I Could Go On Singing" (1963)--Judy Garland's final musical.

 

"A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" (1966)--Stephen Sondheim's score as adapted by Ken Thorne won an Oscar.  Sondheim's lyrics are full of puns and other plays on words.  Very enjoyable film.  TCM is showing this one in September.

 

"The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967)--I enjoyed this Jacques Demy film.  It's a pretty piece of fluff, and cast is fine.

 

"Oh! What A Lovely War" (1968)--Anti-war revue won 5 British Academy Awards.  Watch for Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith.

 

"Sweet Charity" (1969)--This one almost bankrupted Universal, but Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera, and Sammy Davis Jr. are especially good.  Bob Fosse choreographed the film.  Long but well worth a watch.  Song; "Hey, Big Spender".


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#29 TopBilled

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:32 PM

Of the 1950s list-

 

I have already seen:

 

Torch Song

Love Me or Leave Me

The Girl Can't Help It

 

I have in my to-watch pile:

 

Annie Get Your Gun

Summer Stock

Show Boat

Calamity Jane

Kiss Me Kate

Funny Face

 

The rest I'll try to track down, record, or stream!

 

Thanks again, and I'm looking forward to the 1960s list.

 

You may want to watch ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and CALAMITY JANE back-to-back since they're thematically related and both feature Howard Keel. CALAMITY JANE is Doris Day's favorite of all her films; and it has a beautiful Oscar-winning ballad.


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#30 LawrenceA

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:11 PM

Of the 1950s list-

 

I have already seen:

 

Torch Song

Love Me or Leave Me

The Girl Can't Help It

 

I have in my to-watch pile:

 

Annie Get Your Gun

Summer Stock

Show Boat

Calamity Jane

Kiss Me Kate

Funny Face

 

The rest I'll try to track down, record, or stream!

 

Thanks again, and I'm looking forward to the 1960s list.


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#31 film lover 293

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 07:17 PM

The 50's--This is a long one:

 

"The Toast of New Orleans" (1950)--Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson belt out a good score that had one Monster hit "Be My Love".  Bits of opera are scattered through the film.

 

"Let's Dance" (1950)--Overlooked, underrated musical teams Fred Astaire and Betty Hutton; film has too involved a plot for its' own good, but Frank Loesser's score is good.  "Piano Dance" and "Oh Them Dudes" are two numbers to watch for.

 

"Annie Get Your Gun" (1950)--Betty Hutton and Howard Keel star in this musical bio of Annie Oakley. Film's a delight.  Songs: "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better", "I'm an Indian Too", and many more.  Film has one of Hutton's two or three best performances.

 

"Summer Stock" (1950)--Garland's last completed MGM film has a good score, a memorable dance with Gene Kelly and a newspaper, and of course Garland's "Get Happy".

 

"Nancy Goes to Rio" (1950)--Ann Sothern in her last MGM film, petite blonde Jane Powell officially grows up (she started out as a child star) , and Carmen Miranda has a song called "Caroon Pa Pa" which is a number that looks like it was cut from "The Gang's All Here" (1943) because it was too crazy.

 

"Royal Wedding" (1951)--Astaire dances on the ceiling in this one, and Jane Powell shows her skill as a comedienne.  Sarah Churchill is blah, but her part's too small to do serious damage to the film.

 

"Show Boat" (1951)--Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ava Gardner, and William Warfield sings "Ol' Man River".  Not quite as good as the 1936 version, but deserves a watch.

 

"Calamity Jane" (1953)--Doris Day in the title role, and Howard Keel costars.  Oscar winning hit; "Secret Love", the gem of an underrated score.

 

"Kiss Me Kate" (1953)--MGM adaptation of a 1948 Cole Porter Broadway hit sets "The Taming of the Shrew" to music, and includes backstage stories of the actors.  Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, and Ann Miller star.  Songs: "Where is the Life That Late I Led", "Too Darn Hot", "Wunderbar", etc.

 

"Easy to Love" (1954)--Esther Williams film you didn't list; Busby Berkeley choreographed.

 

"Torch Song" (1953)--Joan Crawford musical is a high camp delight.  A must see.

 

"There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954)--Marilyn Monroe, Ethel Merman, and co. star in this gaudy, sentimental musical.  Marilyn's numbers are very good; "Heat Wave" shows her putting on her "sex symbol" image.  A fun watch.

 

"Daddy Long Legs" (1955)--Astaire and Leslie Caron.  TCM is showing this the 27th.  Song; the Oscar nominated "Something's Gotta Give".

