DON'T MISS THIS!

Best Heroes & Villains of 2016

THE SHALLOWS, THE WITCH, ZOOTOPIA, and more...

Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
To Catch a Thief

"Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are not humans. They are gods!" - Jennifer1994

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe

Entries in Gene Kelly (20)

Wednesday
Jun222016

Judy by the Numbers: "Be A Clown"

Just as there are films that shine bright in a star's history, there are also films whose histories are controversial at best. The Pirate is an odd contradiction of a movie. As one of Judy Garland's most expensive films, it was also her first MGM bust. Released two years after childrearing had put Judy on hiatus, it was nonetheless stuck in preproduction for five years before that. While it landed Judy another hit song, the knockoff written four years later would become a classic. Though The Pirate was the loudest, brightest movie Judy had made to date, its most interesting sequences were left on the cutting room floor. What to do with The Pirate?

The Movie: The Pirate (1948, MGM) 
The Songwriter: Cole Porter
The Players: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, The Nicholas Brothers, directed by Vincente Minnelli

The Story: The Pirate must have seemed cursed from the start. By the time Vincente Minnelli started filming, it had already been stuck in pre-production hell since 1943. This meant that even though Minnelli tried to keep costs down, enough money had already been sunk into it that the budget ballooned to almost $5 million. Judy wasn't helping either - she reported sick to work 99 times. Then there was the issue of reshoots. The song "Voodoo" apparently enraged Mayer so much that he ordered the nitrate negative burned. The ending was a mess and had to be reshot. Then that ending got the boot in the South because it featured black men tapdancing

All of these production problems took their toll, and the resulting movie is a little bit of a beautiful mess. Nonetheless, there are three reasons to see this movie:

  1. It's the first A Movie appearance of the Nicholas Brothers
  2. Vincente Minnelli makes really beautiful color movies
  3. Judy Garland throws china like a red-haired Bucky Walters 

However, the scene that would make the film famous was "Be A Clown." As previously mentioned, it would become a modest hit for Judy, but the real hit came four years later when Judy's friend Donald O'Connor sang "Make 'Em Laugh" in Singin' in the Rain. Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed whipped up the song while trying to find a number for O'Connor. Luckily for them, Cole Porter was under MGM contract and wasn't feeling particularly litigious. While Judy would continue to sing the original throughout her career, ultimately Singin' in the Rain made Freed's version more popular. Even great talent couldn't keep The Pirate from sinking.

Wednesday
Apr272016

Judy by the Numbers: "For Me And My Gal"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

 In 1942, Judy Garland met a man who would come to be one of her biggest onscreen costars and supporters at MGM. When he was cast in For Me and My Gal opposite Garland, Gene Kelly was as upstart Broadway star, hot off Pal Joey and trying to make the transition to Hollywood stardom. According to Kelly, Judy Garland eased that transition; she was gracious, she was giving, and she was a consummate professional. Gene Kelly, stage dancer, learned how to perform for the camera by watching Judy Garland.

The Movie: For Me And My Gal (1942)
The Songwriters: Edgar Leslie & E. Ray Goetz (lyrics) and George W. Meyer (music)
The Players: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, George Murphy directed by Busby Berkeley

The Story: The title number of For Me And My Gal shows off the unique partnership Garland and Kelly shared. The two costars sing at the piano, a staging familiar to Garland fans who'd watched her share a similar scene with Mickey Rooney many times in the past. But Kelly is no Rooney. Where Mickey would mug, Gene floats. Where Mickey would riff, Gene croons. This isn't to say that Kelly can't be funny, but his relationship to Garland is different. Mickey and Judy were a couple of firecracker kids; he gave her zing and she gave him class. Judy and Gene are two contrasting talents; his dancing complements her songs. Each provides where the other is weak, creating a harmonious musical union. It's no wonder than Judy and Gene would go on to share another three movies together.

Wednesday
Mar232016

Bye Instant Watch: Sinatra, Flashdancers, and Spielberg's Worst

It's your last chance to watch the following multiple Oscar nominated titles for free on Netflix or Amazon Prime. There are more films leaving than these but you know The Film Experience isn't good copying and pasting press releases and calling it a day. It would make our lives SO much easier but it's just not how we do. This is for you Oscar completists -- you know who you are. As is our habit, we've freeze framed the titles at random and just shared whichever image came up.

Got any feelings about these pictures? Or will you by midnight on March 31st? Do you think they deserved their wins and/or nominations?

