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Everything posted by Lover-o-Classics

  1. For anyone who likes the big band music of the early 40's, you'll enjoy The Glenn Miller Story, starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. It shows you how he developed his sound and made his band the most popular of the day, and the second half almost plays like a concert. My mom loves it as she was a huge Glenn Miller fan, and saw him in concert when she was in high school. We watched it together today.
  2. Thanks Janey, for the update. I've heard of 'Wicked'. It's been around a few years now, hasn't it?. And heard of 'Hamilton' too. It sounds quite good, and is supposed to be coming here in the 2019-20 season. You mention a show about a plane diverting to a town in Canada during 9/11. Is that 'Come from Away'? I've read something about it, and would like to see it. Apparently there were something like 37 international flights bound for NYC that had to land in Gander, a small town in Newfoundland with an international airport, and several thousand people were stuck there for a few days...
  3. The only decent stage musicals I see being promoted around here (southern Ontario) these days are 'Mama Mia' and 'The King and I' in Toronto, and Stratford Festival's productions of 'Rocky Horror' and 'The Music Man' (with a black Harold Hill... love it!). All revivals. (Saw 'Guys and Dolls' at Stratford last year, and it was fabulous!) Reinforces my thinking that there aren't many good musicals being produced on Broadway or in London's West End anymore. I imagine I'm just out of touch, so tell me what I'm missing.
  4. Just posting a reply to bring this list back to the front page, where I can find it.
  5. Yeah, I'd forgotten about that Men in Tights movie? Never got to see it. Was it Mel Brooks? It must have been nuts if it was. Anyhow, I just saw the Robin Hood movie again, with Errol and Olivia, Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone, and it was just so much fun they can leave it the way it is. Light fluff, but wonderful entertainment... and great color for its day!
  6. Just being silly here... but wouldn't it have been fun if Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland had been song and dance performers and they'd made swashbucklers like 'Robin Hood' or 'Captain Blood' into musicals? Well... at least 'Robin Hood'. Would love to have seen Errol tapping in tights. (Hey, 'Robin Hood' is on TCM tonight!)
  7. Thanks, TopBilled, for the detailed backgrounder, and for putting the studio picture into perspective.
  8. Glad you mentioned Oscar Levant. He's an amazing talent as a pianist and I always enjoy seeing him in movies, even though he generally plays second fiddle to the star. If you get a chance to see The Barkleys of Broadway (Fred and Ginger, 1949), just watch his fingers on the keyboard as he plays Tchaikovsky's 1'st Concerto, or Khatchturin's Sabre Dance, and you'll be blown away.
  9. Reading about the studio system and the major studios in today's notes, and was surprised not to see the name Universal... and I wondered why. Wiki states it was founded in 1912 and was one of the "Little Three" majors during Hollywood's golden age. It mentions Columbia as being another of the little three, but doesn't say what the third studio was. I went on the Universal Studios tour in LA back in the eighties, and can remember seeing the Psycho house up on a hill, the street where 'The Music Man' was filmed, and the shark from 'Jaws' popping out of the water. Interesting that it wasn't
  10. Just finished watching 'Easter Parade' on TCM. Such a sumptuous musical... one you can enjoy over and over. I love Judy Garland in her role as Hannah... so charming and radiant. But Ann Miller absolutely sizzles as Nadine! What talent... what a smile... what legs! Va-va-voom! Needless to say, she's one of my faves, and I wonder if she ever gave a better performance. By the way, did anyone else have the good fortune to see Ann Miller with Mickey Rooney in 'Sugar Babies' back in the 80's. It was a musical based on the old burlesque shows and was non-stop fun. I saw it in a touring produ
  11. Is Broadway anywhere near as good as it used to be? It's been years since I've had a chance to see a show on Broadway or London's West End, but it seems the touring shows we see these days aren't all that great... unless it's a good revival. Nothing at all like the shows of a generation ago... Chorus Line, 42'nd Street, Sugar Babies, Chicago, Dreamgirls... and the outstanding Cameron Mackintosh productions out of London. There's nothing that sticks around for more than a few weeks. To me, it seems like a much different era and the talent just isn't there the way it used to be. Am I way of
  12. Several people have mentioned Richard Rodgers, and I would have put him on top of my list except that I don't really think of him a songwriter of the early 20'th century, as the others were. You could, though... the late first half. Or maybe I'm just not as familiar with his earlier work.
