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The Boyfriend is on right now.   I have never seen it and I'm just trying to understand it at this point.  Does anyone in here really like this movie.  I have still been watching movies this week from the 50's and just love love that time.  Am I just missing something? There is just so much going on that doesn't make sense yet I feel it is so basic....  I just don't think I'm going to make it through this one.  Excuse my ignorance I guess.

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Stick with it. Even if you don’t like the fantasy/parody premise there are some gorgeous numbers to come that evoke the musicals of the 30s and Twiggy and Christopher Gable are wonderful. 

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First time ever seeing this movie.   Trying to make myself see its benefits.  So far, it seems to be a throw-back to the first "talking pictures" musicals, leaving nothing to the imagination: black and white turns color.    I personally liked the "debauchery everywhere" 1935 Midsummer's Night's Dream" rendition. 

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I'm not getting into it, either. Actually, having trouble with most of the movies from 60s and 70s. (And I was born in '64... I've always thought I was born a little late.) So far, the only musicals this week that I can stand to watch are ones I've seen before and loved (The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Bye Bye Birdie). A Funny Thing Happened... wasn't bad, and I could tolerate the Frankie Avalon, and Elvis movies. New ones that I found entertaining were Bells are Ringing and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

We'll see how the rest of today goes.

 

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I agree about the fast forwarding.   There are numbers I can't stand and can't figure out why they were included (7 minutes of forest bacchanal.... huh?  Dancing elves on mushrooms?  No thank you.)   The backstage plot, such as it is, is irrelevant.  Watch it for the musical numbers.  Glenda Jackson on crutches is still my favorite part. 

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Ken Russell, The Boy Friend's director, can be difficult for some, and although passionate about music, having directed several musicals and/or biographies of celebrated composers, he's usually not considered one of the great musical directors. I'm quite fond of his work myself, but even so, I wouldn't immediately label him as a musical director. (Perhaps due to a disinterest in traditional choreography on his part? TBF is probably his best on that front.)

What he does excel at (or horrify at, depending on one's taste) is spectacle, and for that one might be better off going with tonight's Tommy, whose nearly continuous soundtrack by The Who (and guests) provides a good solid foundation for Russell's pyrotechnics. The story is utterly mad, but that shouldn't dissuade a true musical (or opera) lover.

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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 beyond have both strong supporters and strong detractors from a community of people who love musicals.  I don't think much of the films of Finian's RainbowHello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, or Man of La Mancha, but there are people who love each of these passionately.  Could it be that these films have parts that are fun and other parts that are flawed, and that each of us decides based on how much we enjoy the good parts and how easily we can overlook the flaws?

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25 minutes ago, Jim K said:

nd it very interesting that many of the musicals of the 70's and beyond have both strong supporters and strong detractors from a community of people who love musicals.  I don't think much of the films of Finian's RainbowHello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, or Man of La Mancha, but there are people who love each of these passionately.  Could it be that these films have parts that are fun and other parts that are flawed, and that each of us decides based on how much we enjoy the good parts and how easily we can overlook the flaws?

Interesting point! My theory--after pondering this, this week — is that the reason why musicals like American in Paris or Singing In the Rain were so successful  is that they created an intact fantasy world, a seamless whole, without irony and with every player believing in it thoroughly. The musicals from this era have a darkness and often irony and detachment that I just don't enjoy, even with hokey or nonsensical source material that may have been better presented in that tone. Guess you just couldn't put the genie back in the bottle in the turbulent 60s!

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6 hours ago, DeannaDares said:

they created an intact fantasy world, a seamless whole,

But not just a complete world within the realm of one film, there were connections (of studio/unit style, performers, directors, composers) across the genre at the time. However, once we start leaving the prime musical era, these connections begin to be lost. The musicals become more isolated in the culture, less able to reinforce each other's power, as for example the current Marvel superhero movies apparently do.

Darkness, pessimism and irony needn't have precluded popular success in the '70s, for example. That was a very common theme, especially post-Watergate. But Cabaret inspired no successors, so we can't look back fondly on that particular strain of cinema, as we can with the works of the Freed unit.

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Honestly, I didn't care about the plot. I was entertained enough by the sets, choreography, and costumes as pastiches or homage to movies, graphics, and stage productions of the 20s and 30s. I need to get a copy of this, so I can isolate things that struck me the first time. I can't find an image of one of my favorite sets, influenced by Bakst-- a lavish interior with a mezzanine or upper floor and two of the lesser characters singing at each other. The train set, the plane, the playing cards in diamonds, the Erte-like costumes, all tickled me.

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I tried watching The Boyfriend a few months ago when it was on and could not make it through and tried again this time.  Same result...just do not like it.  I prefer me some Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers I guess. 

