The American Film Musical

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Tarantella
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The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:47 am

The amazing Fred Astaire, with lovely Rita Hayworth in Kern's "The Shorty George", from "You Were Never Lovelier", 1942. She was a natural too - quite lovely and not super thin like today's young women. Kern had 4 years to live when this song was performed. They both make it look so easy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUhhKELU ... re=related

I brought my children up enjoying these kinds of films. They love Fred Astaire.

jbuck919
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:34 am

Tarantella wrote:The amazing Fred Astaire, with lovely Rita Hayworth in Kern's "The Shorty George", from "You Were Never Lovelier", 1942. She was a natural too - quite lovely and not super thin like today's young women. Kern had 4 years to live when this song was performed. They both make it look so easy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUhhKELU ... re=related

I brought my children up enjoying these kinds of films. They love Fred Astaire.
I had never seen that number before. I enjoyed it very much, but why didn't they edit out that weird guy flapping his hands at the beginning? :mrgreen:

This is off topic, but Rita Hayworth, in addition to her extensive accomplishments, played an unwitting role in publicizing Alzheimer's Disease, from which she suffered. She was one of the first publicly known celebrity cases, and for many people, including myself, her story was how we became aware of the condition. Hard to believe, isn't it, that not that long ago a common disease from which millions suffer horribly and which lies like a shadow over the whole population was not the household word it is today?

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by John F » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:29 am

Used to be, old people who lost their mind aka memory were called demented or senile. Renaming that condition, and especially calling it a disease, may not have made it any easier to deal with, but no doubt it does change the way people think about it. Whether it makes them less or more hopeful - cures can be sought for diseases - would be hard to say.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by lennygoran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:30 pm

John F wrote:Used to be, old people who lost their mind aka memory were called demented or senile. Renaming that condition, and especially calling it a disease, may not have made it any easier to deal with, but no doubt it does change the way people think about it. Whether it makes them less or more hopeful - cures can be sought for diseases - would be hard to say.
I was looking to see if the 2 conditions were the same and found this:

Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Senile Dementia

http://www.differencebetween.net/scienc ... -dementia/

My other thought is that I don't want any interference when it comes to stem cell research--I'm with Nancy Reagan on this! Regards, Len

John F
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by John F » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:01 pm

In short: "Alzheimer's Disease is a condition that qualifies as senile dementia." No need to change what I wrote, then.
John Francis

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:07 pm

Here's another superb song by Jerome Kern from Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly (these must have been some consolations for Hayworth, who had a difficult time of it with Orson Welles!). And, you know, this song isn't easy to sing. Notice those modulations and unusual leaps all the way through, as well as the shift from major to minor (which reminds me of another wonderful song*). Listen to what happens with the melody on the lines, "you're here at last"!! Difficult for a 'hoofer' to negotiate, I would think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35VqIqdy5C4

Woody Allen loves this music and often puts Porter, Kern, Berlin and Gershwin in his films (one of my significant reasons for loving them).

*Natalie Cole singing Porter's "Every Time we Say Goodbye".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1Yq6Y7rwc0

The sophistication of Porter's music and lyrics are in evidence here, and it always amazes me how he's able to sustain a single tone across a phrase - and why he chooses to do this! The man was a genius.

lennygoran
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by lennygoran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:13 pm

Tarantella wrote: Woody Allen loves this music and often puts Porter, Kern, Berlin and Gershwin in his films (one of my significant reasons for loving them).
We enjoyed his Midnight in Paris and it has some of that:

"Like many of Woody Allen's movies, his latest homage to Paris celebrates the best of jazz from the 1920s and 40s through Sidney Bechet, Josephine Baker and Cole Porter tunes. "

http://www.squidoo.com/midnight-in-paris-soundtrack

Regards, Len

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:00 pm

We very much enjoyed that film and its 'time travel' theme!! And Allen was making some strong comments about the 'value' of popular culture through one of the female characters - that obnoxious wife. He likes to take a swipe at Hollywood!

lennygoran
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by lennygoran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:00 pm

Tarantella wrote:We very much enjoyed that film and its 'time travel' theme!! And Allen was making some strong comments about the 'value' of popular culture through one of the female characters - that obnoxious wife. He likes to take a swipe at Hollywood!
It took him years to leave nyc and start to travel-one of his latest involves
Rome and opera! Len

