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Alvy

Greatest Musicals

What's YOUR favorite (movie) musical?  

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Channel Four (UK) are at it again with their Top 100 lists (with six hours of movie clips, combined with crass interviews with second-league celebrities talking out their backsides, the uniquely Channel Four "Top 100" genre is the ultimate in cheap, yet successful, programming) this time looking for the greatest musical of all time, as voted for by the British public.

Their top ten:

10. Moulin Rouge

9. Oliver!

8. Chicago

7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

6. Singin' In The Rain

5. Mary Poppins

4. West Side Story

3. The Wizard Of Oz

2. The Sound Of Music

1.
Grease

Comments?

The entire Top 100 can be found HERE.


Drop by The Grace Pages, a rest-stop for fellow pilgrims.

-- Dave aka Alvy

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Stupid. Grease is just plain mediocre. The music doesn't even evoke the period properly -- the 70s vibe is too obvious.

I'm not surprised at the high placement of The Sound of Music, one of the most popular, but not necessarily one of the best, musicals of all time.

The Wizard of Oz belongs on the list, true enough -- practically every song is classic -- though for some reason it doesn't come to mind when I think of great movie musicals. And of course the only surprise about Singin' in the Rain is how comparatively low it placed.

I'm surprised not to see any Gilbert & Sullivan (operettas don't count?), and while I'm no Rodgers & Hammerstein fan, I would expect to see at least one of theirs make the list (Oklahoma anyone?).

I know this will make Peter happy: Any list of great musicals that doesn't include Fiddler on the Roof is automatically seriously suspect in my book. smile.gif


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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The ones you mentioned are there in the Top 100 somewhere.

I agree about Grease. Though I used to watch it regularly when I was a kid, I have avoided it like the plague in recent years.

Btw, Sound of Music is Rogers and Hammerstein.


Drop by The Grace Pages, a rest-stop for fellow pilgrims.

-- Dave aka Alvy

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Out of the options above, I voted for Singin' in the Rain. Actually, My Fair Lady is far and away my favourite. (Incredibly, it came only 12th, below Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the Channel Four poll.)


Drop by The Grace Pages, a rest-stop for fellow pilgrims.

-- Dave aka Alvy

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SDG wrote:

: I'm surprised not to see any Gilbert & Sullivan (operettas don't count?) . . .

Perhaps there have just been no decent film adaptations of Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas? I, for one, cannot think of any G&S films that have been hailed as classics (though Mike Leigh's film ABOUT G&S, Topsy-Turvy, won quite a bit of critical praise a few years ago).

: . . . and while I'm no Rodgers & Hammerstein fan, I would expect to see

: at least one of theirs make the list (Oklahoma anyone?).

Um, doesn't The Sound of Music count?

: I know this will make Peter happy: Any list of great musicals that doesn't

: include Fiddler on the Roof is automatically seriously suspect in my book. smile.gif

Happy that you noticed. Not happy that it didn't make the list. smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter T Chattaway

: I'm surprised not to see any Gilbert & Sullivan (operettas don't count?) . . .

Perhaps there have just been no decent film adaptations of Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas?

Well, I think the Kevin Kline Pirates of Penzance is certainly at least "decent."

: . . . and while I'm no Rodgers & Hammerstein fan, I would expect to see

: at least one of theirs make the list (
Oklahoma
anyone?).

Um, doesn't
The Sound of Music
count?

I know it's Rodgers & Hammerstein, but somehow I always bracket it as separate from the rest. I don't know why. I'm currently working on a review in my head for Oklahoma! and I have to keep reinserting a parenthesis about The Sound of Music.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I'm surprised Hello, Dolly didn't do better. It's not my favorite, but it is hugely popular. I voted for West Side Story, and must admit being partial to The King and I, since I had the chance to meet Yul Brenner many, many years ago.

Also a great (but unfortunately heretical) musical: Jesus Christ Superstar =;

My wife would vote for Grease :oops:

What specifically in JC Supastar would you call heretical?


