Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top 5 classic musicals on DVD

List by Annie

"They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But man, there's no boundary line to art."
- Charlie Parker

Thanks to my mum, I have an ingrained love of classic musicals. Thanks to my dad, I also laugh at them.

These are my favourite musicals I could re-watch again and again. And can sing many of the songs.

Honourable mentions:
  • Darby O'Gill and the little people [DVD videorecording] / directed by Robert. An old storyteller falls into a well and meets a group of leprechauns. The leprechauns give him three wishes to get his life together - YouTube link: This has a signing Sean Connery!
  • Paint your wagon [DVD videorecording] / directed by Joshua Logan. The story of a goldmining boom town centering on the work-and-play partnership of two miners and the wife they share - YouTube link: Lee Marvin AND Clint Eastwood singing...
  • Seven brides for seven brothers [DVD videorecording] / directed by Stanley Donen. Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly to marry him that same day. They return to his backwoods home. Only then does she discover he has six brothers -- all living in his cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness . . . kidnap the women they want! - YouTube link: The barn dance is amazing!




  • High society [DVD videorecording] / screen play by John Patrick ; directed by Charles Walters ; music and lyrics by Cole Porter
    A sophisticated comedy with music. Preparations for the wedding of a headstrong society divorcee to a priggish self-made man are interrupted on the eve of the ceremony by the bride's easy going ex-husband and a debonair reporter from a gossip magazine. Setting: Newport, R.I. Starring Bing Crosby ; Grace Kelly ; Frank Sinatra ; Celeste Holm ; John Lund ; Louis Calhern ; Sidney Blackmer ; Louis Armstrong and his band. Originally produced as a motion picture in 1956. Rated G - suitable for general audiences.

    Annie's comment: I adore Celeste Holm, and she shines in this one – her duet with Frank Sinatra ‘Who wants to a millionaire’ is so much fun. But it – just, barely – is overshadowed by Frank’s duet with Bing Crosby 'Well, Did You Evah!' Shame about Grace Kelly.

    YouTube links:
  • Who wants to be a millionaire
  • Did you evah


  • Funny face [DVD videorecording] / written by Leonard Gershe ; music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin; directed by Stanley Donen
    A Cinderella story about an inconspicuous salesgirl who is whisked off to Paris by a group of fashion magazine sophisticates and transformed into a dazzling model with whom the magazine's photographer falls in love. Starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michael Auclair, Robert Flemyng. Originally released as a motion picture in 1956. Rated G - suitable for general audiences.

    Annie's comment: Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Ok, it’s not the most obvious romantic couple. But it’s fun. And Audrey’s clothes are drool-worthy. And their antics in the very left-bank nightclub are great. And it’s really Audrey’s voice singing!

    YouTube links:
  • Audrey’s bohemian dance number


  • My fair lady [DVD videorecording] / produced by Jack L. Warner, directed by George Cukor
    Henry Higgins, a phoneticist and linguist , wagers that under his tutelage, cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, can pass for a duchess at the Embassy Ball. Starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway. Originally a motion picture in 1964. Rated G - suitable for general audiences.

    Annie's comment: Any movie that has the extremely elegantly dressed Audrey Hepburn say ‘C'mon Dover, move your bloomin' arse!’ has got to rate up there. Shame that they dubbed over Audrey’s voice.

    YouTube links:
  • Ascot gavotte


  • Singin' in the rain [DVD videorecording] / directed by Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen ; story and screenplay by Adolph Green, Betty Comden
    A joyous combination of music dancing and comedy that recalls the early "talkies". Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds. Originally released a motion picture in 1952. Rated G - suitable for general audiences.

    Annie's comment: Much heart for this one. Although I’m very fond of the routine – there are a couple more I love more – it’s that Donald O’Connor slapstick that gets me each time. And Debbie Reynolds is a love.

    Many years ago my closest sister had just moved back home with her kids after leaving an abusive relationship. So, we rallied around, as families do, and spent a lot of time with the three of them - being with them, and doing stuff. One of our 'doing stuff' expeditions was to the Museum. We were the only ones in Centennial Street - now called Auckland 1866 - and there's a lamppost - you can see it really well in the photo on their website. It was so tempting. My sister and I, who normally wouldn't dream of doing anything vaguely public-notice-making, swung around that lamppost, singing 'Singing in the rain' (much to the embarrassment of my 8-year-old niece, the one who now performs publicly in bands and live poetry readings). Then someone else came in, and we stopped.

    But I will treasure that memory - and the freedom and joy expressed. Thanks, Gene Kelly.


    YouTube links:
  • Good morning
  • Make them laugh


  • Some like it hot [DVD videorecording] / screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond ; directed by Billy Wilder
    Two unemployed musicians accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Massacre and flee to Miami disguised as members of an all-girl band. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis. Originally released as a motion picture in 1959. Rated PG - parental guidance recommended for younger viewers. Note: Contains sexual references.

    Annie's comment: In case you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard of this one, brief summary about why this is number 1:
  • Jack Lemmon
  • Tony Curtis
  • Marilyn Monroe (BTW how does she stay inside those dresses?!)
  • Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag
  • Fabulous final scene!


  • YouTube links:
  • Running wild
  • 2 comments:

    Ra Mill said...

    My fair lady is great. This DVD sat on my shelf a long time waiting to be watched - I never had the inclination to sit through 165 minutes (2 hours 45 mins!) of a musical I had seen rather too often at Christmas when younger. Well, I eventually did, and am I glad I did!

    Rita said...

    I have almost all the collection of these DVD sets at my disposal. I have seen My fair lady many times in diffrent languages.