Posts Tagged ‘Singin’ in the Rain’
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Screenwriter: Michel Hazanavicius
Length: 1 hour 40 minutes
Synopsis:It’s 1927 and George Valentin (Dujardin) is a Hollywood silent film actor at the height of his career. At the premiere of his newest film, he bumps into a young, aspiring actress named Peppy Miller (Bejo) and poses for pictures with her. They meet again when she appears as an extra in his next film and he encourages the studio-head, Al Zimmer (Goodman), to use her in more films. Zimmer soon decides to exclusively produce sound films and chooses Peppy as one of his new stars. He offers George the chance to transition as well, but George rejects the new technology and strikes off on his own to make his own great silent. When George’s film fails and the stock market crash leaves him broke, he is forced to face the reality that his career is over. Peppy, on the other hand, becomes a great star and though their lives are on divergent paths, she and George still feel a connection. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a question that’s plagued me for a while now: whatever happened to big Hollywood movie musicals? Movie genres typically go through cycles of popularity and I think we’re due for another round of flashy, dance-filled musicals.
Musicals have been a long-enduring genre since the early days of film. In fact, the very first sound film was a musical—1927’s The Jazz Singer. When it became a runaway success, studios rushed to create more musicals, some of which became the beginnings of a series. Warner Brothers’ triumph with The Gold Diggers of Broadway led to The Gold Diggers of 1933, which became one of the most celebrated musicals of all time thanks in large part to Busby Berkeley’s intricate choreography. RKO Radio Pictures first paired dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers—who danced together in nine films—in 1933 in Flying Down to Rio, creating arguably the most famous dancing couple in film history. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released The Broadway Melody in 1929, which not only started a series but also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. As time went on, production companies made more and more musicals until the genre reached its greatest popularity in the 1940’s and ‘50s.
Though many studios made musicals during that time, MGM arguably became the company most associated with producing expensive, opulent and immensely successful musicals. They produced Easter Parade, Summer Stock, An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Guys and Dolls, as well as numerous others. Those films were a mixture of song and dance and while they weren’t exactly realistic, they were always entertaining. MGM musicals have always been my favorites and when I think of the kind of musicals I’d love to see now, I imagine huge productions with the same glamour and spectacle as MGM’s greatest musicals. I’m talking musicals with big, expensive set pieces and extended dance sequences with dancers wearing costumes of every conceivable color. I’m talking great songs that not only convey exactly what the character feels, but are also catchy and make the audience want to sing along.
Much has been made about James Cameron’s newest cinematic juggernaut Avatar. With the film’s production said to exceed a record-setting $400 million, it has made back roughly 75% of that cost just 5 days after its release (domestic + foreign). The vast majority of that price tag is due to the groundbreaking special effects and 3D presentation (as I’m sure you’ve all heard), which required the kind of technology and personnel that only the likes of a Hollywood studio can provide. Many like to deride Hollywood because of its “gross” financing for projects intended for mass consumption, however on occasion (such as with Avatar) we are reminded that Hollywood is capable of delivering us something truly striking and amazing. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is another example that can be referenced from this decade. Big name studios love cashing in on such films, and audiences love paying to see them. When done right (unlike with, say, Waterworld) big budget extravaganzas have the ability, and by all accounts likelihood, to be very notable and even pivotal artifacts within the world of movies. So, then, what could all of this mean? What could the tremendous success of Avatar lead to? Read the rest of this entry »