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Entries in musicals (293)

Saturday
Mar122016

10 Linksfield Lane

Playbill Danny Boyle may direct the film version of the Broadway musical Miss Saigon
First Impressions a deep dive revisit of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring "Sofia Coppola is a great filmmaker, in every way the equal of anyone of her generation"
Daily News
sad story about the disappearance of Richard Simmons. Fans think he's being controlled and held in his mansion against his will like the second half of the Love & Mercy plot

Film Doctor "the pleasure of withholding information" on 10 Cloverfield Lane
Awards Daily
have you watched the trailer for A Hologram for the King? How will it adapt the book?
AV Club thinks Zootopia is the inversion of Wreck It Ralph. Spoilers
EW Paramount has dumped The Little Prince animated movie just a week before its intended release. What is going on with that picture?
YouTube Anna Kendrick and Stephen Colbert are huge Stephen Sondheim fans
E! Adorable photo of the Malia and Sasha Obama w/ Ryan Reynolds
Vogue Lourdes Leon (aka Spawn of Madonna) makes her modelling debut for Stella McCartney

Showtune to go
It's Liza Minelli's birthday. Do your best Fosse in her honor... 

Wednesday
Mar022016

Judy by the Numbers: "Over the Rainbow"

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

How do you talk about this movie? How do you talk about this song? Sure, there are star-turns. There are underdog stories. But there is nothing in Hollywood legend so powerfully wedded as Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz. It's the kind of lightning-in-a-bottle marriage of star and song that comes once every couple of generations. This was the number that would define Judy Garland as she defined it. It would be her biggest hit; one she recorded and re-recorded. It would follow her throughout her career, and outlive her when she died. Every moment before and after in the story of Judy Garland, MGM, and Studio System Hollywood lives in the shadow of "Over The Rainbow."

The Movie: The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)

The Songwriter: Harold Arlen (Music & Lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert LahJack Haley, directed by Victor Fleming

The Story: Louis B. Mayer did not take gambles. When he bought the rights to The Wizard of Oz, he wanted it to be the biggest, most expensive, most profitable musical in MGM’s history. Mayer started by assembling the best talent he had: producer Arthur Freed, director Victor Fleming, a cast of A-list comedians, and that no-fail, bonafide box office guarantee, Shirley Temple. By the time production was underway, 9,000 extras were dancing past cutting-edge special effects played on 65 sets built on all 29 MGM soundstages, totaling in a budget just under $2 million.

Of course, Fox wouldn’t release its tiny tapdancer, so Mayer had to resort to his second choice: Judy Garland. Since she was the new star of MGM’s biggest film, Judy’s studio education was put into high gear. Her teeth were capped, her hair was dyed, she was enrolled in dance and poise classes; all designed to polish down the rest of her rough edges. What this regimen couldn’t do was dull what made Judy unique.

Judy singing “Over The Rainbow” is the perfect distillation of star and studio power. She’d shown signs before of what would make her great - vocal power in “Americana,” joyful musicality in “Got a pair of New Shoes,”  deep longing in “Dear Mr. Gable,” - but with “Over The Rainbow,” the rest of the pieces fall into place. Judy loses her adolescent awkwardness, though she keeps her deep yearning. Accustomed to lip synching, she is able to act throughout the song - wistfulness, sadness, restlessness, hope. Judy Garland wasn’t even old enough to vote, but a combination of raw talent and rigorous training matured her into an exemplary performer.

previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938), “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (1938)

Friday
Feb262016

Lin-Manuel Miranda Has a Jolly Holiday with Mary

The news of a Rob Marshall rehashing of Mary Poppins was met here with both patient fear and complete revulsion. Emily Blunt is our new Mary, which will please some of us at least. However, here's a bit of casting news worthy of outright cheers: Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda is joining the film.

Miranda will be filling the massive shoes of Dick Van Dyke in a new character that will still be reminiscent of Dyke's Bert. That is quite an undertaking that the multi-hyphenate star and his unflappable charisma are fully equipped to take on. Even if his Hamilton success is truly unprecedented, kudos to Disney for signing over a significant role to an actual Broadway star. He's gotten close to a musical adaptation before, with Universal getting thisclose to filming his first musical In the Heights with Miranda intact.

It's worth noting that here's another step Disney is taking to put diversity on the screen in a big project post-Star Wars. The new Poppins iteration draws from P.L. Travers novels and won't be stuck to the original's plot, so perhaps we'll see further exciting casting? The reboot overload is something we'll continue to bemoan, but this one gets increasingly more interesting.

