Vincente Minnelli – The Band Wagon (1953)

 Vincente Minnelli   The Band Wagon (1953)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Vincente Minnelli   The Band Wagon (1953)

“In Sight and Sound’s 2002 poll of the ten best films ever made, one musical made the list: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Without denying that film’s considerable charm, a musical released a year later (which failed to receive a single vote in Sight and Sound’s survey) may be worthier of similar hyperbolic citations: The Band Wagon. The films share several points of contact: both are backstage musicals built around songbook catalogues and produced for MGM by Arthur Freed; both have witty screenplays by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; and both feature important roles for Cyd Charisse. One may also see both films as primary examples of what André Bazin called the “genius” of the Hollywood system, in which great films are produced less through a single auteur than through a group of talented individuals working collectively with the sophisticated technical resources of a major studio while simultaneously drawing upon the rich traditions and forms of American popular culture.” Continue reading

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David Butler – My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

 David Butler   My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 David Butler   My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

The life of Irish tenor Chauncey Olcott is chronicled from his childhood to his days as the toast of New York. In between, his rise to the top is complicated by romances with two women: his true love Rose Donovan and stage star Lillian Russell, who wants to make him a star. Continue reading

Raúl Perrone – P3ND3JO5 (2013)

 Raúl Perrone   P3ND3JO5 (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Raúl Perrone   P3ND3JO5 (2013)

Quote:
Skater musical from Buenos Aires suburb. In this silent black-and-white 4:3 format film, the hypnotising soundtrack drives the images. Love, desire, drama, faces. Perrone, the godfather of Argentine independent cinema, reinvents it in his 35th film.

Argentinian director Raúl Perrone calls P3ND3JO5 (‘pendejos': slang for teen, but also idiot or worse epithets) a ‘cumbia opera in three acts with coda’. Cumbia is rhythmic Columbian music that became immensely popular in Latin America during the 1940s.
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Victor Fleming – The Wizard of Oz [+Extras] (1939)

hPCG3s Victor Fleming   The Wizard of Oz [+Extras] (1939)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Victor Fleming   The Wizard of Oz [+Extras] (1939)

The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle’s dusty Kansas farm.

Dorothy yearns to travel “over the rainbow” to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to the Technicolorful land of Oz. Having offended the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), Dorothy is protected from the old crone’s wrath by the ruby slippers that she wears.

At the suggestion of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Dorothy heads down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where dwells the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who might be able to help the girl return to Kansas.

En route, she befriends a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). The Scarecrow would like to have some brains, the Tin Man craves a heart, and the Lion wants to attain courage; hoping that the Wizard will help them too, they join Dorothy on her odyssey to the Emerald City. Continue reading

Douglas Sirk – Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)

GMh5cQ Douglas Sirk   Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Douglas Sirk   Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)

Quote:
“The film is a melodrama in the high Sirk style (Leander is a cabaret singer in 1840s London who takes the rap when her lover passes a bad check and gets deported to the penal compound that was then Australia), but with a great deal of music, performed by Leander in the wrenchingly emotional style that has made her as much of an icon to German gays as Garland is to the US community.” Continue reading

Carlos Saura – Carmen (1983)

Carmen by Saura Carlos Saura   Carmen (1983)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Carlos Saura   Carmen (1983)

synopsis

Director Carlos Saura’s Carmen develops a fictional story revolving around the rehearsals of Georges Bizet’s opera about the brash and colorful cigarette factory woman and her dalliance with the soldier Don José, and eventual love for Escamillo, the bullfighter. Saura introduces exciting flamenco dance scenes and a love story between Antonio (Antonio Gades), the choreographer of the opera, and the actress playing Carmen, Laura del Sol. Joan Sutherland and Paco de Lucía also perform segments from Bizet’s 1875 opera. The mix of magical choreography, rousing flamenco dances, and operatic insertions as well as the tongue-in-cheek parodies of the French opera and foreign stereotypes of Spaniards keeps most viewers well entertained throughout. Saura’s Carmen won an award for “Artistic Contribution” and for “Technical Achievement” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, another award for “Technical Achievement” at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, and the “Best Foreign Language Film” award at the 1984 British Academy Awards. It was the second in a trilogy of films choreographed in a similar style by Antonio Gades. Continue reading

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