Author Topic: Merry Music of May 2020  (Read 6576 times)

Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #60 on: May 23, 2020, 11:12:35 PM »
Cyd Charisse isn't even six feet tall. She's listed as 5′ 7″, same as Gene Kelly and two inches shorter than Fred Astaire. I'd love to know how much of it is leg because on camera that looks like most of it. A true flamingo of a woman.

:D

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This has one of those goofy fantastical musical plots like the Astaire picture where people in love start to literally float on air. The more I think about it - two people hold hands and never lose when they gamble, so long as they don't fall in love - the more I see the potential if you actually spend some time developing chemistry and growing the relationship. Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse connect with a lot of people around them, but even at the farm the sparks just aren't there. Both get along better with Miss Hattie (Agnes Moorehead).

I agree with the lack of chemistry. Cyd looks like she has to work up a little enthusiasm to look at him with goo goo eyes.

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However, there's a lot here to enjoy for the monthly theme. Dan Dailey has Burl Ives' folksy charm when he sings and his duet with the Japanese girl is adorable. There's also an appearance by March Hare Jerry Colonna, Lena Horne and Frankie Laine who Antares taught us about last month. Then there are the cameos. (Thank you for not spoiling, though now I'm about to.) My eyes did a double take when I saw Debbie Reynolds. By Sinatra, I was onto this film and I have to wonder what were the circumstances for Peter Lorre to show up looking all sad. (It's even more odd that he arrives shortly after Casablanca co-star Paul Henreid.)

I wanted you to be as surprised as I was with the cameos. I would have liked more time with them. That's a cool about the Casablanca connection with those two actors. I had never seen Frankie Laine perform before, so was happy to see him. Thanks, Antares, for the tutorial!

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We're here for Lady Cyd and she delivers, though it's far from her best work. The perfection is there, under Astaire choreographer Hermes Pan, but it's all a little too pretty to be standout. Even the drunk dance, being a woman this time gives it a new angle, but it's still not as drunk as it could/should be.

Does she play it too safe? Not in technique, but in preserving her image? I ask, because I don't rightly know. :)

oldkid

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #61 on: May 25, 2020, 05:24:08 PM »
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

oldkid

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #62 on: May 25, 2020, 05:38:12 PM »
Streets of Fire

Well, the pandemic pushed this from 1SO's Top 100 Club month to Music of May. And why not, the music is the film's best asset. Winston Ford and The Sorels two songs here are great and a lot of the other songs are at least enjoyably 80s. In light of all the combat, when we hit the last couple performance numbers I was getting a sense that this might have been in the mind of Edgar Wright for Scott Pilgrim.

What this film probably could have used was even the slightest bit of world building for its peculiar portrait of Chicago and the US in the early 80s. Like, I get that crime was higher in the 80s (and this is Chicago) but it is clear from a few pieces of dialogue that there are some major institutional failures. I had essentially no investment in the characters or their conflicts. It was a distraction from the music.

There were a number of nice lines. In particular I'm thinking of is the cop near the end who says something like "Well, my plan went all to hell, let's see what you've got." Anyway, you note this as your big personal pick in your Top 100, if I understood exactly what you see in it, it wouldn't be personal.

I can't believe how well this first scene still works for me.  The energy of the concert, the power of the music, the ominous motorcycles and Willem Dafoe, the joy of the concertgoers (all female?)...  Maybe I love this because I was one of the few who saw this in the theatre when it was first released?  Even so, watching it again, I so very love it.
https://youtu.be/arxD3Ro9mAk
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #63 on: May 28, 2020, 07:50:02 PM »

The Tender Trap (1955)
"Do you have any idea what's available to a woman of 33?
Married men. Drunks. Pretty boys looking for someone to support them.
Lunatics looking for their fifth divorce! It's quite a list, isn't it?"

At this table, Debbie Reynolds announces her detailed plan to live the dream by finding a man, getting married and having kids. If Frank Sinatra's mid-30s ladies man didn't clue me in that this film's sexual politics was out of date, Reynolds left no doubt. So I started a thought experiment. What if this film took place today and Reynolds was raised to have this belief? It's a more interesting angle and there's David Wayne (Adam's Rib) and Celeste Holm support the progressive side of life. It's not like you won't find people out there today who believe in no sex until marriage. You just don't make movies about them.

Tammy and the Bachelor

A one song musical? Good thing it's such an endearing song, sung by such an endearing actress.

It's also pretty obvious this was based on a play, Sinatra's pad only has three walls, as does Reynolds' and every other location we go to except for the theater. The theater is the one bit that seems added for the movie, and it's where the title song gets the most play. While I'm not big on Sinatra, there may be no better staging of "The tender Trap" than that opening shot where Sinatra just casually walks up to the camera from a cloud-painted sky wall. It's nice when he's on the piano too, better than Reynolds. Her character starts by singing it pretty instead of soulful, but after she gets a lesson and tries it again, it doesn't sound any better.  :'(

I have to return to Wayne and Holm because they're the best part of this film. Holm is no Eve Arden, but we can't all be the GOAT, and she pushes past being "the other girl' to make a fine Grade A, top class... whatever it is Sinatra says about her.
RATING: ★ ★

Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #64 on: May 29, 2020, 12:02:34 AM »
The Tender Trap



Except for the intro, it's a good 45 minutes before the first song shows up and then it's sung twice more in succession with nothing more until a little reprise when the movie is over. That's it. Hmmm, I don't even need to point out the huge missed opportunity of not turning this into a full musical with the two leads already under contract to perform, but Celeste Holm is standing right there too! The original Ado Annie from Broadway's Oklahoma has plenty to contribute musically. And the Tony winner for Og the leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow, David Wayne, is no slouch either! You can't win a Tony for a musical without having some chops.

