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Worst Movie Musical Ever Made!

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I discovered last weekend that the worst movie musical ever made wasn't the wretched, "Hello, Dolly" starring a miscast Barbra Streisand. Or the mind-boggling "The Pirate Movie, starring kiddie stars who couldn't lip-synch to the music and often burst out laughing when they couldn't. No, I've found a movie musical so bad that it's good. "Sextette" was released in l978 and starred the 85-year-old Mae West. I use her age because she's referred to by her army of admirers as that "ravishing sex kitten." What makes you drop your mouth open like an idiot is that West obviously believes this stuff herself. She moves so stiffly and painfully that you're convinced she has two midgets beneath those long gowns, laboriously moving her around. Throughout the movie West sports dead-white make-up only on her face while her throat and hands look natural. The men in the movie act as if she's the hottest thing since Brigette Bardot or Marilyn Monroe. The plot: Timothy Dalton may or may not be West's husband. She's recorded her memoirs on a tape that becomes the source of frenzied searches. None of this makes any sense. You see hysterical cameos by men who act as if this is their last shot at stardom--Tony Curtis, a shrieking Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, etc. Throughout this hypnotically bad movie, West utters some of her golden nuggets of wisdom. "Is that a flashlight in your pocket or are you just glad to see me." "Or: "It's not the number of men in your life it's the life in your men." Hahahaaaaaa. This is a movie you must watch to see a living legend make her farewell appearance. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

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Patypancake, we anticipated your return to the boards, however, only to bash Mae West.

Why not let the grand ole gal go out in style, as she wished to. It's called 'camp'.

In any event, thanks for warning us.

 

Mongo

 

 

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Hi Paty,

 

I agree this movie was pretty bad, but it was funny too as well as embarrassing. Embarrassing for the performers and for the audience.

However, if I were Tony or Ringo or Timothy I think I would want to be able to say that I had made a movie with Mae West. It looks good on the resume, even if it is an hilarious disaster.

The only thing worse would have been "Sextette - The Sequel" or "Sextette, Part II"

 

Here's my crazy idea for a movie musical -- "The Resurrection of Mae", starring Burt Reynolds, who is the current Mae West incarnation.....

 

Larry

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I haven't seen the ones you've mentioned, but my vote goes to Camelot. I was SO disappointed in it after loving the Broadway score for years. The movie didn't have true musical stars, but it certainly had that late 1960s cut-filled style of direction! SHUDDER...

 

 

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Larry, you're hysterical! Love the idea of Burt re-doing "Sextette"...he'd be a scream. I saw him on some interview show and thought at first he was some elderly Oriental man because his face has been pulled back so tightly that his eyes were slanted. The same goes for Mary Tyler Moore who I saw last week on Fifth Avenue. She resembled a Geisha girl, what with her face pulled back so strangely. it made me think of that Spanish comedian who used his fist where he drew a mouth and eyes to create a Spanish woman and when she talked, he moved his thumb up and down for her mouth. I also watched "Myra Breckenridge" and thought Mae was much better in this one than in Sextette. Anybody was better than Raquel Welch who used this high, artificial voice throughout--which matched her screen personae perfectly.

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Hey Paty,

 

That facelift look is called "the wind tunnel"... Poor Mary Tyler Moore, she is so talented and yet tragic. I've seen her interviewed about her diabetes fundraising and can hardly recognize her as the sweet young thing in "Thoroughly Modern Millie".....

And, Burt now looks like an old lecher. If they took a centerfold of him now, he'd have to put a hand over his face as well as his gonads..

 

Larry

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The musical remake of "Lost Horizon" starring Liv Ullman, Michael York, Olivia Hussey and Peter Finch.

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I think about my two grandmas' sweet, wrinkled faces and it absolutely mystifies me that someone would choose to go under the knife to make themselves look like they're wearing a stretched-too-tight mask.

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No one's mentioned the horrendous "The Wiz", that starred 32-year-old Diana Ross as a new age 'Dorothy'. And let's don't forget 'A Chorus Line," which Sir Richard Attenborough managed to mangle and destroy. If only Ken Russell had gotten his hands on it, we might still be watching it today on DVD.

