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MGM-o-rama!

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Moraldo Rubini
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MGM-o-rama!

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 19th, 2007, 6:51 pm

The upcoming (July 24 release) MGM Musicals set looks like it might have some swell supplemental material. This seven-disc(!) set will include audio commentaries by John Fricke and Richard Barrios, the Stanley Donan Private Screening, a new BBC documentary on Mario Lanza, audio outtakes, Fitzgerald Travelogues, Pete Smith Specialties, an outtakes and/or alternate takes from That Midnight Kiss, Royal Wedding and Belles on their Toes. I would rather have had Yolanda and the Thief, rather than That's Dancing, but perhaps that's quibbling...

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Postby sugarpuss » June 20th, 2007, 1:23 pm

I would have rather had "Yolanda and the Thief" as well. I love that movie. Actually, I love anything with Fred Astaire in it. He's the only reason I keep sitting through "The Towering Inferno" everytime I see it on tv and nothing better is on.

I'm not springing for the whole box set because I don't think I'd really re-watch the Lanza/Grayson musicals more than once, but I'm getting the single disc of "Royal Wedding"/"The Belle of New York". I've never seen the latter and it's about time "Royal Wedding" gets a decent dvd treatment!
"Some of the best parts of life are frivolous." - Arthur Kennedy in A Summer Place
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Moraldo Rubini
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Foiled again!

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 21st, 2007, 7:27 pm

I was just "tricked" into buying the entire Lucille Ball set. I definitely wanted The Big Street, Dance Girl, Dance and DuBarry Was a Lady and definitely did not want Critic's Choice and Mame. So I went to the cashier (at Virgin Megastore) and asked if they were sold separately. He said that The Big Street wasn't sold individually. So I bought the whole set. The following day I took my copy of Critic's Choice to Amoeba to sell it in exchange for Pigskin Parade. When I arrived I saw they had all of the Ball movies sold separately. I guess in the end I got the better deal though...

Looks like a musical summer for me with Pigskin Parade, DuBarry Was a Lady and the upcoming Esther Williams and MGM collections next month!

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"Oh, my God. Somebody's been sleeping in my dress."

Postby benwhowell » June 22nd, 2007, 12:31 pm

Marco, you still have a Virgin Megastore? Las Vegas had one (in the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops,) but it closed. Honestly, I don't really miss it. I DO miss Tower Records. I keep waiting for Hasting's to come to Vegas. The closest ones are in Bullhead City, AZ (across the river from Laughlin, NV) and Lake Havasu City, AZ (home of the original London Bridge.)
I'm waiting for Ikea too!
Am I the only person who likes "Mame?" It doesn't fail to "coax the blues right out of my heart." Worth it for Bea Arthur alone!
Of course, I like "At Long Last Love" too.

jdb1

Re: "Oh, my God. Somebody's been sleeping in my dress.&

Postby jdb1 » June 22nd, 2007, 12:39 pm

benwhowell wrote:Am I the only person who likes "Mame?" It doesn't fail to "coax the blues right out of my heart." Worth it for Bea Arthur alone!
Of course, I like "At Long Last Love" too.


No, Ben, you are not the only one who likes Lucy in "Mame." I think she's just fine and I don't understand why so many think she was "miscast." I think Lucy conveys a lot more of the spirit of a warm and earthy eccentric than the Broadway one -- you know who I mean. I have never felt anything approximating warmth from that one.

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Postby benwhowell » June 22nd, 2007, 1:40 pm

Great point, Judith. And it's no secret that Lucy was tops at physical comedy-something this role required(?) Plus she looked fabulous!

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Moraldo Rubini
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Mame's Gams Maimed

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 22nd, 2007, 7:01 pm

And it's no secret that Lucy was tops at physical comedy-something this role required(?)


Until she broke her leg and couldn't dance for the rest of the pic. Lucy herself always admitted that she could neither sing nor dance. "I was a showgirl." Sigh. I didn't sell that one back [yet] though.

Who had the lower voice? Later Lucy or Bea Arthur?

Yup, we still have a Virgin Megastore in San Francisco. Slowly, but surely the cd/DVD stock makes way for t-shirts, electronics, anything but aural/visual pleasures.

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Postby knitwit45 » June 22nd, 2007, 7:14 pm

No, Ben, you are not the only one who likes Lucy in "Mame." I think she's just fine and I don't understand why so many think she was "miscast." I think Lucy conveys a lot more of the spirit of a warm and earthy eccentric than the Broadway one -- you know who I mean. I have never felt anything approximating warmth from that one.


