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There are two musicals that I could watch again and again:  Sound of Music and Wizard of Oz.  My parents watched these when I was a children, so I think I love to watch them now because it brings back memories of my childhood.  

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I’m late to this party, and haven’t had a chance to read all the wonderful posts yet, but wanted to join the discussion.  

My parents raised me on the soundtracks to Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals – this was back in the days before VHS tapes or DVDs, so we could only see the actual movies if they happened to be shown on TV, which was a rare occurrence.  So I know the music to Carousel and South Pacific  by heart, but haven’t really had a chance to see the actual films. 

Like others have mentioned, I especially appreciate films that address challenging social issues, as well as dark films.   My favorite musical up until this point is West Side Story.   Thanks also to the people who brought up new types of musicals, like the South Park musical and Rocky Horror (which I hope to have a chance to see in the theater with a live cast some day).   It’s easy for me to forget that the musical as a creative form is alive and well and continuing to evolve. 

I’m excited about this class – signed up for it literally the minute I heard about it.  Thanks to Dr. Ament  and TCM for providing it for us. 

 

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My favorite musical has always been The Wizard of Oz. This is because my mother introduced it to me at a very young age and I would watch it on repeat, at nausea. As I grew older, I discovered the vast repertoire of Hollywood musicals but The Wizard of Oz will always have a special place in my heart. 

There are multiple factors that make The Wizard of Oz so enticing. First, is the ethereal world of Oz; lollipop kids, talking trees, an Emerald city, and a horse of a different color. I, for one, love dreaming and the vibrancy of Oz's dreamlike character keeps me coming back for more. Secondly, I believe that everyone can relate to at least one of the main characters, if not more. This musical is for those who doubt their mental capabilities (the Scarecrow), are fearful of loving themselves or another person (the Tin Man), who yearn to be fearless (the Lion), or who are searching for a place to call home (Dorothy). Lastly, The Wizard of Oz immortalizes some of the greatest Hollywood artists of its time including Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, and Bert Lahr. It is a true masterpiece that has withstood the test of time.

In addition to its appeal as a musical, The Wizard of Oz has also had a profound cultural impact. Prior to becoming a musical, L. Frank Baum wrote the American fairytale "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" which is one of the most-read children books worldwide, due to its universal appeal. Following the production of the 1939 film, numerous sequels and reinterpretations have appeared in various forms throughout the years. A few examples include a one-hour radio play, an animation, a film for television, and Broadway musicals. Two well-received and award-winning Broadway musicals to derive from The Wizard of Oz is "The Wiz" (a staged reworking staring African-Americans), and "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" (a story taking place prior to the arrival of Dorothy). What's more, it's hard to talk about The Wizard of Oz without talking about ruby slippers. Dorothy's ruby slippers gained such cultural stature that they were placed and are still displayed at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. (I was lucky enough to view them in person, 20 years ago, on my eighth grade field trip to D.C., and they were everything I could have hoped for! I truly felt them radiating the magic of Oz even though it had been decades since they were last worn.) These iconic slippers represent not only the value that a culture has placed on this film's memorabilia but also on the treasured importance of this classic musical.

 

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The Sound of Music, Oliver, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof - all these I watched during childhood and memorized the songs.  I also love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Lots of energy inspires me.  In Fiddler I love the scene when they celebrate the engagement of the first daughter.  I want to have that kind of rejoicing.  Musicals and comedies make me happy.  There must be a brain chemical that relates to happiness.

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My favorite is The Wizard of Oz. One thing I love about the film is that most of the major characters CHANGE (except for the wicked witch of the west -- well, i guess her change is from alive to dead --- also, Toto's noble character doesn't have to change; he is perfect just the way he is.

WARNING: What I've written below may sound like the ideas of a curmudgeon who hates musicals, but I really love the genre. But this course, just starting, has gotten me thinking about several things and asking a few questions, including: Why is this genre so incredibly white? Anyway.....

I love most of the Astaire/Rogers films: Swing Time, Top Hat, Shall We Dance, the Gay Divorcee, even Flying Down to Rio.  I have a problem with Swing Time, which I hope comes up during this course, and that is the Bojangles/ black face sequence. I know that it is a tribute to the great dancer, and that blackface was never even questioned at the time, but, still... when i am at work at the movie is on, I turn off the screen during this part of the movie. I am uncomfortable watching it and I know that my colleagues will feel the same.  There are other movies which, while otherwise wonderful, have some extremely offensive and racist blackface scenes, for example, the Lincoln's Birthday sequence in Holiday Inn ("Abraham"). I also have to shut off the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney film "Babes in Arms" when the kids perform an old-fashioned minstrel show in blackface. It's just terrible.

I do enjoy the Shirley Temple movies, especially the ones in which she dances with Bojangles Robinson, speaking of him, but the black characters in her movies are often portrayed as happy slaves or servants, happy to entertain their masters. And there is plenty of blackface in her movies, too. 

