AndrewSchone

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  1. AndrewSchone

    Underrated musical

    Not sure underrated is quite the right word, but "Can't Help Singing" a 1944 Diana Durbin musical was a boxoffice disappointment and is seldom if ever shown on cable. It is or was available in a Diana Durbin DVD box set. Can't Help Singing was a big budget Technicolor film, much of it shot outdoors on locations in Utah (I think that's the state) and the last segment filmed at Old Town in San Diego. That a musical of it's era was shot on location was very rare. Some of the songs feature changing outdoor settings as Durbin sings seamlessly, something very common later on, but innovative at the time. It has a very funny script and an outstanding comic performance by Akim Tamiroff (you can see how he was the model for Boris Badinov in the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV Cartoons). Robert Paige gives a playful, tongue in cheek performance as the leading man. And Durbin was always an excellent light comic actress. In fact, the whole film is played with just the right amount of light humor, the actors winking at the audience. Then there are the songs by Jerome Kern and Yip Harburg, not their best work, but still accomplished.
  2. I read that there was a few seconds in the dance where Charese's genetal area was showing and they cut it for obvious reasons. I believe a saw a still which showed what was cut out, but not sure.
  3. The ideal movie musical dancer had/has not only technical dancing ability and style, but charisma and likeability. I suspect this is partially why superb technical dancers like Tommy Rall (maybe the best of all time?) and Gene Nelson were not bigger stars. Not that they were unlikeable, but nowhere near that of Astaire, Kelly, Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor, and Dick VanDyke. I beg to differ than Danny Kaye and Dick VanDyke were great or even good dancers. They both had style, plus likeablility galore, but merely adequit technique. If you watch Kaye in White Christmas number "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing", you'll see his socks and shoes and pants are all the same dark grey color. This was to keep you from noticing his feet; his footwork was just passable. Same for other musical stars who could move well, but were not accomplished dancers -- watch their feet, if they are shown onscreen at all. Also pay attention to the difficulty or lack of difficulty of the dance moves they are given to do and the length of time they are dancing without a cut in the film.
  4. AndrewSchone

    Other Musicals

    I've seen Roman Scandals and Kid From Spain, and excerpts from Whoopie and Rio Rita (you can find these excerpts and perhaps excerpts from the other two films on YouTube). For what it's worth, all the films are very dated technically, in humor, and in everything else. Somewhat interesting to watch excerpts the earliest of these to see what Zigfield Follies production numbers were like. Roman Scandals and possible one or two others have musical numbers by Busby Berkeley, and it is mildly interesting to see what he was creating pre-Warner Brothers and very pre-code.
  5. AndrewSchone

    "The Merry Widow" - MGM Remake

    Lamas was a good singer. I read once that MGM originally signed him to be the singing voice of their already established Latin lover, Ricardo Montalban. Then they realized he was leading man material in his own right. He sings in "Dangerous When Wet", which I think is the best Ester Williams musical. It's really him singing in The Merry Widow.
  6. AndrewSchone

    "The Merry Widow" - MGM Remake

  7. AndrewSchone

    "Les Girls"

    You can watch Marjorie Morningstar on YouTube, someone uploaded it. However it's obviously from a homemade VHS copy of a TV showing, poor picture quality and widescreen image cut down to rectangular shape. May have been edited for TV too? It's a modestly enjoyable teen coming of age story, dated, but with some interest in seeing Natalie Wood in an early starring role. Kelly does a credible acting job, but little or no dancing. Ed Winn is excellent in a small dramatic role, genuine, heartfelt, unaffected (unlike his comic persona).
  8. AndrewSchone

    Were the British good at musicals?