"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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This was a bit difficult to decide or at least a second place would be difficult to decide. The four I would have chose from seem to be the only four getting votes.

I am now casting another suspect vote toward a list that does not include Fiddler on the Roof. Highly suspect!! Maybe is wasn't wordly enough for them? Maybe too religious or maybe too much TraaaaaaaaDItion, Tradition.


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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That's an absolutely horrid list! The most glaring omisssions are An American In Paris (even the arrangements of the Gershwin songs are in many cases better than definitive recordings of the same songs!) and The Band Wagon. Leave aside the many Fred and Ginger flicks. The Sound of Music isn't even the best Rogers and Hammerstein! South Pacific easily eclipses it, as would The King and I and Oklahoma!. Gordon MacRae in any musical gives it a fighting chance. And what of Kiss Me Kate? Sheesh, only Singin' In the Rain is an obvious choice in such a list and West Side Story is arguable. The Sound of Music is an obvious sentimental choice, but none others are anything but poseurs when measured against the classics.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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SDG wrote:

: Well, I think the Kevin Kline Pirates of Penzance is certainly at least "decent."

I was dimly aware of the existence of that one when I wrote my earlier post, but I don't think it looms over the collective consciousness the way any of these other films do.

AlanW wrote:

: I know! It's the only one with nuns (and Nazis). And Julie Andrews.

I was going to say that The Sound of Music is NOT the only film with Julie Andrews, not so long as Mary Poppins is on the list, but then I realized you were probably referring only to Rodgers & Hammerstein films.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Can't resist pointing out that Buffy's musical episode 6.7 "Once More with Feeling" was voted #13 on this list :wink: Yes, I'm back!

But clearly, the (mostly) British public was nuts to vote "Grease" as #1.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Guest Russell Lucas

Is Meet Me in St. Louis technically a musical? I probably don't like it more than The Wizard of Oz, but it's a not-so-distant second.

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Where's Ishtar? laugh.gif

-s.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I wondered if you would post this up Alvy. There seems to be an abundance of these at the moment, they would be quite good, but for the interuptions by those fourth rate "celebs" (I thought you were far too kind above). I also watched the 100 greatest TV treats of 2004 - a tradition for us, we watch it to catch up on the Telly we've missed (we don't pay the licence fee - hence we see no TV except at other people's houses) and then congratulate ourselves at the end of the programme for making that decision - the programme is usually a terrible advert for the Licence fee, and the top 10 always has to consist of a famous same sex snog & some realityTV show. Anyway on to the musicals...

I struggled to really work out how they'd done it. On the one hand the title implies that it was a top 100 for the best musical per se, but then on the other, it appears to be based on Musical Films. But then it includes a number of musicals that have never had a proper film version made as if that's a fair contest.

My favourite musical film is "Singin' in the Rain", but given a range of options for a live show, I would chose either Jesus Christ Superstar or Sweeny Todd over Singin' every time. But Sweeny, being one of those without a film version, comes in at no 80 - did it really have a chance against filmed musicals, and if not why did they bother including it? Given the question "What will win the vote on the best musical" I would have thought Les Miserables would do well, but that was whilst I still thought it was just the pure musical, rather than one version of it captured on celluloid. The result? Les Miserables trails in at no 15, two places below the Buffy one, which, eventhough I've never seen it, is surely no-where near Les Miserables's league. (Sorry Beth, but even you must concede that aside from your personal preference this is the case.

And another thing (sorry I've slipped into full blown rant gear) why is the web site for these things so damn tedious. 5 at a time? Ona 56k modem it took flippin' ages to load the top 50 alone (and then I gave up). Ok most people have access to more than that, but it was Christmas so most people will be on dial up rather than broad band. Grrr

To add a slight degree of moderation to an otherwise Basil Fawtly-esque Eminem's 8 mile at 40 leaves me in two minds. On the one hand I'm glad a different more experimental take on the genre gets a nod (tho' I'm no fan of Eminem & I haven't seen fit to line his bulging pockets any further), on the other I just think of poor Sweeny languishing down at no 80 and all the other great fiklms / musicals in between & I think "yeah but"...

