I survived the Lonely Heart’s Club of Valentine’s Day not eating a box of chocolate covered cherries, which is my usual modus operandi, but on a date with a full-figured friend. The Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Musicals (released Feb. 12) kept me awake long into the night as I ravenously consumed Broadway melodies, Vegas showgirls and more than my fair share of Judy Garland.
The collection spans more than 60 years of movie musical history from “The Jazz Singer” (1929) to the original film version of “Hairspray”(1988). My favorite highlights include:
“Broadway Melody of 1929”
Representing the beginning of the art form, the film won the 1928-29 Academy Award for Outstanding Picture. The “All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!” hit raked in $4 million at the box office – 35 cents at a time.
“An American in Paris”
Who could resist Gene Kelly as an ex-GI who loves Paris along with Vincent Minnelli’s lush direction? The closing ballet clinched six Oscars for the film and had me pirouetting in my living room.
Take the leap for two more picks and clips!
Willkommen! Liza Minnelli’s performance was perhaps not quite as garish or strung out as Christopher Isherwood’s original description of Sally Bowles, which eventually became the inspiration for the play “I Am a Camera” and subsequent musical adaptation. It is a star turn, though, and just as captivating today as it must have been during its original 1972 release.
“Little Shop of Horrors”
Once I became too old to pretend I was Little Orphan Annie (with a red terrycloth towel wrapped around my head), Seymour became my next go-to inspiration. The nebbish shop clerk with a knack for horticulture hit the big screen in 1986 and while the film feels a bit technologically dated, Ellen Greene’s stage role reprisal as Audrey is heartfelt.