Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Opening Salvo For Mad About Musicals Course

578 posts in this topic

As soon as I read this question three things popped into my head: Judy Garland, Summer Stock [1950] and Easter Parade [1948]. Although every time somebody asks me this kind of questions I have a different answer, favorites change every now and then, Judy Garland always is in one of my choices.

I find myself going back to these two films more often than not and they make me smile as soon as the credits start. Judy sense of humor and her ability to go toe-to-toe with the two top dancers of the Hollywood Golden Era [Gene Kelly & Fred Astaire] is more than amusing; it is beyond moving. I can honestly say that these two movies made me change the way I viewed movie musicals, made me want to study them (and change my majors in college) and dance and sing more often in the shower.  

From them I learned that sometimes you need a song and a dance number to see and feel things better, and I am forever grateful. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, my goodness, there are so many musicals that I will watch repeatedly. My favorite is Meet Me in St. Louis. I think it's a combo of things the performers, the songs, the story, and the dance numbers that makes me want to go back and watch them over and over.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find myself watching Annie, Shrek: The Musical and Newsies as my go to musicals. They all have great music to sing a long to and they have lots of parts that are comedic along with some parts that are serious. I grew up watching Annie and I think that is part of the reason why I love it so much. It brings me back to my childhood. It also has a great cast that are very talented.  I love Shrek because they took a movie and turned it into a musical which is great. The songs are great and it has nods to other musicals. It also has an all-star cast that is very talented. Newsies is a feel good musical that most people can relate to especially with the underdogs standing up to the big bully. It gives a sense of hope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to say "Thank You" for having this program available.  It's great to see other individuals who love Musicals like I do.   I've been an avid viewer of movie musicals as long as I can remember.  Not sure why. I guess I find them intertaining and uplifting.  Makes you wish life could be the same.  There is a song for every event in life.

There are many musicals I love, in fact too many to mention.  Okay, I'll share a few with all of you out there,  Funny Girl (love Barbra), Cabaret, Paint your Wagon, American in Paris, not to mention my favorite actors,  Barbra Streisand, Ann Miller, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Harve Presnell, Doris Day, and I could go on and on.

Thank you TCM !!!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it’s the use of color and costume that catch my attention, and definitely the dancing! I could watch Gene Kelly or Ann Miller all day. My all-time favorite musical is An American in Paris. Close runners-up would include White Christmas, Sound of Music, On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Gigi, Gypsy, Mary Poppins, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Grease.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2018 at 7:32 AM, Chattie said:

It would be like picking my favorite child to pick my favorite musical. My friends and familiy have never been into musicals so I’ve made it my job to teach the young ones coming up. I have a special niece who loves them as much as I do because of the many times I babysat and put a musical on. We go to all the  touring broadway shows and I make sure we see the revivals of old shows that we saw on tv when available. I’m so excited to see them all but for dancing alone will pick seven brides for seven brothers. 

ABSOLUTELY! It's a much shorter list to ask me which musicals I DON"T like...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Musicals are the greatest!!!!!!

As I do love watching TCM as my source for musicals,  I do really enjoy seeing them live on stage.  My favorite place to go for live musicals is London, West End.  Watching them live makes you feel like your part of the story.  There's a sense of energy you get during the performance.

Always brings a tear to my eye, very exhilarating. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh it's so hard to pick out a single movie! When I was little I used to watch The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, and The King and I a lot as a kid. It wasn't until I was in 8th Grade that I started to watch any musical I could get my hands on and Singin' in the Rain and Meet Me in St. Louis kicked off my obsession. I loved watching Esther Williams movies in high school. But I think what I most enjoy out of musicals is it seems every performer can bring something different and new to a movie. A lot of the movies I keep going back to have already been mentioned but I wanted to include some other ones that haven't been mentioned like:

Swing Time- I just love the Never Gonna Dance number on the stairs, I love A Fine Romance and how its set in the snow.

Born to Dance- I could watch Eleanor Powell dance all day, the Swingin' the Jinx Away number constantly blows me away. 

Gold Diggers of 1933- Every number is fantastic! 

