Tag Archives: Musical

Moon Over Miami

POOR GIRL’S PARADISE! TWO SISTERS STORM THE MIAMI MILLIONAIRE COLONY! Two sisters (Betty Grable, Carole Landis) working as carhops in Texas go to Miami together with their aunt (Charlotte Greenwood) to find a millionaire. A typically colorful Fox musical from this period that relies on a very silly story. Without the musical numbers they would … Continue reading Moon Over Miami

Mary Poppins Returns

IN A PLACE WE HOLD DEAR, WHERE WONDER ONCE LIVED… BUT SOON FROM ABOVE, A NEW STORY BEGINS. 20 years after the events of the first film, a now grown up Michael (Ben Whishaw) and his three children risk losing their home; then, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns. 54 years after Mary Poppins came this … Continue reading Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins: Sorting Out the Bankses

IT’S SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! The story of how Walt Disney convinced the British-Australian author P.L. Travers to let him turn her books about Mary Poppins into a live-action film was amusingly told in Saving Mr. Banks (2013). Why it took him decades to convince her is no mystery – when he first talked to her about it … Continue reading Mary Poppins: Sorting Out the Bankses

A Star Is Born: Garland’s Rebirth

DESTINY CAME AT HER WITH A LEER! This film was never easy to make from the start, but the post-production process wasn’t much fun either. Once completed, the film ran over three hours. It received rave reviews, but the studio nevertheless wanted it shorter. In the end, A Star Is Born came down to 154 … Continue reading A Star Is Born: Garland’s Rebirth

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Ten years after Mamma Mia! we’re getting this franchise’s answer to The Godfather, Part II (1974) – the story picks up some time after the first movie, but we also meet Meryl Streep’s character when she was young, headed to that Greek island and met three charming young men during her journey. A thin story … Continue reading Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

An American in Paris: Art, Dance & Romance

WHAT A JOY! IT’S M–G–M‘S TECHNICOLOR MUSICAL!  ”An American in Paris” first saw the light of day in 1928. A jazzy orchestral piece, it was written by George Gershwin and inspired by his years in Paris, an attempt to capture the city’s sights and sounds. In later interviews, he called it a ”rhapsodic ballet” that … Continue reading An American in Paris: Art, Dance & Romance

Cabaret: Fun Before the Führer

LIFE IS A CABARET.  It’s often been said that the traditional Hollywood lost its way in the 1960s, making big, splashy and expensive musicals that no one went to see. They have become a symbol of Tinseltown losing its touch right before a new generation came along at the same time as the sexual revolution. … Continue reading Cabaret: Fun Before the Führer

Sound of Music: Still Climbing Ev’ry Mountain

RADIANCE THAT FLOODS THE SCREEN… AND WARMS THE HEART! The movie is too good to be true. The real-life von Trapp family in Austria, whose adventures were chronicled by Maria von Trapp in a 1949 best-selling book called ”The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, did not escape Nazi-invaded Austria as dramatically as in the … Continue reading Sound of Music: Still Climbing Ev’ry Mountain

Dancer in the Dark

YOU DON’T NEED EYES TO SEE.  In 1964, Czech immigrant Selma Ježková (Björk), who’s nearly blind, is working in the U.S. to save money for her son’s eye surgery, but eventually ends up on death row. Lars von Trier’s musical, made in Sweden, set in the U.S. and starring Icelandic singer Björk, polarized audiences and … Continue reading Dancer in the Dark

Beauty and the Beast

BE OUR GUEST.  When her father (Kevin Kline) is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) inside a huge, wintry castle, Belle (Emma Watson) offers herself in exchange for his freedom. Another live-action remake of an animated Disney classic. This one can’t escape a certain sense of pointlessness considering how close it stays to the … Continue reading Beauty and the Beast

My Fair Lady: A Loverly Musical

THE LOVERLIEST MOTION PICTURE OF THEM ALL! When George Bernard Shaw’s stage play ”Pygmalion” premiered in London in 1913, it was daring for its time. Making fun of the British class system, suggesting that all it takes to elevate a worker into the upper class is teaching her to speak well and dress properly, must … Continue reading My Fair Lady: A Loverly Musical

La La Land: An Enchanting Year in the Sun

HERE’S TO THE FOOLS WHO DREAM. Remember that opening scene from Manhattan (1979)? It’s a montage of different New York City images beautifully captured in black and white by cinematographer Gordon Willis, set to George Gershwin’s ”Rhapsody in Blue” as it builds in intensity to an impressive display of fireworks. It is an unforgettable tribute … Continue reading La La Land: An Enchanting Year in the Sun