Comedy · Musical

James Cagney’s Mass-Produced Theatre

Modern movie audiences are getting ripped off. Get this: In cinema’s earlier days, audiences were presented with live musical performances, known as prologues, before the feature film. So, instead of the in-theatre advertising we endure today, audiences enjoyed genuine musical theatre that introduced the film. According to Vaudeville Old & New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America, Vol. I, prologues were meant to… Continue reading James Cagney’s Mass-Produced Theatre

Comedy · Musical

The Rococo Lucille Ball in Louis XV’s Court

Confession: We (as in, yours truly) have a biased view of movies set in France. In our eyes, these movies can do no wrong. This is because we went to Paris in our impressionable youth and came home all très sophistiqué. We wore a bemused expression to match our jaunty silk scarf, and we took to drinking lattés from a bowl.… Continue reading The Rococo Lucille Ball in Louis XV’s Court

Comedy · Musical

The 42nd Street Cooperative

In an effort to be Smarter, we’ve been reading Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein. Dickstein’s book is filled with all sorts of Thoughts and Information on the 1930s. One example is an analysis of Depression-era films, specifically the Oscar-nominated musical, 42nd Street (1933). Here are Dickstein’s conclusions: Until [the end]…nothing… Continue reading The 42nd Street Cooperative

Comedy · Musical · Western

The Algonquin Table of the Old West

You would have a skewed view of life if you only watched musicals. For example, look at the recently-restored Rodgers and Hammerstein western-comedy musical, Oklahoma! (1955). This film is about a group of farmers and ranchers in turn-of-the-20th-century Oklahoma, who hold a box lunch social to raise money for the schoolhouse roof. This film makes it look like these… Continue reading The Algonquin Table of the Old West

Comedy · Musical

Guilty Pleasure: Beach Party (1963)

Please, no judging. Here is today’s confession: We are endlessly fascinated by the Frankie + Annette Beach Party movies. There were a handful of these movies made between 1963-66, each one worse than its predecessor – and that is saying something. These films, made by American International Pictures, were targeted to teenagers and include lots of music, dancing… Continue reading Guilty Pleasure: Beach Party (1963)

Comedy · Musical

The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide

We are of the opinion that a person should marry for love. But, for those who insist on finding a millionaire and marrying for money, may we recommend some valuable fashion advice? We ourselves had no idea what to wear when chasing millionaires until we saw the perfect Millionaire* Chasing Attire in the 1941 musical comedy Moon Over Miami.… Continue reading The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide

Comedy · Musical

A Mexican Revenge

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. We (as in, yours truly) are not very skilled in the “getting even” department, which is why we’re paying close attention to a 1935 comedy about Mexican folks getting even with American folks. In Caliente is a stylish 1930s musical comedy with dazzling choreography by Busby Berkeley. It stars the über-glam Dolores… Continue reading A Mexican Revenge

Comedy · Musical

The Infatuation Drug

Note: This post is part of the Build-Your-Own Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Film & TV Cafe. Today’s movie connects to Speakeasy’s My Darling Clementine via producer/writer Samuel G. Engel. Maybe young Pat Boone didn’t realize how brave he was. In the 1957 musical comedy Bernardine, the young singer plays a slick-talking but misguided lothario who dispenses… Continue reading The Infatuation Drug

Comedy · Musical · Western

Judy Garland’s Comedic Gifts

Judy Garland made everything look easy. She could sing and dance and make you believe she flew to an emerald city in a tornado. Combined with her dramatic talents, it’s easy to forget how funny she was. We marvelled at her comedic gifts when we screened The Harvey Girls (1946), a delightful musical-comedy Western. Garland plays a young woman travelling from… Continue reading Judy Garland’s Comedic Gifts

Musical

Don Ameche: An Ideal Husband

*SPOILER ALERT* Do you ever have the urge to grab a character’s shoulders, shake them thoroughly and shout, “Grab a brain, you moron!” We had that overwhelming desire when we screened the 1938 musical Alexander’s Ragtime Band. This film pretends to look at the rise of ragtime during the early twentieth century, but it’s really a thinly-woven… Continue reading Don Ameche: An Ideal Husband