10 OSCAR TITLES LEAVING NETFLIX AT THE END OF THE MONTH
* indicates Oscar win in the category 

African violet. I can't tell you how difficult that was to come by.

Amistad (1997)
Oscar Nods: Supporting (Anthony Hopkins), Cinematography, Costumes, Score.
Shameful Confession: I've never seen this. I think it's my most significant gap in 1990s Oscar viewing. 

9 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun112015

Lost in La Linka

Recommended Randomness
Movie City News there's been a lot of talk of the sexism of Hollywood hiring in terms of the directors chair. David Poland decided to investigate (albeited in a limited sample way) which studio jobs since 1999 went to previously indie directors. He's since added 2000 and 2001.
VF Hollywood Courtney Love interview excerpts - good stuff on her small role in Empire which she hopes to return to for Season 2
Deviant Art Awesome Seussified illustrations via Dr FaustusAU: Mad Max, Alien, The Exorcist and more 
TimeOut NY talks to Patti Lupone. Did you guys see her on Penny Dreadful. She was surprisingly effective in straight horror drama, no comedy or singing necessary 


MNPP honors the awesomeness that is Simon Russell Beale on Penny Dreadful (I also totally love that performance - S2 is just running circles around S1)
"New York is Dead" My pocketbook can take no more Kickstarter but I would love to see the Gayby stars (besties Matthew Wilkas and Jenn Harris) in this comic series. Sounds morbidly perfect for them
Gene Kelly's Butt is my new favorite tumblr. How come noone told me about this one before? It's a cheeky wonder
Vulture Amy Schumer photobombs a random couples engagement photo in Central Park - lucky guys!

News Catch Up
Variety in news that will surprise no one Hungary has selected Son of Saul as their Oscar entry this year. It's our first "official" player
THR Emmy Nominations will be announced at 11:30 AM EST instead of the customary morning show frenzy. Will this set off a chain reaction? (I always love the early morning thing myself)
Variety Jaden Smith is joining Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series (ugh) as a graffiti artist
Pajiba the actresses who've admitted they want to play Captain Marvel from twins Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard and onward
MTV Joseph Gordon Levitt promises that the Sandman movie will be faithful - i.e. not an "action flick" like other comic book movies
Empire Danger Danger. Terry Gilliam finally has funding for Don Quixote. Do we really need this? I once read a very convincing argument (I forget which critic -sorry) during the release of that 2002 documentary about his spectacular failure to get that made that his entire career was already Quixote myths so it was for the best that he didn't go for the redundancy

Must Read
"AS IF..." you haven't already read this. But just in case you missed it. Vanity Fair has excerpts from an upcoming book on the Oral History of Clueless that seminal teen flick which is now (gulp) 20 years old. Somehow Paul Rudd still looks basically the same but the rest of us who loved it and everyone else involved have aged. I love that one of Amy Heckerling's inspirations for it was the positivity of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

For about a hot minute yesterday I thought "ooh, we should do a 'top ten lines from Clueless' article" but by the end of the hot minute I had thought of 50 with no end in sight so perhaps we'll have to wait until its 25th to come up with that. Daunting... as perfection tends to be.

Wednesday
Jun032015

Ten Movies To Watch (To Play Along With Tony Awards At Home)

Gene Kelly and Ann Miller are unofficial Tony Players this yearGiven that not everyone can live in or even visit New York regularly and even those of us who do, can't see all the Tony nominees given our budgets, here's a list of ten plus smart movie choices if you'd like to feel tangentially invested in the upcoming Tony Awards (Sunday night! - should we live blog?) without actually having seen any of the shows! If you only have time for one movie make it an Ann Miller, Leslie Caron, or Gene Kelly movie as they're the unofficial mascots of this Tony season each having starred in two of the movies related to current Broadway hits.

TEN MOVIES
If you can't make it to Broadway

Congratulations! You've already won. You don't have to watch the super dull Finding Neverland (2004) again because it's Broadway adaptation didn't earn a single nomination! On a sadder note if you want to play along at home and you love good movies, the Doctor Zhivago (1965) adaptation has already shuttered since the Tony voters shunned it (yeah, it wasn't good) so you don't get to watch that classic again at home ...at least for this project.

