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LawrenceA

Recently Watched Musicals

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21 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Dames (1934) - Goofy trifle of a musical from Warner Brothers and directors Ray Enright & Busby Berkeley. Ultra-wealthy Ezra Ounce (Hugh Herbert) promises to bequeath $10 million to his relatives Horace (Guy Kibbee), Mathilda (Zasu Pitts), and Barbara (Ruby Keeler), as long as they live a "just and moral life", which includes no show business. Barbara's boyfriend and distant cousin Jimmy (Dick Powell) wants to put on a big musical show, and he teams with brassy showgirl Mabel (Joan Blondell) to make it happen, even if Ezra won't approve. Also featuring Arthur Vinton, Leila Bennett, and Berton Churchill.

The story is silly, the characters are one-dimensional, and it takes a long time to get to the musical numbers. The song "I Only Have Eyes for You" has become a true standard, although the dance number here features chorus girls wearing Ruby Keeler masks and it gets kind of disquieting. Blondell has an oddball number singing to men's underwear, while the title number features a smirking Powell espousing the virtues of dames. This wasn't horrible, but it's the least impressive Berkeley film I've yet seen.  (6/10)

Source: Warners DVD, part of the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Busby Berkeley Musicals, featuring the usual handful of vintage musical and cartoon shorts.

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The ironing board number that Joan Blondell did in Dames was necessary to cover her pregnancy to Warner Brothers cinematographer George Barnes. Ironically a couple years later she married CoStar Dick Powell. LOL

I love the "I Only Have Eyes For You"number. It's my favorite song .The concept was so good that they copied it for a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie called Shall We Dance.

This Warner Brothers backstage movie has a weak plot but Zasu Pitts is a dream whenever you can find her.

When you get to Gold Diggers of 1935, you may start to have the impression that the whole thing's truly going downhill plot-wise, but the numbers are still so fabulous.

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"Bundle of Joy" - this musical version of "Bachelor Mother" is essentially "an entertainment" which relies heavily on its' stars - Debbie Reynolds is cute and innocent and sings and dances nicely; Eddie Fisher is a charmless non-entity - only when he sings does he come to life.

Consequently, since the central love story doesn't work, the film is dominated by its' supporting cast, which is diverse and charming.

Among them is Adolphe Menjou and Tommy Noonan and Nina Talbot who bring the film to life.

However, the baby who plays the foundling actually steals the film.

The director, Norman Taurog, knew where to put his camera.

Films that try so hard and only score without their stars' presence are really very sad.

The soundtrack, Fisher's songs, that is, are lacklustre, to say the least.

The film has the strangest ending - Fisher announces that he is the father of the foundling.

It leaves a very bad taste in your mouth.

You can't even believe that he could do it.

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 As a movie this one could be improved a great deal. When I was  a kid,  I had the Eddie Fisher record of him singing " All About Love" and "Some Day Soon" from  Bundle of Joy.

Fisher was a fantastic singer and his popularity matched his abilities. Even though his movie career fizzled,  He was quite a presence on television sponsored by Coca Cola and charting on the radio.

I've got to say the best part of this movie is when he is singing either one of those two songs --I really  like the choreography on All About Love.

For some reason I always thought this movie was made by MGM since Debbie was at that studio. Maybe if it had been made by MGM it would have been a whole lot better. LOL

I bought the soundtrack CD and I would recommend that you listen to the music and watch Bachelor Mother with Ginger Rogers--

the non-musical comedy that  Bundle of Joy is  adapted from--

for a more entertaining experience than the musical sequel.

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Yes, I would like to see "Bachelor Mother".

When Eddie Fisher opens his mouth - and sings - he's fine.

But, as a screen personality, he just doesn't register.

 

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"Tea For Two" - Doris Day, Gordon MacRae and Gene Nelson -

The book of this musical is just "stupid" - so stupid in fact that it isn't even funny.

There is a lot of music - but most of it is simply sung.

There are very few production numbers.

However, when Gene Nelson is allowed to take over, the film is right on target.

He supported a lot of people at Warner Brothers.

But was he ever given a lead role?

He was a first-rate musical talent.

When he dances on a staircase - and on the railing, too - in this film, you are just astonished by the dexterity and the lightness.

He floats.

 hqdefault.jpg

 


 

 

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2 hours ago, rayban said:

"Tea For Two" - Doris Day, Gordon MacRae and Gene Nelson -

The book of this musical is just "stupid" - so stupid in fact that it isn't even funny.

