Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, is CELEBRATING THE MOVIE MUSICAL! With the 70th anniversary of the iconic musical, Singin’ In The Rain, Paul sits down with the late Gene Kelly’s wife.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (70th Anniversary release)
The iconic Gene Kelly musical Singin’ in the Rain is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a new restoration on 4K, Blu-Ray, and DVD. Kelly stars as silent film star Don Lockwood who is celebrating the release of his new movie “The Royal Rascal” He’s on the red-carpet arm in arm with his co-star Lena Lamont, but this is only a fake relationship used for publicity to sell the movie. Lena has a high-pitched, alarming tone to her voice and not allowed to talk at the premiere out of fear of her voice ruining the movie. Don has a meet-cute with up and coming actress Cathy Sheldon. Their budding romance starts off rocky as she’s not necessarily impressed by his demeanor but he won’t let that stop him. Don’s best friend, Cosmo Brown, loves watching this charade play out. Throughout this, the entertainment industry is changing from silent films to talkies and now Lena’s career is in jeopardy when the studio would rather have Cathy voice her role instead of Lena using her own voice.
-Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Rita Moreno, Cyd Charisse
-Newly restored for an updated 4K, Blu-Ray, and DVD release also streaming on HBO Max
-Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds have fantastic chemistry together. It’s a real treat watching them perform together. Their number “Good Morning” is one of heck of a number.
-Kelly and O’Connor were two of the greatest dancers of the time. Their technique and movements are impeccable and should be studied by today’s triple threats.
-Kelly gives the title number an infectious, childlike energy. It sounds simple, but there’s so much joy in watching him dance around in the rain. It’s easy to understand why it has withstood the test of time.
-Legendary music theaters composters Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the screenplay and wrote a couple of new songs for the music. A majority of the music was previously written and featured in older musicals
-Gene Kelly co-directed the film with Stanley Donen
-Fun little look back Hollywood and the transition from silent films to talkies and how studios would create fake relationships between the stars to drive ticket sales. This is still happening today!
OTHER MUSICALS NOW STREAMING
- An American in Paris (1951) – also starring Gene Kelly
- A Star is Born (Judy Garland’s 1954 and Barbra Streisand’s 1976)
- A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
- Cabaret (1972)
- Chicago (2002)
Spotlight Pick – A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
The Fab Four are seen hopping on a train after running away from hordes of screaming fans. While John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are playing themselves in the film, you immediately get the feeling that this is an exaggerated look into the life of the Beatles as they are getting ready for a performance. They allow themselves to show the goofier sides of their personalities. From the first main scene upon the train, their sense of comedic timing is already apparent. The humor is further enhanced with the introduction of Paul’s grandfather (Wilford Brambell) who travels with them. He causes all sorts of trouble for the boys by goofing around at a casino table, passing out photos with the boys’ forged signatures, and convincing Ringo to go outside to take in nature instead of reading his book. Ringo’s disappearance causes all sorts of anxiety with the theater’s tech crew as it happens right before their final rehearsal.
-John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington
-Featuring the songs: “All My Loving”, “If I Fell”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “I Should Have Known Better” and the title number “A Hard Day’s Night”
-A Hard Day’s Night marks The Beatles’ first full length movie. United Artists record company wanted to capitalize on Beatlemania and brought the idea of doing a movie to them. They wanted to release a soundtrack to accompany the film, so the Beatles had to write at least six new songs for the movie.
-George Harrison has mentioned they had been given offers for movie appearances before but were never interested until the right project came along. They knew this was the right one after meeting with director Richard Lester. They wanted to do a comedy and knew he was the right choice after his work on “The Goon Show”
-They each bring a charming, charismatic, and natural energy to the screen. There was a common goal that they wanted each one of the guys to be showcased individually and thus you’ll notice that each Beatle has their scenes to shine outside of the group scenes.
- My Fair Lady (1964)
- Annie (1982)
- Les Misérables (2012)
- tick, tick…BOOM! (2021)
Spotlight Pick – tick, tick…BOOM! (2021)
Lin-Manuel Miranda has proven to a master of the arts. Now he’s proving himself as a director with the Jonathan Larson musical, tick, tick…BOOM! Years before Jonathan Larson changed Broadway with his musical, Rent, he wrote an autobiographical musical, tick, tick, BOOM! It was originally performed as a solo piece and later adapted as a three-person musical. Miranda expands this story a bit opening it up for the medium of film. It’s 1990 with Andrew Garfield playing Jonathan Larson. He’s a broke, struggling artist trying to write the next big Broadway musical. He feels time is ticking at a rapid pace as he’s about to turn 30 and is nowhere near where he wanted to be in his career. The rent is overdue and he’s watching his longtime friend and roommate, Michael, move on to success in the corporate world. Even girlfriend, Susan, has prospects that could take her out of state. Jonathan is desperate to get his musical produced but can’t quite seem to finish it in the days leading up to a reading.
-Starring: Andrew Garfield, Robin de Jesus, Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, Joshua Henry, MJ Rodriguez, and a treasure trove of Broadway icons.
-Broadway fans know that Jonathan Larson passed away shortly before Rent opened. There’s a somber quality knowing we’re watching a film about inspiring genius who never got to understand the impact he had.
-We’re told early on that everything you’re about to see is true except for the parts Jonathan made up.
-Director Lin-Manuel Miranda certainly understands the struggles of being a writer and composer trying to make it big in New York City. He’s mentioned in interviews how deeply personal this story is for him. He knows what it takes to craft this musical, and he infuses his big energetic self into the pacing and drive that this film has aptly mirroring the internal countdown and pressure Larson is feeling.
-Miranda makes this a love letter to Broadway with cameo after cameo during the film’s incredible musical numbers with the likes of Bradley Whitford playing Stephen Sondheim and the always fabulous Judith Light playing Larson’s agent.
-One of the strongest performances last year came from Andrew Garfield’s work as Jonathan Larson. Garfield completely throws himself into the headspace and physical energy of Larson who never stops moving and thinking.
-I felt like I knew who Jonathan Larson was now that I’ve watched Garfield embody him.
- Mary Poppins (1964)
- Cinderella (1997)
- High School Musical (2006)
- Into the Woods (2014)
- The Greatest Showman (2017)
Spotlight Pick – Cinderella (1997)
Cinderella and the prince have a meet-cute in the town square, but she has no idea he is the Prince, while he just loves being away from the castle. The Prince’s parents are desperate for him to fall in love, so they throw a ball to find him the perfect bride. Cinderella is forbidden from going to the ball, but that all changes with the help of her Fairy Godmother and a little magic. Cinderella learns “it’s possible” to change her from a country bumpkin to a princess. She has until the clock strikes midnight to fall in love and woo the prince.
-Starring: Brandy, Whitney Houston, Paolo Mantalban, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters
-Based on the classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical featuring numbers like “In My Own Little Corner” “Ten Minutes Ago” “Falling in Love with Live” “Impossible”
-Wonderful World of Disney movie of the week. Aired on ABC November 2, 1997
-Filled with humor between Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters and Whoopi Goldberg as the Prince’s mother
-Diversity and representation were a big part of this film’s success. The film has a multi-racial cast, and Brandy was the first Black actress to play the role of Cinderella on screen.
-Feel the joy and positivity of the cast having a blast with their fairy tale characters