5 items from 2017
How did a film like Cover Girl slip away? When it was shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2012, it was considered something of a discovery, with Robert Osborne frequently singling it out in pre-festival interviews and publicity as a must-see, which makes me feel a little better about having not heard of it at all before seeing it a few months prior at the New Beverly. But the film was immensely popular in its day. Its success instantly pulled Gene Kelly out of limbo at MGM, where he’d been assigned to a series of B-movies and rarely allowed to dance his own choreography, when he was even allowed to dance at all.
Columbia Pictures was not interested in placing such limitations on him. The film’s producer, composer Arthur Schwartz, must have known how lucky they were, because they gave Kelly immense control over its production, especially his dance numbers. »
- Scott Nye
What Are You Watching? is a weekly space for The A.V Club’s film critics and readers to share their thoughts, observations, and opinions on movies new and old.
Vincente Minnelli’s famous musicals—among them Meet Me In St. Louis and An American In Paris—tend to eclipse his 1948 Technicolor flop The Pirate, one of his richest and strangest works. One of his kinkiest, too. Minnelli himself considered it a surrealist film. Judy Garland, to whom he was married at the time, plays Manuela, a virginal orphan who has been arranged to marry the middle-aged Don Pedro (Walter Slezak) but fantasizes about being kidnapped and ravished by the legendary murderous pirate Macoco. Gene Kelly plays Serafin, a horny, vain actor who gets the hots for Manuela, learns of her unladylike desires by way of a hypnosis-induced song-and-dance number, and proceeds to masquerade as the infamous criminal by ...
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Apparently, no one’s sick of talking about La La Land yet, as more behind-the-scenes pieces, homages, and takeoffs keep pouring in as we get closer to the movie’s likely Oscar sweep. Most know that the film itself is an homage to classic Hollywood musicals. But in a new short video, Frame By Frame has examined its tie to one director in particular: Vincente Minnelli (a.k.a. Liza’s dad and Judy Garland’s second husband). Minnelli helmed musicals in the golden MGM era like Meet Me In St. Louis, An American In Paris, and Gigi. Frame By Frame’s film theorists point out Damien Chazelle used many of Minnelli’s specific techniques—like long tracking shots, surrealism, even the bold use of color—which helped La La Land stand out just as much as Gigi.
It’s a granular, educational examination for musical buffs, although the “stolen »
- Gwen Ihnat
The rap on musicals used to be “audiences don’t want to see people breaking into song.” Now that “La La Land” has charmed audiences by doing just that, what does it mean for the future of live-action screen musicals?
“Whatever musicals come next will have to be good. That’s the test,” says Justin Paul, one of the Oscar-nominated lyricists for “La La Land.” “I have to believe that other studios, other producers, would only be encouraged by the impact of ‘La La Land,’ both critically and at the box office.”
Adds fellow “La La Land” lyricist Benj Pasek: “We feel like our generation has been so primed for musical content. We grew up with the resurgence of Disney animation and all that followed from that. In hindsight, it makes sense that people would be receptive; so many of us grew up with our first stories being told through song. »
- Jon Burlingame
By her side throughout the young star’s life were her five husbands, who each witnessed her struggle with her inner demons.
Sadly, love couldn’t save Garland, who died in 1969 from a barbiturate overdose. She was 47.
Here, the stories behind her marriages and the men in Garland’s life.
David Rose (1941–1944)
David Rose was already a successful composer and orchestra leader when he first met Garland »
- Dave Quinn
5 items from 2017
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