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I know Tommy Rall as a superb dancer.  So your post has new info for me, Rinaldo.  Particularly the opera phase--I happen to have read a little about Juno and saw the Encores presentation in NYC of the show, so I figured Mr. Rall's role in it was dance heavy.

 

And I would second a TCM retrospective or a morning or afternoon of his work to fill up my DVR. 

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Actually, Charlie Baker, he did have a lot of dancing in Juno (I was at Encores! too -- remember that angsty ballet for the young guy in Act II?), which was his return to Broadway after nearly a decade's absence -- I simplified in order to keep my post relatively short. But after that, his singing became as important or more so.

 

As to the operas, I'd love to find a live taping of one of them, to discover if he could really sustain those very demanding roles, or if Sarah Caldwell (whose Boston company was where he did most or all of them) liked his looks and acting skills and maybe publicity value (though... did he have enough of a following to actually bring people into the theater?) and was willing to put up with however he could sing them. I'm sure he worked hard and seriously on his classical singing though, because his career shows that he was/is a conscientious sort of person.

 

I wonder if there's any way to get a suggestion about him to TCM, while he's still alive to perhaps participate (he's 86 now).

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I wonder if there's any way to get a suggestion about him to TCM, while he's still alive to perhaps participate (he's 86 now).

 

There are two ways through the TCM website: the "Suggest a Movie" page (in which people suggest stars of the month, specials, and many other things in addition to films) and the message boards.

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aradia, I saw the Lesley Anne Warren version as a child when it first aired. I remember I had to go to bed because it ran too late for me. I must have been about 5 or so. And I always remembered LAW through the years and I remember thinking how handsome the prince was. Years later I was watching General Hospital and thought to myself that "Alan Quartermaine" looked awfully familiar. Like a lightning bolt it hit me that he was the Prince! 

 

I've never been enamored of fairy tales even as a child but Cinderella did affect me for some reason.

 

Ann Miller could tap rings around Ruby Keeler. Is it just me?

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Ann Miller could tap rings around Ruby Keeler. Is it just me?

Not at all.  Apparently Ruby herself would have agreed with you.  According to her interview with Richard Lamparski (for his Whatever Happened To...? series) when tributes were being held for Busby Berkeley in nine cities throughout the US, Europe and South America, Ruby appeared with her old friend and former director. As the films were being screened, she stood at the back of the theater shaking her head saying "Its really amazing. I couldn't act. I had a terrible singing voice, and now I realize I wasn't the greatest dancer either."

I

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I watched half of Ziegfeld Girl (1941) today to relax after an eye exam (pupils dilated and all). I'm saving the other half for tomorrow. I still found Hedy Lamarr to be cold though her acting was better than it was in Comrade X. It was a little Vivien Leigh crossed with Garbo but not as good as either. Lana Turner seemed to be the star of the show. I think I've seen her in something before but I can't be sure. I usually get Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner (just the names) mixed up when I'm looking at the TCM schedule. Judy Garland was lovely. It just doesn't really hold together as an ensemble movie. It's barely about the Ziegfeld Follies and all three stories are very underdeveloped. And continuing with the "they didn't know what to do with Jimmy Stewart" theme we have him playing a tough truck driver turned gangster. I mean... what? Still, the costumes are to die for and it's enjoyable enough as one of those movies that you don't have to pay that much attention to. I'll let you know what I think of the second half.

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As the films were being screened, she stood at the back of the theater shaking her head saying "Its really amazing. I couldn't act. I had a terrible singing voice, and now I realize I wasn't the greatest dancer either."

 

I like her better for saying that, because I never thought she could sing, dance or act, and she wasn't more than moderately pretty. I never really got what the appeal was, but I think maybe the sweet wide-eyed girl next door image was a bigger thing back then.

 

That said, I have always felt terrible for her for what she went through when she was married to Al Jolson (they were reportedly the basis of A Star Is Born, and he was by all accounts extremely abusive), and I respect her for getting out when she did. The story is that the studio used to blackmail actresses into giving up their back end salary payments by threatening to destroy their careers by making them star in Mother Carey's Chickens. Keeler took the part and retired with all her money, and good for her.

