25 March 2013

My Top 15 Favorite Musicals

Call me predictable. Call me sentimental. Call me self-opinionated. This list just had to come out sooner or later. If you do not like at least ONE of the musicals below, I'm seriously worried for you...

Hehe, no, of course you're allowed to despise this sort of expressive art and filmmaking. I myself find it a bit too tacky at times, if it isn't done well. 

And please don't shoot me for not mentioning a single Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film. Don't get me wrong, I've a huge respect and admiration for the guys, but when it comes to the songs or the singing, Fred and Ginger are a bit forgettable (sorry). And, to be honest, I'm much more into Gene's athletic, down-to-earth, sweatshirt and loafers-dancing kind of style. Not that he was a great singer either, but his personality and charm get me every time.

Nor have I mentioned any Julie Andrews or Barbra Streisand film, but they, on the other hand, sing rather than dance perfectly - and perhaps a bit too perfectly?

So, I guess, I'm a tough customer, sort of wanting the entire package... Then again, I love when song or dancing appears out of nowhere in non-musical films, like "Moonriver" in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) or "Meglio Stasera" in "The Pink Panther" (1964).

And I could easily mention the entire collection of Judy Garland's musicals. She IS my favorite female musical star and I love her dearly, but more for herself, her songs and her commitment to her roles than her films as a whole, if you know what I mean. Although, I've yet to see "A Star Is Born" which I definitely think will revert that opinion.

Enough with the excuses. Here's the list:

  1. Singin' In The Rain (1952)
  2. West Side Story (1961)
  3. The Pirate (1948)
  4. Cabaret (1972)
  5. An American in Paris (1951)
  6. Sweet Charity (1969)
  7. All That Jazz (1979)
  8. On the Town (1949)
  9. Grease (1978)
  10. Chicago (2002)
  11. Bugsy Malone (1976)
  12. Summer Stock (1950)
  13. Gigi (1958)
  14. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  15. James and the Giant Peach (1996)

And here's a clip from one of my favorites "Sweet Charity" (1969) by magic man Bob Fosse, with Shirley Maclaine in the lead role as the melancholy-fresh Charity. This particular scene where she sings "If They Could See Me Now" is magnificently made and makes me wanna jump and sing just like her! It also emphasizes musicals'  brilliant ability to blend realism with imagination into a very realistic piece of art, as in this case where it's very likely that Charity does run around singing and dancing of ecstasy and that the rest of it - the orchestra and spotlight - goes on inside of her head.

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