GLSkipper

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  1. I like all of Fred's partners as they were some of the best dancers in Hollywood and don't forget Rita Haworth in "You Were Never Lovelier". I used to think there would be no way to see this kind of performance ever again now that the stars have passed but I was completely wrong. In 2012 I spent a holiday in London and had forgotten that the British Theater in London still recognizes "triple threat" performances. I saw a stage production of "Top Hat" not knowing exactly what to expect. It was spectacular! It was the same as the Fred and Ginger movie but with a couple of songs added from other Fred and Ginger movies. I thought the dancing skills were a lost art but the producers of the stage musical found many very skilled performers to pull this off. I do not claim that Summer Strallen and Tom Chambers are equal to Fred and Ginger but they are closer to that very high quality than I would have thought was possible. They were totally believable and the musical was a hit in London. I have seen a great many musicals in London over many years but this is one of the best and most memorable. Toward the end of the course Mad About Musicals we see a number of movies (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lyon King and others) transition from a movie musical to a Broadway musical. But I never expected that anyone would ever attempt to go back and stage one of the Fred and Ginger hits.
  2. Lala Land was not bad its actually good. It was just not as great as I hoped it would be. When I went to see LaLa Land I wanted to enjoy it and root for it before I saw it and was starving for a new original musical. Unfortunately I came away as one of the "lukewarm" fans. I like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone very much as actors and I applaud the time they spent rehearsing the dance numbers but they are far from Fred and Ginger and some of this movie made me cringe because the performances were under played and understated dance routines (I guess I am spoiled by remembrances of Elenore Powell, Gene Kelly Fred Ginger and others). The next problem for me was the music and the singing. The only song I liked in the movie was Emma Stone's audition solo "The Fools Who Dream". The others I thought were not memorable (again I think I have been spoiled but the great composers and lyricists of past musicals). The final problem for me was the story. You can do a musical containing tragedy but unfortunately for me I came out actually depressed by what I had seen. And then along came "The Greatest Showman" which was the kind of musical I was hoping LaLa Land would be. Its wonderful. It has not got the BUZZ or acclaim of LaLa Land but fans like it, it has received quite a lot of awards and it made about the same amount of money. Best of all it has great songs and production numbers. Note Wikipedia lists all the musical numbers in the Greatest Showman as is done with most all musicals. you have to do special searches to get a list of songs in LaLa Land.
  3. I love Robert Preston's performance in Music Man as wonderful entertainment. Most of us cannot imagine the role being played by another actor. In fact its not likely that others could do it and in this case there is evidence, The movie brought a lot of attention to the songs of Music Man and in an era to TV variety shows a number of male singers attempted to sing "Trouble". These were famous "fails" and most notable of these was Robert Goulet who totally flubbed the song on live TV. According to TCM, Carry Grant was asked to play Harold Hill and he is claimed to have said that he would not accept the part and if the studio did not get Robert Preston for the role he would not watch the movie. Preston had this amazing ability to speak and sing very rapidly as the "flim-flam" man with perfect annunciation and vocal clarity which was absolutely essential to the character of Harold Hill. I also agree with those who say that he was a great actor. His performance in Victor Victoria is excellent and I have seen him give great performances in dramas and other kinds of films.
  4. I recorded the world cup to watch later and watched nearly all of the Musicals. I was fascinated to learn how the insights and observations from the course work increased my interest in the movies and particularly the rare and "off beat" ones. The one problem was loss of sleep on Tuesdays and Thursdays. LOL
  5. Great observation Lanin. It just shows that a lot of us see what we expect to see instead of see what is actually there/
  6. I completely agree that the course has been excellent and I would love to participate in others. One of the best things to come out of this for me has been a new appreciation for Musicals and for particular films I did not understand or did not appreciate. As pure entertainment many are excellent but the insights and observations and connections made by this course made many of these films are more interesting to me than they were before. Also more than any other type of film I have learned to appreciate the major roll that those talented people "behind the scenes" had in making the musicals memorable and successful.
  7. Broadway Melody of 1938 is not in the list of films included in the course and I understand that not all musicals can be included.  How ever the most important part of that movie is Judy Garland singing "You Made Me Love You" at age 14 to a portrait of Clark Gable. Fans of Judy whose first experience is "The Wizard of Oz"  should really see the 1938 clip which is easily accessible on the internet. 

