love

Author Topic: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017  (Read 5181 times)

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33558
  • Marathon Man
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11621
  • You're not alone No matter what or who you've been
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #91 on: May 29, 2017, 10:50:39 AM »
Three Smart Girls Grow Up

http://imgur.com/a/a4oA2  (tiny pic's not working and imgur won't believe I'm not a robot, so i can only do a link today. :P)

Deanna Durbin, up to this point, was relatively unknown to me. What I did know was that she could really sing, but as I watch this movie, it's difficult to not believe she's being dubbed. Such a mature, soprano voice, coming from such a young person. I just read that at age 15, she was turned down by Walt Disney for Snow White, because her voice was too old for the part. I can believe it! Not any of the songs she sings here are sing alongable, and I think there are only 4 of them, but it's a style I like (I'm a fan of Kathryn Grayson too), so will be looking forward to experiencing more of Durbin's work.

The story is pretty fun and gutsy and I wonder the whole way through how it's going to pan out. Matters of the heart, being taken seriously in a musical comedy, is always a winner in my book. The themes of sisterhood, fatherhood and forgiveness are also explored, so there's quite a lot packed into this bit of fluff.

Something so strange to me, sends me off to find out who the costume designer is. The sisters all wear the same outfit to bed, but each night they put on a new style. And these aren't any type of pajamas I've seen before! They're elaborate with belts and little fur jackets. Who's coordinating these ensembles? And if we were to see a week's worth of them, would there be seven different ones? The costume designer is non other than Vera West, the first designer to have a runway show and she called it a mannequin parade. :) West never won an Oscar, but she is best known for her women's costumes in horror movies (Dracula. Frankenstein. The Mummy. The Wolf Man...). I really love one of Deanna Durbin's dresses (it sparkles like crazy on film), but those pajamas are horrific!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 11:13:37 AM by Sandy »

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18676
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #92 on: May 29, 2017, 11:51:07 AM »
How I wish, I could have watched more movies this month. These reviews have made me want to join in the fun! I'll do what I can, with the few days remaining...

Yea!
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33558
  • Marathon Man
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #93 on: May 29, 2017, 12:12:10 PM »
I always took the pajamas to be something common with the time period. Much like how during the depression, people liked to go to the movies to watch Ginger Rogers in those elaborate gowns.  I never know where Hollywood fantasy and Hays Code standards end and reality begins. I just watched Tammy and the Bachelor and there's a scene where Debbie Reynolds is wearing a long blue gown in the bedroom. Someone knocks on the door and she hurries to throw on a blue sheer bathrobe so that she doesn't appear indecent. What the heck is a layer of sheer covering? It's one of those fashion mysteries like films in the early 60s where women wear bras that make their breasts look like point-tipped bullets.

Very happy to read somone else watching Deanna Durbin. I'm very disappointed that I've been unsuccessful at finding watchable copies of the 12 remaining titles I have with her.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33558
  • Marathon Man
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #94 on: May 31, 2017, 12:33:55 AM »
DEANNA DURBIN DOUBLE FEATURE

Following Sandy's review of Three Smart Girls Grow Up I made another effort to find some Deanna Durbin and came up with two winners. Both are from the end of her film career. (She made 21 features over 12 years, retiring at the age of 27.) The first one I watched was her final film.



For the Love of Mary (1948)

Durbin plays a former assistant to the Supreme Court who transfers to the White House switchboard. Thanks to some meddling by half the Supreme Court, an off-screen President and her father, she ends up being courted by three men (Edmond O'Brien, Don Taylor and Jeffrey Lynn). I kept wishing for some good solid laughs. The performances are ready, but the script cries out for a few memorable one-liners. Ultimately, it doesn't matter because the plot grows increasingly screwball with Durbin switching her devotion between the different men (in an innocent, non-manipulative way) while the guardian angel-like older men try to keep up with which suitor may be the best match. So, while the dialogue never delivers, eventually there are moments where simple reactions and grunted expressions deliver chuckles and there were warm smiles throughout.


Durbin's singing is something I've grown a begrudging appreciation for. Her voice is note-perfect, but I'm just not a fan of high soprano operetta. The film has a nice style of incorporating the songs into the action instead of stopping for a spotlight solo, and she does very pretty renditions of "Moonlight Bay" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". The clear highlight is an engaging and precise rendition of a song from The Barber of Seville. (The one that repeats "Figaro" over and over.) It fits her voice and she nails every moment.
Rating: * * * - Okay


I take this moment between the reviews to write about something that's difficult to express correctly. It's kind of sad to know this was Durbin's last film. (She no longer wanted to be a star.) To watch her as a teenager in three Smart Girls and see her raw talent develop into a performer with the comic chops of Ginger Rogers, and a presence that can be the definition of "lovely". She is simply a pleasure to watch grow in talent and beauty. Her face is fuller in For the Love of Mary, and she appears to be ready to transition into the next phase of her career, which never happened.



