Musical

Allan Dwan – Around the World (1943)

Bandleader Kay Kyser takes his troupe of nutty musicians, goofball comics and pretty girl singers on a tour around the world to entertain the troops during World War II. Read More »

Yrjö Norta – SF-paraati AKA SF Parade (1940)

The first true Finnish movie musical, released in 1940 by Suomen Filmiteollisuus (“SF” for short, hence the title), though some would grant this honor to Suomi-Filmi’s Meidän poikamme merellä (“Our Boys at Sea”, 1933), a film showcasing the Finnish navy as well as the singing talents of composer Georg Malmstén. The songs for SF Parade were also composed by Malmstén, who appears in a small role, but the true stars of the film are Tauno Palo and Ansa Ikonen, already well-known from romantic comedies of the ’30s such as Everybody’s Love and Substitute Wife. They would go on to star in the studio’s next musical and one of the most popular Finnish films of all time, The Vagabond’s Waltz of 1941. Read More »

Andrzej Zulawski – Boris Godounov AKA Boris Godunov (1989)

Andrzej Zulawski’s take on Mussorgsky’s opera. Conducted by Rostropovich.

Quote:
This is the best opera-inspired film I have ever seen. It’s not what we frequently see: a filming of a theater performance. This is a masterpiece of its own, with the force and drama of Mussorgsky’s music, but added with the insight of a professional film-maker. You will see wonderful scenes and color, with some artistic freedom to achieve cinematographic characters that really makes you understand the inner drama of a complex and appealing historic personage. Read More »

Wim Wenders – Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

Plot:
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro’s takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians’ careers. Read More »

Penny Woolcock – The Death of Klinghoffer (2003)

The 1985 hijacking by Palestinian terrorists of the Mediterranean cruise ship Achille Lauro culminated in the murder of wheelchair-bound Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer. Adams’s controversial highly acclaimed opera plays out against the turbulent emotions and violence that are as ancient as Biblical text and as contemporary as today’s headlines.
Award-winning British film-maker Penny Woolcock, working with the composer, has ingeniously teworked the original, using techniques afforded by film to imbue the narrative with realism. Whilst the main action is shot on location in the Mediterranean, actual and recreated archive footage tells the broader story of the characters before and after the hijacking. Read More »

Stanley Donen – Give a Girl a Break (1953)

When the lead of the musical he’s putting on quits, Ted Sturgis (Gower Champion) searches for a new headliner. Newcomers Joanna Moss (Helen Wood) and Suzy Doolitle (Debbie Reynolds) do well at open auditions, and Madelyn Corlane (Marge Champion), Ted’s ex and a former starlet herself, is also in contention. As two of the women face personal dilemmas that threaten their participation in the musical, a final audition is held, and when each shines, the lead is chosen in an unorthodox way. Read More »

Richard Lester – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

Quote:
Pseudolus is the laziest slave in Rome and has but one wish, purchase his freedom. When his master and mistress leave for the day he finds out that the young master has fallen in love with a virgin in the house of Lycus, a slave dealer specializing in beautiful women. Pseudolus concocts a deal in which he will be freed if he can procure the girl for young Hero. Of course, it can’t be that simple as everything begins to go wrong. Read More »