There is a lot of music - but most of it is simply sung.

There are very few production numbers.

However, when Gene Nelson is allowed to take over, the film is right on target.

He supported a lot of people at Warner Brothers.

But was he ever given a lead role?

He was a first-rate musical talent.

When he dances on a staircase - and on the railing, too - in this film, you are just astonished by the dexterity and the lightness.

He floats.

 hqdefault.jpg

 

Great photo...love the way they're all watching him. Obviously not trick photography, but the real thing.

He did have some leads. He was the male lead in LULLABY OF BROADWAY with Doris a year after this picture. And he had a lead opposite Virginia Mayo in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY. Plus he made a British sci-fi flick for Columbia in 1955 in which he was the lead opposite Faith Domergue. He turned to directing a short time later.

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The Great Ziegfeld (1936) - Lavish biopic on Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. from MGM and director Robert Z. Leonard. William Powell stars in the title role, a man who made a dozen fortunes and lost them all, while also creating some of the stage's greatest spectacles. The film also looks at his tumultuous private life with various stage stars. Also featuring Luise Rainer as Anna Held, Myrna Loy as Billie Burke, Fanny Brice as herself, Virginia Bruce, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Reginald Owen, Ernest Cossart, Herman Bing, Nat Pendleton, William Demarest, Robert Greig, Mae Questel, and Dennis Morgan.

This was the third or fourth time I've watched this Oscar winner, and while I like it to a degree, it's not among my favorites of its year. Powell is fun and breezy, and he and Loy are great together as always. Rainer is fine in what turns out to be a rather short Oscar-winning performance. The costumes and sets from the musical numbers are the true highlight of the film, some of the most impressive up to that time. The amazing sequence set to the song "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" that comes just before the film's intermission is an amazing piece of major studio extravagance, with dozens of performers in incredible outfits lined up around a slowly turning spiral staircase. Along with winning Best Picture and Best Actress (Luise Rainer), the film also won Oscars for Best Dance Direction (Seymour Felix), as well as earning nominations for Best Director (Robert Z. Leonard), Best Writing, Original Story (William Anthony McGuire), Best Art Direction (Cedric Gibbons, Eddie Imazu, Edwin B. Willis), and Best Editing (William S. Gray).   (7/10)

Source: Warners DVD. Bonus features include a 13 minute making-of featurette featuring interviews with Ziegfeld's daugher as well as Luise Rainer, and a vintage newsreel on the film's premiere. 

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Fans of classic musicals will enjoy watching " The Greatest Showman" (2018) with Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum- the makers of this film are obvious fans of M.G.M. with a modern score from the guys who wrote the songs for "La La Land".  Musicals are meant for the BIG SCREEN

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On 12/23/2017 at 11:54 AM, rayban said:

"Tea For Two" - Doris Day, Gordon MacRae and Gene Nelson -

The book of this musical is just "stupid" - so stupid in fact that it isn't even funny.

There is a lot of music - but most of it is simply sung.

There are very few production numbers.

However, when Gene Nelson is allowed to take over, the film is right on target.

He supported a lot of people at Warner Brothers.

But was he ever given a lead role?

He was a first-rate musical talent.

When he dances on a staircase - and on the railing, too - in this film, you are just astonished by the dexterity and the lightness.

He floats.

 hqdefault.jpg

 

He really is a great performer, and injects life into his films.  He was incredible in the 1953 Warner Bros. musical Three Sailors and a Girl, starring Jane Powell.
 

 

 

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On Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 10:54 AM, rayban said:

"Tea For Two" - Doris Day, Gordon MacRae and Gene Nelson -

The book of this musical is just "stupid" - so stupid in fact that it isn't even funny.

There is a lot of music - but most of it is simply sung.

There are very few production numbers.

However, when Gene Nelson is allowed to take over, the film is right on target.

He supported a lot of people at Warner Brothers.

But was he ever given a lead role?

He was a first-rate musical talent.

When he dances on a staircase - and on the railing, too - in this film, you are just astonished by the dexterity and the lightness.

He floats.

 hqdefault.jpg

 


 

 

Yeah, I like his staircase moves there. I really enjoyed Doris Day singing "No no, Nanette".

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Posted (edited)
On 11/29/2017 at 7:16 PM, Princess of Tap said:

The ironing board number that Joan Blondell did in Dames was necessary to cover her pregnancy to Warner Brothers cinematographer George Barnes. Ironically a couple years later she married CoStar Dick Powell. LOL

I love the "I Only Have Eyes For You"number. It's my favorite song .The concept was so good that they copied it for a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie called Shall We Dance.