Edited by Julia

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I finished off Ziegfeld Girl today. My thoughts are basically the same. For the most part Hedy Lamarr acted like a beautiful doll. She wasn't very expressive and only had brief glimmers of acting ability. Lana was punished in the way the "bad girl" in these ensemble movies tends to be punished. Judy could have not been in the movie for all they used her outside of the musical numbers. The costumes for the second big set piece (the under the sea/beach/flower theme) were ridiculous. The Latin dance number dragged. However, most of the other musical numbers were enjoyable and it's still a thrill to see big set pieces like that. Lana and Jimmy were without question the best actors in the cast even if their plotline was too heavy and offset the lighter tone of the rest of the movie. Also, two Camille moments. Ridiculous. I think movies are the reason I'm terrified of staircases.

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The Summer Under The Stars line-up has been posted.  It's far too long to post here, but here's a link to the list posted on the TCM message boards.

 

I rather like the variety of actors chosen, even though neither of my two favorites - Katharine Hepburn and Myrna Loy - got a day (I will get to rewatch some favorites of theirs via other actors' days), but I find some of the films chosen for many of the actors a bit disappointing.  There seem to be a lot that have either been shown with some frequency or really don't much feature the celebrated star.  But, then again, with respect to the latter situation, it can be really interesting to see them in their early, small roles.

Edited by Bastet

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Caught parts of a couple different movies with Phil Silvers today (though his birthday isn't until the 11th). You're in the Army Now paired with Jimmy Durante--and it was a good pairing, but the gags were pretty ridiculous and the special effects pretty elaborate given the scale of the movie (moving a house, another building teetering on the edge of a cliff).  Plus Jane Wyman.  The other was A Thousand and One Nights, with Silvers being an anachronistic sidekick to young, dashing Cornel Wilde as Aladdin.  And Evelyn Keyes as an equally anachronistic genie.  And the beautiful Adele Jergens, who reminds me of Virginia Mayo. Very silly movie, again pretty elaborate, given what was probably a limited budget.  And could Wilde sing? One number he sings to Jergens' princess is shot entirely from a distance, which leads me to believe he was dubbed.

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The TCM site says that Wilde's singing was dubbed by Tom Clark in this movie.

 

When I think of Phil Silvers on film, my immediate reaction is to recall how I love him in Cover Girl. He's just so much fun hoofing alongside Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

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Thanks, Rinaldo.  I should check the TCM site more than I do, obviously. :-)  Silvers is also fun In Summer Stock with Kelly and Garland.

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The TCM website can be a pain at times, but it also contains nice little tidbits on a whole lot of films and features archives of not just publicity stills, movie posters and the like, but behind-the-scenes photos taken while filming -- I love seeing those (how dressed up the crew is, how different the equipment is, etc. and how people seem to interact off camera).

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When I think of Phil Silvers on film, my immediate reaction is to recall how I love him in Cover Girl. He's just so much fun hoofing alongside Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

 

I agree, and would add the other musical in which he played Gene Kelly's sidekick, Summer Stock.

 

Was Cover Girl Phil Silvers' "breakout" movie role? Looking at his credits in the imdb, it seems to have been. He was in some stuff before that, but not in any major "second banana" role that I can tell.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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This may be old news to everyone but me, but I've just discovered there are quite a lot of classic film bloopers floating around on YouTube.  I know the copyright logistics would take some work, but I'd love to see TCM compile and air little 15-minute segments as interstitials.  Something like this:

 

 

Edited by Bastet
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Was Cover Girl Phil Silvers' "breakout" movie role?

Yesl, I think so.  It's  probably not an accident that so many of us remember it that way.

Reposting something I wrote on TWOP:

One of the most unusual movies ever is showing this Saturday on TCM Underground (the later one at 3:45 AM)  - Hausu.   It sounds cliched to say this, but it really is not like any other movie I've ever seen - kind of a surreal fantasy, kind of a teenage schoolgirl comedy, kind of a spooky horror movie.  It's not that old (1977) but it is truly a classic and I couldn't live with myself if I didn't urge any of you who haven't seen it to give it a go.

