Tag Archives: Musical

The Band Wagon: Now That’s Entertainment

GET ABOARD! As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the video for Michael Jackson’s ”Smooth Criminal”, released in 1988. Set in a dark and smoky bar, it has the star dressed in a white suit with a blue shirt and white tie squaring off with bad guys and dangerous dames; carefully choreographed, the video … Continue reading The Band Wagon: Now That’s Entertainment

Gigi: A Belle Époque Girl

THE FIRST LERNER-LOEWE MUSICAL SINCE “MY FAIR LADY”. There’s a moment in The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) where Peter Sellers impersonates Maurice Chevalier singing ”Thank Heaven for Little Girls” with an extreme French accent that always makes me laugh. It’s hard watching that scene in Gigi without thinking of its comedic potential. Times have … Continue reading Gigi: A Belle Époque Girl

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