So I voted on Singin' in the rain above, but if you ever get the chance to watch Sweeny Todd take it. It is a fantastic show; funny, tragic, powerful, tense, dark and scary all in one.

Matt

PS As for that Jesus Christ Superstar post - I believe that was my first ever post on this board. I've not read it for fear of how gut wrenchingly awful it might be, but I do love it. Actually that's another good example of how the film thing sways things too much. Great Pure Musical, but a poor film version, resulting in a lower ranking than voting solely on the musical would have allowed.

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Given the question "What will win the vote on the best musical" I would have thought Les Miserables would do well, but that was whilst I still thought it was just the pure musical, rather than one version of it captured on celluloid. The result? Les Miserables trails in at no 15, two places below the Buffy one, which, eventhough I've never seen it, is surely no-where near Les Miserables's league. (Sorry Beth, but even you must concede that aside from your personal preference this is the case.

I absolutely agree, Matt--Les Miserables is one of the all-time great musicals, and deserves to be in the top 10, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, if anyone cares, I wouldn't have put Moulin Rouge in the poll at all, though it's a fabulous film with lots of songs in it. My definition of "musical" is: play or filmed play with original song written for it. By that definition, Singin' in the Rain might not completely qualify, either, though it's one of my great favorites.

I voted for West Side Story, BTW.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Gotta agree with Rich -- An American in Paris is the best film musical of all time and it ain't even on the list. What gives? Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Grease -- gimme a break. Chicago isn't even the best Kander & Ebb musical -- Cabaret is much better. As for Oklahoma! -- I saw it on stage several times as a kid and recently rented the film. The songs are still great, but the acting and the plot are both pretty rancid. My top 5 would be AAiP, MP, FotR (whoa, same initials as you-know-what--trippy, eh?) TSoM (for sentimental reasons), and MFL. Yeah, no SitR, although it might well go in the top 10.

Sweeney Todd is the greatest of stage musicals, and while there isn't a full-fledged film, there is a decent video of the Broadway production, with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

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It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Fiddler, My Fair Lady, Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins are on permanent rotation at our house. And I guess I'll risk it all and admit I like Sound of Music best of the Rogers and Hammersteins. Do Disney animated films count as "musicals"? If so, add Beauty and the Beast and Lion King to the mix. Of course, I also have a soft spot in my heart for Hair and Little Shop of Horrors. And The Umbrellas of Cherbourg -- even though I can't sing along. (Or does the fact that it has no dialogue make it an opera?) And even though I consider myself a Gershwin fanatic, I have never been able to embrace the versions of their music in An American in Paris. I love Irving Berlin, too, and Holiday Inn, and have made a solemn vow never to watch White Christmas again.

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Speaking of White Christmas--

I watched it this season & was reminded of how times change. Whatever romantic suspense the film has is created by Betty's (Rosemary Clooney) mistaken belief that Bob (Bing Crosby) is going to invite a TV crew to the inn and make a public spectacle of the General's misfortune. Betty thinks this is so caddish that she breaks off her relationship with Bob and runs away to New York.

And now we have reality TV.

But anyhow, I suppose that among all the holiday films produced throughout the years, we shouldn't be surprised to find a few turkeys. There is a very entertaining review of White Christmas on its imdb.com page, written by a grumpy Irishman.

My wife would put The Music Man somewhere in her top 10. I'd put Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory somewhere in mine.


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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...  Of course, I also have a soft spot in my heart for [...]  Little Shop of Horrors...

The movie version of LSoH is pretty irresistible, I confess. Has anyone else seen the stage version? Our university drama dept. put it on a couple of years ago, and I was surprised to discover that it's much more of a "morality play" than the movie version, with a darker ending. I liked it even better, despite the lack of Steve Martin, Ellen Greene, and Rick Moranis.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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The non-musical original LSoH is still the best.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Here's another vote for My Fair Lady...


So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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