David Butler – My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

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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

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Raúl Perrone – P3ND3JO5 (2013)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

Fred Zinnemann – Oklahoma! (1955)

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Plot Synopsis
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway music’s 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play’s intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for Lonely Room and It’s a Scandal!, which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud’s invitation to the box social. But it’s Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud’s unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. Continue reading

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