Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Musical on Film

My love of the film includes the musical following one of my first visits to the theatre, the West End production of Irma La Deuce, subsequently made into a film. Another early experience was The Boyfriend which I saw on stage at Streatham and then took my birth and care mother’s and their elder sister to see. I enjoy seeing the film when it appears on TV from Time to Time.

I saw the London production of Hair and bought both long play records but was greatly disappointed with the film version. The musical love of my life is Miss Saigon which I saw in the West End Theatre four times and am thrilled to learn a film will come to cinemas later this year. I have Tapes of show which I must convert to a CD . I hope I will not be disappointed.

The most impressive and enjoyable theatrical experience musical remains Les Miserables, seen in the West End twice, having to leave the first showing immediately before the end to join others to view Miss Saigon. I have a DVD of concert version of the show

I missed Cats with a cold and cough although I had a ticket which was resold at the door. I saw Joan Littlewood Oh What a Luvely War at Stratford although the film is not as effective as the stage performance I saw Blood Brothers at Newcastle’s theatre Royal and the 15th year edition at the Richmond Theatre on the Green only two years ago. Minor entertainment but enjoyable none the less was Five Guys named Mo. Seen on stage and then on film with the DVD on hand is Evita where I liked the film better than the live performance

I won a weekend trip to London from the Daily Mail which included two night’s hotel in central London, diner one evening and a trip to a the theatre which was to see a musical about life on a train whose name I cannot remember. 42nd Street but did I see in London, or locally?
There was the life of Dusty Springfield seen in Newcastle and another musical celebrating an era in London with a half price ticket where again I cannot remember the title. I did not get to see Abba the show but enjoyed the Movie in theatre and enjoy the DVD. It remains great fun.

Just before Christmas I saw the stage version of White Christmas half a century since first seeing the film. It is an usual other way round where stage productions are then made into films. I must have seen other stage musicals. I must check on programmes to see if this has been so.

When it comes to musicals on film the list is long one and by no means comprehensive. I begin with those where I have the DVD or commercial video. I saw the film. The Sound of Music with colleagues from Oxfordshire Children’s department in the city when it was first released and then took my mother etc to see. I was sent the video as part of some offer. This is perhaps the most well known. I also took “the aunties” I took them into central London to see My Fair Lady on film having seen the film first separately. A recent favourite is Moulin Rouge which I saw in a theatre full of noisy teenagers in Sutton and later enjoyed seeing again at Croydon and view the DVD at regular intervals for the colour and the music.

The most interesting musical because of the seriousness of its subject remains Cabaret, seen in cinema theatre and have the DVD. These are the only musicals I have on DVD, I cannot remember what I have on video

Films involving Jazz and swing became important from the early 1950’s with the Benny Goodman story the most influential together with the Glenn Miller Story. St Louis Blues, Orchestra Wives, The Band Wagon Paris Blues, Young Man with a Horn, High Society(Louis Armstrong), The Gene Krupa Story, Jazz on a Summer’s day seen day after prison is included but is not a musical as such. Its Trad dad. Lady Sings the Blues, the life of Billie Holiday and Nashville with is County and Western but is included here because it remains one of my favourite films along with the Coal Miner‘s Daughter.

Films involving serious music are usually seen when ever they appear again on TV The Great Caruso, The Student Prince come to mind, Broadening the category I also include Carmen Jones, the Beggars Opera, Rhapsody in Blue, The Vagabond King, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess and the Tales of Hoffman. Originally I included April in Paris, Flashdance and Amadeus, until deciding that the genre had to defined as a story told through music and dance.

The Contemporary music category must begin with Rock around the Clock, and Elvis Presley films Jailhouse Rock, King Creole, GI Blues,, Blue Hawaii, Fun in Acapulco, The Young ones and Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard, Beatles films such as, A Hard Day’s Night, Help and, Yellow Submarine. The who with Tommy. The Buddy Holly Story, The Blues Brothers, and Blues Brothers 2000., Fame, Pink Floyd and the Wall, and something called Espresso Bongo set in the Coffee Bar era. There are several others which I will try and remember

There has been a long tradition of films intended for the family with the Wizard of Oz the most well known Mary Poppins, Bednobs and Broomsticks, Dumbo, Hans Christian Andersen, Oliver, The Lady is a Tramp, One hundred and one Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Aristocrats. Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory come to mind among those I have seen, More recently there is the Lion King and for teenagers the High School series.

The Comedy Musical was personified with the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Carmen Miranda Road movies - The Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar and Road to Morocco, Road to Rio, Road to Bali, Road to Hong Kong but not seen Road to Hollywood.

The list of others where I am yet to try an categorises is much longer than I first anticipated. The Broadway Melody, Showboat, Annie Get your Gun, Rio Rita, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Gigi, Chicago, The Producers, Ship Ahoy, Springtime in the Rockies and Yankee Doodle Dandy, Cabin in the Sky. The Desert Song and Shine on Harvest Moon, Anchor’s away and The Bells of Saint Mary’s, State Fair, Zigfield Follies, Blue Skies, and Ester Parade.

The Paleface,( Son of Paleface), On the Town, Annie get you Gun and Tea for Two, and On Moonlight Bay, The Belle of New York and Sailor Beware. Call me Madam, Calamity Jane, Kiss me Kate, Brigadoon, New Faces, Rose Marie, A Star is Born, There’s no business like show business, Hit the Deck, Kismet. Oklahoma and the Tender Trap.

Carousel and the Eddie Duchin Story, The King and I, Funny Face, The Pyjama Game and Pal Joey. Silk Stockings, South Pacific, Some Like it Hot, The Belles are Ringing, Can Can, Flower Drum Song, Gypsy. The State Fair, Robin and the Seven Hoods, Frankie and Johnny. Camelot Thoroughly Modern Millie, Funny Girl, Star, Hullo Dolly, Paint Your Wagon, Sweet Charity and Scrooge.

Song of Norway, Man of La Mancha, Bugs Malone, Slipper and the Rose. Grease. The Last Waltz Xandu, Annie, Best Whorehouse in Texas, Yentl, A Chorus Line. Sister Act. Nine Cleo, Follies I have not been a great fan of Singing in the Rain or Guys and Dolls. I am sure there are many others including the Busby Berkeley films seen at the Wallington Odeon in the 1940’s and 1950‘s

Now to West Side Story.

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