There are several musicals starring African-Americans, including Porgy and Bess, written by Ira and George Gerswin.  And Stormy Weather, short on narrative, is great for its fabulous tunes played and sung by Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, and many others. But there are problems with these and other African-American musicals, in that, looking at them i 2018, one can easily see their racist/stereotyping elements.

Anyway - i just thought I'd throw out a few ideas. I also love John Waters' original Hairspray film and its wonderful soundtrack (not a musical because the characters in the film don't sing the songs? or musical, because the characters dance to the songs?). A Hard Day's Night also has a FABULOUS soundtrack.

I notice that many people here mention Gigi as a favorite musical, and that movie, musical or not, is one of the films that i have the greatest problem with, on a sociological level. This family classic is about a young girl who is being groomed by her grandmother to become a rich man's (any rich man) mistress. That appears to be her fate, without an alternative.  Yes, Colette wrote it and Anita Loos adapted it for film, but it's a pretty tawdry plot. No wonder "thank heaven for little girls" can't really be listened to (in 2018) with snickers and snorts.

DQ

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It's hard to choose a favorite musical.  There are so many I could watch over & over again.  Pretty much any Gene Kelly movie.  I just love him.  But there are 2 movies that whenever I see they are on, I have to watch.  Singing in the Rain & Meet me in St. Louis.  For Singing in the Rain, I love how well Gene, Donald and Debbie work together.  I love Donald's sense of humor in it.  And I love watching Gene dance, plus I think he is super handsome.  

Meet Me in St Louis is a great film as well.  I love all the songs in it and love Judy's performance.  I think it's a fun movie to watch and has a great story.  I love little Tootie' also.

  

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Where do I start with repeated watches in regards to one of my absolute favorite genres?! I fell in love with Musicals as a kid, and as with most films that I love, Classic Cinema in particular, I've *often* times played a DVD on repeat, from GILDA to A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (both of these films I've had to buy extra copies of as I've worn out the first one from repeat watching), literally, at times keeping certain films in my DVD player for days into weeks, with the repeat button on to keep me company whenever I walk in the room and pick up the scene as if on cue, as if the role is a part I play personally … Sister Sarah Brown, I'm looking at you. That is one thing I love most about musicals, as is the same with any good film for me, the means of escape. But with Musicals there is a freedom in the escape, I just don't think you find with other genres. Unless it is more a fantasy-esque film. Which for me, even without song/dance, a fantasy film, even modern ones, is a musical in itself. The unique, creative, endless, "nothing is impossible" way in which the storyline is told. A poetic rhythm written on-screen visually.

But some Musicals I find myself repeat watching, without limit are, GUYS AND DOLLS (1955), which because of my complete obsession with Marlon Brando, can *clearly* remember the exact day, time, moment I discovered a young "Don Corleone" singing. I was floored, and I fell in love. Yeah, it was quite an experience. I even included that cinematic transformation for me in a one of several blog pieces (on Brando in particular) I've written, "Do you take sinners here?": https://dominiquerevue.weebly.com/all-about-stella

Other Musicals I've repeatedly watched, both classic and modern: (does all Disney feature cartoons count? BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, LITTLE MERMAID, THE LADY AND THE TRAMP, ALADDIN, THE JUNGLE BOOK, TANGLED … you get the song -- I mean, picture), feature films like, 42ND STREET, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933, DAMES, even the short musical Vitaphone short films with Cab Calloway, which all have inspired storylines in my work, influencing my Theatrical Productions often. GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, FOOTLIGHT PARADE, ANCHORS AWEIGH, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. More modern musicals like, MOULIN ROUGE (my friends couldn't deal with me at the time, as I would bust out in random Satine song and dance moments in public, and wouldn't allow anything else on my tele for *months*!), CHICAGO, which could inspire a whole storyline between my Mom and I going into scene at random, immediately picking up on one another's cue, as Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart. Too allowing us to discover and watch the Ginger Rogers ROXIE HART (1942) film not too long after CHICAGO came out. Even, yes, SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007), I still repeat play, and have the soundtrack included on my "on the go" playlist. Gosh, know you only asked for one, but Musicals, much like Cinema, is endless to me.

Loved this topic Dr. Vanessa!

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On 6/3/2018 at 8:13 AM, Kate M said:

I grew up on musicals, so picking a favorite is impossible. Bursting out into song was just something that happened in my family. My go-tos for the classics (generally) are: Singin’ in the Rain; Oklahoma; Meet Me in St. Louis; and Hello Dolly. For modern musicals: Across the Universe; Mama Mia; and Annie. 

