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Musical Challenge; February 2013
Topic Started: Jan 31 2013, 04:15:09 PM (2,444 Views)
Timec
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Goal:
Watch as many musicals as possible.

Rules:
- A feature film (Anything over 45 minutes) counts as one entry
- A total of 90 minutes of short films count as one entry
- Rewatches not allowed.
- Challenge runs from February 1 - 28, 2013.

- Anything with at least one musical number (music & lyrics) counts
- Bollywood and animated films count
- Concert films and recorded stage productions count, as long as they have an IMDb page (as long as they're not bootlegs, in other words.)

Official Lists:
IMDb's Top 50 Musicals
Top 100 Musicals (BFI Screen Guide)

Unofficial Lists:
Les 100 chefs-d'oeuvre du film musical (100 Musical Masterpieces)
AFI's 25 Greatest Musicals
AFI Top 180 Musical Nominations
Rough Guide to Film Musicals
CriterionForum's Top Musicals
Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ten Offbeat Musicals

Participants:

afirm - 6
allisoncm - 13
burneyfan - 14
cinephage - 6
HVM - 30
jonas2k - 1
Kasparius
rokp - 1
sushantv10 - 39
3eyes - 14
Timec - 24
VincentPrice - 8
Edited by Timec, Mar 1 2013, 04:15:29 PM.
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Kasparius
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I'm in.

Don't forget to vote for ICM favorite musicals, you have until February 10th.

http://s15.zetaboards.com/iCheckMovies/topic/7278726/1/
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VincentPrice
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Sure, I'll be focusing more on the Oscar challenge but there'll be crossovers.
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3eyes
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I'm in.
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VincentPrice
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1. Carmen Jones-1954: C+
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3eyes
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1. All night long (UK 62)
Basil Dearden shoehorns the plot of Othello into an all-night jam session with Brubeck, Mingus and others. 2 songs.
Edited by 3eyes, Feb 1 2013, 02:57:05 PM.
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burneyfan
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I am innnnnnnnnnnnnn. (I sang that -- you just can't tell.)

I probably won't get to watch too many, but I have a few sitting at home waiting for me. Glad 3eyes mentioned All Night Long -- I've been wanting to see it, but forgot about it when I was thinking up some films to see during this challenge!
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sushantv10
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will watch a few...i am in
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jonas2k
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1. The Muppets (2011) 7/10
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rokp
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1. All That Jazz (1979) 7/10

Watched
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VincentPrice
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2. Funny Face-1957: A-

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Timec
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1. Stormy Weather (1943)
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burneyfan
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01. Stormy Weather -- Stone, 1943.

No wonder the Nicholas Brothers get to cap off the film -- their tap number is jaw-dropping.

02. Applause -- Mamoulian, 1929.

Mamoulian's always thinking in his directorial debut, moving the camera, dragging symbolic objects or views into the background, messing with shadows -- not every experiment works, but there are many that do, and I love how he's always trying. The musical numbers generally take a backseat to the seedy burlesque-backstage drama (despite famous singer Helen Morgan starring -- she does get her own a capella moment), but it's on musical lists (incl. BFI musicals) and indexed as a musical by movie databases.
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Timec
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That last number in Stormy Weather really made the movie for me. And I actually really, really liked Applause - not for its musical numbers (which I barely remember), but for Mamoulian's inventiveness and for the on-location shooting in New York during the dating scenes with the daughter and the sailor. For some reason I almost always find that kind of street-level footage in older movies thrilling.
Edited by Timec, Feb 3 2013, 09:56:05 PM.
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Timec
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2. Flying Down to Rio (1933)

3. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) - Fun, funny, and with some really great musical numbers starting with the very first scene ("We're in the Money")

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Edited by Timec, Feb 3 2013, 07:18:18 PM.
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3eyes
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2. The Medium (Italy/US 51)
I was involved with a stage production of Menotti's opera in my teens and know it well. The movie version, directed by Menotti, was a revelation - not stagy at all, opens it up and adds scenes (and music) in the street and elsewhere. I'm so glad I finally got to see it, courtesy of KG.

3. Let's make love (60)
Edited by 3eyes, Feb 4 2013, 05:14:11 PM.
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3eyes
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4. Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (2010)

I listened to a lot of folk music in the early 60s but I never heard of this guy. I was blown away by this film. Very few complete songs without voiceovers, but the songs were more or less constant. It's a great record of an era.
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3eyes
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5. Hallelujah, I'm a bum (33)
Jolson sings again. Odd depression musical of the "pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" variety, I guess.

