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NZ

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Everything posted by NZ

  1. I still enjoy My Fair Lady immensely even though I know that neither Audrey or Jeremy did any of their own singing. Regardless, Audrey is Audrey - luminous, beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. She is a lady through and through and that sells the film even when her voice cannot. Incidentally, the original DVD release included Audrey's vocal arrangements as an extra. She did attempt to sing 'Show Me' and 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly?' While I can appreciate her efforts they really did not measure up. Yes, Julie Andrews would have been wonderful as she had been on the stage. But she was an unkno
  2. On The Town is fun but flawed. Arthur Freed discarded the stage show's original score in favour of new songs that, at least in my opinion, don't entirely measure up to the originals. Also, only the opening 'New York New York' production number was actually shot in New York City to give the movie it's east coast flavour. The rest of the film is all vintage back lot MGM and process screens. I'm not condemning the movie. I like it a lot. There's plenty to love about it. But it's not the perfect entertainment it ought to have been for these reasons.
  3. The 34 version of The Merry Widow is ageless and the one to see. It's hasn't been available on home video since the mid-1980s and on VHS when Ted Turner released it under the old MGM/UA Video label. Warner Home Video now owns the rights. They have long promised a DVD (since 2002 actually) but this never materialized. I suspect when they finally get around to it, the movie will become part of their 'Archive Collection' - a poor cousin 'burn on demand' release as opposed to a properly minted DVD. The 52 version is rather painful to watch. Neither Lamas or Turner can or do sing. Rememb
  4. I agree with the person who said that as a rule remakes tick him off. I'm not a fan of remaking anything, but at the same time I have to agree that there are several non-musical films from the 1930s that were remade as musicals in the 1950s that I absolutely adore. The first is High Society, a remake of The Philadelphia Story (which I also love). Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly are valiant successors to Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in the original and the songs by Cole Porter are all show stoppers. Also love Silke Stockings, the musical remake of Ninotchka that I actual
  5. I have mixed feelings about It's Always Fair Weather. I think it's the title that gets me because the story itself is very downbeat and more serious than your usual fluff from MGM. Kelly's roller skating number is a tour de force as is Dolores Gray's Thanks A Lot But No Thanks and Cyd Charisse's Baby You Knock Me Out. I also love the 'trash can' dance. I think the problem I have is that the songs and dances seem to belong to that lighter-than-air vintage of MGM froth while the story is decidedly more Dore Schary noir than vintage L.B. Mayer glam-bam. The two styles seem in constant confli
  6. NZ

    "Star!"

    Star! is one of those big glossy musical bio pics, more fiction than fact that just had the dumb luck of coming at the end of that 60s cycle of movie musicals. Like Hello Dolly!, another superb movie musical produced two years after it by Fox, if just did not have audience interest behind it to succeed. Julie Andrews best performance in a movie musical will always be tied between The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. But it is saying much that she managed to cleanse herself of that 'practically perfect' persona from the aforementioned films to at least attempt playing Gertrude Lawrence in
  7. While MGM did transfer ownership first to Lorimar Telepictures and then Sony in the mid to late 80s the backlot did not survive this transfer of ownership, suffering the wrecking ball in 1975 after Kirk Kerkorian's takeover to raise capital for his Las Vegas hotel; itself the scene of destructive chaos in 1981 when the second largest fire in hotel history claimed 85 lives. MGM's sad final days are chronicled in the book "Fade Out" which might be a good starting point in your research of the last movie shot on the MGM backlot but I do believe That's Entertainment! is among the last. By the
  8. Well film lovers, with this season's releases of The Sound of Music, White Christmas, The Night of the Hunter, The Red Shoes, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, et al on Blu-Ray it does do a lot to wet the avid collector's rabid appetite for more of the same. So here's your chance to list the classic films you'd most likely want to see get a Blu-ray release in 2011. Add to this list and make your presence and opinions known. Some titles to consider: The Magnificent Ambersons Lawrence of Arabia Marie Antoinette (1938) The Prisoner of Zenda (1
  9. Remakes are a bad idea period! However, I do have to say that when MGM undertook to remake some of their best loved comedies and dramas from the 30s into big budget musicals in the 1950s they came up with two of the best musical entertainments of that decade: High Society (a remake of the Philadelphia Story) and Silk Stockings (a remake of Ninotchka). Both these musicals are top flight in every way and really stand out as exceptional entertainments of their own. MGM had less luck with their glossy Technicolor remakes of the Merry Widow, starring Lana Turner as a non-singing widow in
  10. I'm assuming you're referring to the Cinemascope version of the film - the more widely screened version at the time of the film's general release. If you haven't seen it, you should also watch the Todd A-0 version as it contains alternative takes and restaging of many of the dance sequences. The currently available DVD from Fox Home Video contains both versions, although the Todd A-0's color is a bit off. This is a curiosity since I own the laserdisc released by Fox in the mid-1990s that has been lovingly restored with eye popping color and marked improvements in fine detail and clarity f
  11. If I were you I'd make post haste to see Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather and Carmen Jones - top flight entertainments with all black casts. Don't waste your time on The Wiz - attrociously second rate and horribly miscast! If you haven't seen the following (not musicals) you should: Island in the Sun and Pinky.
  12. I'd just like to say that this film is a lost masterpiece. Of course, opinions will vary, but Cukor's output is hardly dull and this film is certainly anything but. I think what throws people today who have watched and loved Judy during her MGM output (Oz included), is that Star has none of the ultra frothy glam that MGM gave her and its other musical stars in spades. That's as it should be. Warner Bros. IS NOT MGM. Their penchant for gritty drama bodes well with Star because Star is really a melodrama with music as opposed to a musical with connecting dialogue. The distinction is worth no
  13. I'll go one step further. Remaking Fame WAS pointless. The original - a fantastic drama with music - gave me admiration for the guts it takes to chase after one's dreams. The remake reminded me of a bunch of American Idol rejects hopelessly flailing about in the hopes that no one would notice just how awful they all were!
  14. Oh...Crawford in blackface in that film. Even at the ripe old age of 39 that image still makes me cringe! Talk about bad taste.
  15. NZ