This description and your picks make us almost twins. I would add for classics: An American In Paris, Gigi, The Music Man, anything Astaire and Rodgers, On the Town, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Sound of Music.  For modern: Moulin Rouge, Chicago, La La Land, Les Miserables, the Mel Brooks musical version of The Producers (the original for comedy) and Grease (is that modern or are we having the 70s-90s as a middle category?). If we have a middling category, I'd add: Chorus Line, Fame, Dirty Dancing, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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I would have to select Godspell as my favorite musical, but that is primarily due to my personal connection to it.  My church had performed this musical every two years as a sort of rite of passage for the youth and high school choirs and my daughter performed in it twice, first time as a member of the chorus and then in 2013 as Peggy singing "By my Side".  We watched the movie multiple times and I went to many rehearsals, so participating in preparation for performances was immersive and exciting.  Unfortunately, the church discontinued performing this musical after our previous music director retired - this musical makes me melancholic.  

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19 hours ago, Daisydog said:

My favorite is The Wizard of Oz. One thing I love about the film is that most of the major characters CHANGE (except for the wicked witch of the west -- well, i guess her change is from alive to dead --- also, Toto's noble character doesn't have to change; he is perfect just the way he is.

WARNING: What I've written below may sound like the ideas of a curmudgeon who hates musicals, but I really love the genre. But this course, just starting, has gotten me thinking about several things and asking a few questions, including: Why is this genre so incredibly white? Anyway.....

I love most of the Astaire/Rogers films: Swing Time, Top Hat, Shall We Dance, the Gay Divorcee, even Flying Down to Rio.  I have a problem with Swing Time, which I hope comes up during this course, and that is the Bojangles/ black face sequence. I know that it is a tribute to the great dancer, and that blackface was never even questioned at the time, but, still... when i am at work at the movie is on, I turn off the screen during this part of the movie. I am uncomfortable watching it and I know that my colleagues will feel the same.  There are other movies which, while otherwise wonderful, have some extremely offensive and racist blackface scenes, for example, the Lincoln's Birthday sequence in Holiday Inn ("Abraham"). I also have to shut off the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney film "Babes in Arms" when the kids perform an old-fashioned minstrel show in blackface. It's just terrible.

I do enjoy the Shirley Temple movies, especially the ones in which she dances with Bojangles Robinson, speaking of him, but the black characters in her movies are often portrayed as happy slaves or servants, happy to entertain their masters. And there is plenty of blackface in her movies, too. 

There are several musicals starring African-Americans, including Porgy and Bess, written by Ira and George Gerswin.  And Stormy Weather, short on narrative, is great for its fabulous tunes played and sung by Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, and many others. But there are problems with these and other African-American musicals, in that, looking at them i 2018, one can easily see their racist/stereotyping elements.

Anyway - i just thought I'd throw out a few ideas. I also love John Waters' original Hairspray film and its wonderful soundtrack (not a musical because the characters in the film don't sing the songs? or musical, because the characters dance to the songs?). A Hard Day's Night also has a FABULOUS soundtrack.

I notice that many people here mention Gigi as a favorite musical, and that movie, musical or not, is one of the films that i have the greatest problem with, on a sociological level. This family classic is about a young girl who is being groomed by her grandmother to become a rich man's (any rich man) mistress. That appears to be her fate, without an alternative.  Yes, Colette wrote it and Anita Loos adapted it for film, but it's a pretty tawdry plot. No wonder "thank heaven for little girls" can't really be listened to (in 2018) with snickers and snorts.

DQ

I often feel the same way about the use of blackface in old movies. I tend to find it off-putting and uncomfortable. I know that it is of the time the movies were made, and try to view it with that in mind, but it still tends to sour my view of the movie. I had first watched Holiday Inn years ago and hadn't seen it again until this past winter when it was on TCM. I always try to watch White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St Louis, and a number of other movies every Christmas season, but never Holiday Inn. I couldn't remember why I hadn't liked Holiday Inn, and then when I saw the use of blackface in my second viewing, I realized that was probably a major part of the turn-off for me the 1st time around and why I went 10-15 years between viewings. I was able to watch a more recent Broadway production of Holiday Inn on PBS this past year, and really enjoyed that since they have made changes, like dropping blackface.

On a side note, is anyone else starting to get the movies mixed up in their heads? I've been trying to watch as many of these early movies as I can since I'm more familiar with later musicals (though I have seen the odd Astair/Rogers film). It's all starting to run together, and now with my first visit to the message boards, reading through other student's comments and thoughts, I'm realizing how jumbled the movies have become. Someone else commented on the end of 42nd Street, and for the life of me, I couldn't remember which dance/song sequence was from that movie. I supposed watching too many musicals is a good problem to have....

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I repeatedly watch "Singin' In The Rain", especially the "Moses Supposes" number. Ever since I started tap dancing, over 10 years ago, I've tried to do various parts of this dance and have always have fun trying. The thing I love about it so much is the way the dance comes together from a sort of rap number about speaking correctly and that's the way I learned tap is by singing the steps, such as "Shuffle, flap, flap, hop, hop, step..." repeatedly. 

