Posted by Susan Doll on March 18, 2013
Now that I live in Florida, this line of dialogue from Moon Over Miami passes across my mind from time to time. I have not seen any millionaires hanging from palm trees, but I do glance up from time to time.
A colorful musical with a terrific cast, Moon Over Miami stars Betty Grable and Carole Landis as Kay and Barbara, two blonde sisters from Texas. Together, they head for Florida, along with their Aunt Susie, who has just come into a small inheritance. The three use the money to stay at the lavish Flamingo Hotel, where they hope to find millionaire husbands. To lure wealthy men into their circle, Kay masquerades as an heiress, Barbara pretends to be her secretary, while Aunt Susie gets stuck as the maid.
Posted by medusamorlock on February 16, 2013
Those of us who can’t resist a good MGM musical are no doubt now and again thinking about the great screen dancer Vera-Ellen, a sparkling screen presence in an number of films yet someone whose memory is overwhelmed by the passage of time and a peculiar lack of the proper respect paid to her accomplishments. On the occasion today of the 92nd anniversary of her birth on February 16, 1921, and although I wrote about her once already (way back in 2007, check out the post by clicking here), and though she’s been gone for over thirty years — she passed away from cancer on August 30, 1981 at only 60 years old – it’s a perfect time to remember again this most charming and talented actress.
Posted by medusamorlock on January 19, 2013
I haven’t been around here in a while, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to wish success to TCM’s Danny Kaye 100th Birthday celebration all day this coming Sunday — tomorrow. As I showed in several posts in the past, I’ve been a Danny Kaye connoisseur nearly all my life, since the days I used to skip junior high to watch his movies on TV during the day (this is pre-VCR and DVR, although I used to record the soundtracks on reel-to-reel tape!). I bought my first copies of those “Movies on TV” books because of Danny, too, because I wanted to go through and find all his movies. Little did I know then that he only made 17, but we are fortunate that TCM will be bringing us a good selection of those on Sunday, plus some rare TV goodies.
Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on August 28, 2012
Against a backdrop of retina-bursting blue, the 22-year-old Ann-Margaret waves goodbye to the classical Hollywood musical in Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Director George Sidney seems prescient in expanding Ann-Margaret’s role at the expense of intended stars Janet Leigh and Dick Van Dyke, considering the explosion of the youth market less than a year later, when The Beatles would appear on The Ed Sullivan Show (which also makes an appearance in Bye Bye Birdie), cementing rock band movies/concerts as the musicals of the near-future. Now available in a gorgeous limited edition Blu-Ray from Twilight Time (for purchase exclusively at Screen Archives), Bye Bye Birdie is an eye-popping transitional work, with the old and the new Hollywood brushing up against each other with both awkward and thrilling results.
Posted by davidkalat on November 26, 2011
I have something I need to say. It’s something I don’t say often enough, and for that I am sorry. You deserve to hear it. The words are few but powerful.
I love you. I love you, Muppet Movie.
Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on September 20, 2011
Vincente Minnelli had been interested in making a surrealist musical since his days as a Broadway set designer and director. After he saw successful stagings of “Four Saints in Three Acts” (with libretto by Gertrude Stein) and “Pins and Needles” (starring members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union), he was convinced he could make it work. In 1938, he tried to woo musical comedy star Bea Lillie to take the lead role in a “surrealist revue” he titled “The Light Fantastic”. In a letter to Lillie, quoted in Minnelli’s autobiography, he wrote, “It sets out to prove that the world today is completely screwy. A surrealist fantasy set in jig time.” The project was shelved, and he moved on to direct “Very Warm For May”, the first Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein collaboration in eight years.
Once in Hollywood, and flush with studio goodwill off the hits Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) and The Clock (1945) (he had also directed the majority of the revue-style Ziegfeld Follies, which the studio tinkered with until ’46), he finally put his “Light Fantastic” inspiration into action, resulting in Yolanda and the Thief (1945), one of the strangest and most enchanting films ever released by a Hollywood studio. Released earlier this year on DVD by the Warner Archive, Yolanda and the Thief is also screening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in October, as part of a complete retrospective of the director’s work (presented along with the Locarno Film Festival).
Posted by davidkalat on August 6, 2011
Recently I rejoined the traditional nine-to-five workforce after close to 14 years as a stay-at-home father. It was a momentous step and one that changed more than just my life–we hired a nanny to take over my childcare duties. This occasioned my daughter to draft a list of requirements that included: “must not smell of barley water” and “must understand that reference.”
Yeah, she’s my daughter all right!
The thing of it is, she hadn’t even seen Mary Poppins in years, but it had left enough of an impression that she could call out references like that anyway.
We were fortunate enough to hire, if not the actual Mary Poppins, at least a credible 21st century alternative. And in her honor, I’d like to pay tribute to a movie so engaging and memorable that it lives on almost a half century later, in the memories of succeeding generations of fans.
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on June 16, 2011
“You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until it finally buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody who says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to.”
I recently became an aunt again so I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately and with Father’s Day right around the corner I thought I’d share some thoughts about my own dad and how the movies we watched together helped make me the person I am today.
Posted by Susan Doll on May 2, 2011
Fans of An American in Paris must be enjoying the musical’s high profile this year, which is its 60th anniversary. Last Thursday, a restored version of the MGM musical opened this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, and for those of us not lucky enough to attend the fest, the movie aired on TCM on Saturday. Closer to home, I recently presented An American in Paris at a local Chicago arts organization. I have seen the film many times, but researching and preparing my remarks provoked new insights into an old favorite.
Much has been written about An American in Paris as one of MGM’s classic musicals from its famed Arthur Freed Unit. Freed, a lyricist turned movie producer, gave Hollywood its longest-running series of musical blockbusters. Freed had produced musicals during the 1930s, including several Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland vehicles, but those made by his so-called Unit were large-scale, Technicolor integrated musicals. They began in 1942 with Gene Kelly’s first film, For Me and My Gal, and ended in 1960 with Bells Are Ringing starring Judy Holliday. Arthur Freed’s Unit of stars, directors, and other crew members remained consistent over the decades and included directors Vincente Minnelli , Stanley Donen, Charles Walters, Busby Berkeley, and George Sidney; screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green; choreographers Robert Alton and the team of Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly; stars Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, and Cyd Charisse; and musical associate Roger Edens.
Posted by medusamorlock on March 17, 2011
I don’t know how many of you fell in love with the winsome and talented Jessica Harper back — well, back nearly 40 years ago, longer than many of you have probably been alive — but if you were among the legions of fans she garnered when she starred in 1974′s Phantom of the Paradise, you may not realize that she has metamorphized into something quite remarkable and wonderful. More wonderful than she was in Phantom of the Paradise? Probably not possible, but something maybe unexpected and totally delightful. READ MORE
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