Author Topic: Merry Music of May 2020  (Read 1374 times)

oldkid

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2020, 08:48:40 PM »
Popo the Puppet from On the Riviera:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVKGiXdlKDI

Not my Danny Kaye cup of tea.  I have liked Danny Kaye in a number of performances, and he has a nice range, from straight to straight-up insane.  When he is at his craziest, he is like Jim Carey playing the Grinch-- I just get the feeling that someone should give that boy some limits.  Eddie Murphy in a fat suit?  Please stop him!  Still, I like DK in a number of performances, Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to the Court Jester to Hans Christian Andersen.  I just don't like him all the time.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2020, 09:07:46 PM by oldkid »
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Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2020, 08:53:14 PM »
On the Riviera



Man, this movie drags. You'd think with a play and then three film remakes, they'd get the tedium bugs worked out by now. The plot is so thin, the musical numbers don't stand a chance of fattening the production up enough to make this worthwhile and even if the story were more compelling, the song and dance choices lack much oomph. All the components are there: Nora Ephron's parents working on the screenplay, Bob Fosse's predecessor, Jack Cole, doing his Theatrical Jazz Dance thing, Gwen Verdon with her gorgeous gams, high stepping, Gene Tierney being luminous with those beautiful eyes and cute overbite (Bondo, are you watching her movies!?). Even the workhorse, Danny Kaye, is there hitting all the marks, but is he emotionally invested? Without an appealing story, it is dead in it's tracks. The romance isn't believable, with the philandering captain and his long suffering wife, so if they don't care, why should we? The dances feel forced and don't even ask me why the puppet number got made. gross.


Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2020, 09:01:53 PM »
haha, oldkid! exactly. Limits!

Kaye is a real hit and miss for me. I adore him in White Christmas and The Court Jester and struggle with his performance in The Inspector General and that stupid puppet song.



1SO, comparing Kaye to Rooney is apt. They have so much ability, that they run away with it. Whoa Nelly!

oldkid

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2020, 09:04:15 PM »
Where Do We Go From Here? Columbus number
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDlBqCW3Z18

It's fun, although a bit operatic.  The lyrics are a kick in the pants.   The sequence dragged on for a bit, but ended just hilarious, so all is forgiven.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2020, 09:07:46 PM »
"The magician, he had a terrible fight with his wife and she ran off with his rabbit."
"This is very sad. You see, he loves that rabbit."




I watch a lot of old movies, and most have the intelligence to make fun of a joke that old, but this one presents it as a comic highpoint.


I think the Popo the Puppet number is there because it's more in line with Danny Kaye's kid-friendly style. That comes from my limited knowledge of Kaye. Also, this musical needed to remind people because aside from this and that tacked-on ending there's not much musical about it.

Gwen Verdon didn't disappoint, though her part is like bringing in Lin-Manuel Miranda for an opening verse before handing the rest of the song off to someone else.
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Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2020, 09:36:51 PM »
ISO, that monkey's face is my face. I didn't think about the puppet song connecting this movie to Kaye's kid friendly persona; maybe because it was kinda creepy. Poor Gwen. She was totally underutilized here.




I wonder if Where We Go from Here? was an inspiration for Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qiqdb518wZ8

oldkid

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2020, 03:24:46 PM »
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2020, 05:58:10 AM »
Hitsville: The Making Of Motown (Benjamin & Gabe Turner, 2019)



Hosted by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson this is much more a celebration than it is an investigation. The movie tells the sunshine era of the company and ends in the early 70s when the scene became more and more politicized. The move from Detroit to Los Angeles is mentioned but not the problems that ensued. I have few problems with all that. This success story has been told many times over and this version of what took place had it's gems too. It was clever to use the blueprint of a car factory assembly line as a parable for what they did on 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. On the formal side however, there were a few talking heads too many and at 113 minutes the movie outstayed it's welcome a little.

Awesome piece of rock trivia: Neil Young once was signed to the label.

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Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2020, 05:54:52 AM »


Jesus Christ Superstar (Norman Jewison, 1973)

This was a big surprise. Not the story itself, it is well known I'd say, but how it was executed. The art design is relatively stripped down and set in the desert for the most part. Contemporary objects are partly used as props and the juxtaposition between these and the historic environment works really well throughout. The actors have a hippie flair which accompany the song and dance numbers in a very nice way. I also liked the consitency of the photography with many close-ups and a lot of shots from below. Ted Neely's characterization of Jesus on the other side was a little bleak.

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2020, 10:28:23 AM »
I originally wrote this to be a roadmap of how your patience with the beginning will be rewarded, but in naming the Merry Musical sections and SPOILING their surprise, this is now something better read after you see the film.




Call Me Madam (1953)
Look at what it did to Samson
'Til he lost his hair he was brave
If a haircut could weaken Samson
They could murder me with a shave.


I often love not telling my wife anything about what she's about to watch. I just hit play in in walks Ethel Merman followed by Donald O'Connor. Soon after comes Billy De Wolfe (Blue Skies, Dixie) then Vera-Ellen. Finally George Sanders completes the picture. And he sings! (I checked the credits. He sounds like Rossano Brazzi, but he's not dubbed.) "Geez Honey, this is quite a cast." I then told her it's an adaptation of a Broadway musical from the writers of Broadway's The Sound of Music, a show where Merman won the Tony, and the songs are by Irving Berlin.

This film is not lacking talent, but it sure takes awhile to get on its feet. The first four songs are okay at best, Vera-Ellen's first song is dubbed and she doesn't dance. Then comes "That International Rag" which Merman gives a lot of energy to, but the lyrics are basic and the choreography pedestrian. Up to here the highlights have been Merman's brassy Bette Midler joke delivery, a singing voice that pounds notes like a broken Idena Menzel and George Sanders.

As soon as "That International Rag" ends, DOC and V-E sneak away for a lovely dance to “It’s a Lovely Day Today” and suddenly all is right with the musical world. From here we get the insanity of DOC and Merman singing two different songs at the same time, a show-stopping dance with Vera-Ellen to which Mrs. 1SO commented the choreographer was being unfair to the cast with such complicated and exhausting steps, and Donald O'Connor doing a drunk dance with props and while popping balloons with his feet. This was the film being worthy of the talent.
RATING: ★ ★ ★ - Okay
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