6. Sous les toits de Paris (Fr 30)
Quasi-musical; 2 lengthy songs with one reprised and lots of accordion music.

Gee, am I the only one doing this challenge?

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allisoncm
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Does Mughal-E-Azam count as a musical? Or no Bollywood?
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Timec
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I don't know anything about that specific film, but Bollywood in general counts as long as it has musical numbers.
Edited by Timec, Feb 6 2013, 05:40:25 AM.
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allisoncm
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Timec
Feb 6 2013, 05:39:07 AM
I don't know anything about that specific film, but Bollywood in general counts as long as it has musical numbers.
The movie is 3 hours long and the musical numbers count for probably half the running time.
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Timec
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allisoncm
Feb 6 2013, 05:49:22 AM
Timec
Feb 6 2013, 05:39:07 AM
I don't know anything about that specific film, but Bollywood in general counts as long as it has musical numbers.
The movie is 3 hours long and the musical numbers count for probably half the running time.
Then it definitely qualifies.
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Timec
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3eyes
Feb 6 2013, 03:27:00 AM
Gee, am I the only one doing this challenge?
Yeah, I've been looking forward to this challenge for quite a while, but it doesn't seem to be a particularly popular one overall.

This is a busy week for me, but I've got a pile of 20-something musicals at home that I'm really hoping to get through this month.
Edited by Timec, Feb 6 2013, 03:46:41 PM.
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allisoncm
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1. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
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Kasparius
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allisoncm
Feb 6 2013, 04:07:30 PM
1. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
I gave it a very, very generous 1/10.
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sushantv10
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I'll Join In

01. The Muppet Christmas Carol

02. Invitation to the Dance

The Animation + Real Action in the last segment was pretty good....
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allisoncm
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Kasparius
Feb 6 2013, 04:10:21 PM
allisoncm
Feb 6 2013, 04:07:30 PM
1. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
I gave it a very, very generous 1/10.
I gave it 3/10. It was definitely not the worst Indian film I've seen, so I bumped it up a little. But yeah.
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HVM
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Count me in. 9 to get Bronze on the BFI list.
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3eyes
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7. Love me tonight (32)
One of the most imaginatively put together movie musicals I've seen. Could have used some English subs in spots, but oh well. Loved the MacBethian trio of old aunts.

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HVM
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1. Oliver! (1968) 4,5/10


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sushantv10
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03. The Muppets

04. Lets Make Love
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3eyes
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Well, if I took the rules literally I could add

Dozhivyom do ponedelnika /Surviving until Monday (USSR 68),
wherein our hero, when depressed, sits at the piano in the dark and sings a song - twice. But I can't really feel it as a musical. It's a drama about high school, focusing on the teachers.
Edited by 3eyes, Feb 8 2013, 04:37:59 PM.
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sushantv10
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05. One Hour With You (1932)

Had Seen The Marriage Circle (1924) , so could see things coming. Still Quiet Enjoyable.
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Timec
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4. A Little Night Music (1977) - How do you take one of the five best stage musicals of the last 50 years and turn it into such a lifeless film? Let Hal Prince show you...

Prince is an extremely talented and adventurous stage director (he directed the original stage production, along with a number of other great musicals), but he doesn't quite seem to understand that stage and film are two different mediums. To put it differently, he has absolutely no idea what he's doing when he's behind a camera.

He makes several seemingly good decisions from the start - he casts many of the actors from the original stage show and he keeps most of the original songs intact (with some lyric alterations.) However, the editing and cinematography and directing are inept - there's never any sense of flow, and the musical numbers just end up seeming lifeless and shoehorned into the action as a result (which is especially sad since Sondheim is one of the best there is at making the transition between dialogue and music appear seamless. In most of his shows, including this one when it's produced correctly, the music is absolutely integral to the drama.)

He also makes the (unfortunately common) mistake of assuming that "opening up" a play simply involves filming everything on-location. In reality, he just ends up making things feel more claustrophobic than they do on stage.

The film also has another curious problem - unlike many film adaptations that cast actors who primarily work on stage, the actors end up underplaying the material instead of overplaying it. Of course, their performances aren't helped by the fact that the filmmakers have no idea how to block or film or edit a musical number.