    I'd say The Red Shoes is a musical-dance melodrama--definitely not a musical. Songs are a major component, often THE major component of a musical. No songs in The Red Shoes; though it is a true masterpiece, and gorgeous in the Technicolor restoration we have in recent decades. The few pre-1960's British musicals I've watched (acually started to watch, since I could not get into them) paled next to many American musicals. This is partially because their production values were very inferior, they were targeted at a British audience and lack appeal to those not steeped in the authentic British culture, and because the prints/video transfers of the ones I've come across are poor. And let's face it, they didn't have Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Busby Berkeley, etc. etc.
  9. AndrewSchone

    Anarchistic Musicals

    Seldom bothers me that costumes, hair styles, and makeup in period films are not historically accurate. Fiction films set in the past are made for contemporary audiences. Most of the public is more comfortable and more engaged with fantasy versions of the past than they would be with the real thing. In musicals, comedies, adventure films etc. I'd much rather see stylized versions of the past, than a documentary-like recreation. So would are large majority of the audience. True some gritty historical dramas are enhanced by a more realistic look. Besides, a lot of the clothing and women's makeup of past eras look downright ugly to us. For example, the makeup seen in 1920's and early 30's films--crude, very artificial looking, ugly. Or the real clothing worn dusty dirty cowboys one can see in historical photos.
  10. AndrewSchone

    Julius Caesar was presented in wide screen

    28silent: Impressive knowledge! Of course this sort of aspect ratio, stereo sound history is only of interest to a very few of us. But I am one.
  11. AndrewSchone

    Bette and Joan

    I watched the first episode with relish--well mounted, campy fun. The actors seemed to be having a fine old time playing the old Hollywood figures and did a capable job of it. I especially enjoyed Judy Davis as Hedda Hopper, and wonder if she might have been in the running to play Betty Davis; she would have been at least as good as Sarandon in the role. The one casting misfire was Zetta-Jones as Olivia DeHavilland; not believable at all. The production design was quite opulent for a TV show, and the home used as Crawford's was appropriately grand, in Beverly Hills classic style. I did spot a few minor historical inaccuracies, but nothing too glaring.
  12. AndrewSchone

    I Just Watched...

    I had a much needed laugh recalling a clip I once saw of Ricardo Montalban on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. As I recall it, Carson asked, "What is Corinthian leather, anyway?" Ricardo replied with amused exasperation, "I don't know!" I did a search for that clip just now, but could not find it. I did however find a clip of David Letterman asking Montalban the same thing. This time the actor-pitchman, gave a more serious and perhaps over long talk on his time as spokesman for Chrysler, how that came about, and yes, Corinthian leather. Here it is: And for more laughs, a very funny comedy skit from SCTV, "The Ricardo Montalban school of fine acting" featuring several comedians who were later in films and Saturday Night Live:
  13. AndrewSchone

    The first use. . . .

    Earlier than that. . . "No Time For Sargent's" (1958) has a gag where Andy Griffith's character makes all the toilet seats in the latrine "salute" when an officer comes for an inspection.
  14. AndrewSchone

    Sweet Charity

    Some points about roadshow film presentations: The model for presenting films in this way, was professional live theater, musicals especially: reserved seats, overtures, two acts with an intermission, programs. The goal, aside from making money, was to give prestige/class to the film and the film going experience. When roadshow films were first presented, live professional theater was considered more classy, sophisticated, elite than movies. The roadshow films were sometimes longer than the general release versions, not only because the musicals would have an overture, entrac't music, exit music. The roadshow versions would sometimes be longer edits of the film, and the general release versions would sometimes have scenes and/or songs deleted. While there were reserved seats, if there were unsold seats, the theater's would be happy to sell tickets to walk-ins. And to bring this back to "Sweet Charity", I remember walking by a theater in downtown Seattle a few minutes before a matinee, and there were no customers outside the theater. There were probably few inside the theater either. Undeservidly so, because I think it's a very enjoyable, well made, and at the end a very inspirational film.
  15. AndrewSchone

    VALLEY OF THE DOLLS-So Who Watched??

    Perhaps the song isn't entirely horrible. True, the lyrics are laughable if you think about them. But I never noticed this until I recently read a blurb by someone making fun of the lyrics. The reason I never noticed, and that the song is stuck in your head is that musically, it's an excellent musical theater-old school pop song. It's very catchy and stirring, ideal for Judy Garland to wow the audience with.

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