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mrsl

Broadway Musicals and Movies associated with them

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This is a reprint from another thread which I have erased.

 

 

I bitterly miss the old time MGM type musicals from Oklahoma through to the King and I and beyond. The spectacle, the music, the costumes, dancing, singing, choruses - all of it enthralled me. Each one of them had some special song or scene which is indelibly etched on my memory.

 

Carousel - My Boy Bill siloliquy

Oklahoma - Kansas City - Gene Nelson dancing with Charlotte Greenwood and treating her like one of the kids

South Pacific - Some Enchanted Evening

The King & I - March of the children - Whistle a happy tune

My Fair Lady - I could have danced all night

Flower Drum Song - I enjoy being a Girl

Sound of Music - My Favorite Things

7 Bride for 7 Bros - The barn raising dance/ballet

 

There are many more for me, but I won't bore everyone with all of them. It was a glorious time in American Cinema and regrettably one we will never experience again. Sad for the younger generation who refuse to watch them. There is no comparison between them and Chicago, Moulin Rouge, or Rent.

 

The duets are another sentimental remembrance:

 

Gordon and Shirley - People Will Say We're In Love

Howard and Jane - When You're In Love

 

What are your fond remembrances?

 

Anne

 

Message was edited by:

mrsl

 

Message was edited by:

mrsl

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It is indeed sad to look back at the golden age of the movie musical. However I would disagree that Fox productions could generally be compared with MGM musicals (i.e. MGM type productions). Not that Fox did a bad job with their musicals, but I think for overall lavishness and polished productions, nobody ever rivaled MGM during the 30's and 40's. I don't know that they were necessarily the best musicals all around, but they more than amply showed why MGM was the "Rolls-Royce" of movie studios.

 

As for "fond rememberance," if anything I would tend towards the musicals from the 30's and 40's, and maybe the very early 50's. Those were some of the greatest musicals ever, and even the ones from the 60's, as good as they are, cannot compare.

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Thank you for your opinion, but I prefer the late 40's, 50's and 60's MGM type musicals with the color adding so much more excitement, in my opinion.

 

The B&W's were good but musicals really grew up later.

 

Anne

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Anne, over the years all the studios produced great musicals. My favorite studio for musicals overall, is Fox. There was just something special about them that set them apart for me. Perhaps it was the great use of Technicolor, or their blondes? Not sure, I just prefer them. Also, the early Warner musicals were so much fun, and bought major filming innovations. There's an ego and a self-promotional tone that runs through many of the MGM musicals that is a turn-off for me. I tend to prefer their B-unit musicals to their A-unit ones. But, I have favorites and least favorites, from all the studios. I agree about MOULIN ROUGE (easily the worst film I've ever seen), CHICAGO (people just don't know how to film musical numbers, anymore) and RENT (I'm not their target audience). The days of the finely crafted musical are gone. Of course, a lot of MGM and early Warner's, etc. weren't doing film musicals based on Broadway shows. For those, my favorites were mostly done by Fox (CAROUSEL, THE KING AND I, HELLO, DOLLY!, SOUTH PACIFIC, and the Rolls Royce of film musicals, THE SOUND OF MUSIC); but I also love Warner's THE PAJAMA GAME and THE MUSIC MAN, which is just glorious, Universal's FLOWER DRUM SONG and Columbia's OLIVER! A couple of independents like OKLAHOMA! and WEST SIDE STORY are pretty great, too!

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> Thank you for your opinion, but I prefer the late

> 40's, 50's and 60's MGM type musicals with the

> color adding so much more excitement, in my opinion.

>

> The B&W's were good but musicals really grew up

> later.

>

> Anne

 

The musicals from the 30's and early 40's are also MGM type musicals -- MGM also made musicals in black and white. Your original post simply mentioned "the old time MGM type musicals."

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Thanks johnm:

 

That's what I mean by MGM type (in bold), I'm not that up on what studio produced which movie. I just watch and enjoy.

 

I forgot about Pajama Game, and Molly Brown - with 7-1/2 cents, and You're my Friend.

 

Anne

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Yes! THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, which is the only Broadway sourced musical that MGM did well! And, yes, contains my favorite musical number from any MGM musical.