Something in the Wind (1947)
A funny little bird just sent word from the tree tops
That you will be tops... in my heart
When do we start?

I've watched a dozen Deanna Durbin films, but this is the first one where her voice is used for crooning more than opera. After all this time, I cannot describe what a revelation and joy it is to hear her singing my kind of music. The songs aren't even that good, but I was enchanted while Durbin sang the radio jungle "The Turntable Song" and the title song. The musical moment of the month may be her sultry performance of "You Wanna Keep Your Baby Looking Right".


Donald O'Connor is in this, with a lot of Mickey Rooney energy. He performs "I Love a Mystery" with some steps that show up again in "Make 'em Laugh". There's also John Dall (Rope) who isn't comfortable with comedy, (and his drunk scene with O'Connor is really bad), but he does some good smolder with Durbin. Charles Winninger (Destry Rides Again, the father in the Three Smart Girls films) is on hand. Also two older actresses whose names I don't recognize, but one is from Arsenic and Old Lace and the other is the Mom in White Heat, and if you know that going in, there's a real charge to their scenes, especially the one where they confront each other. (White Heat and Old Lace is a great movie title.)
Rating: * * * - Good
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11621
  • You're not alone No matter what or who you've been
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #95 on: May 31, 2017, 06:12:49 PM »
So glad you found those, 1SO! I'd want to see them too, for her last performance and for her crooning. And! to see such a young Donald O'Connor as well!

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11621
  • You're not alone No matter what or who you've been
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #96 on: June 01, 2017, 02:45:21 AM »
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 01:52:03 AM by Sandy »

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18676
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #97 on: June 01, 2017, 03:10:25 PM »
Damn Yankees

I love the first third of this film.  The opening sequence about baseball widows and how men get carried away.  The nefarious scheme to turn one of these obsessed sad sacks into a great baseball star.  Sneaking him onto the team, and the creation of a background using "fake news".  The music is great, the character actors are fun and energetic and it flows wonderfully.

Then we have the rest of the film. 

It all has a stagey feel to it, but that has never bothered me, but the plot loses control and becomes dull.  Although Lola's famous song is musically alluring, the actress is not and the whole sequence seemed silly and out of place in the story.  It ends in a mess, breaking all the rules it sets up at the beginning in order to hit all the beats of the "correct" ending.  I was really enjoying it, too and ready to forgive a lot, but not two thirds of the film.

3/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18676
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #98 on: June 01, 2017, 03:21:57 PM »
Carousel

I wish that this was the first film I had ever seen with Shirley Jones.  She is so mousy, so demure and shy for almost a half hour, and then she opens her mouth and sings about her dream of love and it is the most powerful thing in the film.  A revelation.  Of course, I knew she had it in her, I'd seen her in the Music Man more than once as well as other films.  But it was great to imagine that the curtain opened and there she was, fully matured and in control.

She doesn't have a lot to do in the film, because the story's not about her.  It's about Billy (Gordon MacRae), a poor shallow man who knows how to attract women, but not how to make a living.  It is Jones who seduces him to marriage, but he is quickly bored and trying to figure out what job to get.  But let's forget all that.  Death and heaven is involved, as well as crime and foolishness.  But the plot is as thin as a clam soup with no potatoes.

The real meat of this film is the music, constantly innovative and often playful.  There is a great dance number with shirtless men and colorful dresses.  But each scene could be separated from another because there's little story to build off of and even less emotional resonance.  But it's all pretty and the songs are worthy.

3.5/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33558
  • Marathon Man
Re: Merry Music of May Marathon 2017
« Reply #99 on: June 01, 2017, 09:51:20 PM »

In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
Merry Christmas,
Have a very, very merry Christmas.
Dream about your hearts desire,
Christmas Eve when you retire,
Santa Claus will stop and I know he'll drop
Exactly what you wanted from your chimney top.

If that quote has you scratching your head, that's because Summertime mostly takes place around Christmas. (Don't ask why. I don't know, and I've seen the picture.) If you also let out a slight yawn, I don't blame you either. I was wondering how I'd never heard of this Judy Garland Christmas song before. The trite lyrics answered my question. My month ends on a down note because the only musical moment worth remembering is "Play That Barbershop Chord" performed by Garland and a quartet. The rest of the tunes are terribly forgettable, which just leaves the story.

This is a musical version of The Shop Around the Corner. Many scenes use the exact same dialogue, but Van Johnson is no Jimmy Stewart (though he sounds like Stewart at times) and Garland is no Margaret Sullavan in terms of acting. The script is also no Shop, making changes here and there that add nothing and often subtract, much like this year's Beauty and the Beast. Buster Keaton is in this and there's a scene where he dances with Garland. Talk about two Legends (with a capital 'L') sharing the screen. It should be a bigger deal. Nothing in this film is a big deal. At least A Song is Born is a watchable remake of Ball of Fire. This is a waste of talented people.
Rating: * *
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

 

love