I remember reading somewhere that Ms. Ball hated the role and said she would rather be "somewhere with her back broken"...Hey, Mongo, have you heard this, also? It really surprised me, because I thought she was so good in the role. And who was the "Broadway One"? We folks out here in the land of Oz don't always keep up with New York news.

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Moraldo Rubini
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Mrs. Potts

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 23rd, 2007, 10:50 am

'Twas Angela Lansbury who created the role on Broadway... I've read that Madeleine Kahn was originially cast to play Agnes Gooch, but Lucille Ball nixed her. Jane Connell was brought from the Broadway version (though I'll always remember her from a one-summer replacement show call Mr. Mayor, brought to us kids by the Captain Kangaroo people).

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Yolanda and the Thief

Postby Moraldo Rubini » July 22nd, 2007, 5:45 pm

sugarpuss wrote:I would have rather had Yolanda and the Thief as well. I love that movie. Actually, I love anything with Fred Astaire in it. ...

I discovered (just in the knick of time) that Yolanda and the Thief will be playing at the Standford Theatre in Palo Alto, California, August 2 and 3. I'll be there. Also hope to catch the Midnight and Swing Time double-bill this Saturday. Big screen = big joy.

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Moraldo Rubini
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Words and Music

Postby Moraldo Rubini » July 30th, 2007, 1:12 am

I just finished Words and Music from Volume 2 of the MGM Musicals set. What a hodge-podge! I'd actually first seen this movie in a revival at a local picture house when I was a child. I remember being dazzled by the Mickey & Judy number; they seemed so sophisticated, I couldn't wait to grow up and host similar parties.

So many details caught me:

1) the odd introduction that Tom Drake gives us. Who is that man in the background and what was he doing? Very odd.
2) That gorgeous close-up of Ann Sothern with the key light zeroed in on her nose.
3) The fact that the story spans a couple of decades, yet everyone is dressed in 1948 couture, with hairstyles to go along with the contemporary look.
4) The embarrassment of riches in the musical numbers. Lena Horne is luscious; Ann Sothern is glam; Judy brings down the house; Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen almost make us ignore the seductive charm of Rodgers' "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" melodies.
5) The scene where Tom Drake goes to see Camille with Garbo and Taylor -- and it's silent! Surely this was even odd for 1948 audiences?
6) I've decided that I'd like Cyd Charisse to dance around my apartment each day, just to perk up the place.
7) Mickey's role as Hart is sooo serious and tragic, I wonder if he secretly hoped for an Oscar nomination...
8 ) SPOILER: At Hart's memorial, Rodgers has an unnecessary flashback remembering all the songs they've rewritten together and they show "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" -- the ballet with no words by Hart.
9) How cool to see Lennie Hayton conducting the MGM orchestra, and to finally be able to see the MGM Chorus that we hear in almost every movie from the studio -- musical, comedy or drama. Great to see the soundstage where recordings took place.
10) Perry Como plays Eddie Anders; yet in the finale Gene Kelly announces that Hart's memorial tribute will be sung by "Perry Como"! Were Eddie and Perry supposed to be "twins"?!

Which brings me to the Perry Como scandal. Supposely Como wanted out of his MGM contract, and Mayer wouldn't do it. So when Como attended Mayer's birthday party, he sang "Happy Birthday" to the MGM leader, and sang an obscene version. Mayer was infuriated and Como was released from his contract. Anyone know what he actually sang?

I was surprised at how wooden Como seems on screen. He's so handsome, possesses that beautiful warm-toned voice; yet refuses to come alive on camera. I don't think he smiled once. He's almost a male version of Virgina O'Brien.

The narrative scenes are pretty deadly; the musical numbers are grand.

The audio commentary on this one is fun, if somewhat repetitive. I loved learning that the woman who plays Larry Hart's mother (Jeanette Nolan) was the woman who provided the voice for Norman Bates' mother in Psycho. At one point he mentions that the singing voice for Tom Drake is the same fellow who dubbed for John Kerr in South Pacific and Christopher Plummer in Sound of Music, but he neglects to give Bill Lee's name.

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MGM Musicals Volume 2

Postby Moraldo Rubini » July 31st, 2007, 1:52 pm

As much as I'm enjoying this second volume of MGM musicals, I'm disappointed that they didn't take the opportunity of including Jane Powell (Royal Wedding), Mickey Rooney and Cyd Charisse (Words and Music) for the audio commentaries. These living treasure won't be with us for long to tell us about their experiences with these movies. What a shame we didn't get more of their oral histories with this set...


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