Today's topic is a movie freebie, and I chose to list my 10 favourite musicals and music movies.
I love musicals, especially the song and dance kind, but I also love a good music movie. The difference between a music movie and a musical is that while the former contains music that’s integral to the plot, it is presented in a realistic manner, i.e. with musicians performing, while in a musical people are liable to burst into song (and often dance as well) at the drop of a hat and no-one blinks an eye. In fact the spectators often join in. I am only including fiction, i.e. no documentaries or concert movies.
I think I’ll start my list with one of my all time favorite movies:
The Commitments. Music movie. To me, this is the ultimate “let’s get a band together” movie, and one of the things that makes it so good is that it could have happened. Familiar songs: Just about every song.
Með allt á hreinu. Music movie. This is an Icelandic cult film about two rival bands, one all female and one all male, battling it out in the small live music market in Iceland. It was made in the eighties, but nearly all of the music is still frequently heard on Icelandic radio, and several catchphrases from it are still used, even by people who have never seen the film.
The Band Wagon. The ultimate backstage musical with a theatre setting. A has-been Hollywood hoofer played by Fred Astaire is paired with a prima ballerina played by Cyd Charisse. Many good song and dance numbers ensue, both in a stage setting and as fantasy scenes. Most famous song: That’s Entertainment.
Singin’ in the Rain. Another brilliant backstage musical, this time with a movie industry setting, that mixes stage-produced music scenes with fantasy scenes. Stars Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds as the love-birds, Donald O’Connor as the best friend, and Jean Hagen as the villainess (stealing every scene she’s in). Familiar songs: Singin’ in the Rain, Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh.
Gigi. A rather wonderful musical based on a questionable story. Leslie Caron is luminescent as the titular character. Familiar songs: Gigi, It’s a bore.
Guys and Dolls. Musical starring Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons as one pair of love-birds and Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine as another. Familiar song: Luck be a Lady.
High Society. Musical. Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm star in a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. Most famous song: True Love.
Yellow Submarine. The classic Beatles album as a surrealistic, psychedelic, mostly animated movie.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Great story and wonderful characters and you can watch it as a cheery Halloween movie or as a dark Christmas movie.