This Warner Brothers backstage movie has a weak plot but Zasu Pitts is a dream whenever you can find her.

When you get to Gold Diggers of 1935, you may start to have the impression that the whole thing's truly going downhill plot-wise, but the numbers are still so fabulous.

In "Gold diggers 35", the story itself is kind of stupid and too cornball, the **** Alice Brady who plays Gloria Stewart's mother and the eccentric director Adolphe Menjou's roles are just too exaggerated. However,  the lovely Gloria Stewart, the fabulous numbers "The words are in my heart" and "Lullaby of Broadway" truly make up for it.

I love "Dames", especially the lovely Ruby Keeler and "I only have eyes for you", but all the numbers are great. I loved Joan Blondell's sassy character, and her in "Girl with ironing board", including the throw ins of other songs like "bring back my Bonnie to me" and "Shuffle off to Buffalo", Joan doing a Mae West "come up and see me sometime", and the singing clothes. Busby's kaleidoscope magic, especially in the song "Dames" was amazing. Some kaleidoscope stuff in "I only have eyes" too and Ruby looking like an angel. 

 One number was different, and that was Blondell singing "Try and see it my way, baby". For some reason, that number did away with all the Busby magic and clearly showed it as a stage number. It was the only number where they were cutting in to show Hugh Hubert, Zasu, and Guy Kibee watching it.

Edited by TCMModerator1
Edited for Language

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On 9/8/2017 at 8:49 PM, LawrenceA said:

The Broadway Melody (1929) - Oscar-winning musical from MGM and director Harry Beaumont. Sisters Harriet (Bessie Love) and Queenie (Anita Page) are struggling showgirls trying to make their mark on the Great White Way. With the help of Harriet's singer-songwriter boyfriend Eddie (Charles King), they get a job in Zanfield's Revue, a hit musical stage extravaganza. But their slot on the bill was only secured by Queenie's pleading with the producer, and she also starts dating rich playboy Jock Warriner (Kenneth Thomson). Things get even more complicated when Queenie and Eddie start to fall for each other, while neither wants to hurt Harriet. Also featuring Jed Prouty, Edward Dillon, Mary Doran, Eddie Kane, and J. Emmett Beck.

 

This was a rewatch for me, as part of my revue of all of the Best Picture winners. I used to regard this among the least of those titles, but it's grown on me over the years upon repeat viewings. The goofy Pre-Code naughtiness is on display with the showgirl outfits and the requisite scene of conversing women in their underwear. The three leads never became major stars but they are all enjoyable enough, although strictly of their era, in their looks, voice and demeanor. The songs are decent, and the stage numbers adequate, although not nearly as ostentatious as those of the later Berkeley features. On a fun sidenote, character actor James Gleason gets a credit for dialogue writing, and he also appears as the boss of a song writing and recording office named "Gleason's". Along with winning the Best Picture Oscar, this was also nominated for Best Actress (Love) and Best Director (Beaumont).   7/10

 

Source: Warner Brothers DVD.

 

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I like in "Broadway melody" how they reference Ziegfeld with the producer named Mr Zanfeld, and they reference Jack Warner with the henchman character Jacques Warener, a character who turns out to be trouble for Queenie (Anita Page), and alot of bickering that comes out of her hooking up with Jacques between Queenie and her sister Bessie Love and friend Charles King. There's alot of fighting and other iffy attitudes among the characters in this film, which does give us a real glimpse of what people were really like back in the 1920s and 1930s, and it's quite different from harmonic fantasy world which many films (especially MGM) made the world out to be in many films after the Hays code went into effect in 1934. After 1934, films became much more strongly centered on escapism, where before 1934 showed the more real world. The real world had alot of ugliness, and in "Broadway melody", we see lots of bickering and fighting (verbal and physical), we get showgirls taunting the newcomers (such as Bessie), we get hard driving directors who push the dancers and also double cross (such as when Zanfeld told Queenie how her and Bessie could be in the show and then the next day suddenly drops them and tells them they're out while they're rehearsing on stage), we see a couple of men taunting and mocking the homosexual costume designer (and one of the female employees also makes a snide comment to him "if we put you in charge of the doors, they'd all be lavender"), and we get scenes of sexual harassment such as when one of the henchmen pressures Queenie into taking off her clothes, she makes it very clear she doesn't want to, but the henchman keeps pressuring her anyway and starts trying to unzip Queenie's outfit himself against her will. There's also the scene where six men knock out and carry out Charles King while trying to save Queenie from Jacques Warener.

