Musical

Adrian Brunel, Alfred Hitchcock – Elstree Calling (1930)

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A series of 19 musical and comedy “vaudeville” sketches presented in the form of a live broadcast hosted by Tommy Handley (as himself). There are two “running gags” which connect the sketches. In one, an actor wants to perform Shakespeare, but he is continually denied air-time. The other gag has an inventor trying to view the broadcast on television. Four of the sketches are in color (in shades of yellow and brown only). Read More »

H.C. Potter – Hellzapoppin’ (1941)

Plot: Ole and Chick are making a movie, but the director is not satisfied. So he brings them to a young writer, who outlines them an absurd story. They have to support Jeff and Kitty in setting up a musical revue in their garden and want to bring it up on Broadway. If Jeff is successful he can marry Kitty. But there is his rich friend Woody, who also loves Kitty, Chick’s sister Betty, who’s in love with a false Russian count, and detective Quimby. They all make the thing very complicated for Ole and Chick. After some mistakes they think that Kitty isn’t the right girl for Jeff and they start sabotaging the show, but the Broadway producer is impressed and signs the contract. That’s the story the writer tells them. For this he’s sued by the director. Read More »

Hugo Prata – Elis (2016)

The life of Elis Regina, undoubtedly the greatest Brazilian singer of all time, is told in this biopic film with energetic and pulsating rhythm. Read More »

Kwon-taek Im – Seopyeonje (1993)

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This heart-rending and accessible melodrama concerns the relationship between two children and their adoptive ‘father’/master, a travelling – necessarily poor – pansori musician. The pansori, a traditional music of aching love laments or upbeat festive songs, performed to the accompaniment of a lone drum, gives the movie its elegiac tone. Flashing back to the early ’50s, it follows the three on their journeys through the loving photographed by Korean landscapes, in all seasons, as they fight for a living, while their music is literally drowned out by the emerging fashion for Western sounds. It’s a film of looks, rhythms, intimations and feelings, expressed in pure cinematic terms, and it’s almost impossible not to be moved by it. The sopyonje is a song described as sorrowful and tender – there are few films more tender, if not more sorrowful than this. Unmissable. — TimeOut. Read More »

Anatole Litvak – La chanson d’une nuit (1933)

Opera singer Enrico Ferraro, tired of his too many engagements, jumps off the train escaping from his manager and changes to another going to the Riviera. He makes a friend and stops at a village, where (it seems) he can at last have some well deserved holidays, with the added interest of meeting a beautiful girl in the surroundings. Read More »

Jean-Luc Godard – Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

Jean-Luc Godard’s documentary Sympathy for the Devil combines footage of the Rolling Stones in a recording studio creating one of their masterpieces (the song gave the film its name) with the sort of documentary footage Godard was intrigued by at that time in his career. Read More »

Frank Tuttle – Roman Scandals (1933)

Review by TV Guide
Of the six films Eddie Cantor made for Samuel Goldwyn, Roman Scandals was his fourth and second only to The Kid From Spain in popularity. When Goldwyn’s idea to adapt George Bernard Shaw’s “Androcles And The Lion” as a vehicle for Cantor proved too difficult, the producer hired Robert Sherwood and George S. Kaufman to fashion a story that would take Cantor to imperial Rome. Displeased with their draft, Goldwyn brought in Nat Perrin, George Oppenheimer, and Arthur Sheekman to add jokes, and William Anthony McGuire to get the whole thing into shape for shooting. This film turned out to be one of the best Cantor-Goldwyn associations. With humor, music, and more than a little female flesh, Roman Scandals is a sort of Wizard of Oz in that Cantor, a wacky delivery boy in West Rome, Oklahoma, goes into a dream sequence and imagines himself to be a slave in old Rome. Read More »