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I saw The Boyfriend for the first time when it was brand new and I was appalled. I was a 14-year old with somewhat conservative tastes and was still newly discovering the beauty of old movie musicals. Making fun of them held no charm for me. Years later, at the urging of a friend I saw it again, and this time the fun and pathos of Ken Russell’s slightly mad Busby Berkelian fever dream totally made sense and now I really love it. It’s become not only a crazy look back at the past but a kind of snapshot of the zeitgeist of the moment when it was made - when the world seemed like it was falling apart and nostalgia for old Hollywood seemed especially sweet by comparison.

Hm, not unlike a certain world we are living in at this moment!

 

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Had never seen this movie before but had heard so much about it that it was on my bucket list of movies to watch. My most favorite movie time period is the Victorian era with movies like Meet Me In St. Louis, et al. My second favorite movie time period is the 20's. I loved this movie because it beautifully captured exactly what it was supposed to reveal -- the craziness of the 20's in costuming/hair styles/make-up/backstage rivalry/elaborate choreography a la Busby Berkeley/fantasy numbers, etc. I believe Julie Andrews began her stage career in this musical in America playing the role of Polly. Would have loved to see her in it. Like the TCM "musical" line-up this past month or not, I have made it a point to watch every film they've shown, although some "disappeared" before I could access them. Some I enjoyed, others I had to grit my teeth, but at least my curiosity has been satisfied regarding many of them. Many of the films I watched numerous times, while some I had never ever seen before and was pleased that TCM offered these films so that I could broaden my appreciation of musical films.

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I love "The Boy Friend" immensely.  It was a pastiche done on a lavish scale at a time when musicals were considered dead, if not buried.  Ken Russell was a brilliant director.  My first experience with his work was "Women in Love" which was an overwhelming experience for me.   "The Boy Friend" as a straight musical would have been laughed off the screen in 1971.  The idea of framing it as a local repertory production in a British theater, filled with egomaniacs and novices, a two-piece band, and a surprise visit from a movie director who would sit and imagine key numbers as he would direct them was audacious and inspired.  I'm terriby sorry for anyone who finds it barely bearable or unwatchable.   The wealth of talent in this film is extraordinary.  Twiggy, the late Christopher Gable and Tommy Tune are spectacular.  Antonia Ellis as Maisie is a tour-de-force.  And an unbilled Glenda Jackson as Rita, the actress who broke her leg causing Twiggy to go on in her place, is hilarious.  When I first saw this in a theater, it had been drastically cut from its original length, but it was still entertaining.  Thea original-length movie (shown on TCM) is available on Blu-ray through Warner Archives (also available on Amazon.com).  Anyone who loves this film will not be disappointed.

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I watched "The Boy Friend" for the first time yesterday and I LOVED it. It's trippy. It's vibrant. And yes, it's a little weird. Once I figured out there were three things happening -- the literal play on stage, the backstage antics, and the fantasy numbers -- I settled in for an enjoyable (to me) couple of hours. One takeaway I have from this marvelous course is that films are evocative of the times in which they are made -- and "The Boy Friend" is no exception to that. The world was a little mad in '71, and this picture fits right in. Plus Antonia Ellis's Maisie and an impossibly young Tommy Tune were almost worth the price of admission for me. 

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Okay. I've hated this movie for years. It wasn't until "Chicago" (Renee Zellweger/Catherine Zeta-Jones) that I learned to appreciate some of what is going on. A. "The Boy Friend" is a pastiche. It suggests a period and spoofs the mores and peccadillos of that period. When you see a stage production of this show, an actress gives a curtain speech explaining this and the movie lacks anything to explain this to the audience; blame Mr. Russell. By the way, it was introduced in New York in the mid-50's with Julie Andrews playing Polly. 

B. Ken Russell wanted a Big musical, and The Boyfriend is on a par with "No, No, Nanette." So, he fleshed out the script by dropping most of the vaudeville-esque scenes and writing a back stage plot of the inexperienced  girl forced to go on for the injured star while the company director is trying to impress an American producer. This decision allowed for giving more time to develop Twiggy's part, make good use of Tommy Tune (the best performer in the movie) but totally confusing people who are not familiar with the story being told on stage.

C.  So here is the "Chicago" tie-in. Hollywood tried to develop "Chicago" for YEARS, but could not get a treatment of a show that is basically a series of Burlesque numbers retelling the story of "Roxie Hart." Remember Ginger Rogers? Yeah, that one. Well, Rob Marshall's vision was that Roxie is dreaming of being a performer herself, so as things happen to her, she fantasizes the events as stage numbers.  Ken Russell's movie shows a provincial english theatre troupe struggling to do a show while the company director/producer fantasizes how those same numbers would look if they can sell the idea to the american film producer in the audience. 

     There are some fun scenes but this is one of the most uneven film treatments of a stage show ever. 

 

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You’re right. As a movie adaptation of Sandy Wilson’s elegant stage musical, it couldn’t suck worse. But Russell only uses “The Boyfriend” as a jumping off point for his mad meditation on the fantasy and reality of life in the theatre in what was for most people a pretty dreary existence. That movie is pretty brilliant.

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