10 Saved! (2004) + Meet the Feebles (1989)
If you can't make it to NYC to see the blasphemous/hilarious Hand To God about a confused young man living with his religious mother who believes his hand puppet is possessed by the devil, try a religious satire and a filthy puppet movie instead. For maximum effect play these movies simultaneously side by side. (You may substitute any preferred religious comedy in place of Saved but dirty puppet movies are hard to come by)

Nine more movies (and Tony thoughts) after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May122015

Q&A: Gene Kelly 1, Character X, and Best Actress 2: The Sequel

It's time to answer a dozen reader questions pulled from the last two "Ask Nathaniel" suggestion-box posts. Please to note that in the podcast this weekend, we answered a few already that were Ex Machina related and last night we teased you with an appetizer about the emotions of Inside Out and actors who best embody them.

Jumping right in...

BVR: Do you think audiences will ever flock to dramas again the way they used to years ago?

I hope so, all things being cyclical. It happens once in a while still. The Blind Side (2009) and American Sniper (2014) were both supersized hits in the way movie star dramas of the past have been when they've hit big. Unfortunately they both felt like anomalies and only that successful because they managed to get people who don't go to the movies into the movie theater. The problem today is obviously at least four-fold: TVs got larger, the amount of content exploded, theatrical windows shrunk, and the theaters, rather than stepping up their game to compete, actually made themselves less hospitable with smaller screens and tons of commercials.

Movie theater chains seem to be trying again but once you've lost a regular moviegoer, it's hard to restore their habit. What is next in terms of technological advances? Will we ever get fully three dimensional hologram-like movies you can walk around inside? And if we do, won't dramas be the favorite, rather than special effects pictures, for the 'choose your own proximity adventure' in terms of closeups of the actors? I imagine they'll be performed very much like straight plays for multiple cameras and since you're the one doing the editing, theater training will be important and superb acting could rise again to "favorite visual effect" dominance. 

Or did our recent sci-fi week warp my brain too much? This wasn't the answer you were looking for.

BROOKESBOY: Who will be the next winner of a second Best Actress prize?

More Questions and Answers -- a lot more -- after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
May112015

Tra-Link-La

Deadline RIP character actress Elizabeth Wilson from stage, tv, and film (Roz in Nine to Five & Mrs Braddock inThe Graduate!) passed away at 94
Bryan Singer James McAvoy as Professor X finally going bald of X-Men: Apocalypse
Towleroad Natalie Portman as Ruth Baader Ginsburg?! 
CHUD the ongoing drama of Jennifer Lawrence's paycheck for the upcoming Passengers, a sci-fi drama with Chris Pratt. She's not budging on her 20 million,which is double Pratt's salary though he's the lead. Will Sony cave to save face from all those wage disparity complaints after leaked emails?
Boy Culture tells us about a new LGBT movie That's Not Us about three couples on a weekend getaway. Sounds good
Empire Charlize Theron to star as a spy in The Coldest City, based on a graphic novel
Pajiba highlights from the Alex Garland's Ex Machina AMA 
Antagony & Ecstasy another fine take on Ex Machina 

Small Screen
Coming Soon NBC picked up a series based on Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. I know it was probably impossible to top Samantha Morton's precog but the series will focus on a precog only a male precog zzzz. No offense Stark Sands who I've enjoyed in other things!
/Film ... and that's not the only movie becoming a TV series. Next season will also give us serialized versions ofUncle Buck and Limitless 

Cannes News
Cannes Mother of the French New Wave Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) to receive an Honorary Palme D'Or. Yaaas.
Film Doctor UK advice for filmmakers attending Cannes -- this is from last year but there are lots of practical thoughts that apply to any year, non filmmakers and other smaller festivals, too
Guardian with Gaspar Noé's Love on the way a look back at the festival's history of erotic cinema
Awards Daily Sasha geers up for Cannes but still seems hung up on last year's awards race dramas

Stage
Playbill looks back at very tight Best Musical races from the past (West Side Story vs. The Music Man, etcetera) with Fun Home, Something Rotten, and An American in Paris battling it out on Tony supremacy this season
Gold Derby Outer Critics Circle Awards. With Fun Home ineligible American in Paris snatches up trophies. Kristin Chenoweth prevails in the very tight Best Actress race (will Tony go for Chita, Cheno or Kelli O'Hara?)

Showtune to Go
With American in Paris celebrating its Tony nominations, why not a little Gene Kelly to brighten your Monday? Here's Kelly doing "Tra La La." Hollywood never had a more cheekily charming male movie star, give or take Cary Grant.