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Favorite MGM musicals produced by Arthur Freed?


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In case no one understands, this is a list of all musicals Arthur Freed produced. He did produced 5 non-musicals as well, but that's a different story.

 

An American In Paris (1951)

Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Babes In Arms (1939)

Babes On Broadway (1941)

The Band Wagon (1953)

The Barkleys Of Broadway (1949)

The Belle Of New York (1952)

Bells Are Ringing (1960)

Best Foot Forward (1943)

Brigadoon (1954)

Cabin In The Sky (1943)

Du Barry Was A Lady (1943)

Easter Parade (1948)

For Me & My Gal (1942)

Gigi (1958)

Girl Crazy (1943)

Good News (1947)

The Harvey Girls (1946)

Invitation To The Dance (1956)

It's Always Fair Weather (1955)

Kismet (1955)

Lady Be Good (1941)

Little Nellie Kelly (1940)

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

Meet The People (1944)

On The Town (1949)

Pagan Love Song (1950)

Panama Hattie (1942)

The Pirate (1948)

Royal Wedding (1951)

Show Boat (1951)

Silk Stockings (1957)

Singin' In The Rain (1952)

Strike Up The Band (1940)

Summer Holiday (1948)

Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949)

Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Words & Music (1948)

Yolanda & The Thief (1945)

Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

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Just to put things in context, I guess it should be said that the Arthur Freed unit was considered MGM's best when it came to musicals, with those from Joe Pasternak usually considered a bit less impressive.

 

My favorite Freed musicals would have to be On the Town, Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon and The Wizard of Oz, but there's hardly one that I don't enjoy watching. :D

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Did Arthur Freed produce THE WIZARD OF OZ? I thought Mervyn LeRoy did and Freed was given uncredited status as an Associate Producer.

 

I have a bit of a grudge against Mr. Freed because he didn't like Kathryn Grayson much, and she's one of my favorites, but he did produce some fine musicals...and some real dawgs, too.

 

My favorites would include ON THE TOWN, SHOW BOAT, MEET ME IN ST LOUIS, GOOD NEWS, GIGI, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, GIRL CRAZY, EASTER PARADE and SILK STOCKINGS

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He was the one who wanted Judy Garland for the role of Dorothy. The studio also wanted Shirley Temple for the role but as we all know she didn't. FYI, Shirley later did at her Fox studio a fantasy film as an answer to The Wizard Of Oz called The Blue Bird. It wasn't a success but has a good cult following.

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I was just re-reading MGM's Greatest Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit, by Hugh Fordin.

 

According to Fordin, Freed definitely wanted Garland to star in Oz, but Mervyn LeRoy and L.B. Mayer weren't convinced, initially, thinking they'd better get "a box-office star", which Garland wasn't at the time. Roger Edens, a musical supervisor at MGM, reportedly auditioned Shirley and said that "her vocal limitations are insurmountable."

 

The book says that according to the gossip columns of that time, LeRoy also reached out for Deanna Durbin, "but Universal wouldn't even consider it."

 

Fordin also points out, in regards to The Blue Bird, that after the Fox movie laid an egg at the box office, Temple and Fox's Zanuck parted company, and Temple went on to sign a contract ("oddly enough") with MGM.

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Wow! Tough call. There's just too much good work and a remarkable amount of stuff easily classified as 'masterpiece' to choose from.

 

My number one pick would have to be a three way tie between An American In Paris (1951) and Singing In The Rain (1952) and Gigi (1958).

 

But honorable mention must also be paid to Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Babes On Broadway (1941), The Band Wagon (1953), Easter Parade (1948), Good News (1947), The Harvey Girls (1946)

Invitation To The Dance (1956), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) and Silk Stockings (1957).

 

Now, don't shoot me just yet - because virtually all of the Freed musicals you listed are among my most cherished film memories. It's tough to pick one fav' among them because even second tier Freed is better than practically musical entertainment from anyone else - except Joe Pasternak.

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I seen Presenting Lily Mars (1943), Anchors Aweigh (1945), In The Good Old Summertime (1949), and Small Town Girl (1953). Another film produced by him and not either from MGM nor a musical is Destry Rides Again (1939). Other films of his I would most likely like to see are A Date With Judy (1948), Summer Stock (1950), and Hit The Deck (1955).

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  • 5 weeks later...

The Freed musicals I have yet to see:

 

The Barkleys Of Broadway (1949)

The Belle Of New York (1952)

Easter Parade (1948)

Invitation To The Dance (1956)

It's Always Fair Weather (1955)

Lady Be Good (1941)

Meet The People (1944)

Pagan Love Song (1950)

Panama Hattie (1942)

Summer Holiday (1948)

Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949)

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Band Wagon is an absolute must-see. Recently I have been watching several musicals that Freed did not produce, but was a part of the creative team. The "Broadway Melody" movies that he was a part of (1929, 36, 38) are interesting to see merely for the chance to view the original Freed songs before Singin' in the Rain.

 

It's a lot of fun watching the Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown partnership develop over time with various singers, dancer, and actors thrown into the mix.

 

I suggest starting at the very beginning of his career (The Broadway Melody) and follow through to his triumphs at the head of MGM's musical team (Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Silk Stockings, Bells Are Ringing). It's a lovely chance to watch a genius grow from being background song-writer to uncontested master.

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