On the Avenue/Hello Frisco Hello/Tin Pan Alley- I love Alice Faye and her gorgeous voice!

Moon Over Miami- Love Betty Grable and this is such a fun movie!

The Harvey Girls- On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe is amazing! 

Three Little Words- One of those movies where every number is gorgeous and I'm in awe of Vera Ellen's dancing, especially in the Come On Papa number. 

Mame- Love Jerry Herman, I constantly play the cast recording all the time! 

Sweet Charity- Really obsessed with this one. I feel it captures the 1960s so well. Love Rhythm of Life and Rich Man's Frug! 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a crush on Gene Kelly since the fourth grade (I'm now, erm, well into middle age)!  :)  Singin' in the Rain is always a favorite as is On The Town and An American in Paris.  I can easily watch Gigi and My Fair Lady over and over again as well. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my favorite musical is "Brigadoon". It is set in Scottish Highlands where my Grandmother is from & the idea of a magical place that is untouched by modern life seems like heaven. I also love "Paint your Wagon". "The King & I". "The Fiddler on the Roof", "The Wizard of Oz". "Singing in the Rain" & all the Shirley Temple movies as well. I've enjoyed watching all these films with my family since I was a child. My children & grandchildren now enjoy them as well. Keeping the love of musicals alive!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my favorite movie musical of all times is actually an animated one. I grew up during the Disney Renaissance, which featured a collection of really wonderful musicals. And those movies definitely set up the basis to what would, later on, become an overall appreciation of the genre itself.

My favorite was definitely The Hunchback of Notre Dame  (closely followed by Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Pocahontas). Visually and musically, it's a masterpiece. And being an outcast myself, I still have a weak spot for Quasimodo. It's one of those films that stays with you, no matter what. 

When it comes to non-animated musicals, it's difficult to choose a favorite. Movies like The King and IThe Sound of MusicThe Wizard of OzCabaretSwing TimeChicagoMoulin Rouge!... are some of the films I revisit over and over again.

For me, what keeps me coming back is a successful combination of characters + story + music. And the more the music is integrated with the feelings and experiences of the protagonist and the characters, the more I enjoy it! -although I confess I do enjoy a fun, gratuitous dance number every once in a while, as well!  ?      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW I loved reading everyone's responses and their musical choices! 

Swing Time (1936) was the very first B&W AND Old Hollywood film + musical I've ever watched, and it is what got me into classic films and musicals. It's basically the OG of Old Hollywood (for me) so I find myself going back to it often. The dance numbers are phenomenal, and when I used to tap dance I was taught a bit of the choreography from "Pick Yourself Up" (I was Ginger and felt amazing). I also recently noticed that the names of Fred's and Ginger's characters together is "Lucky Penny" (only took me ~10 years to figure that out).

Other musicals I rewatch frequently is Three Little Words (1950) with Fred, Vera-Ellen, and Red Skelton (who my dad introduced me to) and Easter Parade (1948) - Judy Garland kills me in that movie.

And one more: living in snowy Canada, I've created my own tradition that involves watching The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) on snow days. I've first watched it during a snow day and continue to do so years later.

