Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Opening Salvo For Mad About Musicals Course

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I always have trouble picking my favorite anything. Whats my favorite color I love them all. Love 42nd street- used to tap, Seven Brides for 7 Brothers...even though it was created on/in the studio. Any Fred Astaire movie. More and all or the dancing.

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My Fair Lady has always been a favorite.  "And what I say is: them as pinched it, done her in."

Why?  Storyline, acting, character development, musical numbers, set design and more.

TCM TRIVIA:" For Henry Higgins, the stage's most famous phonetician, he originally sought Cary Grant. But Grant, gearing up for his own retirement, quipped, "Not only will I not play Higgins, but if you don't use Rex Harrison, I won't even go to the film." 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/84310/My-Fair-Lady/articles.html

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There are so many musicals I really love and find myself going back to, but the following is a short list of favorites.

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • My Fair Lady
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • White Christmas
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • The Music Man
  • Yentl
  • The Producers
  • Chicago

I'd say the infectiousness of the songs from those films is the number one factor that keeps me coming back. However, I also very much like the themes, the colors, and the overall "feeling" that comes over me when I watch them, and so forth. 

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Oh my gosh!  I think I have to answer this with a: I cannot really think of a musical that I haven't liked.  Maybe some more than others, but they are one of my favorite genres to watch.  South Pacific - The King and I - West Side Story - these are classics.  They don't make them like this anymore.  Any musical with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, Ginger Rogers are all fantastic.  Someone mentioned Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Great movie.   I have all three of the That's Entertainment releases and have watched them over and over.  Diane65

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I have to say 'Wizard of Oz' - mostly because my son made me watch it over and over again when he was young (still does once in a while  -he's graduating high school on Thursday); and I show the whole movie to my AP US History kids and clips to my regular history kids.  But anything with Judy Garland is amazing. And of course anything with Julie Andrews (although I'm a bit soured on Sound of Music since my son wasn't in our school's production of it this year). I am looking forward to this class and learning about some musicals I am not as familiar with.

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I LOVE Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!  Seen it many, many times and never tire of it!  The music, dancing, acting are the best.   I had a slight crush on Russ Tamblyn-a real cutie!

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On 6/3/2018 at 1:33 PM, Lover-o-Classics said:

Yes... 42'nd Street!  And I'm absolutely blown away by the number of people who have mentioned 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' as one of their favorites!  Why haven't I seen it yet?

Oh yes!  Seven Brides is one of the best movies, ever!  I love the Technicolor of the costumes and the dancing is amazing!  You will love it!

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Oklahoma!  Wonderful statement on the founding of this country - especially in the Midwest.  How people of different cultures tried to come together for the common good (or not so good).

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“Meet Me in St. Louis” is definitely my “go-to” musical. I’ve watched this enchanting film so many times that I’ve lost count! The musical numbers are great, but the stand-outs for me are the title song, “Under the Bamboo Tree”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Everything works in this film: the story (an idealized turn of the century setting but charming nonetheless), the talent (the headliners and the supporting cast), the musical numbers, the costuming, the sets. To me, it really highlights MGM’s ability to create movie magic.

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I would have to choose Cabaret. It wasn't an ordinary musical. It celebrated sexuality that was pretty taboo at the time. There was a freedom to every aspect of the film. It was a real breakthrough for Bob Fosse, who unfortunately is kind of underrated in the film world.

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I love so many, for many different reasons! One I particularly love is Summer Stock starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. I love the music in this in particular. It is a show within a show format kind of like White Christmas. I believe that this is Judy Garland’s final film for MGM. I especially love the scene at the beginning with her driving the tractor and singing Howdy Neighbor. It just makes me happy to watch it.

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I have a several favorit musicals because it's my favorit genre... But Mamma Mia I love watch in a cold afternoon underneath my blankets... Les miserables is very sad but I watched a billion times and Moulin Rouge is my favorit musical ever!!!! From the classics I love Sound of music and Mary Poppins and all the Gene Kellys and Barbra Streisand musicals... And all the Audrey hepburns movies.... I love her!

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Caberet - the music and actors are divine. The story of the rise of fascism in Germany is especially relevant in America today. 

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Greetings Movie Fans! Musicals have always been my favorite "go to" movie genre, since I was a kid. Of all the musicals I enjoy, I find myself returning to six: Bye Bye Birdie, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof. I watched these six films more than others, and probably purchased them first on DVD. They are all different, and I haven't really pondered why I choose these all the time. I think a big part of my choices are that they each represent an important historical time and many of the songs (with the exception of Bye Bye Birdie, which is pure fun) contain powerful words and messages. One or two songs in five of the films always bring me to tears! I would definitely want these musicals if I was stranded on a desert island!! :-)

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23 hours ago, bnosila said:

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.