If nothing else, Lin-Manuel Miranda's absense from Hamilton might mean we plebians can score a ticket.

Wednesday
Feb242016

Musical Moments

Time for more Film Bitch Categories. We're almost done*. Click away for the nominees in two more scene categories involving music.

Films featured in this round include (deep breath now): Chi-Raq, Ex-Machina, Girlhood, I'll See You In My Dreams, The Last Five Years, Magic Mike XXL, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Ricki & the Flash, Straight Outta Compton, and Victoria

*Only eight more categories to go... Best Scenes (not featured in these categories), Opening and Closing Scenes, Title Sequence, Sex Scenes, Best Kisses, and Best Actor and Best Actress in Limited or Cameo Roles... (which generally means no more than 2 scenes). We'll name our gold, silver, and bronze medalists on Friday/Saturday.

Wednesday
Feb242016

Judy by the Numbers: "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart!"

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

The Movie: Listen, Darling (MGM, 1938)
The Songwriter: James F. Hanley (Music & Lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholemew, Mary Astor, Walter Pidgeon, directed by Edwin L. Marin

The Story: No rise to stardom is without its setbacks. Despite Judy Garland's continuing success teaming up with established stars like Mickey Rooney and Fanny Brice, Listen, Darling marked Judy's first box office disappointment. 

 

Though Judy and Freddie were stars in their own right, when starring in a film together, their chemistry was nil. As a result, the thin 70 minute musical comedy fizzled at the box office, ultimately losing $200,000.

Nonetheless, Listen, Darling did introduce the public to another Judy Garland standard. Though young Judy had been singing "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart" for years - she actually auditioned for MGM with the song - this 1938 film and a 1939 Decca record added the song to Judy's public repertoire. Judy made the Hit Parade, and would go on to perform and re-record the song throughout her career. Even if Listen, Darling wasn't a hit, Judy Garland and her zing-y song were.

 

previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938) 

Thursday
Feb182016

50 Years Ago Right Now ~ An Evening With Carol Channing !

Imagine your parents or maybe your grandparents gathered 'round a 21 inch television on February 18th, 1966 on ABC to watch this.  If you were born in October 1966 I apologize that the weirdest things got your parents frisky.

Wowee Wow. Here's Our Dolly now! 🎵 

There were only three channels in 1966 and, I mean, why would ANYONE have been watching anything else? She was on Broadway at the time with Hello Dolly. Broadway had such a cache back then. Can you imagine a Broadway star getting a whole hour of television to promote their celebrity today?

Some highlights...
04:10 Wanna hear where Lady Bunny got her voice. It's right here. 
12:22 David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) reads T.E. Lawrence and speaks multiple languages with Carol, cracking each other up
24:20 Mona Lisa musical comedy sketch. The takeaway: the 1960s were a very strange and alien time from an alternate Earth. Possibly another Galaxy altogether
33:00 Los Angeles, skewered. Must see if you've ever hated on L.A.
50:30 George Burns & David McCallum join Carol for the finale. "The Monkey Rag"
 
 

Wednesday
Feb172016

Judy by the Numbers: "In Between"

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


At age 16, Judy Garland already had six pictures and three years as a studio contract player under her belt. Judy's seventh picture would reteam her with Mickey Rooney for her first in many guest appearances in the wildly popular Andy Hardy series. Judy was worked hard - rumors of how hard include studio "medication" and rigid diets - and over the course of her MGM career she would average 3 pictures per year. The result was studio stardom at the expense of self. But incredibly, she never showed it when she sang.

The Movie: Love Finds Andy Hardy (MGM 1938)
The Songwriter: Roger Edens
The Players: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Lana Turner, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden directed by George B. Seitz

The Story: Young Judy was on a roll, but her biggest smashes were still to come. After the success of Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, it became clear to the studio that Judy and Mickey had something together--at least onscreen. Their lifelong friendship translated to innocent romance on celluloid, though offscreen Rooney was busy chasing the newly-minted "Sweater Girl" Lana Turner, who was only a year older than Judy. Turner plays a naive proto-vamp in Love Finds Andy Hardy too. It's telling that even though there's only a small difference between their ages, Turner was an overnight sex symbol while Judy was dressed in frills and sang about being "too young for boys." It was a false formula, but it worked. Judy would continue to play young and naive for the next 8 years.