The TCM entry on it:

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/787179/Hausu/articles.html

Edited by ratgirlagogo

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I think Silvers was born to be a Vaudeville guy. His comedy is very broad and slapstick-y and of course he was destined to be a second banana in any film he might have made. Thank goodness there was television back in the 50's because the guy was so damned funny as Sgt Bilko. Tv is a more intimate medium than film, I think, and the sitcom is able to capture his expressions and body language in a way that movies couldn't.  He was quite the riveting performer.  

 

Did he ever do any straight dramatic roles? Jackie Gleason was a damn fine serious actor to me and I wonder if Silvers ever got a chance to show that.

Edited by prican58

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I watched Till The Clouds Roll By today. Well, actually, I knew I'd never be able to sit through the movie so I just watched the musical numbers and even then I had to fast forward a little. I knew I'd probably enjoy the Judy Garland and Lena Horne numbers and those were definitely the highlight of the movie. The Lucille Bremer and Virginia O'Brien numbers were also quite good. Other than that, I'd skip this one. I personally have no desire to sit through the dialogue. I caught a little bit of the Sally plotline and that was enough for me. It's the middle of allergy season and my eyes are all dried out. I can't risk rolling them too excessively. 

 

Edited to add that I still don't get the appeal of Sinatra. Anyone have some recommendations? I don't like him as a singer. I might like him fine as an actor. 

Edited by aradia22

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I think Sinatra in the finale of that movie singing Ol' Man River standing on a white pillar in a white tuxedo accompanied by a white orchestra dressed in white is one of the most surreal things I've ever seen.

Edited by Julia
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Lena Horne is fabulous in that movie, and of course, got a lot of mileage out of not getting to play Julie in the later Show Boat remake.  I really enjoy Lucille Bremer's number with Van Johnson, too.  That guy was a good hoofer. 

 

I'd recommend Manchurian Candidate or Man with the Golden Arm as examples of Sinatra as dramatic actor.

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Those are excellent examples. Or From Here To Eternity. I like Sinatra's singing a lot, myself (especially when it's not in a movie, so he has Nelson Riddle arranging for him), but it's not equally right for every movie. People lament that he walked out on making the Carousel movie, but I can't imagine that he'd have been anything but ridiculous in it. And speaking of ridiculous... yes, that "Ol' Man River" finale is one of the wrongest things Hollywood ever did.

 

Lena Horne is sensational in this, and also in the Rodgers & Hart biopic Words and Music. Her "The Lady Is a Tramp" is a wonderful few minutes. We of course have far too little of her on film, but these are two bright spots.

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I watched Till The Clouds Roll By today...I personally have no desire to sit through the dialogue..

 

I have a routine of fast-forwarding through lots of the grade-B musicals I DVR from TCM. I love (or at least am fascinated by) all the musical numbers. But with all too rare exceptions, the plots of these musicals are just so dumb, the attempts at characterization and humor so lame. I always give them a chance, but at the first sign of mediocrity, I make a decision that this is one of those movies that requires fast-forwarding to the good parts.

 

To name a movie that rewards watching all the way through: It's been a while since I've seen Young at Heart, but I'd add that to the list of outstanding Sinatra performances. His portrayal of depression in that movie is haunting, and his emergence from it is moving.

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They showed Young at Heart recently. I have to admit, I fast-forwarded through a few of Doris Day's songs, but Frank Sinatra singing one of the great versions of One For My Baby while the customers ignored him was kind of heart-rending, especially considering where Sinatra's career had been for a while before that.

 

For Doris Day, she was likable in most of her movies in the fifties and early sixties, but Love Me Or Leave Me was riveting.

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I love "Till The Clouds Roll By."  Another example of the "lots of musical numbers disguised as a biography" genre is "Words and Music" which is a somewhat fictionalized version of the life of Rodgers and Hart.

 

If you like "Young at Heart", you'll probably also enjoy a trilogy of movies called "Four Daughters", "Four Wives" and "Four Mothers" which came out in the late 1930's to the very early 1940's.  Claude Rains played the father and I believe Frank Sinatra's character is based on the one played by John Garfield.  

