Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Opening Salvo For Mad About Musicals Course

578 posts in this topic

I watch Guys & Dolls (1955) a lot. It was the first musical I saw and how I became hooked on classic films. They took so many different actors/actresses and put them in this film. Marlon Brandon for one can’t sing nor can he dance but he did and no one dubbed his singing voice unlike Jean Simmons. Then you have Frank Sinatra’s who is well known in the music industry and has gone over to film which I enjoy hm in every film his done. I especially like that they brought back cast from the broadway cast to play their characters in the film such as Vivian Blaine and Stubby Kaye. The contrast of gambling and bets as well as character falling love really makes you wonder if those characters will get together and can they overcome their gambling habits for love.

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I don't really have a favorite musical.  I just enjoy most of them and will watch a number of them multiple times, mostly because they make me feel good and provide a good escape.  Some of my most favorite are:  Yankee Doodle Dandy, On the Town, The Music Man, The King and I, Singing in the Rain, Oklahoma and West Side Story.

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I agree with the person who said that it would be impossible to pick a favorite musical!  There is the first one I ever saw; "Oklahoma", which many years later provided me with  an opening line when meeting my now husband, who was the only person I ever met FROM Oklahoma. The "Sound of Music" - the first one I saw in Radio City Music Hall, and the one I use to introduce my own students to the genre.   (Sorry-but the Broadway and movie versions of most musicals  get mixed up in my head, I have seen so many. ) And Music Man of course!  But because I taught music to students who knew NOTHING about musicals at all,  most of them new to this country, I loved to show "On The Town".  I wasnt allowed to show "West Side Story", for a whole lot of reasons, but OTT, combined all the  academic elements I was required to teach, and the fun ones I just wanted to throw in, along with great music!  

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I love many musicals and watch musicals over and over.it’s really hard for me to pick. But, thinking overall I will have to say musicals made in the 60’s.

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I grew up on the soundtracks for The Sound Of Music, Oklahoma, The Music Man and Jesus Christ Superstar. In fact, I wanted to BE Shirley Jones for a long time! That is until I found out she was Shaun Cassidy's mom, then I wanted to be Olivia Newton John instead. ???   But, I still adore those musicals, and a host of others. We need them to lift our spirits in times of trouble and misfortune. They make us feel lighter and unburdoned, even if only temporarily. 

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I enjoy all Mitzi Gaynor movies. I felt she was the best "Nellie Forbush" of all who played her in "South Pacific".  Dan Dailey musicals. Also those with Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson. Some were rather cheesy, but fun. All the classic musicals, of course. I'm hoping to get turned on to some I haven't seen.

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Hands down, Meet Me in St. Louis.  Takes me away to a more innocent time with gorgeous costumes and sets, as well as an impeccably-directed show.  I've watched it a bazillion times!  Just.Love.It.

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I have two musicals that immediately come to mind...Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  Both of them have a great storyline start to finish and both are full of colorful, nonstop action.  The scenery, singing and dancing fill you with their movement and joy.  The talent of the stars and all the cast is flawless.  I love musicals but I have watched and shared these two many times with family and friends.

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2 minutes ago, LAsoozq said:

Hands down, Meet Me in St. Louis.  Takes me away to a more innocent time with gorgeous costumes and sets, as well as an impeccably-directed show.  I've watched it a bazillion times!  Just.Love.It.

Rose:  I hate, loathe, despise and abominate money.

Father:  You also spend it.

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I love Hollywood musicals as well Broadway musicals.  It was 1985 that I was introduced my favorite musical of all time, Sweeney Todd. Sondheim in my opinion is the greatest writer of modern musicals.  Sweeney Todd has to me the most perfect moment for musical tension, the scene where Todd has a razor to the judges throat, and extends his revenge by singing Pretty Women.  

     I have a book of interviews of musical composers.  By far over 80% respond to the question which musical do they wish they'ld have written with Sweeney Todd.  I believe the inevitability of fate, the fact that one second change of time would grant all characters a happy ending...is phenomenal. 

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17 hours ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

HI Everyone.