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  8. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The fist time I saw Judy Garland was in Broadway Melody of 1938. She was only 14 and she sang "You Made Me Love You" while looking at a portrait of Clark Gable. This clip still melts me stops my heart and takes my breath away. At the time, Her performance was said to be as incredible and iconic as "Some Where Over The Rainbow". Those who have not seen Judy prior to the Wizard of OZ should really watch the clip which is available on YouTube and only takes a few minutes. Also the time when she is not singing but just talking to the picture are completely believable. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I have always been amazed by Judy's extraordinary career. Like some of the older people taking this course I got to watch her movies when many of them came out and followed her all through the years. We study her here in Musicals but she was a hit at Carnegie Hall, at concerts of all kinds, onstage, in Las Vegas and on Television. Its always been a case of great talent and boundless energy. In all of these different venues her performances rank among the most popular of all time. Her performances as a young girl will always have a special place for me because I could not believe she could do what she did and how such a pure sweet sound could come from a human being. 3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric? I think Easter Parade, and a Star Is Born show Judy maturing as a performer in an musical. And for any who question her acting ability I offer "Judgement at Nuremberg" (case closed).
  9. I agree WannaSing - she becomes the this bouncing cloud or rolling ball of fluff when we know underneath it all the is Ginger moving in ways only she could move. But we have a hard time seeing it all with the feathers in the way.
  10. Apparently a lot of Hollywood hopefuls thought they needed to be "Triple threats" (singer/dancer/actor combo) in order to have a chance to get into movies. Since I was not around in this period as many of us were not there are some Triple Threats they we may not have know existed. I always thought Joan Crawford was this great dramatic actress who made Mildred Pierce and many other dramatic movies until recently watching an older movie on TCM I saw her singing and dancing at a much younger age. for example see The Hollywood Revue of 1929. I am sure there are a lot more that I don't know about
  11. Mark H - I always assumed the "coat story" was legend but had not herd of its being definitively proven false. I assumed there never would be enough evidence as Aljeane Harmetz tried to find this out and could not prove it one way or another. If the costume guys that tracked down the Ruby Slippers had gone after the coat we would probably have the real evidence.
  12. Dr. Cheryl you are less wrong than you think! Further to the story of "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" the song appears in the early OZ segment with the munchkins as stated before. The shooting script for the movie called for a celebration when Dorothy returns to Emerald City with the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West near the end of the movie. Also using the same song. However, this scene was cut from the movie and the film clip was not retained. The 70th anniversary edition of the movie has the sound track for this segment where they sing "Hail Hail the Witch is Dead" to the same tune. There are a few movie stills associated with this scene but no moving images are available. TCM did not cut this it was removed long ago but it did exist.
  13. The other problem with Vitaphone is you had to put new equipment in every Theater which would have been expensive. I don't know this for sure but I doubt that there were very many theaters equipped to display Vitaphone movies. The internet does not appear to have information on the theaters but there is information to indicate they needed a lot of records because they had to be replaced every 20 showings or so.
  14. Annsblyth even if you don't have TCM on your tv or cable you can use "Watch TCM" on your computer or even your phone. You can go to the web site or down load the App on your phone or I pad. The Mad About Musicals movies are on Watch TCM on demand for 5 days following their appearance on TCM tv.
  15. Rena, I agree the gown is beautiful but I have always been disappointed that she wore this for that scene. Ginger is a beautiful woman and partly because she was a great dancer she had a beautiful shape. In most of the movie musicals for important songs she wore beautiful but very feminine dresses that emphasized her lovely figure. As an artist I loved this. I often draw celebrities to se if people can guess who I am drawing. These images of Fred and Ginger are always unmistakable. These gowns and others she wore are signature parts of these movies for me.

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