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Yes, Young at Heart is a remake of Four Daughters. Good though Sinatra is in the later film, one can see how his gloomy character makes more sense in the Depression setting of Four Daughters (it's also given more nuance in the writing, and John Garfield does a lot with it). He dies at the end of the movie, and was supposed to in Young at Heart as well, but Sinatra objected (partly because he had been dying a lot in movies lately) and it was rewritten to accommodate him.

 

I agree that Sinatra was memorable with "One for My Baby," and it sort of became one of "his" songs -- one of the rare times that Fred Astaire wasn't the ultimate interpreter (well though he performed it) of a song he introduced on screen.

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I watched The Little Shop of Horrors today. I love the musical. I don't think I would have sat through the movie if I didn't love the musical so much but it wasn't the trainwreck I expected it to be given the Roger Corman attachment and the fact that this is often described as a B-movie. It wasn't great but the opening was interesting and the writing and characters are kind of good if a little broad. It really only gets campy and ridiculous when

he hits the guy on the head with a rock

. Before that point it was just a quirky, broad comedy. I was expecting Audrey to have more of an accent. I think the musical definitely made some smart changes. The character motivation (wanting to save Audrey from her abusive boyfriend) and symbolism is stronger. Here I just wondered why he didn't feed the plant a steak. The dentist was the worst actor in the bunch. It was interesting to see a young Jack Nicholson as the patient who got off on pain. It wasn't a revelation of a performance but he definitely had energy and was willing to play into the silliness of the movie but take it seriously. Seymour's mom was the second worst character. You can see why they got rid of her in the musical. The hypnotism/prostitute sequence was terrible and pointless. The movie is barely over an hour long and this seemed like a weird way to fill time. 

 

Overall, I don't think this is really worth watching except as a fan of the musical. It's something fun for completionists and it really makes you appreciate all the smart changes they made in adapting the movie into a musical.  

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I think Words and Music may be my favorite composer biography movie (the last ever Mickey and Judy scene would have nailed that if nothing else did) but the plot was unbelievably silly. Lorenz Hart (bless his heart) was suicidally self-destructive because he thought the people who loved him wouldn't accept that he was short? 

 

Not a euphemism I've run into before or since. And I actually watched Night and Day.

 

I loved Fred Astaire's version of One For My Baby (if not the movie it was introduced in).

Edited by Julia

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I like Night and Day. Yeah it's not going to be on anyone's list of the best musicals but most of the performances are good and oh, yeah, Cary Grant is in it. :)

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Lorenz Hart (bless his heart) was suicidally self-destructive because he thought the people who loved him wouldn't accept that he was short? ... Not a euphemism I've run into before or since. 

 

I loved Fred Astaire's version of One For My Baby

Your first point made me laugh. Because it's true. Hollywood really didn't do well by its gay songwriters then, did it? (Granted, Porter and Hart didn't always do so well for themselves in real life, given the era.) Hart is... short; and Porter swans around with Alexis Smith. (But then the more recent De-Lovely was actually worse, to my mind, making Linda the inaccessible true love and muse of Cole's life even if he was compelled to mess around with boys.)

 

I love Fred's "One For My Baby" too -- it's impossible for me not to love an Astaire performance. But it's interesting that it didn't become thought of as an "Astaire song," as almost everything else he introduced did. Arlen and Mercer created a bluesy classic that has lent itself to a number of great vocalists.

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I don't think I would have sat through the movie if I didn't love the musical so much but it wasn't the trainwreck I expected it to be given the Roger Corman attachment and the fact that this is often described as a B-movie.

Hey hey hey,, B-movie doesn't mean bad movie, it means low-budget movie made in a hurry.  I'm not going to try and convince you the movie is better than it is, but Ashman et al would never have made it into a musical if if hadn't been memorable.  So many movies are just forgettable - Little Shop of Horrors isn't. 

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I think there was a lot of good material in Little Shop but it didn't all hold together and was greatly improved in the adaptation to the musical. The weakest part was the overall motivation and it really seemed like they were running out of ideas at the end from the hypnotism/prostitute sequence to the end where it just seemed like they were killing time. Still, I'm glad they made the movie because Little Shop is one of my favorite musicals.

