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Jim K

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Everything posted by Jim K

  1. IMHO, James Whale's Show Boat is vastly superior to the 50's remake. It shows the uglier side of racial discrimination that is written into the script, was part of our culture in the 30's, and is still evident in our society today. Segregation is clearly shown as blacks enter and exit the theater through separate entryways, they must sit in the balcony, and they are not allowed in the church when Magnolia and Ravenal get married. The 50's remake glosses over this at a time when our society was still segregated -- Rosa Parks' bus ride was a few years after the remake was released. Compa
  2. It seems to me that a four week course could focus each week on a different actor, maybe something like this: 30's: Katharine Hepburn 40's: Bette Davis 50's: Marilyn Monroe 60's: Audrey Hepburn I mean this just as an example. I realize that most of these people span multiple decades. And one could spend another month with the men.
  3. I think adapting is a loose term too. When Ernest Lehman wrote the screenplay for WSS, he adapted the stage play for what he thought would work on the screen. He moved songs around, assigned one song to someone else to sing, and made adjustments to the script. But though his adaptation was not identical to the stage script, it was close enough to it that we did not feel that he had distorted his material. His adaptation of Sound of Music goes even farther in reassigning songs, moving songs around to different uses in the film, reducing the roles of some of the supporting characters, and op
  4. That's all true, except that I disagree about the value of restaging. But I don't see anything in the Vanity Fair article that indicates that he is either restaging it or reinventing it. The only hint to his intentions is that "he's dreamt of adapting this material 'for decades'." And the 60's movie is already an adaptation of the 50's play. It is impossible to tell from this article what Spielberg has in mind. I would love to see the glorious "Somewhere" ballet restored. And recent revivals have successfully addressed racially-inauthentic casting that marred the original cast and the mo
  5. True, but that was in 1947. When it was filmed twenty years later, the story seemed a bit naive. And it didn't help that it opened the same year as Oliver! and Funny Girl, which were getting all the attention at a time when the public was less interested in movie musicals. Though it does have some marvelous songs. I don't believe that it made 11.6 million when it was initially released. If that number comes from IMDB, they report the gross amount to date, including reissues, television sales, video, DVD's, etc., and they may have adjusted the amount to today's equivalent value. I thi
  6. I think there have been some others that followed that route. These are a few I can think of: Ninotchka --> Silk Stockings (Broadway) --> Silk Stockings (movie) Nights of Cabiria --> Sweet Charity (Broadway) --> Sweet Charity (movie) Smiles of a Summer Night --> A Little Night Music (Broadway) --> A Little Night Music (movie) Little Shop of Horrors (1960) --> Little Shop of Horrors (Off-Broadway) --> Little Shop of Horrors (movie) Hairspray (John Waters) --> Hairspray (Broadway) --> Hairspray (movie) One could argue that The King and I was based on the scr
  7. Let me just add that watching a whole lot of movies each week doesn't leave much time for reflection, especially if you have other commitments during the day. I have a DVR, and I didn't look at a lot of movies each week. I looked at all of the uploaded videos and occasionally recorded a movie that had been mentioned in one of the lectures and peaked my interest. It seemed to me that the thrust of the course was to look at each film as a reflection of its time and by doing so we learn something about the time and about the film. It's an approach one can learn with a few or with many fil
  8. To some extent, the similarities were built in. Cabaret and Chicago were Kander and Ebb musicals on Broadway. In Cabaret, they told their stories using the constructs of a night club. In Chicago, they used the conventions of vaudeville. Add to that that Bob Fosse directed Chicago on Broadway, and much of his choreography was retained for the film.
  9. I love the West Side Story film, and I also welcome a remake. There are a few things about the 60's film that make it a little difficult for me to see today. On the plus side are the exciting Jerome Robbins choreography, the Leonard Bernstein score, and the marvelous Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn. On the minus side are the color unconscious casting (this was not so important to me in the 60's, but is really difficult for me today), the dubbed voices, the dated slang that is quaint now, and the colorful costumes that do not look anything like what a street gang would wear. And I really do di
  10. That, or they were confusing Broadway with the touring company. Chita Rivera played the title role in the Sweet Charity touring company.
  11. I think she mentioned that The Maltese Falcon was better in the remake. I don't remember her mentioning The Front Page, but it has been remade several times.