Practicing tap in blue pants (37).jpg

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On 6/3/2018 at 2:05 PM, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

For my money, Across the Universe is genius.

Not just musically (because, c’mon, it’s the Beatles) but cinematically, right?? I mean, the cinematography and effects are just stunning for that whole film!

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I am a week late- just my style! I love musicals that tell an immediate story. Tell the story and all the rest will fall into place. The music is organic to the story, in everything from Gypsy to Hamilton. Victor, Victoria- superior cast meets a story about song, dance and entertainment! Love musicals! 

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All time favorite is "Fiddler on the Roof." That's because of the story it tells. My measure for any type of cinema is (1) story, (2) character. I also like "My Fair Lady," a whimsical adaptation of the Pygmalion myth.  "Camelot" is on my list as is "Man of La Mancha." The latter is because I dearly love some of the music. It may be that some of my favorites are not even in the time frame of this course, but there it is. Many of the earlier musicals, the 20s and 30s, I don't care for because of the characters assigned to the actors. I know little about this era and that is the reason I'm taking this course. I hope to gain a greater appreciation of this time frame and how it evolved into today's offerings.

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I have repeatedly watched The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me in St. Louis. One reason being that Judy Garland is one of my favorite actresses from Old Hollywood. When I think about these musicals, however, I find that the escapism into a world that is happily singing and dancing is much more fun and appealing than my ordinary life. The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy that I have dreamed of since I first watched it in 3rd grade. The fact that one's own life seems dull and boring, and filled with natural problems (like Dorothy in Kansas during the tornado) makes us yearn for a place over the rainbow. The change of sepia film to color makes the film even more magical. The signing and dancing with these magical characters makes the film entertaining. 

Meet Me in St. Louis is a romantic film with family values. I enjoy watching it because it gives me hope that I will be able to find a handsome man to marry even after all the troubles and situations my family and I have been (just like Garland in the film). The costumes and songs are beautiful and they take the viewer to a different time while showing common situations that viewers might experience.

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Letitia - With your lovely smile, glowing eyes, and sweet personality, a beautiful girl like you is bound to have your choice of handsome men to marry. Just make sure that his personality fits your expectations. Don't forget that "Handsome IS as Handsome DOES" before you make your choice. His heart must be "Handsome" before anything else. Look for someone who treats you with respect, kindness, and gentle love. Take your time and WAIT for the right person. You have lots of time! Get an education and respect yourself. The rest will come.

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I always watch "1776" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on 4th of July; and  "Easter Parade" every Easter; and "Meet Me in St Louis", "Holiday Inn", and "White Christmas" at ......wait for it......wait for it........Christmas. 

In between holidays are the wonderful old Betty Grable movies from the 40's, especially the Good Neighbor Latin musical with Carmen Miranda, "Down Argentine Way.".  The brilliant color, the big dance numbers, and the compelling Latin music makes this a favorite.  My other favorite Grable movie is "Springtime in the Rockies", which I have to admit, inspired me to take a trip to Lake Louise, Canada so I could see the scenery for myself.

I hope we're going to be watching some Betty Grable movies as part of our course.  Love this 40's module!

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1 hour ago, Elusivebfly said:

Letitia - With your lovely smile, glowing eyes, and sweet personality, a beautiful girl like you is bound to have your choice of handsome men to marry. Just make sure that his personality fits your expectations. Don't forget that "Handsome IS as Handsome DOES" before you make your choice. His heart must be "Handsome" before anything else. Look for someone who treats you with respect, kindness, and gentle love. Take your time and WAIT for the right person. You have lots of time! Get an education and respect yourself. The rest will come.

You are very kind. Thank you for your kind words and advice. I always thought I would find someone in college but I graduated with only a bachelors degree in hand. I'll just have to wait for the right person. I hope you are enjoying the course. I know I am! 

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All the MGM musicals (think "That's Entertainment"). My great-grandmother would take me to the revival movie house (where kids were only 50 cents!), my grandmother took me to every re-release, and my mom and I would watch musicals on the Late Late Show (setting our alarm in the summertime for the 2am showing), and the ones that I always ended up singing and imitating were the MGM "More Stars Than There Are In Heaven" spectaculars. I wanted to sing like Judy and Lena, and dance like Eleanor and Ann. I wanted to be the "best friend" who got all the best lines (and sometimes even the better fellah). I wanted a peppy theme song to follow me down the street, and a wrenching torch song to signal when my love was gone.

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“Yankee Doodle Dandy” for personal nostalgia—first musical I remember watching on the late, late show with mom.

”Singin’ in the Rain”—love the joy/humor in the O’Connor and O’Connor-Kelly dances.

”White Christmas”—Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen...enough said.

 

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