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Yes, Young at Heart is a remake of Four Daughters. Good though Sinatra is in the later film, one can see how his gloomy character makes more sense in the Depression setting of Four Daughters (it's also given more nuance in the writing, and John Garfield does a lot with it). He dies at the end of the movie, and was supposed to in Young at Heart as well, but Sinatra objected (partly because he had been dying a lot in movies lately) and it was rewritten to accommodate him.

 

I've known of Four Daughters being the source of Young at Heart, Rinaldo, but have never seen more than snatches of it. I can easily imagine Garfield being great in the part Sinatra later played. However…I think Sinatra's performance of a depressive was especially moving because it didn't take place in a time of economic calamity. In Young at Heart, the state of the nation's economy can't be used as a rationale for the character's despair; his depression's roots go much deeper. Suffice it to say I find Sinatra utterly, heartbreakingly convincing.

 

(All of the above should definitely be received in the FWIW category, since I can't really compare Sinatra to Garfield, having never seen Garfield's whole performance in the part. But I offer it anyway.)

 

Astute observation about "One for My Baby" being one of the rare exceptions to an Astaire performance becoming the definitive performance.

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I watched Red Headed Woman (1932) yesterday, starring Jean Harlow. I enjoyed it, but it was very strange. Harlow's character is relentlessly selfish and opportunistic, and when she is caught out as the gold digger that she is, she has the gall to act as though she was done wrong in almost murderous proportions. And what happens to her? 

She happily gets away with it all and bags a rich man anyway. I could have seen if she got a comeuppance for the climax for the film and then worked her way to happy ending for the denouement, but no, she doesn't suffer at all for her actions.

 

 

However, this film only increased my love for Harlow and Chester Morris will always be one of my crushes, who I think was terribly underrated.

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And what happens to her?

 

Not an uncommon Pre-Code theme, in my experience (the general idea of not being punished, or perhaps even rewarded, for a film's worth of selfish behavior).

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Watching Gidget now. Am I the only one with a crush on James Darren? He was so pretty/handsome. Another singing cutie from Philly.

Speaking of that, watching Bobby Rydell dancing that crazy dance in Bye Bye Birdie i was actually impressed with him. I thought he held his own opposite Ann-Margret. 

I was watching Thank Your Lucky Stars earlier and was captivated. I so loved seeing all the Warner stars doing musical numbers, especially Jack Carson (swoon) and Alan Hale's number. What was amazing was seeing John Garfield doing a radio spot with Eddie Cantor and Garfield actually sang quite well. In that skit alone anybody would be impressed with Garfield. He was a real actor.

 

Did anyone else watch?  Bette Davis and Erroll Flynn Sing! Great entry for a Time Capsule.

 

In watching Cantor I couldn't get over how much he reminded me of Al Jolson. They were contemporaries and I think their delivery style in regards to singing were quite similar. Not that they sound alike but their mannerisms seem similar. Must be the vaudeville experience.

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Did anyone else watch?  Bette Davis and Erroll Flynn Sing! Great entry for a Time Capsule.

 

Thank Your Lucky Stars is a guilty pleasure (though I know we're supposed to suspend belief about Joan Leslie and Dennis Morgan as nobodies when they were starring in other films with the same actors in the same year). My favorite part is Ida Lupino and Olivia De Havilland (really hamming it up) in "The Dreamer" jive song with George Tobias. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwf5FSuE1Xs

This must have been done when they were filming "Devotion" (about the Brontes). I read somewhere that it was originally supposed to be Bogart instead of Tobias since Edward Everett Horton's introduction presented them as three of the screen's greatest "dramatic" actors (something nobody would have confused Tobias with). Also Ann Sheridan is just lovely and has a dandy singing voice. I think this may have been Olivia's last appearance at WB before her successful lawsuit and Ann Sheridan also went on a year long suspension during this time as well. So the studio tried to make the most of them.

Edited by Mr. Simpatico

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Also Ann Sheridan is just lovely and has a dandy singing voice. I think this may have been Olivia's last appearance at WB before her successful lawsuit and Ann Sheridan also went on a year long suspension during this time as well. So the studio tried to make the most of them.