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Take away the R&H musicals, and most Fox musicals are, sadly, very much forgettable and full of unmemorable songs. It's a shame, too, since they had very talented performers like Alice Faye and Betty Grable, as well as some outstanding support from character actors and performers like Cesar Romero, Carmen Miranda, etc.

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I would say there were many other "Broadway-sourced" musicals MGM did extremely well, and while they were still in their prime... the MGM of the 60's was already a mere shadow of its former self.

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In regards to The Unsinkable Molly Brown I would agree with the following assertion regarding a few of the things that MGM did right:

The powers at Metro were fortunate in casting Debbie Reynolds in the title role and retaining Harve Presnell to make his screen debut in the role he created on Broadway, Johnny Brown. They are physically mismatched but are, oddly enough, perfectly fitted to their assignments. And, in retaining Peter Gennaro to repeat as choreographer, they have acquired a talent who gives the film its outstanding virtue.

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That's what I mean by MGM type (in bold), I'm not that up on what studio produced which movie. I just watch and enjoy.

 

LOL. That's the best way to be, I guess. While I can find something to love, in musicals from all generations, I believe they became something truly great, with WEST SIDE STORY. Robert Wise and to an equal extent, screenwriter Ernest Lehman, took everything that made the Broadway show great, adapted it beautifully, for the medium of film, and gave us a masterpiece. They worked the same magic in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. In between films tried to measure-up to WSS's brilliance. Some succeeded, while others failed. But, even in their failures, there was often something beautiful to see and hear. The great, big screen musicals of the 60s really have no equal, before them or since.

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The "great, big screen musicals of the 60's" were OK but they nonetheless pointed to the decline of the genre and its ever-growing need to turn to large spectacles with sometimes mammoth budgets in order to remain relevant. No longer did you have a number of studios turning out several musicals a year, it was the lone single mega-production that stood out among many movies of different genres.

 

And it's a shame that modern moviegoers usually can't even tell which studio made which musicals in the early decades. Studios made every possible effort to develop a "brand" which the public could easily identify and the studios obviously encouraged "brand loyalty", which was possible at the time because they owned the theaters as well.

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Shirley MacLaine!?!?!?

 

She would have ruined Molly. I like her but no, no, no. not for Molly. Debbie was absolute perfection for that role.

 

Anne

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Well, I agree, PFriedman and mrsl. X-snay on the Shirley-ay.

Unsinkable was just not the right vehicle for her.

 

She was more suited to a Yellow Rolls Royce! :)

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Cinemascope:

 

Who would have been wonderful in what?

 

Anne

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Shirley, in TUMB.

 

According to imdb.com,

MGM's original choice for the role of Molly Brown was Shirley MacLaine.

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I think Shirley in The Unsinkable Molly Brown would have been definitely different

from Debbie's performance, but I also think Shirley Maclaine would have

had absolutely no chemistry with Harve Presnell, who was always

the first choice for the role as far as I know.

Maybe The Yellow Rolls Royce should have been a musical.

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True about the chemistry with Harve Presnell. I like Shirley MacLaine, but I like Debbie Reynolds so much in the role, I find it hard to imagine it with Shirley. On the other hand Debbie Reynolds could never have done Sweet Charity. That would've been really strange, not that she would've been considered for such a role.

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No, it was Shirley who was the first choice to star in the movie. Whether Harve Presnell would still have been in it without Debbie is anybody's guess.

 

And Yellow Rolls Royce couldn't have been a musical because Terence Rattingan didn't write musicals.

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I think Debbie's just fine as it is, just saying, if she hadn't been able to do it, Shirley would have done just fine. :)

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Actually, Robert Goulet was the first choice for Johnny Brown. MacLaine was Charles Walters first choice for Molly, but never got anywhere near close to signing on. Debbie was a big star, and had a lot of pull in Hollywood and at MGM. She was also very good friends with Walters. She not only secured the lead, but insisted that Harve Presnell recreate his Broadway role. Speaking of Presnell, he's a regular on Andy Richter's new show, ANDY BARKER, P.I.

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