  12. A tidbit about "Second Hand Rose" that might be of interest. The song was a sequel. Fanny Brice introduced the song "Rose of Washington Square" in the Ziegfeld Follies. It was so popular that when Ziegfeld put together his next version of the Follies, he asked the songwriter to write another "Rose" song for Fanny Brice, and that became "Second Hand Rose".
  13. I really like the song that Meryl Streep sang in Postcards from the Edge. Meryl sang it well, but I prefer Reba's version from the Academy Awards.
  14. Love All That Jazz and Pennies from Heaven. I'll add The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  15. It seems to me that it is next to impossible to define film musicals because most every rule we can think of will have exceptions. Some musicals use song and dance to advance the plot, and some use them for their own sake (Sun Valley Serenade, Words and Music, A Hard Day's Night). Some use original scores or substantially original scores, others use songs that were already popular (Easter Parade, Jersey Boys, An American in Paris, Rose of Washington Square). Some will have people break out in song or dance in an unrealistic place, and others will keep the song and dance more realistic (Caba
  16. The Boyfriend was not very popular when it first opened. Indeed, I did not get it the first time I saw it. But I love it today. I see it as a loving spoof of Busby Berkeley musicals and the stage musicals of the 20's. We see the backstage plotting to upstage others, the clash between going all out to sell a number and making the audience come to you, and the extravagant and wildly unrealistic production numbers, all presented with comedy. The movie isn't for everyone, but today it is one of my guilty pleasures. I find it very interesting that many of the musicals of the 70's and beyo
  17. I mentioned this earlier in another thread. TCM airs its movies at the same moment across the country. So a film that starts at 7:00 pm eastern also starts at 4:00 pm pacific. It is impossible for them to air a film at a time that is not inconvenient for some part of the country. I think they depend on our DVR'ing those we want to see. And for that, I would love to see a list of films that will be discussed in the lectures or daily doses. The recommendations provided do not do this. Some of the films are available for viewing at any time on Watch TCM's Movies on Demand. They seem
  18. Exactly. Stage and screen have very different ways of expressing the same emotions. What worked for Streisand so well on stage would not work so well in the movie. It is to her credit either that she instinctively understood this or that she trusted her direction. Either way, she adjusted her performance for the medium when she easily could have done it the way that had always worked for her.
  19. 1. In this song, Fanny bares herself to Nicky. One might do this effectively on stage by belting the song, but in a movie it is more effectively done with quiet moments. The quieter approach that Streisand uses here is more introspective as she discovers her need for a relationship. The more theatrical approach, which is wholly appropriate to the stage, especially in a theatre the size of the Winter Garden where Funny Girl played, is more a general statement of how we all need personal connections. In the film, she stresses introspection and vulnerability. She ends the song by belting ou
  20. I believe that they used Shaw’s screenplay intact, but staged it so it had a romantic ending that Shaw did not intend. Instead of ending with Higgins listening to a recording of Eliza, Eliza enters and delivers the last lines in person.
  21. We saw the screening of West Side Story tonight too, and I noticed that “Gee Officer Krupke” had been moved to the first act too. And “Cool” moved to the second act. I wish I could recommend a book, but I don’t know of one. The song types I know of are the opening song and the opening to the second act, both intended to get the audience to settle into the show, the ballad (supposedly an invention of Jerome Kern’s), the eleven o’clock number (a later use of the ballad), the list song (where the lyrics are a list of something or another, like “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “You’re the Top”,
  22. Both My Fair Lady and Gaslight show a man dominating a woman. As I remember, Ingrid Bergman frequently is slightly hunched over to show her dependence and uncertainly, which Charles Boyer stands (as) tall (as he can) and ****. Frequently she looks downward rather than looking Boyer square in the eye. When she realizes that her husband has been making her seem to be mad, the roles are reversed and she stands firm while he is tied in a chair. I don't remember the camerawork of Gaslight, but here the camera initially looks down on Hepburn and straight-on or up at Harrison, putting Eliza below
  23. In addition to all that you mentioned, a few others come immediately to mind: "Sing for Your Supper" (Boys from Syracuse), "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" (Annie Get Your Gun), "Do You Love Me (Fiddler on the Roof) "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" (Kiss Me Kate). Even the Swan Lake ballet in Funny Girl (which replaced Rat-a-tat-tat" from the Broadway play). I might suggest "Sue Me" for Guys and Dolls, but "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat works well too. These are comic numbers, but the shot-in-the arm can also be a lively dance like "Hello, Dolly!" or "That's How Young I Feel (the play M
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