 

"Love Me or Leave Me" (1955)--Doris Day musical bio of Ruth Etting is excellent.  TCM is showing this on James Cagney's day in August.

 

"Hit the Deck" (1955)--Stars Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, and Ann Miller in another overlooked musical that's a favorite of mine.  Song "Hallelujah" was excerpted in "That's Entertainment!" (1974).

 

"It's Always Fair Weather" (1955)--Starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Dolores Gray.  Cynical musical is a delight.  Gray steals the show with her tantrum throwing, insincerity oozing, talk show host.  Song; "Thanks A Lot But No Thanks".

 

"Kismet"--Starring Howard Keel, Dolores Gray, and Ann Blyth.  One of Vincente Minnelli's lesser musicals, film is better than its' reputation.  Film is very worth a watch.

 

"The Best Things in Life Are Free" (1956)--Starring Gordon MacRae, Sheree North, film is a Tin Pan Alley bio film loaded with music.  Highlight--Sheree North doing the "Black Bottom".

 

"The Girl Can't Help It" (1956)--Frank Tashlin film starring Jayne Mansfield and lots of early rock n' roll acts.

 

"Funny Face" (1957)--Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn (doing her own singing) and Kay Thompson.  Delightful film.  Songs: "Clap Your Hands" (which Thompson steals from Astaire), "Think Pink", "How Long Has This Been Going On?", etc.

 

"Les Girls" (1957)--Starring Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, and Mitzi Gaynor.  Cukor directed musical is intermittently delightful, is never less than amusing.   Cole Porter contributed one of his last scores.

 

"Damn Yankees" (1958)--Baseball musical stars Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon, and Ray Walston.  Hunter makes a deal with the Devil (Walston) to get his team in the playoffs.  Song: "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets".

 

"Saint Louis Woman" (1958)--Stars Nat King Cole, Earth Kitt, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.  Lousy story, Fine music.

 

"Porgy and Bess" (1959)--Starring Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, etc. Supposed to be good, IF it can be found.


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#32 LawrenceA

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 11:01 AM

Larry,

 

You never explained what brought on this musical kick. Is it because you're trying to increase your awareness of other film genres?

 

That's it exactly. Musicals are the genre that I've seen the least of, even though looking at my list of what I have seen makes it look pretty thorough after all.

 

There are musical stars that I hear or read about whose work I was largely unfamiliar with, like the aforementioned Esther Williams and Betty Grable, or Rita Hayworth (I've seen many of her non-musical films), Eleanor Powell or Jane Powell (I don't know the difference), and I'd like to be better versed in who they were and their work.


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#33 TopBilled

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:55 AM

Larry,

 

You never explained what brought on this musical kick. Is it because you're trying to increase your awareness of other film genres?


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#34 LawrenceA

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:14 PM

From the 1940s list I already have:

 

Broadway Melody of 1940

Cabin in the Sky

Stormy Weather

The Harvey Girls

Easter Parade

Words and Music

Romance on the High Seas

 

And just this evening I found cheap used copies of two Esther Williams sets, so now I have these:

 

Bathing Beauty

Easy to Wed

On an Island with You

Neptune's Daughter

Dangerous When Wet

Fiesta

Thrill of a Romance

Pagan Love Song

Million Dollar Mermaid


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#35 film lover 293

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:07 PM

The 40's:

 

"Broadway Melody of 1940" (1940)--Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, and a Cole Porter score; Astaire and Powell's dance to "Begin the Beguine" is magical.

 

"You'll Never Get Rich" (1941)--Astaire, Rita Hayworth dance to Cole Porter's music.  Hayworth was supposed to be Astaire's favorite dancing partner after the RKO films with Ginger Rogers.

 

"You Were Never Lovelier" (1942)--Astaire and Hayworth reteaming, this time with a Jerome Kern score.

 

"Cabin in the Sky" (1943)--Vincente Minnelli's first film; film is not PC, but Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, and co. are memorable.

 

"Stormy Weather" (1943)--Wispy plot is an excuse for Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and The Nicholas Brothers to do their best in this musical; the Nicholas Brothers have an unbelievable final number.

 

"The Gang's All Here" (1943)--High camp, must see movie.  "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" and "The Polka Dot Polka" must be seen to be believed.

 

"Bathing Beauty" (1944)--Esther Williams starring debut.