I thought it might be fun to get started with an opening topic for a discussion where anyone who would like to contribute to this topic can, even before we officially begin the course modules on Monday. So, here is a question for anyone to ponder and respond to: what musical have you found yourself watching repeatedly, and what is it about that musical that you believe makes it enticing to you for repeated viewings? Let's start there as a place to explore what musicals provide for us as individuals and as a film community. I would even open this topic to explore what musicals provide for us as a culture. So there we are. This is where I would like to start. Have a great weekend.

 

Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Professor, TCM Presents Mad About Musicals
Endowed Chair, Telecommunications
Ball State University

 

It is hard for me to choose just one so I'll pick four, Singing in the Rain for the pure joy of watching Gene Kelly dance in the rain with a smile on his face, Top Hat with Fred and Ginger so elegant and floating on their feet, Chicago for that opening dance number and Summer Stock with the marvelous Judy Garland.

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Hi! I'm Carol Kusama and musicals have never been my favorite genre but I keep seeing several over and over again! I love "American in Paris" and "My Fair Lady". Talk about eclectic, I love "Jesus Christ, Superstar" - that is a rock opera but I love it and have the words memorized! I love old movies including musicals! Busby Berkley spectaculars, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland - you name it, I've seen it.

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11 hours ago, Sarah Last said:

I have always had a yearly tradition of watching 1776 on the 4th of July.  I have always considered 1776 one of the best musicals for learning about American History.  The movie is absolutely perfect and so are the actors and the music.

A bit of trivia...1776 has the longest section of musical with no music..  over 30 minutes.

 

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Hey everyone! Looking forward to a course of fun!

Regardless of season, I love to watch White Christmas (also seen it on Broadway in NYC) as someone mentioned above. I also love Chicago (have also seen it on Broadway in NYC), Singin' in the Rain, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and of course, Wizard of Oz.

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Hi everybody! It's amazing how many of us there are! I know the focus of this course will be on the classic Hollywood musicals, but I thought it would be fun to shine the light on some new favorites as well. For me, what makes a musical 're-watch-a-ble' is a certain sense of incredulous joy. A 'how did they get away with "x"' sense of movie wonder. So, with that in mind, some favorites are. 

*Top Hat: ignoring the cool-back-then/not-great-now-but-we-get-it "Bojangles" scene, this movie is magic. Every single move Fred and Ginger made in 'Never Gonna Dance' floored me. 

*An American In Paris: Leslie Carron's introduction was the most charming thing. 

*Cabaret: Oh, Liza....

*Moulin Rouge!: Every single time they cut to a different song in 'Elephant Love Medley', my jaw dropped a little more. 

*Passing Strange: I'm not a huge fan of a lot of 2010s musical adaptations, but this one by Spike Lee is fierce, passionate, and has a you-are-in-the-theater quality to it that's incredible. 

 

Happy movie-watching everybody1 

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My go to movie musical would have to be An American in Paris. If it's on--I am watching it. The story, the Paris setting, the incorporation of famous works of art, the different types of dance, the choreography, Gene Kelly. Leslie Caron...I could go on and on about everything I love about this musical. My mother got me started on Broadway cast albums when I was a little girl and my love of musicals continued to grow by watching the weekend all night showings of the great Hollywood versions on the local NYC TV stations during my high school years. Fifty years later I am a bigger fan than ever.

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The two musicals I find myself watching more than once would be the Band Wagon and Singing in the Rain. I like that both of these musicals contain dance sequences that give the appearance of being in a different scenario than the movie itself (''Girl Chase" in Band Wagon and "Broadway Melody" in Singing in the Rain). For me, this is what is most engaging and the reason why I keep coming back to these particular two.

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Hello everyone! So excited to finally participate in one of these classes! Looking forward to learning more about musicals and hoping to learn something new that I hadn’t learned in my film classes in college! 

