One of my favorite movie musicals of all time (although this isn’t my favorite song in it). Thanks. I think I’ll have to pop in the DVD tonight! Incidentally, I don’t think Donald O’Connor ever got enough credit for his dancing skills.
The title song is excellent, but has been overdone to death. “Good Morning” is nice, but there is something about it…I know what it is: I didn’t like the girl all that much…She’s just too nice and good and wholesome and all that…:-)
That’s a tough one; I’m a big fan of musicals generally (being a musician myself). I’ll have to give it some thought and get back to you. Do I have to limit myself to movie musicals, or can I consider stage versions?
How can you say bad things about Debbie Reynolds? Have you gone over to the Dark Side? The poor girl was only 19 when she made that movie. I think she held her own against all those established stars very well.
“My Fair Lady” is OK, but it’s not near the top of my list (although I think it’s at the top of my wife’s). The music is good, but I’m not all that wild about the story line. Professor Higgins is really not a very likeable character, and Eliza is too foolish for my taste.
“Singing in the Rain” has an unfair advantage over all others because it was made directly as a movie, not as a stage play. They had the entire Arthur Freed oeuvre to choose from (he was a very successful Tin Pan Alley songwriter before becoming a movie producer), and Comden and Green took the best ones and wove a story around them. So for this reason I think it’s probably the most “perfect” movie musical ever made (if such a thing is possible) and is probably my No.1 choice.
That said, there are so many others worth consideration. “Chicago” is a powerful story with much great music (there are a number of songs in the stage version which didn’t make it to the movie, but the movie is terrific on its own and the three main actors are remarkably [and unexpectedly] proficient singers and dancers). “Little Shop of Horrors” (!!!) probably doesn’t make too many people’s lists, but it’s high on mine because of the wonderful 50’s-style music (“Somewhere That’s Green” is gorgeous, and the clever staging adds an unexpected degree of pathos to Ellen Greene’s simple delivery) and subtle tongue-in-cheek acting. “Gigi” has good music, and the sumptuous setting of fin-de-siecle Paris is delightful (and Maurice Chevalier is a joy), but I think it works much better on the stage (some good numbers were cut for the movie, and one very weak one was added just to give Leslie Caron something to sing). “Hello Dolly” is also great (music and sets), and I’ll watch it any time it’s on, but I can’t forgive the horrendous mis-casting of Walter Matthau as the male lead. (Barbra Streisand was really too young for the female lead, but she carried it off superbly.) (BTW, did you know that Gene Kelly directed it? It was his only large-scale directing job. Great athletic choreography, as you’d expect.)
But of all the stage-to-movie adaptations I think my absolute favorite is “The Music Man”. There’s not a bad song in the bunch; the story line provides a pleasant and more-than-adequate thread upon which to hang them; the characters are uniformly appealing; and there’s no true villain to be found anywhere. Robert Preston is probably a little too old as Harold Hill, but can you really imagine anyone else in that role? I can’t; he owns those patter songs (although Matthew Broderick did a surprisingly good version in the 2003 TV remake). Happy and fun, with great music and dancing; in the end, that’s what I want in a musical.
Thus endeth the lecture. Sorry for the length; I got carried away.