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The Wiz and A Chorus Line are truly awful but not as flat out bad as The Apple (1980). It's on DVD so if you haven't seen it you really should. A disco/futuristic story with loads of production numbers and incredible costumes.

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"The Apple" is totally unknown to me but it certainly sounds like my kind of movie. I hope everyone in the cast sports huge Afro's, bell-bottoms and tie-dyed psychedelic blouses. If this can beat in awfulness "Hello, Dolly," "A Chorus Line," "Sextette" and some of the others mentioned, then I'll definitely have to buy it for my movie library. By the way, am I the only one who thinks "Gypsy" is another mega-bomb?

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Terrible musical ultimately goes to Moulin Rouge. (In my book - the scores were terrible)

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It's definitely Mame with Lucille Ball. Angela Lansbury (who starred in the very successful Broadway production) wanted (and expected) to be offered the role. However, Lucy had many friends in high places in Hollywood and she convinced the executives she could (and would) do it. During production many cast members felt that it was going to bomb---and it did--big time.

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I would have to go with 'A Chorus Line and the Wiz. For how great the stage versions were and how completely bad these films were.

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I think not--Don't blame Sir Richard; chorus line was a bad premise to start with. Only way any director could save that was to throw out the music. except for the 1 song which is every Webber play, the rest is so bad. I was taken to see it in new york at a low time trying to get a writing gig and went out for a smoke when I heard, 'Gotta Get a job' Too much!

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I've heard that "Paint Your Wagon" was pretty bad. And I can't sit through "Oliver." The worst one I actually sat through was "Hello Dolly." I just can't believe Streisand got the role when first of all she was too young for it, and second it was Carol Channing's role, hands down. Walter Matthau was good in it, and it was nice to see Louis Armstrong in a cameo but the rest of it just sucked, especially Michael Crawford who was so annoying I wanted to reach into the T.V. and knock him out. He acted like he was on speed the whole time, like a jittery schoolgirl. And to think, the great Gene Kelly directed it. I wonder what he thought of it after the fact.

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Let's face it, Dolly is basically a silly story. I thought it silly as THE MATCHMAKER with Shirley Booth and again sillier as HELLO, DOLLY. Although Streisand was miscast in HELLO, DOLLY its not entirely her fault, I think director Gene Kelly is to blame. Too much of everything, dancing, singing, etc. The musical numbers were endless, they went on and on. When Streisand sings "look at the old girl now" this line becomes ridiculous. Channing is so un-photogenic, I don't know if she could have carried it off. Would have loved to see either Betty Grable (in a grand return to her home studio FOX) or Ginger Rogers cast as Dolly. I guess FOX thought these two ladies weren't boxoffice. I like OLIVER very much, although it seems to be a scene for scene remake of the David Lean film. Far one of the worst musicals is Stanley Donen's THE LITTLE PRINCE. But the worst is definitely PEPE, an all star dud. One of the biggest bombs ever released. Director George Sidney should hang his head in shame. PAINT YOUR WAGON is another clinker. No one could sing in this one except Harve Presnell.

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Hi, Edgdrv:

 

My picks would be that horrible sequel to "Grease," "Grease 2." How Michelle Pfieffer survived that film, I do not know.

 

Worst transformation of a Broadway hit to the movies would be a tie, both of them Lerner and Lowe musicals: "Brigadoon" and "Paint Your Wagon." I don't think the musical version of "Camelot" is all that great either, except for Richard Harris.

 

From what I read, "Brigadoon" was originally purchased by Louis B. Mayer for Katheryn Grayson and Howard Keel. However, after Mayer was kicked out, the studio made a big mistake of turning the film into a dance film, with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. In the process, they wound up dumping some of the best songs, including "Heather on the Hill."

 

The lesser musical, "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" didnt' cost half of what Brigadoon made, but made ten times the money. People went into the theater thinking they were going to see the Broadway show, and they were very disappointed. Don't blame them, either. What MGM and Gene Kelly were thinking, I don't know. The best person in the film was Van Johnson.

 

As for "Hello Dolly," even though I agree Streisand was miscast, I don't think it's the worst musical I've ever seen. And, I think Betty Grable did play Dolly in a roadshow production. I also agree that I don't think Carol Channing would have been right in the film version, either. "Mame" was also a dog. They should have given the role to Angela to begin with.