 

It hard for me to choose a favorite musical just because there are so many that I love for different reasons- some could be classified and movie adaptations of a live theatre production vs one that was made strictly for film. So debating with myself in choosing which one I would have to say SINGIN IN THE RAIN has to be one of the movies that I have seen hundreds of times. I think the reason I am drawn to it so often is because A) Gene Kelly & Donald O’Connor make an amazing duo. The song “Make ‘em Laugh” just displays Donald’s comedic ability. Really wish he made more films, feel like I have only come across a handful. b) the song numbers and storyline just make me happy. As someone who dreams big (I wanted to work in film and be an actress in college, but college loans killed that aspiration) I can identify with Debbie Reynolds character as she tries to make it in Hollywood. C) I think the story does a fantastic job visually and with audio production at illustrating how difficult it was for silent film actors to transition to talkies. That technological advance of producing sound in films rocked the production companies and all those involved in making movies in the 20s making it difficult for many silent film stars unable to adapt. 

 

The other movies that that almost beat SINGIN IN THE RAIN were: FOR ME AND MY GAL, SOUND OF MUSIC, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. I have seen the above many times and I love different things about each of them. 

 

Thank you!

Elizabeth Emma 

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I think the one musical I've been watching the most, as of recently, would be the film adaptation of "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. I believe one of the reasons I keep coming back to it so much is because the chemistry between Harrison and Hepburn is extremely palpable and simply a joy to watch. I also the love the over all look and feel of the film as well. The costumes, set designs, and choreography is so lush and vibrant that it's truly a feast for the eyes in terms of visualization. Even the seemingly dreary parts leap out at you. And even though most of Audrey's singing voice is dubbed, I really love her portrayal of Eliza Do little. It's so fresh and spot on, even by today's terms. And I believe it's pretty close to how Shaw portrayed the character in the original stage play. ( I could be wrong on that though. Just my own personal opinion.) Plus, it's such a romp to watch Audrey play such a strong-willed character and butt heads with Harrison's seemingly egotistical portrayal of Professor Higgins. All in all, the film is such an amazing delight and is definitely one of my go-to films in the musical genre. 

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I'd have to say, anything with Danny Kaye.  I have loved his work since I first saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on TCM when I was in high school 25+ years ago.  I also love Hello Dolly.  It was a favorite of my grandmother, and always brings back memories of her singing along with the cast.

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The musicals I have watched over and over again are Grease, The Sound of Music, and The Music Man. My grandmother introduced them to me when I was very young and they have always been my favorite. I enjoy musicals with a lot of songs you can sing along to and of course a lot of dancing. Other favorites include Carousel, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, and Bye Bye Birdie. 

I also watch White Christmas and Holiday Inn every year at Christmas time. I started this tradition years ago and now my brother joins me as well and shares my love of musicals. 

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Hello everyone! I'm so excited to start this course. I've always been obsessed with musicals. It's hard to choose just one that stands out to me, because there are many that I have watched repeatedly. I'll go with the musical that I loved most as a child, Calamity Jane. I absolutely adored Doris Day in that part. The whole thing was appealing to me as a kid because of the lively songs and dances, the fun storyline, the romance between Calamity and Bill, and the setting of the Black Hills of Dakota with the show business element. I have loved Doris Day ever since! Even though it's not the most perfect movie musical, it's very close to my heart.

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1 hour ago, AnnaMae said:

My Fair Lady is my favorite. I think the change that happens between Eliza and Henry is impressively portrayed  and really leaves you wondering right up until the end if he is stubborn enough to not admit his love for her. The gowns are beautiful and the story line always make me smile. I always feel like I'm right there watching him teach her to speak like a proper lady.  Both  Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison are some of the most talented people to grace Hollywood; timeless treasures. My favorite part is towards the end after Eliza pays a visit to Henry's Mom and when he comes home Eliza cannot be bothered by him and after how cold he had been to her he realizes hes grown accustomed to her face. SUCH A WONDERFUL ENDING.

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A very CLOSE second for me? The Sound of Music. ahhh Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. I've even been to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and got to see many of the locations they used for filming in Salzburg. It was priceless. My favorite scene is when Maria and the Captain dance the Landler. So magical.

 soundofmusic.jpg.4ae5cec36eb78c4898e23061e43b9f94.jpg

I also love both these films and I have been to Salzburg and done the SOM tour too! So much fun!

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There are several, but "Meet Me in St. Louis" has to win.  It's got story, scenery, music, performances.  It's visually stunning, and heartwarming.

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