Tuesday, August 26, 2008

World's Best Musical and Concert Films

  • A Coal Miner's Daughter
  • A Hard Days Night
  • All that Jazz
  • An American in Paris
  • Amadeus
  • Black Orpheus (France/Portugal)
  • Bride and Prejudice (India)
  • Carmen (Spain, flamenco version)
  • Chicago
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • The King and I
  • The Music Man
  • My Fair Lady
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • West Side Story
Concert Films
  • The Cranberries: Live
  • Dead Can Dance: Toward the Within
  • Jimi Hendrix (documentary)
  • The Last Waltz
  • Led Zeppelin (2 dvd, live history)
  • Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live
  • Pat Metheny: Speaking of Now: Live (easily the world's best guitarist!)
  • Police: Synchronicity Concert
  • Stop Making Sense
  • The TAMI Show
  • Woodstock (documentary)
Runners-up: Cabaret, Dames, Damn Yankees, The Gay Divorcee, Golddiggers of 1933, Swing Time, Oliver! [Updated after seeing West Side and Music Man in widescreen! It makes ALL the difference, seeing the director's intended view.. they oughtta outlaw fullscreen in Hollywood] Most musicals are vastly overrated, some are downright unwatchable (anyone get through Tommy or Superstar without brain damage?). In Oklahoma they resorted to spelling out the state's name, now that's a lack of lyrical ingenuity. Sad that Marni Nixon sang in My Fair Lady, The King and I, and West Side Story and got NO billing credit at all! The best classic Broadway style musical for me is My Fair Lady. Incredible lyrics, so good that Rex Harrison didn't even have to be able to sing to win an Oscar and a Tony. Based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, it had a solid artistic foundation to begin with. Of course, the ripoff in the movie is that Julie Andrews, who made the stage role what it was, was passed over for Audrey Hepburn (Marnie Nixon had to dub her singing), everyone's box office darling; Andrews won the Oscar that year anyway for Mary Poppins. Listen to the original cast recording on CD to hear the difference with Andrews! Dames (34), not a great film, but is a great example of the insanity of early Busby Berkley; he's responsible for the musical numbers, original choreography, and inventiveness: neon violins played by dancers in the dark, all forming one giant violin; dancers forming a giant eyeball and a singer rising from the iris ("I Only Have Eyes for You"); floor cams sliding throught the spread legs of 100 grinning dancers; naked dancers bathing silhouetted behind shower curtains; the giant Carmen Miranda fruit hat - Busby was tripping 40 yrs before anyone else, and everyone else pales in comparison! Amadeus is of course, the play about the life and music of Mozart, not a classic musical but still full of music (maybe "too many notes", inside joke). Best Picture Oscars went to Amadeus, Chicago, and My Fair Lady. This Carmen, of the 18 or so, is Carlos Suare's flamenco version, where a dance troup is rehearsing for a flamenco performance of Bizet's Carmen and two dancers lives begin to mirror the story. This is easily the best dance film ever made. Bollywood's Bride and Prejudice is a total trip - who else could have thought of a musical comedy of Austen's Pride and Prejudice? The gigantic dance number with the women teasing the men is worth the price of admission alone (but lose the ballads); throw in world-class beauty Aishayra Rai and you're in nirvana! TAMI (for Teenage Awards for Music International) was an early concert film (from 66?) that had James Brown, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, many others, and kind of set the precedent for modern concert films.

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