In 1990, the New York City Opera put on a revival of the show that was subsequently recorded and broadcast on PBS. Suffice it to say, that recording of the revival is exceptional and superior to this in every single way - it even ends up feeling more cinematic than Prince's film.

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Edited by Timec, Feb 10 2013, 03:01:25 PM.
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allisoncm
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2. Opera Jawa (2006)
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burneyfan
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Timec
Feb 10 2013, 02:56:48 PM
4. A Little Night Music (1977) - How do you take one of the five best stage musicals of the last 50 years and turn it into such a lifeless film? Let Hal Prince show you...

...

In 1990, the New York City Opera put on a revival of the show that was subsequently recorded and broadcast on PBS. Suffice it to say, that recording of the revival is exceptional and superior to this in every single way - it even ends up feeling more cinematic than Prince's film.
Halfway through reading your post, I nearly hit reply (or pm, I was debating) to say, "There's a taping of a revival that aired on PBS that is SO much better!" but then I got to your final paragraph. :)

I'm adding my +1 to everything you said -- and I just noticed that I haven't checked either of those films, both of which I've seen (or in the case of the film, endured)! For people interested in Sondheim or this excellent musical, watch the 1990 "TV movie," not the sad 1977 film.

I feel similarly about Sweeney Todd -- the 1982 George Hearn / Angela Lansbury taping is the best Sondheim filmed version, IMO (despite a rather vocally "odd" Johanna -- her vibrato, facial expressions, and aggressive pitch can be jarring, but you can make a case that it's appropriate to her damaged, bird-in-cage character).
Edited by burneyfan, Feb 10 2013, 05:34:04 PM.
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sushantv10
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06. High School Musical

07. Lili (1953)

08. Come On George (1939)
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burneyfan
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03. Baal -- Clarke, 1982.

BBC-aired presentation of the Brecht play, starring David Bowie -- and director "Clarke" = Alan Clarke, who gave us Elephant (not the Van Sant one) and The Firm (not the Tom Cruise one). It's a "musical" in the sense that Bowie sings bits of a ballad to preface all the scenes, and his character (Baal, wild poet-singer-artist) performs songs in a couple of scenes -- it's primarily a play. Bowie is adequate here, and the casting is apt (as a wild, artistic anti-hero who doesn't fit into "society" -- Fassbinder was cast in the same role in a Volker Schlöndorff-helmed production), but the scenes are uneven in quality. One with Zoe Wanamaker is particularly strong, but many just have Bowie spouting or drawling and everyone else quipping or acting indignant...these scenes have a "color-by-numbers" feel to them -- cue angry look! cue derisive remark! cue weary face! -- while the better scenes are more organic.

04. Zouzou -- Allégret, 1934.

Josephine Baker and Jean Gabin are the adult versions of two orphans who had a circus song-and-dance act and got adopted by the same man; they've grown up as brother and sister. Gabin becomes a stage electrician; Baker becomes a laundress dreaming of the stage, developing romantic feelings for Gabin, who, unaware, continues to view her as a sister. (Her feelings are depicted as sweet and poignant, not seductive or creepily incestuous -- her character is spirited and irreverent, but she's always a "good girl.") As far as Baker is concerned, I liked this one a lot better than Princesse Tam-Tam.

05. Hallelujah! -- K. Vidor, 1929.

Some of the racial elements are absolutely cringeworthy by today's standards, but I do believe King Vidor took genuine care with this movie, and it's worth a look -- particularly for anyone who loves Vidor. Visually, it is very clear that a good filmmaker is at the helm and trying to make something great (even if, in hindsight, you might wish he had a few people whispering in his ear -- and the studio's -- that he wasn't going to avoid as many stereotypes as he'd reportedly hoped). Some of the dancers and singers are genuinely talented, and then-16-year-old Nina Mae McKinney comes on strong as a temptress wreaking havoc. It's a step in the right direction, a solid musical, and a lovingly-crafted film; certain scenes almost glow.

I also (finally) saw Pierrot le fou, which has two musical numbers and is periodically tagged as a musical by sources, but I don't want to count it -- I don't begrudge anyone who does, but I'd never find myself thinking of it as a musical, even if it satisfies the technical requirements.

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Edited by burneyfan, Feb 10 2013, 06:35:46 PM.
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allisoncm
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3. Komal Gandhar (1961)
4. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
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HVM
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2. Flying Down to Rio (1933) 6/10

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