Yes! One of my favorites of his is "The Court Jester" - what a cast, what performances! Absolutely hilarious.

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No matter how many times I have seen them I always will watch these when TCM airs them:

A Hard Day's Night, A Star is Born (with Judy) as well as Meet Me in St. Louis, Top Hat (the story line is unbelievable but Astaire/Rogers make it so much fun) ), The Great Ziegfield (pure make believe regarding Ziegfield's life/character but I adore Powell and Loy in anything plus the film is sumptuous. Can you believe staging some of those Follies?), The Sound of Music (who can resist it?) and Funny Girl (Streisand is amazing).

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Watching the clip you don;t really consider the questions but they really do provide a different perspective.  For example, this is still a time of depression and extravagances are out of reach for most people but the movie allows a perspective for the viewer to enjoy a respite from their own challenges by experiencing "having money" in the movie.  Who wouldn't think that "thousands of francs" would be an extravagance out of the reach of most viewers.  But the movie provides that brief respite.  It does what movies are supposed to do in that regard.    

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My favorite musical is "Singing in the Rain!" It always makes me happy! The dance numbers are amazing. Gene Kelly to me is the greatest dancer and choreographer. How he incorporates ballet in the musical is beautiful. I think the sexiest dance ever his him and Cyd Cherise in the speakeasy. Gershwin's music is interpreted completely without abandon. Donald O'Conner's "Makem Laugh" was a tribute to old vaudville numbers. I read in a book about this musical that  O'conner had to rest a week after shooting this number. When he came back they asked him to reshoot because there was a technical problem. Can you imagine! I love Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen is so funny! "I can't stand him!"  Moses Supposes and the signature song make it for me! I have seen this probably at least 500 times in my life! Also, a personal trivia that in the scene after Royal Cavalier bombs and they are at Don's house. They get the idea to remake it as musical and Don say's his lucky day is March 23rd and Cosmo says it's 1 o'clock March 24th is your lucky day. March 24th is my lucky day too because that's my husbands birthday. It was an omen!

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If I had to limit my choices it would probably be “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Oklahoma” and “White Christmas”. When I watch these today I usually have my tablet nearby, looking the movie up on Imbd, reading the trivia and looking for the “goofs” they list. Since I’ve watched them so often I also find myself keying in on the m8 or characters, chorus members or back row dancers. The level of talent is amazing!

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I love musicals, also various other genres.  It is too hard to pick a favourite, been watching them for eons. 

Anything with Judy Garland...that feeling, that voice.  Gene Kelly, low to the ground and economic in movements.  He uses gravity and no wasted movements. 

Fred Astaire, elegant and innovative, he glides.  The Big Band movies, fun to see Nancy Walker doing swing with Harry James. 

Kathryn Grayson, for the longest time I thought they used her face for Snow White.  The list is too long. 

I remember when I went to the theatre to see That's Entertainment, when it was first released, I felt so bad that the audience were laughing during so many parts - Esther Williams, Broadway Melody, and so many others and too bad it wasn't appreciated

I am so happy with TCM for having so much variety and so many choices in film.  Let us not forget the great music of Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Dimitri Tiomkin.  The list is endless. 

Edited by PatriciaH
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I watched Singin' in the Rain quite a bit as a kid, as Jean Hagen always cracked me up with her high pitched voice and wild demeanor. The dances between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse always captivated me. 

The Busby Berkeley musicals were also a delight as I always wondered how he managed to pull those complicated sequences off. 

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Hi, great start to this exciting course!

To answer the question of favorite musical: Singin' In The Rain, because of its extraordinarily multilayered structure and layers of philosophy. It has films within films within films, meta references to the history of Hollywood with tongue firmly in cheek, postmodern attitudes in a midcentury movie about the 1920s, Shakespearean dynamics of high and low comedy, and ongoing examinations of truth vs. fiction - where the business of Hollywood is basically fiction and sometimes characters believe the lies they want to sell audiences. On yet another level, the concept of being cheerful in the midst of difficult circumstances - singing in the rain - speaks to moral victory for characters, for imagined audiences of the films within films, and for any viewer at any time including today. The film is sophisticated and complex, yet ultimately simple in choosing authenticity over mendacity. (More or less anyway!)

And the talent!

Onward and upward!

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Many people look at musicals as entertainment or escapism and not "serious" but I think they overlook the themes and lessons that are contained in the musicals, either explicitly or implicitly. The lessons may be subtle but they can be found.

Musicals I never tire of are Singing in the Rain, Caberet, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (because I remember how one of my brothers and I would vigorously dance to it), The Producers, and Bye Bye Birdie.  If I can catch it on stage, I will not miss seeing Pippin.

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