I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m a musical lover. Not just animated musical movies, not the big movie productions that have come out in recent years, but pretty much all musicals. I love nothing better than getting tickets to a musical and driving to the Bass Theater in Fort Worth, and my iPod is equally balanced with show tunes.
On a day like today, when we’ve got sleet hitting the roof like Thread from the Pern books and the roads are crazy, there’s nothing I like better than curling up and singing along with some of my favorites.
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has long been a treasured one of mine, but not for its message. The story line always rubbed me wrong when I was little, and even more so now (Adam marries Millie for a house keep, the brothers steal the girls they want to court, and at the end everyone’s in love), but the music and sheer artistry in the dancing is beautiful. And the fact that Millie keeps every one of those brothers in line and takes charge doesn’t hurt.
The Seven Little Foys is one a lot of people may not know, and I hardly see it on TV anymore, although I used to see it fairly frequently when I was young. Based on a true story, it tells how a vaudeville father has to change his life (and his act) after his wife dies and her mother tries to take the children away from him. It’s narrated by the second oldest child, and not only has Bob Hope singing and dancing, but also has George Cagney coming in for a cameo.
Victor, Victoria is one I didn’t discover until college. Whether it was due to timing, or where I grew up, I’ll never know, but it’s now a dear friend, and I frequently quote it (especially “sit up, stand up, throw up” when nerves hit).
Julie Andrews can’t get work in 1930’s Paris as a female singer, but with a little help and some subterfuge, gets to be the toast of the town as a female impersonator. The only trouble is when she starts to fall in love with an American gangster, who’s not quite sure if she’s male or female.
Who knows, who doesn’t know, and the questions and acceptance (or not) of homosexuality blend into the music.
Hello, Dolly is another love of mine. It’s one of the first movie production musicals about which I remember thinking “musical” and not “movie with music,” and it’s one of the first movies that made me think that my body and I were ok.
I never remember being skinny, and remember being talked, teased, and harassed about weight. Everything from being ‘an early bloomer’ for getting boobs and hips to much much worse. Yet here was this woman with boobs and hips and not hiding them, and everyone not only liked her, they wanted to be her friends! I probably drove my family crazy watching this, but it got me through a lot of rough patches.
And yet, my favorite part was not when Dolly finally got her man, or when she made her grand entrance, or even the famous Don’t Let The Parade Pass Me By. It’s the song Good bye, where she’s leaving Horace and telling him he can sleep with his cash register.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of the most iconic musicals out there, all due to Marilyn and Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. I love this musical, often will quote phrases of it to That Guy when I’m being snarky, and will watch it end to end…but not for Marilyn. Lorilea doesn’t grow in the movie, she stays the same from beginning to end; it’s Rosalind Russell’s character that’s the real focus. She goes from hating love to falling for the PI and getting married at the end. She’s the one to watch, yet gets overshadowed by the flash of blonde.
Finally, there’s Guys and Dolls, the movie where Sinatra wanted the part Brando got, from which we got the famous Luck Be a Lady Tonight as well as a host of other memorable songs. Mission dolls, daylight dolls, who belongs where, and blurring the lines, I adore this movie and this play.
Do you have favorite movies or musicals for snowy days? Share in the comments.