Now that I've got that disappointment out of the way, I'll address my nausea over the subject matter. It's modern (for its time) as it dissects gender roles and the expendable nature of women. It's difficult to watch Reynolds speak of marriage as an end all beat all life goal and to watch several women expected to clean up after the men. They wait on them and wait for them, all in the hope of a prized ring; always just out of reach. I appreciate the needed Alka Seltzer comeuppance at the end, but it doesn't really change the fact that pigeonholing women was and still is a rather insulting conundrum, and since it hits too close to home, it gives me indigestion.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 12:05:06 AM by Sandy »

Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #65 on: May 29, 2020, 12:59:20 AM »
The Tender Trap (1955)
"Do you have any idea what's available to a woman of 33?
Married men. Drunks. Pretty boys looking for someone to support them.
Lunatics looking for their fifth divorce! It's quite a list, isn't it?"


This was my favorite line in the movie. Her delivery was so raw and made me feel like she had been through it all and came out resigned to her fate.

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At this table, Debbie Reynolds announces her detailed plan to live the dream by finding a man, getting married and having kids. If Frank Sinatra's mid-30s ladies man didn't clue me in that this film's sexual politics was out of date, Reynolds left no doubt. So I started a thought experiment. What if this film took place today and Reynolds was raised to have this belief? It's a more interesting angle and there's David Wayne (Adam's Rib) and Celeste Holm support the progressive side of life. It's not like you won't find people out there today who believe in no sex until marriage. You just don't make movies about them.

Unless you work for the Hallmark Channel. :) As you looked forward, I looked back and wondered how women reacted to her stance then. I'm guessing most nodded in agreement, whether they really were happy in their roles or not. Conditioning is strong mental control.

Tammy and the Bachelor

A one song musical? Good thing it's such an endearing song, sung by such an endearing actress.

Haha! She did it again! I'm not sure I really wanted to hear Leslie Nielsen sing, so didn't wish for that movie to be a full on musical.

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It's also pretty obvious this was based on a play, Sinatra's pad only has three walls, as does Reynolds' and every other location we go to except for the theater. The theater is the one bit that seems added for the movie, and it's where the title song gets the most play.

You're so right. The film was very static in its proscenium arch.

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While I'm not big on Sinatra, there may be no better staging of "The tender Trap" than that opening shot where Sinatra just casually walks up to the camera from a cloud-painted sky wall. It's nice when he's on the piano too, better than Reynolds. Her character starts by singing it pretty instead of soulful, but after she gets a lesson and tries it again, it doesn't sound any better.  :'(

That's too bad. I would hate to sing after Sinatra. Nobody does phrasing like him (except for Crosby, of course. :) ).

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I have to return to Wayne and Holm because they're the best part of this film. Holm is no Eve Arden, but we can't all be the GOAT, and she pushes past being "the other girl' to make a fine Grade A, top class... whatever it is Sinatra says about her.

I agree. They are the ones I was most invested in.


Hey! You got to see a little bit of Esther Williams. The clip was from Easy to Love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSKxxKTJmfE

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2020, 01:32:21 AM »
I meant to look up that clip from the TV. Didn't recognize it. Actually looked kind of boring.

When Debbie Reynolds announced her plan, my immediate thought was "ah, that's why I never hear anyone talk about this movie." Thinking about Reynolds in film, there seems to be a struggle between the roles agents and producers put her in and parts she would like to play. There's a disconnect with her because she's practically rolling her eyes that this is what people want to see, yet she doesn't seem aware how much she's adding to the problem.

I wonder what are some good examples of romantic comedies of the 1950s that are progressive. I usually remember them more for their use of cinemascope than for any women's liberation. All of a sudden, Audrey Hepburn's bohemian dance in Funny Face is a radical scene. Even How to Marry a Millionaire I remember being more advanced than this.


Side observation on the continuing Crosby vs. Sinatra debate. Bing Crosby was known to have a bit of a belly, but he was making movies when actors were fully dressed, usually dressed up, so it was easy to hide. In Sinatra's time, actors were expected more to take their shirts off, which was unfortunate for such a bony chicken as Sinatra.



I've been sitting on Everybody Does It (1949) which stars Celeste Holm, Paul Douglas, Linda Darnell and Charles Coburn. I should get to that before the month ends.

Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2020, 02:49:37 AM »
Looking over 1950's rom-coms, they overwhelmingly have marriage on the mind, which isn't surprising and is still a trope of rom coms today. So, I am unable yet, to find progressive examples.

Haha about Sinatra's physique! Maybe that was a popular body type in the day.


1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #68 on: May 31, 2020, 11:54:46 AM »

Everybody Does It (1949)

Charles Coburn warns Paul Douglas that wife Celeste Holm may be bitten by the singing bug and looking to perform on stage. While attempting to support her in public and sabotage her in private, Douglas falls in with seductive opera star Linda Darnell when he sings for her and learns he has an exceptional gift. That's a lot of talent wasted in a very bland screwball comedy that spends most of the climax watching Darnell lip sync badly as Cleopatra. It's nice to see Holm sing, but her character is just okay so she must be too. This film needed a lot more funny. I'm already bored writing about it.
RATING: ★ ★