Sunday, 19 January 2014

Saying it with song (and dance)

For reasons that are not entirely clear, we are having a musical January. It all kicked off with White Christmas over the holidays, followed by Grease, The Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain and Hairspray.

And it doesn't look like it will be letting up any time soon. An American in Paris and West Side Story are in my sights now, and then there is the Bollywood backlist to consider. So why musicals and why now?

Perhaps it is a way of extending the xmas sparkle into the New Year with films that truly kick ass in the way they tell a story. I have always loved musicals, particularly musicals with great dancing, for their ability to transcend a straightforward narrative in the most powerful and emotive way. Music and dance in a film are like a different language, they convey an idea, emotion or sensibility in a way that dialogue cannot. And they are fun.....

What's not to like? Why then are there not more of them? The few recent musicals I can think of --with they exception of Baz Lurman's Moulin Rouge-- are all celluloid versions of musical stage plays. Where are the new, original musical films? Why is this form acceptable in the theatre, but so rare in western cinema?

At the very least, it would make a terrific break from the tedium of the war-without-end blockbusters....


  1. Hi Katherine,

    After watching West side Story Clip I plan to talk to Helen and see about getting the DVD at the Library. Great clip....

    Helen and I saw LES MISÉRABLES in the at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto on the weekend. Last year we saw the movie.

    Loved them both...but the theatre was better because the two male leads could sing.

    Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman are good actors but it was a stretch to have them play the lead male roles in the film.

    RAMIN KARIMLOO as Jean Valjean and EARL CARPENTER as Javert were much better.


    1. If you have never seen West Side Story then, yes, you should go out to your nearest DVD distributor and hire this immediately. A fantastic movie. In fact we have it on our Love Film list to watch this weekend. We could do an almost simultaneous viewing!

      I loved Les Mis the movie.I though Hugh Jackman had a fine voice but agree about Russell Crowe --bleh. They should have done as they do in Indian cinema --get someone else in to do the singing and he could lip sync. Same goes for virtually everyone in Mamma Mia. But for reasons that allude me, this is a big bad no no in American cinema. You must do your own singing.

      Ironically, the last person to challenge that was Natalie Wood, who lip synced to Marni Nixon in --you guessed it-- West Side Story and was vilified for it.

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