 

In a movie full of top-notch material, my favorite is Ann Sheridan's performance of "Love Isn't Born (It's Made)."

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...watching Bobby Rydell dancing that crazy dance in Bye Bye Birdie i was actually impressed with him. I thought he held his own opposite Ann-Margret. 

"A Lot of Livin' To Do" is one of my favorite movie dance numbers ever, as I think I've posted in another thread here. Gower Champion's stage choreography wasn't much -- a lot of just making the kids run across and fling their arms exuberantly skyward -- but Onna White (who also did such good choreography for The Music Man and Oliver! onscreen) made a masterpiece of it in the movie. Kim, Hugo, and Birdie each having a point of view and a verse of the song to sing, and then that (yes) crazy dance. (I smile that Birdie gets just walking patterns to a cha-cha beat, even though he should be the real crazy guy of the bunch, because Jesse Pearson couldn't really do much -- he was just the right type for the part. So White had to work around him.) But Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell are sensational. And that elbow thing everyone does to that toodle-i-too in the dance arrangement... that kills me every time, and it's pure Onna White.

 

I mean, see for yourself!

Edited by Rinaldo
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I love "The Telephone Hour" in Bye Bye Birdie.  I think it's the best version ever, even better than any Broadway production, probably because it isn't stuck with theatrical staging.

 

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I must regretfully disagree. I hate the way the movie evens out the meter changes into a consistent 4/4. (Did they think the way Strouse wrote it would be too scary for a movie audience, or too hard for Hollywood studio singers to learn?)

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aradia22, I'm more of a singing Sinatra fan than an acting fan. But he is a good actor, I think. I prefer him in more comedic stuff like The Tender Trap with Debbie Reynolds.

 

re Sinatra I adore him as a singer. I think you probably can't figure him out because he never had a beautiful voice of say, Nat Cole. Even in his bobby soxer days I never thought he was better than Bing Crosby for instance. Crosby was that crooner that all wanna be crooners wanted to be. But Frank ( I love to call him Frank) just has a way with interpreting a song that no one has ever matched for me. He excelled at doing songs by the Porters, Berlins, Gershwins and Cahn's of the world. Those lyrics were so clever, romantic and wise and Frank is just able to convey many emotions at once. One of my favorites is "Someone to Watch Over Me." The verse "I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood, I know I could, always be good to someone who'll watch over me." When he gets to the part "I know I could, always be good"  you hear such desperation, loneliness and hope in the way he phrases. The cool thing is that he sings that line 2-3 times in the song and each time is different. And each time it's breathtaking. 

To understand him I think one has to see/hear his performances and read comments from people who really understand music and singing. (That's how I learned b/c growing up I never liked him. I finally understood when I reached my 30's.) Then you really start to be moved by him. That's my 2 cents, FWIW.

 

How to Love Frank in one easy lesson. lol

Edited by prican58

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To understand him I think one has to see/hear his performances and read comments from people who really understand music and singing. (That's how I learned b/c growing up I never liked him. I finally understood when I reached my 30's.) Then you really start to be moved by him. That's my 2 cents, FWIW.

FWIW I would say that about myself as well.  I really did not get him when I was growing up - he just seemed completely corny to me.  It was as they say a PROCESS, the time it took for me to appreciate what he could do. 

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I think you probably can't figure him out because he never had a beautiful voice of say, Nat Cole.

Oh, gosh, I love Nat King Cole. I always cite him as one of the few male singers (not counting Broadway singers) who I can really stand to listen to. That is, I can listen to a whole album, not just one radio hit. I like singers who can really sing and maybe it's gender normative but except for the occasional Chris Colfer, I prefer guys who sound like guys... which are two reasons why I can't stand Justin Timberlake. But back to Sinatra. It's interesting that you describe the people who appreciate his music that way because I've always felt the opposite. To me, it's the people who value style over substance. With a few exceptions (generally songwriters like Ellie Goulding and Lykke Li) I like singers who really have their technique down. I feel like it's cool to say you like Sinatra, especially with the Rat Pack thing. With say, Fred Astaire, I would never put him on a list of my favorite vocalists but I can enjoy his interpretations of songs. There are only a handful of Sinatra songs I can stand listening to. But to each his own. I know this isn't a popular opinion.