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:19 pm

Another, albeit brief, Kern song, "Dearly Beloved". The 'arm flapper' from the earlier link and appearing here is, of course, the famous bandleader Xavier Cugat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBVmPxQLKTg

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:04 am

I've been enjoying this opening number from "Flying Down to Rio" on a CD with all the songs from the RKO Musicals of the 1930's. Such fun!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAfTr7VPDKI

All this was possible courtesy of back-projection and wind machines! And you might notice some of those pre-Production Code bare breasts which can be seen through diaphanous shirts!!

lennygoran
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by lennygoran » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:45 am

Tarantella wrote:
All this was possible courtesy of back-projection and wind machines! And you might notice some of those pre-Production Code bare breasts which can be seen through diaphanous shirts!!
Never saw this film but I imagine on a big screen and colorized that airplane scene would really be something!

"Flying Down to Rio is a 1933 RKO musical film noted for being the first screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, although Dolores del Río and Gene Raymond received top-billing. Among the featured players Franklin Pangborn and Eric Blore are notable. The songs in the film were written by Vincent Youmans (music) and Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu (lyrics), with musical direction and additional music by Max Steiner. This is also the only film in which screen veteran Ginger Rogers was billed above famed Broadway dancer Fred Astaire.

The black-and-white film (later computer-colorized) was directed by Thornton Freeland and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Lou Brock. The screenplay was written by Erwin S. Gelsey, H.W. Hanemann and Cyril Hume, based on a story by Lou Brock and a play by Anne Caldwell. Linwood Dunn did the special effects for the celebrated airplane-wing-dance sequence at the end of the film."

Regards, Len :)

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:50 pm

lennygoran wrote: Linwood Dunn did the special effects for the celebrated airplane-wing-dance sequence at the end of the film."
You don't suppose that was the airlines' new "premium economy" back then, do you? You know, better air-conditioning and more room to move!!

Wallingford
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Wallingford » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:39 pm

Here are the five great movie-musical directors--i.e., those who made CAREERS out of it:


GEORGE SIDNEY - Half a Sixpence; Viva Las Vegas; Bye Bye Birdie; Pal Joey;
The Eddy Duchin Story ; Jupiter's Darling; Kiss Me Kate; Show Boat (1951); Annie
Get Your Gun; Holiday in Mexico; Anchors Aweigh; Bathing Beauty; Pacific
Rendezvous; Billy Rose's Casa Mañana Revue; Sunday Night at the Trocadero;
Pacific Paradise


VINCENTE MINNELLI - On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; Gigi; Kismet; The
Cobweb; Brigadoon; The Band Wagon; An American In Paris; Meet Me In St. Louis;
Cabin In The Sky


BUSBY BERKELEY - Take Me Out to the Ball Game; Cinderella Jones; The Gang's All
Here; For Me & My Gal; Babes On Broadway; Strike Up The Band; Babes In Arms;
Comet Over Broadway; Hollywood Hotel; Stage Struck; I Live For Love; Bright
Lights; Gold Diggers of 1935; She Had To Say Yes


STANLEY DONEN - Once More, with Feeling!; Damn Yankees!; Kiss Them For Me; Funny Face; It's Always Fair Weather; Deep In My Heart; Seven Brides For Seven
Brothers; Give A Girl A Break; Love Is Better Than Ever; Royal Wedding
(1960)


DAVID BUTLER - Calamity Jane; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon; Lullaby Of
Broadway; Tea For Two; Daughter Of Rosie O'Grady; My Wild Irish Rose; The Time,
The Place & THe Girl; Shine On Harvest Moon; Road To Morocco; You're A
Sweetheart; Ali Baba Goes To Town; Pigskin Parade
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Tarantella
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Re: The American Film Musical

Post by Tarantella » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:53 pm

I think Charles Walters should be in that list, ahead of David Butler IMO. He made some amazing musicals, including "High Society". Many of those directors you've mentioned also made other genre pictures. My favourite of all of them is Vincente Minnelli - a real stylemeister and "The Pirate" is missing from that list!! Also, a major film musical directed by George Sidney was (the 3D) "Kiss Me Kate".

The Pasternak unit at MGM needs a mention, but the quasi-classical musicals were generally kitsch and less satisfactory than the Freed Unit at MGM. Charles Walters made musicals for the Pasternak unit, as did George Sidney. It's a fascinating area of study, IMO!

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