  13. Entertaining musicals, somewhat fictionalized, have been made about the lives of some of America's greatest songwriters of the early 20'th century. Two of them will be shown on TCM on Thursday: 'Yankee Doodle Dandy', the flag-waving story of George M. Cohan, and 'Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin's story. One that won't be shown, but which I've seen a couple of times, is 'Night and Day', based on the life of Cole Porter (though it doesn't mention his homosexuality or scandalous Paris parties that included cross-dressing and recreational drugs... taboo topics for the times). Was a movie eve
  14. Rodgers and Hammerstein... the greatest team ever! (...though the early part of the 20'th century had some great songwriters too... Cohan, Gershwin, Berlin, Porter... wow!) 'Oklahoma!' changed the style of musicals for good, the moment Curley came out singing 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning'... though some critics said any show that didn't feature legs and a dazzling opening number would never fly. I've never been able to decide which of their shows I like best. Sometimes it's 'South Pacific'... other times 'The King and I'. You could really choose any of them. There was always a main love s
  15. An interesting topic. A lot depends on what production of the stage show you've seen. The touring cast of 'Dreamgirls' that I saw gave an uninspiring performance, whereas the original cast on Broadway, a few years earlier, treated me to the most exciting night I've ever spent in a theatre. The movie version of the show was somewhere in between. I'd seen the movie version of 'Chicago' several times before I finally saw the stage show, and it had gotten stale by the time I saw it. Usually, the movie version tries to replicate the songs of the musical, in the style of the musical. A notable
  16. I, too, love Busby Berkeley and enjoyed reading the comments... but while people generally remember him for his long and overhead shots, his innovative style included a mixture of closeups that would show the dancers' pretty faces and dazzling costumes, not to mention their legs and figures. As Flo Ziegfeld could tell you, appealing to the audience was as much about showing off the gorgeous girls as it was displaying their talent. And Pastiche... thanks for mentioning the June Taylor Dancers. I vaguely recall those overhead shots, and will have to watch the video. (Wasn't that Jackie Glea
  17. Many stage musicals have been made into films, but it seldom goes the other way around. A notable exception is 42'nd Street. When I happened to see David Merrick's original Broadway production in 1982 at the Majestic theatre, I had no real appreciation for what I was watching, except to say that Jerry Orbach was fantastic as Julian Marsh. (Lisa Brown, who played Peggy Sawyer, spent the entire day shooting 'The Guiding Light' soap, then performed on stage every night.) We didnt have accesss to the old movies back in those days, and I had no idea there had ever been a 42'nd Street movie. Th
  18. Saw "La La Land" in a theatre a couple of years ago, and couldn't believe the amateurish garbage that passes for dancing in movie musicals today. The only decent dance number was done in silouette, because none of the stars in the show could dance a step. The film got raves and awards galore... but I just didn't see it. Emma Stone doesn't belong in musicals, and how she got the Best Actress Oscar is beyond my comprehension. Did she get it for her pretty face? But, as I said, the film was a smash so maybe it's my problem... and I'd better to stick to the classics. (By the way, "Chicago",
  19. Thanks to everyone for their comments and insights on this topic. And thanks to Dr. Ament for doing the demo. I really had no idea this is how the process worked, but I guess that's why we're taking this fabulous course. I'll be able to look at musicals in a different way now, and appreciate everything that went into them.
  20. Just finished watching Astaire and Powell dance "Begin the Beguine", carefully watching the feet and listening to the taps, trying to determine if they were in sync. I'm not sure they always were, but the overall effect was so dazzling that it really wouldn't matter. It was only at the very end that the last tap seemed to end a split second before Fred's foot came down. But even that was hard to tell because the music also ended with a bang, which would have helped to mask the tap and any imperfections in the sync. Quite brilliant. I wonder if Fred and Eleanor did the Foley taps. Can't i
  21. It brings up the issue of dubbing sound into films. It's one thing dubbing Marni Nixon's beautiful voice for Deborah Kerr's or Audrey Hepburn's, but quite another dubbing anyone's taps for Eleanor Powell's. Is this even considered dubbing? Again, maybe I'm misunderstanding something. Bottom line, though... it does seem to work effectively.
  22. There's something I'm not sure I understood correctly about the demonstation of tap Foley. As the process was explained, it appeared to me that a professional dancer or Foley artist... someone other than the dancer in the film... would produce the tap sounds that would be edited into the film later on, by duplicating the steps that were filmed during the take. In other words, we would be watching Eleanor Powell perform the dance on film, but be hearing the taps produced by someone else and edited into the film. Am I understanding this right? If so, I can't fathom how anyone could reproduce
  23. One more thoght about Elmer Gantry. There's a scene in which Shirley gets slapped repeatedly in the face, and the sound effect of her being slapped sounded unusually loud, and not even close to being normal. Right away, it made me think of the Foley artist who created that sound. It seems to me that if the Foley artist is doing a good job you're not even aware of the sound effects. It all just sounds right. In this scene, it certainly did not. Perhaps they wanted to slaps to sound violent, but it sounded ridiculous.
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