The musical is a theatrical and cinematic genre that others love, and others love to hate. It is a very old genre as it is a modern version of opera where music and theater are combined. Let’s remember some famous movie musicals:
Bob Fosse was a legend in the music and dance show. In 1972 he directed Cabaret, written by Jay Allen, with Liza Minnelli, singer and daughter of legendary musical director and connoisseur Vincente Minnelli and diva actress Judy Garland. The film also starred Michael York and Joel Gray. In 1966, the musical Cabaret by Kander and Ebb, a duo created by Cabaret and Chicago, aired on Broadway. The film was slightly based on this theatrical musical. It was nominated for ten Oscars, winning eight, but losing to Coppola’s The Godfather for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. To this day, Cabaret holds the record for most Oscars without winning the Best Picture award. Suppose you had made Free Bets on which picture would win the most Oscars you surely would have won. The Oscars were won by Minnelli, who made a sensation with her appearance, which still influences her style today, a style based on that of Louise Brooks, actress and dancer of the 20s and 30s.
It is set in interwar Berlin, in the Weimar period, shortly before Hitler came to power, but the power of the Nazi party has begun to grow. There he will meet a Cambridge student and meet a woman who works in the famous Kit-Kat. Fosse had already directed a film musical, Sweet Charity (1969) but had failed.
An American in Paris (1951)
MGM, the company with many stars, more than the sky, as it ambitiously boasted, screened in 1951 the American in Paris, directed by Vincente Minnelli about a World War II survivor who now lives in the aftermath of the war in Paris. His goal is to become a painter. At one point, he meets a woman who offers to help him. But he falls in love with another woman, Liz, a Frenchwoman. The film is based on an orchestral work by George Gershwin, the American in Paris, in 1928. The film stars the great Gene Kelly. Nominated for eight Oscars and won six, including Best Picture. It was a very influential musical for the genre, which also influenced La La Land (2016), mainly in terms of its ending.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The following year, Gene Kelly starred in another musical, only this time starring in one of the greatest musicals, Singing in the Rain. Directed and choreographed by Kelly himself and Stanley Donen, the film chronicles the transition from mute to talking cinema, a difficult time for mute actors whose audience has never heard them speak before. For history, the first talking film is The Jazz Singer (1927), which sounds like an attack at the end and can be considered in some way musical, so the first sound film belongs to this genre. In addition to Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O ‘Connor star. The songs are to music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed.
Mary Poppins (1964, 2018)
The first Mary Poppins, the original, directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, is about a nanny with magical powers who comes from the sky with her umbrella. Based on a book by Pamela Lyndon Travers. Julie Andrews starred as the British governess. This is her maiden appearance in the cinema, having already played in the theater. In fact, she had played in the play My Fair Lady, which in 1964 was also transferred to the cinema, but the producer, Jack Warner of Warner Bros. did not choose Andrews but preferred the already famous Audrey Hepburn. So Disney chose Andrews for Poppins, winning an acting Oscar and four other Oscars for the film in a total of 13 nominations. The music was by the Sherman brothers. In 2018, the musical expert Rob Mashall (Chicago, Nine, Into the Woods) made Mary Poppins Returns with Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Dick Van D**e who also starred in the first film, Angela Lansbury, as well as the excellent Meryl Streep who is quite enjoyable in her own musical number. Nominated for four Oscars. The music is by Marc Shaiman.
Grease is the musical that will always symbolize youth, adolescence, laziness, and carelessness, along with first loves, harpoons, and disappointments. Directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Bronte Woodard, the film tells the story of a high school student who meets Sandy on vacation. They part ways as autumn comes and school opens. Only she has now moved and will come to enroll – without knowing it – in his school, only to learn that the romantic – as she thought – Danny, is very different. In fact, he is not romantic, and he just transforms in front of their friends into a charmer who is not interested in women’s feelings, afraid to make his own. The film stars the star of the time John Travolta, who last year starred in the also successful Saturday Night Fever. His co-star is Olivia Newton-John. In 1971 the musical Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey was staged. In 1972 it went to Broadway and in 1973 to the West End. It was a huge success when it was made a film and became the most successful box office musical of all time, breaking the record for the Melody of Happiness (1965), Mamma Mia (2008) and Beauty and the Beast (2017). In 1982 it became a sequel, Grease 2, with other actors, the young Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield. The movie failed. It is currently preparing for the Paramount + TV series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, which will apparently focus on the school girls’ team that Sandy joined.
All That Jazz (1979)
All That Jazz, one of the greatest musicals of all time, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1980. The film, written by Robert Alan Aurthur and Fosse, relies heavily on autobiographical elements by Fosse, his personality, and his life as an actor, dancer, and choreographer. The film also stars Jessica Lange as an angel of death. The choreographer enters the hospital at some point, as does Fosse himself during that stressful period. The film was nominated for nine Oscars, of which it won four. The story of Fosse is also presented in the Fox series Fosse/Verdon with Sam Rockwell as Fosse and Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon.