Charles Walters – Easter Parade (1948)

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The film was originally to have starred Gene Kelly, but Kelly was injured just prior to production and Astaire, who had announced his retirement from film, was coaxed back to replace him. (Astaire would “retire” several more times over the next decade, but he would also go on to make a number of additional classic musicals in between retirements.) This film marked the major MGM debut of tap-dancer Ann Miller (who had previously been under contract to RKO), replacing Cyd Charisse, who also had to bow out of the production. Continue reading

Richard Elfman – Forbidden Zone (1980)

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Oingo Boingo fans and midnight movie mavens will love this bizarre black-and-white feature packed with music, madness, and members of the Elfman clan. The story revolves around the Hercules family, who live in a house that just happens to hide a secret entrance to the Sixth Dimension in the basement. When daughter Frenchy (Marie-Pascale Elfman) skips school one afternoon, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the forbidden door, and winds up a prisoner in this alternate world. King Fausto (Herve Villechaize), the diminutive leader of the Sixth Dimension, is enamored with the beautiful young Frenchy and keeps her in the same cell as his favorite concubines, despite the disapproval of Queen Doris (Susan Tyrrell). Continue reading

Julien Temple – The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (1980)

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from imdb:
A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols “documentary”, told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular and punk rock in general were an elaborate scam perpetrated by him in order to make “a million pounds.” Silly and hard to follow at times, but worth seeing for some excellent Pistols concert footage, some wickedly amusing animated sequences, and Sid Vicious’ eerily prophetic performance of “My Way.” Continue reading

Lars von Trier – Dancer in the Dark [+Extras] (2000)

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SYNOPSIS:
Selma is a Czechoslovakian immigrant, a single mother working in a factory in rural America. Her salvation is
her passion for music, specifically, the all-singing, all-dancing numbers found in classic Hollywood musicals.
Selma harbors a sad secret: she is losing her eyesight and her son Gene stands to suffer the same fate if she
can’t put away enough money to secure him an operation. When a desperate neighbor falsely accuses Selma
of stealing his savings, the drama of her life escalates to a tragic finale.

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 28 wins & 34 nominations Continue reading

Thornton Freeland – Flying Down to Rio (1933)

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Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Others in a Musical Film
For the benefit of the holiday throngs the Radio City Music Hall’s screen program consists of an expensively staged musical comedy known as “Flying Down to Rio” and a new Walt Disney prismatic “Silly Symphony” called “The Night Before Christmas.” These films make for a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment.

Some idea of the cost of producing “Flying Down to Rio” can be gained from the fact that with the five principals there are more than forty persons in the cast, a number which does not include the hosts of dancing girls or the musicians. The settings are very striking and there are several clever process scenes which help to reveal that those responsible for the film have succeeded in giving an unusually good impression of Rio de Janeiro, for the actual photographs of that city are blended with those of studio structures. Continue reading

Jacques Demy – Les parapluies de Cherbourg AKA The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

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Geneviève, 17, lives with her widowed mother, who owns an umbrella shop in Cherbourg. She and Guy, a twenty-year-old auto mechanic, are secretly in love and want to marry, but when she reveals this to her mother, her mother objects on the grounds that Geneviève is too young and Guy is not mature or well-established enough, particularly since he has not yet done his required military service. Shortly after this, Guy is drafted to serve in the war in Algeria. Before he leaves, he and Geneviève consummate their love for each other, which results in her becoming pregnant. While Guy is away they drift apart, and Geneviève, strongly encouraged by her mother, accepts a marriage proposal from a well-to-do gem dealer named Roland Cassard, who has fallen in love with her at first sight and has promised to bring up her child as his own. (The character of Cassard is continued from Demy’s earlier film Lola (1961).) Continue reading

Robert Altman – The Company [+Extras] (2003)

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From wiki: The Company is composed of stories gathered from the actual dancers, choreographers, and office staff of the Joffrey Ballet. Most of the roles are played by real-life company members. While there are small subplots involving a love story between Campbell’s character and a character played by James Franco, most of the movie focuses on the company as a whole, without any real star or linear plot. The many real-life stories woven together show the dedication and hard work that dancers must put in to their art, even though they are seldom rewarded with fame, fortune, or even a statue, painting, or album on which to look back. Continue reading