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I recently saw the 1958 movie-musical, South Pacific, at a large movie theatre here in Boston.  It was okay, but sort of ho-hum for me, especially since it was 3 hours long, with no intermission.  What I didn't like is the fact that South Pacific had much too much romance in it.

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21 hours ago, miki said:

I recently saw the 1958 movie-musical, South Pacific, at a large movie theatre here in Boston.  It was okay, but sort of ho-hum for me, especially since it was 3 hours long, with no intermission.  What I didn't like is the fact that South Pacific had much too much romance in it.

Yes, three hours is a long time without an intermission. Back in the golden age, most films especially if they were three hours usually had intermissions. Most movie theaters in more modern times stopped the intermissions due to theaters wanting to squeeze in as many showings of a movie into a day as possible for profit reasons, and they cared more about that than whether viewers need time to take a break in the middle, stretch their legs, etc. I guess three hours with no break is a long time for almost continual romance, but most golden age movie goers loved alot of romance and such because it.gave them an escape from the harsh ugly realities of the Depression, WW2, etc. It was another reason why the Hays code went into effect, so audiences could really have a couple hours of escape. But there were alot of people back then who liked films that were not romantic and didn't nessesarily yearn for that escape. The film noirs and the Cagney films were very popular. The Cagney films like Public enemy, White heat, and Roaring twenties did have things about them that were quiet similar to the real life of the bootlegging and gangster controlled speakeasies in the 1920s. Some people needed to escape more than others. 

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On 9/3/2018 at 3:16 PM, Ruby jewel said:

Yes, three hours is a long time without an intermission. Back in the golden age, most films especially if they were three hours usually had intermissions. Most movie theaters in more modern times stopped the intermissions due to theaters wanting to squeeze in as many showings of a movie into a day as possible for profit reasons, and they cared more about that than whether viewers need time to take a break in the middle, stretch their legs, etc. I guess three hours with no break is a long time for almost continual romance, but most golden age movie goers loved alot of romance and such because it.gave them an escape from the harsh ugly realities of the Depression, WW2, etc. It was another reason why the Hays code went into effect, so audiences could really have a couple hours of escape. But there were alot of people back then who liked films that were not romantic and didn't nessesarily yearn for that escape. The film noirs and the Cagney films were very popular. The Cagney films like Public enemy, White heat, and Roaring twenties did have things about them that were quiet similar to the real life of the bootlegging and gangster controlled speakeasies in the 1920s. Some people needed to escape more than others. 

Thank you for your reply, Ruby jewel!  Most of the long movies, including West Side Story, which is my all time favorite film, hands down, which is 2.5 hours long, have intermissions.  Some movie theatres incorporate the Intermissions when they play these films, while others don't.  The film South Pacific, however did come out in 1958, but still didn't have an intermission.  If there was in Intermission in South Pacific, it may have been taken out.  Who knows?

To be honest, I've always liked films that have a whole combination of action, romance, exuberance, arrogance, cockiness, anger, fighting, feuding and even some gore, and death.  Not too much of any of those things.  West Side Story, for me, fits that bill perfectly.  

Anyway, back to the subject at hand;  Thanks for the heads up about the Hays code or whatever.  Movies are a good escape.  It gives me an excuse to get out of the house, as it used to give other people, but most people nowadays, have chosen not to stay home and watch movies on a big TV and an elaborate home theatre system, on a DVD, home video, or Blu-Ray.  I'm one of the few that prefers to watch movies as they're really and truly meant to be viewed--on a great big wide screen, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low,  and to share the whole experience with a bunch of other people, whether I know them or not.  

I've seen Jimmy Cagney films Blood on the Sun and Yankee Doodle Dandy on TV, but that's about it.  

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MV5BOWIwYWVhMjItYjMyNy00N2UyLTlkNGMtZjcy

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Yours Sincerely - Condensed version of the Rodgers and Hart musical "Spring is Here." A resort owner tries to marry off his daughter to a man he believes is a millionaire. Meanwhile, an actual millionaire pursues his other daughter. I liked this one and it had some catchy songs. The two leads had beautiful singing voices but the guy who sings Terry was pretty bad. Overall I liked it. 

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