In the film, Grayson plays Ina Massine, an opera diva, and Johnson is her ex-husband, Dr. Lincoln Bartlett, who is now engaged to Agnes Young (Paula Raymond), the daughter of a doctor. Ina wants Lincoln back and pulls all kinds of shenanigans to get her man. The film was really just an excuse to watch Grayson sing selections from La Bohème, although curiously, she was not the first actress cast in the role. June Allyson had the part but was later replaced. Likewise, Robert Walker was set to play Lincoln Bartlett but was replaced with Van Johnson.
Plot: Ray Middleton and Bill Shirley, Republic Pictures’ answer to Hope and Crosby, star in Sweethearts on Parade. Middleton and Shirley play Cam Ellerby and Bill Gamble, the featured singers in a travelling medicine show. While stopping over in a small town, Cam renews his acquaintance with his former wife Sylvia (Eileen Christy), who now has a pretty, grown-up daughter — Kathleen — played by Lucille Norman. When Kathleen makes noises about a show-business career, Sylvia won’t hear of it — nor does she approve of her daughter’s romance with Bill. One gets the sneaking suspicion that everything will turn out all right in the end for all four protagonists. With 26 songs in the picture, how could things not turn out all right? ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading
The second Biblical epic to be turned into a musical by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, this box-office disappointment recounts the last week in the life of Jesus Christ in rock-opera format and from the surprising point of view of Christ’s betrayer, Judas Iscariot. Carl Anderson stars as Judas, who has begun to believe that Jesus (Ted Neeley) has sold out and started buying into the mythology that’s quickly springing up around him. Particularly disturbing to Judas is the relationship between Jesus and his friend Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman), a prostitute. When Jesus throws a temper tantrum at the moneylenders in a temple, Judas determines to work with the Pharisees who want to put Jesus on trial as a false prophet. Following his success with the adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof (1971), director Norman Jewison experimented with a hippie-influenced sensibility on Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). Among such touches are depictions of the cast arriving via bus to mount the show, modern high-tech weaponry in the hands of the ancient Romans, and on-location filming in Israel.
Michael Wadleigh’s WOODSTOCK: THREE DAYS OF PEACE & MUSIC finds the best rock stars of the 1960s performing at the historic Woodstock Music and Art Fair, the most celebrated rock concert of all time. Shot over the course of three days in August 1969, the film conveys the unique spirit of the once-in-a-lifetime, communal event, and in turn, captures the mood of an entire era. Amazingly volatile, electrifying performances are included by such timeless artists as Richie Havens; Joan Baez; The Who; Sha Na Na; Joe Cocker; Country Joe and The Fish; Arlo Guthrie; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Ten Years After; Santana; Sly and the Family Stone; Jimi Hendrix; Canned Heat; John Sebastian; Jefferson Airplane; and Janis Joplin. In addition to the music, the film’s historical relevance is what makes it such an important time capsule, thrillingly eternalizing the legendary event for generations to come. Continue reading
In 1927, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a famous on-screen romantic pair. Lina, however, mistakes the on-screen romance for real love. Don has worked hard to get where he is today, with his former partner Cosmo. When Don and Lina’s latest film is transformed into a musical, Don has the perfect voice for the songs. But Lina – well, even with the best efforts of a diction coach, they still decide to dub over her voice. Kathy Selden is brought in, an aspiring actress, and while she is working on the movie, Don falls in love with her. Will Kathy continue to “aspire”, or will she get the break she deserves? Continue reading
Andrea Passafiume wrote:
Ladies of the Chorus
Marilyn Monroe makes an early big screen appearance in director Phil Karlson’s 1949 entertaining B musical Ladies of the Chorus. In her first starring role, Monroe plays Peggy Martin, a young chorus girl in a burlesque show who works alongside her mother, Mae (Adele Jergens). When Peggy is pursued by wealthy society man Randy Carroll (Rand Brooks), Mae worries that class differences will doom the relationship and tries to protect her daughter from heartbreak.
When she made Ladies of the Chorus, Marilyn Monroe was a fresh new face in Hollywood still a few years away from megastardom. Monroe gives a solid self-assured performance without the breathy sexpot affectations that eventually became her signature style. The only film she ever made with Columbia Pictures, Ladies of the Chorus marked the first time Monroe sang and danced in a film, performing the enjoyable numbers “Anyone Can Tell I Love You” and “Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy.” Continue reading
In the late 1800s, Miss Pilgrim, a young stenographer, or typewriter, becomes the first female employee at a Boston shipping office. Although the men object to her at first, she soon charms them all, especially the handsome young head of the company. Their romance gets sidetracked when she becomes involved in the Women’s Suffrage movement. Continue reading