    Funny Face

    The whole point of Funny Face was built into the irony that two people as different both in their respective ages and their theoretical view points could gradually discover that they shared enough common ground to fall in love. Audrey is luminous. Astaire is ageless. Kay Thompson - priceless. The whole package comes together with one glorious burst of enthusiasm for life, love and fashionable clothes. Even today, many years after I first saw it I still can't help but 'think pink!'
  16. A Chorus Line is one of those, at least in retrospect, flawed movie experiences that in no way, shape or form recreated the excitement of the stage show. I saw them both. On stage we feel the dancer's energy, sympathize with their dreams and disappointments and even, at times, almost taste their sweat. On screen, the whole experience of watching people audition on a stage is....well...stage bound and static. I'm not sure what could be done to open up the story for a movie going experience. Taking the action outside or elsewhere than the theatre would be a huge mistake because the whole po
  17. NZ

    "Nine" 2009

    How could a film loosely based on Federico Fellini's immortal classic 8 1/2 fail? Regrettably, Rob Marshall's Nine (2009) proves just how elusive Fellini's blend of neo-realism and broad satire are to recapture on celluloid for the postmodern generation. As a Broadway show, Nine was enigmatic and emblematic entertainment - a rollicking pop opera more directly derived from Arthur Kopit's book with exhilarating songs written by Maury Yeston. Yet, like Richard Attenborough's filmic adaptation of A Chorus Line (1985), Nine plays more like an exhumation, rather than exaltation of the stage show
  18. Remakes in general are a bad idea. However, the movies you should remake are the bad ones in the hopes of improving on them - not the timeless classics like Singin' In The Rain or The Sound of Music which will never be duplicated or even challenged in all their resplendent charm and glorious Technicolor or (in music's case) Color by DeLuxe.
  19. Dear lover of good music - Victor Young's score is available to purchase at the following link. I own a copy of it and it is well worth the money spent to order. The score is not available in stores. Also, after you open this link, if you click on the 'listen' icon to the right of the CD cover art, you'll be able to listen to and download a few choice tracks for your listening pleasure. Enjoy. http://www.screenarchives.com/display_results.cfm
  20. I have to disagree with Disney's live action output as being 'dreadful'. Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was a lavish and breathtaking treatment of Jules Verne's disjointed short stories. The studio's Swiss Family Robinson and Pollyanna were first rate productions, with the original The Parent Trap, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, That Darn Cat, The Shaggy Dog and D.A. The Absent Minded Professor almost as good. Undoubtedly, Mary Poppins remains the pinnacle in Disney's live action film output - a treasured highlight not to be missed, forgotten or relegated to the 'dreadful' dust bin
  21. Okay, here are my sentiments regarding Blu-Ray in general. First, I believe the studios in general are making the same tired old mistakes regarding catalog titles - ergo, willy-nilly releasing bits and fragments without any sort of coherent planning. Much of their Blu-release philosophy seems to be predicated on what titles have already received photo chemical and digital restorations in the past; ergo Oz and GWTW getting their Blu-Ray releases over say Doctor Zhivago or Ben-Hur - both requiring more work to get them up to snuff in the new 1080p format. Paramount and Disney are the worst
  22. It's important to remember an artist for their body of work rather than for their political or personal opinions. Astaire is the dancer par excellence that all who came after him sought most to emulate. Gene Kelly is often referred to in the context of the "Astaire-not" the antithesis of Astaire's grace and polish. You can't really compare the two men because their styles are so unique, verging on being direct opposites. Astaire's movements are fluid - Kelly's athletic. Astaire is the essence of a graceful man about town - Kelly is the vigorous man of the people. Both have their merits and des
  23. I concur with the general concensus of this group - colorization is a BAD idea for several reasons. First, no true research on the colors used during filming can be obtained as no such records were ever documented by the studios (why? Who cared?) hence, no accurate attempt at colorizing can be made. At best, the choice of colors added to a B&W movie many decades after the film was issued remains in the hands of neither historian nor purist but rather dictated at the whim of some skilled twenty-something techi, sitting at the control panel of a color console. As Orson Welles aptly pointed
  24. Garbo never won one. Neither did Gable. Hitchcock was never even nominated. I think that just about says it all where integrity and the Academy Awards go. According to the subject header this post is only supposed to be about ridiculous choices for Best Actress but I see that many of the contributors are just dishing Oscar mud in general. So, I guess I'll pitch a few shovels too. OSCAR RE-CASTING for BEST ACTRESS 1. Joan Fontaine for Rebecca (1940) instead of Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle 2. Bette Davis for The Little Foxes (1941) instead of Joan Fontaine for Suspicion 3. Bette
  25. I ordered two movies Rosalie and Thousands Cheer as a test from Movies Unlimited because I am a Canadian and the Warner Archive continues NOT to sell to Canada. They claim it's because of a rights issue which is ridiculous because Movie's Unlimited willingly ships their product to Canada with no fuss, no muss. I have a bone to pick with NOT shipping to countries outside the U.S. I'm not living somewhere in the third world in a remote outpost only reached by sea and six months of treacherous travel. The UPS guy can find me just as easily as he can find any American who shops WB. If WB
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