Jun. 20, 2012 - Issue #870: Food Trucks
EFS Summer Series: Hollywood Musicals
Today, Hollywood's taking a desperate stab, with its metronome, at making musicals big again (Rock of Ages lets loose its '80s metal hair; Les Misèrables croons its woe come Christmas). But this summer, the Edmonton Film Society brings us back to when the musical was the soaring stand-by, the surefire box office draw. The sound of music was the sound of cash-registers ching-chinging. The genre was so big (especially for MGM) that it could easily afford self-referencing stories, many of them about showbiz life, stage couples and aging stars.
Fred Astaire's synonymous with big-screen song-and-dance. When he was five, his parents moved to New York City to launch his vaudeville act with his sister. Fred and Adele's long stage career together included the 1931 Broadway revue The Band Wagon, turned into a 1953 movie (June 25), starring Astaire, this time with Cyd Charisse, and directed by Vincente Minnelli (father of Liza). Astaire's last team-up with his most famous partner, Ginger Rogers, came in 1949's The Barkleys of Broadway (July 30). Their only colour film together, it follows a husband-wife musical-comedy team through their break-up and reconciliation. Rogers was the replacement for Judy Garland (suffering from addiction).
The year before, Garland had suffered a nervous breakdown and barely managed to finish filming the buccaneer toe-tapper The Pirate (August 7), directed by Minnelli and featuring Cole Porter songs. Her co-star was Gene Kelly (whose dance sequence with black performers was cut from the film in some Southern theatres). Another oceanic oratorio is the cruise-ship-set screwball-comedy Romance on the High Seas (July 16), which launched the career of Doris Day after director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) was hooked by her nervous, emotional audition.
My Sister Eileen (July 9), based on Ruth McKenney's short stories about two Ohio sisters in a Greenwich Village apartment, stars Jack Lemmon and Janet Leigh. The 1938 production Mad About Music (July 23) stars Deanna Durbin in a boarding school story. Steve Allen and Donna Reed offer up the life of the famous jazz and swing clarinetist in The Benny Goodman Story (Aug 13). And, in 1964, well after the musical's heyday, in flew that most famous nanny of all, Mary Poppins (Aug 20), bringing with her the film debut of Julie Andrews.
Mondays, Jun 25 – Aug 27 (8 pm)
Royal Alberta Museum, $6
Full schedule available at royalalbertamuseum.ca/events/movies/movies.cfm
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