 

"Paint Your Wagon" was also awful. I couldn't believe they had three nonsingers in the leads, although I guess Lee Marvin actually did his own singing, albeit singing very badly.

 

There is a film musical called "Newsies," which I have never seen, but is supposed to be a bomb as well. The reason "Chorus Line" did not work as a movie that it was definitely intended as a stage production only. It was too flimsy for a film musical. Besides, the music was not all that good, with the exception of two songs. There are just certain stage musicals that do not work on film, and "Chorus Line" was one of them.

 

"Oliver" is one of my favorite film musicals of all-time. It's number three behind "Fiddler On Roof" and "Sound of Music." For musicals written originally for the sceen, "Gig" and "State Fair."

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

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Hi,

 

Deborah -

I have to disagree with you slightly about Van Johnson being the best thing in "Brigadoon". I think it was my friend, Elaine Stewart, the **** at the end of the movie (Jane??) who only cared about the big wedding and engagement ring and impressing her friends.

I don't mind Van Johnson and he was good in the picture but he's not my favourite movie star.....

 

Re: Mame -

They definitely should have vetoed Lucy and gone with Angela Lansbury. But, Lucy had the money then and bought the film rights. Today, Angela has the money now, but would be too old. Pity.

Two other ladies, who wanted to do the movie were Ann Miller and Dolores Gray.

When this movie first came out, I had a very sarcastic lady friend and we went to the first showing in Edmonton, Alberta (I was living there then); there was hardly anybody else in the theatre then. When Lucy opened her mouth and 'sang' the first notes, my friend said, "Jesus Christ, she's croaking; they should have gone with Tallulah 'f'ing Bankhead!"... I told her Tallu had died several years before and she said, "Then, they should have dug her up!!"......

 

Re: Hello Dolly -

I would have loved to see Betty Grable make a huge comeback in this role. And, Stanley Donen should have directed it and put some spice into it..

 

I also love "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Gigi" and "The Sound of Music".

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

Elaine Stewart was perfect in "Brigadoon" - Jane was the only role that was kept completely intact from the stage production (I played Bonnie Jean in two summer stock productions a MILLION years ago , so "Brigadoon" has always been a sentimental favorite). I know they have to take artistic liscence when transferring from stage to screen - but in this case most of those changes weren't for the better. I've always wondered (unless he was tied up on Broadway in "Paint Your Wagon) why the wonderful James Mitchell didn't reprise his stage role of Harry Beaton. About a year or so later he did "Oklahoma" and "Bandwagon" ... I'm sure that you and Ms. Stewart are already aware, but incase you are not, Ginger Rogers speaks quite fondly about her in her autobiography - and she doesn't speak quite as well about anyone else! It's very flattering!

 

- Madge

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Madge,

 

No, I didn't know about Ginger Roger's comments on Elaine.

I'm not that fussy about Ginger Rogers; I can take her or leave her, so I didn't read her book.

I don't ususally read these books -- the autobiographies are whitewashes and the biographies and others are usually muckracking scandals ..

 

Larry

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Hi, Deborah. Actually "The Heather on the Hill" is a number in the film version of Brigadoon, sung by Gene Kelly and danced by him and Cyd Charisse. The movie did toss out some lovely songs, however, such as "Come to Me, Bend to Me." A friend tells me that that number was filmed, but edited out, and does appear as an extra on the recent DVD release of Brigadoon.

 

I don't really mind it as a dance musical, but it is an eternal shame that it wasn't filmed in Scotland, or at least in a mountainous place. Its soundstage sets are not convincing, to say the least.

 

 

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I guess I'm in the minority in that I like Paint Your Wagon & Camelot. I've seen both several times. Since they were made about the same time I have to say that this was the style of what musicals made in the late 60's. Even though I love the music from Hair, the film version is terrible. It just seems miscast to me, but I don't know who would have been better. And although some will disagree with me, I never really liked Grease either.

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Haven't you guys seen the movie Man of La Mancha? Awful! I love Oliver! except that Oliver himself can't sing. Ron Moody is so much fun though.

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