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  1. 1. It would have pulled the viewer out of the moment, for one thing. The pace and tone of the scene, set by the rhythm of dialogue and even how slowly Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif are walking as they give their lines, is very mellow and contemplative. To suddenly start belting out a song in an over-the-top Broadway style would have felt very out of place and have likely ruined the mood the song is meant to evoke. I always prefer Barbra when she sings softer and more legato, so I like how she decided to reinterpret "People" to better suit a movie screen versus a Broadway stage. I also think
  2. You're welcome! I grew up listening to the OLC highlights recording, so I am definitely a "Phantom" fan--it's unquestionably my favorite musical--not to mention a fervent Michael Crawford admirer. I only wish that the movie version had starred the original cast; then it could be my favorite movie musical as well!
  3. Gene Kelly had a bit of a reputation as a tough taskmaster and total perfectionist in both his dancing and his directing, but he was brilliant at recognizing talent and encouraging it if he could. In the late 60s he took a chance and hired a young and relatively unknown British actor for a starring role in a big-budget movie musical he was directing. The studio wanted to dub the singing of the young actor, but Kelly had been so moved by the actor's performance, even to the point of tears, that he insisted that the actor use his own voice. The actor was Michael Crawford, better known to musical
  4. Yes. He had been a choir boy as a child, but didn't take singing lessons until 1974, when he got his first musical theatre role in "Billy" in London. His singing teacher, Ian Adam, became Sarah Brightman's teacher in the 80s, and it was while picking her up from class that Andrew Lloyd Webber heard Crawford singing and decided to hire him as the Phantom.
  5. That's another great point. So many people in showbusiness are workaholics, perfectionists, and egotists, but that doesn't mean they can't also help out those coming up the ladder beneath them. I'm going to do a separate post in more detail, but to give a quick example, Gene Kelly, another equally-demanding Hollywood performer, was superb at recognizing talent and was willing to give them a leg-up if he could. Michael Crawford's singing was almost dubbed over in "Hello, Dolly!" but Kelly believed in Crawford's voice and overruled the top brass at Fox, and just look how Crawford's career f
  6. I agree with your observations about Streisand 100%. "Hello, Dolly!" is quite possibly my favorite movie musical, and I acknowledge her tremendous talent as a singer and actress, but along with her perfectionism is a lot of selfishness that most of the earlier generations of successful performers didn't have, and that probably would have stopped her career cold in a different era. I just finished reading Andrew Lloyd Webber's autobiography, and he recalled how on the opening night of "Cats," Barbra, who was a guest of honor, sent the backstage staff scrambling to get a glass of milk (she would
  7. Since we've been discussing the dancing artistry of Gene Kelly during the 40s and 50s so heavily in the last two modules, I think it's about time to mention what a fabulously talented director he was as well. Even though Stanley Donen was frequently credited as his co-director, we all know Kelly did most of the direction himself, not to mention the choregraphy. I watched "It's Always Fair Weather" (1955) all the way through for the first time, right on the heels of "On The Town" (1949) and "Singin' In The Rain (1952), and I found it hard to ignore the unique Kelly style apparent in them all,
  8. 1. "Gaslight" (1944) and "My Fair Lady" (1964) are two of my favorite movies, and I think George Cukor did a great job directing both. While the former is a Gothic thriller and the latter an Edwardian-era musical, both take place in London around the turn-of-the-century, both deal with gender politics of the time between men and women, and the idea of personal identity. Cukor uses the production and set design for both in films in similar ways, emphasizing the dark, heavy, cluttered, and heavily-patterned style of the Edwardian era to create a sense of oppressiveness and wealth, though in "Gas
  9. 1. Regarding male representation in musicals, Robert Preston's two performances are indicative of a shift away from the perfect Alpha male hero to a more imperfect, nuanced, and perhaps a trifle more sensitive portrayal. Harold Hill is a great example of this. While he's got the swagger and assertiveness of the typical Alpha male from previous decades, he's not your typical impossibly perfect guy: His profession is concerned with fleecing an unsuspecting public. And later on, after he has fallen for Marian, we get to see his softer, more gentle side. 2. The fact that Preston was an actor
  10. I was disappointed not to see "Hello, Dolly!"(1969) in the TCM lineup, but I guess they opted to license "My Fair Lady" (1964) from Fox instead. Even though it's not considered as much of a classic as "The Sound of Music" (1965), etc., I consider it to be a quintessential example of the movie musical, with its ebullient Jerry Herman score, athletic choreography by Michael Kidd, delightful direction by the great Gene Kelly, and fabulous cast including Barbra Streisand as Dolly and the future Phantom of the Opera Michael Crawford as Cornelius. It's impossible to be in a bad mood after watching
  11. Disney takes the cake when it comes to animated musicals, and from their vast library, if I was forced to pick my top 5, would be "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" (1937), "Pinocchio" (1940), "Sleeping Beauty" (1959), "The Jungle Book"'(1967) and "Beauty and the Beast" (1991). Yet my favorite as far as comparing live-action movie musicals to animated ones would be Don Bluth's phenomenal "Anastasia" (1997). The songs and spectacle are equal to any Broadway musical, and the animation is just gorgeous.
  12. 1. The scene's setting of a Vaudeville theatre is a throwback to a time before movie musicals or movies even existed; the backstage happenings are reminiscent of classic Pre-Code musicals like "Footlight Parade" (1933); and the fact that it is a film adaptation of a Broadway musical all gives "Gypsy" (1962) ties to the classical era of movie musicals. As to the "disruptions" of the 1960s, the subject matter and occupation of Gypsy Rose Lee as a Burlesque stripper is something that I don't think would have been as well accepted in earlier, post-Production-Code days, but was more permissible as
  13. James Cagney is my favorite actor of any era, so I loved getting to enjoy his dancing in "Footlight Parade" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" for class. He was so brilliant at whatever he did, be it drama or comedy, dancing or fighting, and for me, his dancing is as much of a joy to watch as Gene Kelly's or Fred Astaire's. He was so athletic and never limited himself to just one style, and always seemed to be having so much fun!
  14. 1. The visual look of "An American In Paris" has always reminded me of a Ludwig Bemelman's "Madeline" story come to life, with its bold colors and Impressionistic style, and even though the performances are fairly realistic, the overall feel of the film is to me quite stylized. I think it would be wrong for the final ballet not to match the tone of the rest of the film, as it would feel tacked-on and less of an integral part than it should. If the tone and look of the film had been more realistic, the stylized fantasy ballet would be out of place. 2. The fact that Gene Kelly is playing Je
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