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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.

film-bundle-of-joy.jpg

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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. 

ziegpstr.jpg

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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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