Come to think of it, I tend to go back to musicals that feature Fred Astaire. ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have three that I have seen on many occasions, Singin in the Rain, Grease and Top Secret (a totally silly movie that spooks Elvis and Spy movies) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a bit surprised that of all the comments I've seen about favorite musicals, none that I've seen, including mine, mentioned "West Side Story".  It's a true classic in every sense.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could watch Gene Kelly on a loop 24/7, especially “Summer Stock”. Gene dancing on a newspaper is terrific. And Judy’s “Get Happy” routine is iconic.  “The Harvey Girls” is another favorite- I love Angela Lansbury’s sass.  And “In The Good Old Summertime” is a favorite for Christmastime. I love the cameo by little Liza Minnelli at the end. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite is the The King and I. The dance scene is perfection from beginning to end.  That dress. Yul Brenner. The tension. You know he's dying to have a reason to lay his hands on her and the dance lesson is it. When he walks towards her, after spinning her off into that column, puts out his giant hand and slides it ever-so-slowly around her tiny waist, it is the most sensuous movie scene ever performed without so much as a kiss. And then, that "Come! Let's do it again." Divine. Sigh. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will watch Jesus Christ Superstar and Fiddler on the Roof anytime!  They were popular in my house growing up and are now nostalgic favorites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wizard of Oz has to be my all time favorite and the first musical I remember seeing as a child.  The sudden splash of color when Dorothy lands in Oz, the pure fantasy of it all and yet tied up with the mores of helping one another and goodness wins out.  Next Showboat not only for Kathryn Grayson's lyric soprano voice and the variety of song themes: fun, poignant, sad...but also that the film addresses racism (even though Ava Gardner was cast as Julie), then Mary Poppins - I learned every song and sang them to the children I would babysit. I tried to model myself after Mary Poppins.  And finally any musical with Judy Garland or Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A tough question.The classic musicals are all great.A few of my favourite lesser quoted musicals include:Lullaby of Broadway,Moon Over Miami,Daddy Long Legs and Cover Girl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been tap dancing since I was three years old and my mother (thank you mom!) started me on watching Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and of course James Cagney. The more I watched the more I was hooked and wanted to be that care free and enjoy life and dancing. I could escape to a world like that in every movie and it was great. With our dance recitals each year I try to emulate that on stage. Musicals are a significant part of my upbringing and life. I have learned a lot from dancing techniques to even historical information that to this day my husband questions "how did you know that?" and I say, because I have seen whatever movie and start singing the songs! (For example I had to explain to him the Harvey Girls and about the Rail Road because we stopped by an outpost on our Route 66 trip) There are so many great musicals that I can watch over and over. I would have to say though, family tradition is watching Yankee Doodle Dandy every July 4th and trying to tap down the white house stairs in our living room. Cheers to Musicals everyone and thank you for putting this on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s difficult to say, as there are many that I find myself watching when I see that they’re on the television—and let’s not get started with my DVD collection, shall we? Hahaha!

Some of the main ones I rarely miss are Yankee Doodle Dandy (I consider it a musical!), Lili (another one I consider a musical—my mom got me on this one), Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls (despite Marlon Brando’s, uh, singing), Showboat, King and I, My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Kismet, any of the early Busby Berkeley movies or anything with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly..those are the ones that come to my mind, now. As soon as I save this, I’ll remember more. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎6‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 1:06 PM, thinman2001 said:

An American in Paris combines Gene Kelly and George Gershwin, two of my all-time favorites. Of course, Singin' in the Rain, for the tunes, the performers and the historical link to the silent-to-talkies culture shock that hit Hollywood in the late 20s. Take Me Out to the Ballgame tickles my fancy as it combines two lifetime pleasures, the musical film and baseball!

There are a couple of other favorites of mine: Daddy Long Legs and Guys and Dolls. The former was blessed with Astaire and Caron in the lead, with brilliant supporting cast members Thelma Ritter and Fred Clark. Add in a Johnny Mercer score and you've got a top notch musical treat for both the eyes and ears. Guys and Dolls provided the odd but still successful (imho) casting of Marlon Brando as Sky Madison and Sinatra as Nathan Detroit. The producers were smart enough to bring Vivian Blaine on board to play Miss Adelaide, a part written for her for the original Broadway production.

an american in paris.jpg

singin in the rain.jpg

take me out to the balgame.jpg

daddy long legs.jpg

guys and dolls.jpg

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never get tired of watching The Band Wagon (and next would be Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). I have wondered why this particular movies always catches my fancy, but here are a few items I believe explain:

1. The beauty of watching Fred Astaire dance! 

2. The beauty of watching Fred Astaire dance with Cyd Charisse!

3. The chaos that ensues with putting on a mess of a play.

4. The comedic underpinnings of many actors comments and such.

5. The awesome music/lyrics of Schwartz and Dietz!

6. The dazzling sets....

It's just a fun, charming, movie that shows the theater behind the scenes (or so one believes) and just pulls you into it as though you were sitting back there in 1953, trying to "put a show on"!

Dr. J. Catherine Herbert

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us