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I get what you mean, arcadia. I think some people do think it's cool to like Frank. Hell, I love the Rat Pack but I just like that kind of music. I do think Frank has his technique down and I would say it is a style he has. But the substance is the song...the music, melody/rythym, and especially the lyric.The Astaire analogy is interesting. I can listen to him sing on film and he does have his own thing going on. But to sit and listen to Fred on "record"?  Not high on my list.

 

The Gershwins wrote lots of their stuff with Fred in mind. Those same songs you like to hear Fred sing, Frank also sang them. Every singer has their own interpretation of certain songs so I would think that equals style. 

 

really, it doesn't matter. We all have our faves and just because a singer is good or great not everyone likes everything. Tony Bennett was another I didn't like but now he is second only to Frank. BTW, Cole really was the best pure singer of the bunch in terms of quality of voice. Smooth as silk. Frank just moves me.

 

Hey I thought this was a movie thread!  

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It's interesting that you describe the people who appreciate his music that way because I've always felt the opposite. To me, it's the people who value style over substance.

Oh, I know what you mean.  That's why I didn't like him at all when I was younger - it was hanging around with very hardcore jazz people that got me to hear him differently.  But this was in the early 80's before the big Rat Pack revival anyway.

 

On the other hand you know that Cole Porter once sent Sinatra an angry telegram after some radio shindig asking why he bothered to sing his songs at all if he didn't like the way they were written. 

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When I think of it and when I see them on the schedule, I've been doing my best to catch up with the work of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. So I happened to catch Keaton's Seven Chances, which is pretty wonderful. (They were showing as part of a string of Jean Arthur movies; in this she has a bit role.) Of course the gags and the stunts, without CGI and without stunt doubles, are pretty amazing, but what's been striking to me about Keaton's movies is how perfectly the gags are timed, and thus how irresistibly funny.  As in the closer, where Buster is trying to kiss his bride and everyone else is beating him to it.  No elaborate set-ups just beautiful execution. 

 

Seven Chances, btw, was the basis for one act of Susan Stroman's quite fun ballet homage to classic movies, Double Feature.

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Buster Keaton is a huge favorite of mine - such an incredibly beautiful man.  Hardly even know how to pick a favorite film.  The economy and the elegance of all the physical comedy.  Also it just occurred to me (following up a conversation from TWOP) that he's part of that  small group of child stars who grew up and were able to become adult stars.

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I decided to watch Dodsworth (1936) today. These are my thoughts in no particular order. Ruth Chatterton is way too young for this part. Mary Astor and David Niven shone. Fran's negative qualities were exaggerated in such a way that they made me uncomfortable. I've certainly seen a fair number of flighty characters in the past but there was something about her. Maybe she was a little more grounded. It made me look at the kind of arguments being made. A woman who wants more out of life than living in a small town not doing anything more than attending to her social character is a horrible person for wanting to finally go on a vacation once her daughter is grown and for wanting her husband to enjoy his retirement. A woman who flirts too much is 'asking for it.' A woman is terrible for clinging to youth when she hasn't had the opportunity to accomplish much in her life. Not that I'm excusing the cheating, but I feel like buried in the stereotype are some valid points. Oh, and if we're to believe that she didn't love him, I don't know why we were supposed to want her to stay in the marriage. Was the point just that he was supposed to decide when he was done? And while I enjoyed Mary Astor's performance, that scene when she was begging him not to go back to his wife made me roll my eyes. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a "lone woman" must be in search of a man to build her life around. Sigh...

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I love Dodsworth,  Ruth Chatterton was pretty much a veteran actress at this time and she had a couple of Oscar nominations including one for playing the title role in "Madame X."  I thought Maria Ouspenskaya stole the movie even though she was only in one scene.

 

I think Fran was supposed to represent women who spent all their lives in small American towns and who wanted more out of life but weren't really equipped to be anything other than what they were. Not just in terms of being able to support yourself but being able to be alone and not have a man to rely on for financial and/or emotional support.

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