Ten Favorite Movie Musicals

Below is a list of my ten favorite movie musicals (seven of them are period pieces) . . . so far: 

TOP TEN FAVORITE MOVIE MUSICALS

1. “Mary Poppins” (1964) – Oscar winner Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke starred in Walt Disney’s Oscar winning adaptation of P.L. Travers’ literary series about a magical English nanny. Robert Stevenson directed.

2. “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) – Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds starred in this musical classic about Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies. Kelly co-directed with Stanley Donen.

3. “Hello Dolly!” (1969) – Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau starred in this colorful adaptation of David Merrick’s 1964 Broadway hit musical about a matchmaker in late 19th century New York. Gene Kelly directed.

4. “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971) – Angela Landsbury and David Tomlinson starred in this entertaining adaptation of Mary Norton’s novels about a woman studying to become a witch, who takes in three London children evacuated to the country during World War II. Robert Stevenson directed.

5. “Grease” (1978) – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-Johns starred in this adaptation of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s 1971 Broadway play about the lives of high-school students during their senior year in the late 1950s. Randal Kleiser directed.

6. “42nd Street” (1933) – Lloyd Bacon directed this musical about the preparation of a Broadway musical during the Great Depression. Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, Ruby Keeler and George Brent starred.

7. “Dreamgirls” (2006) – Bill Condon wrote and directed this adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical about the travails of a female singing group from Detroit during the 1960s and 1970s. Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Oscar nominee Eddie Murphy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson starred.

8. “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1967) – Robert Morse starred in this hilarious adaptation of the 1961 Broadway musical about an ambitious New York window washer using a “how-to” book to rise up the corporate ladder of a wicket company. David Swift wrote and directed the film.

9. “1776” (1972) – William Daniels, Howard Da Silva and Ken Howard starred in this entertaining adaptation of the 1969 Broadway musical about the creation and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Peter H. Hunt directed.

10. “The Gay Divorcee” (1934) – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers starred in this adaptation of the 1932 Broadway musical, “The Gay Divorce” about an American woman who mistakes a song-and-dance man as the professional correspondent, who had been hired to help her get a divorce. Mark Sandrich directed.

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“SYLVIA” (2003) Review

 

“SYLVIA” (2003) Review

I finally watched SYLVIA on DVD. After all I have heard about the movie, I had expected to be disappointed by it. To be truthful, I found it quite interesting biopic that was especially enhanced by the leads’ performances. But . . .“SYLVIA” was not a perfect film.

The movie’s revelation of the Plath/Hughes courtship, followed by their marriage was very interesting and rather intense. I suspect that many had expected it to take sides in the Plath/Hughes breakup. To its credit, the movie avoided this route. There were no heroes/heroines and villains/villainesses in their marriage . . . just two people who failed to create a successful marriage. In fact, it presented the possibility that both Plath and Hughes had contributed their breakup.

To be honest, I think that Gwenyth Paltrow and Daniel Craig’s performances as Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes had more to do with the movie’s successes than the director, Christine Jeffs or the screenwriter, John Brownlow. Also, both Jared Harris as Al Alvarez and Blythe Danner as Aurelia Plath, gave able support. But it is obvious that this movie belonged to Paltrow and Craig, who brought the intensity of the Plath/Hughes marriage with an honesty and rawness that I sometimes found hard to bear.

But even those two were almost not able to save the movie’s last half hour from sinking into an abyss of unrelenting boredom. I suspect that Jeffs and Brownlow wanted to give the audience an in-depth look into Plath’s emotional descent into suicide, following the break-up of her marriage to Ted Hughes. But I wish they could have paced the movie a little better than what had ended in the movie theaters. Thanks to the last 20 to 30 minutes that seemed to drag the movie’s second half.

Despite the last half hour, I would still recommend “SYLVIA”. In the end, it turned out to be a pretty interesting look into the marriage of the two famous poets. I give it 7 out of 10 stars.