 

"The Harvey Girls" (1946)--I don't know what Judy Garland films you have.  MGM threw a ton of money at this, and it worked.  Film is notable for the "On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" number--watch the staging, and just how many people are involved.  It also won the Best Song Oscar.

 

"Good News" (1947)--1920's set musical stars June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Joan McCracken, and Mel Torme.  Allyson has a unique voice, and I like her in musicals; she even sends up her "teary" specialty.  Watch for the number "Pass That Peace Pipe", in which McCracken  is lead singer and dancer (it was Oscar nominated).

 

"Easter Parade" (1948)--Garland, Astaire, & Ann Miller--watch for the songs "Shakin' The Blues Away", "A Couple of Swells", and "But Not for Me", among many others.

 

"The Pirate" (1948)--Garland, Gene Kelly, and the Nicholas Bros. make this parody of swashbucklers a gem.  It flopped when released, but its' critical reputation has improved over the years.

 

"Words and Music" (1948)--The story is ****, the musical numbers are uniformly good or great; "That's Entertainment!" (1974) and "TE II" (1976) excerpted six songs from this film.

 

"Romance on the High Seas" (1948)--Film is fluff, but was Doris Day's debut.  Major hit--"It's Magic".

 

"Neptune's Daughter" (1949)--Esther Williams, Betty Garrett and Oscar winning song "Baby It's Cold Outside".


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#36 LawrenceA

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for the recommendations so far, film lover.

 

I have Rose Marie already recorded, as it's also an early Jimmy Stewart film.

 

I also have The Great Gabbo in the public domain box set.

 

I've seen One Night of Love.

 

The Merry Widow is the only one of those Lubitsch/Chevalier movies that I haven't seen. I've liked the others.


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#37 film lover 293

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 07:06 PM

Lawrence--I'm breaking my list into multiple posts, going by decades.  

 

Through the 30's;

 

"Applause" (1929)--Helen Morgan musical was directed by Rouben Mamoulian--check out Mamoulian's use of sound, camera movement.

 

"The Great Gabbo" (1929)--Erich von Stroheim goes mad while performing with a dummy in burlesque.  Bonkers musical has to be seen to be believed. Is on Youtube.

 

"Marianne" (1929)--Marion Davies and tenor Lawrence Gray in one of Davies' best musicals.

 

"Madam Satan" (1930)--Cecil B. DeMilles' only musical.  It's also a romantic comedy and disaster film.  TCM is airing this one in October.  Stars Kay Johnson and Lillian Roth.

 

"New Moon" (1930)--When opera stars Grace Moore and Lawrence Tibbett made their first bids for Hollywood stardom, this was their best vehicle. Film is eighty some minutes long, with ten songs, plus reprises=a song roughly every 4-5 minutes. TCM showed this delight in 2015.

 

"Going Hollywood" (1933)--Marion Davies and Bing Crosby.

 

"The Merry Widow" (1934)--PreCode Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, directed by Ernst Lubitsch has a first rate score.

 

"The Cat and the Fiddle" (1934)--Very good Jeanette MacDonald/Ramon Novarro operetta, scored by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein.  Last of the PreCode musicals on my list.

 

"One Night of Love" (1934)--Grace Moore got an Oscar nomination as Best Actress for this.

 

"Rose Marie" (1936)--Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy musical is well sung and it moves.

 

"One in a Million" (1937)--Henie's starring debut in her series of ice skating films.


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#38 TopBilled

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:07 PM

I just added a few more to the "watch" pile: On the Avenue (1937), Pin Up Girl (1944), and Something for the Boys (1944).

 

I haven't seen any of the 1940s Betty Grable movies, nor any Esther Williams or Sonja Henie movies.

 

The Henie films are a pleasure to watch. You'll enjoy Carmen Miranda in SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#39 LawrenceA

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:59 AM

I just added a few more to the "watch" pile: On the Avenue (1937), Pin Up Girl (1944), and Something for the Boys (1944).

 

I haven't seen any of the 1940s Betty Grable movies, nor any Esther Williams or Sonja Henie movies.


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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:34 AM

Another one to look at from the 40s is SONG OF SCHEHERAZADE, a Universal Technicolor musical. Yvonne de Carlo considered it the best of all the films she made at that studio (and she made quite a few good ones). It's currently on YouTube.

 

https://en.wikipedia...of_Scheherazade

 

In 1955, Miss de Carlo did a biopic about Richard Wagner for Republic called MAGIC FIRE, which has a superb international cast. Composer Erich Korngold arranged the musical selections from Wagner.

 

https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Magic_Fire


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