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Film Appreciation... Musicals


Singin' in the Rain (1952)
What makes this the greatest movie musical of all time? What makes it better than, say, "West Side Story" or "An American in Paris"? What, besides a top notch script, terrific songs, incredible dancing, vivid camera work, and a cast that is absolutely to die for, makes it so good? Perhaps it is the fact that "Singin' in the Rain" is a movie about movies, and as everyone knows, Hollywood is never better than when it focuses on itself. Co-directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelley, "Singin' in the Rain" comically traces the great transition from silent films to "talkies". The title comes from the song that is showcased in one of the most jubilant scenes in this, or any, movie musical.

Click here for more information about "Singin' In The Rain"
Click here for Jon Matthews review of "Singin' In The Rain" Click here for an explaination of Production Numbers: As They Apply to "Singin' in the Rain" By: Michael Massey

"A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
The good people of Hollywood have never been what one might call particularly gutsy. They don't like to stray from pre-established plans. But sometimes an opportunity comes that simply mustn't be passed up. In 1964, the Beatles had made their American invasion and had the whole country enthralled. "Perhaps, making a movie with them might work," thought the big Hollywood brass. "Let's give it a try." So they did. Granted, it wasn't a very valiant effort, as the end project, "A Hard Day's Night", was shot in six days with a shoe string budget, minimal cast, and really no discernable plot. Fortunately, the charisma of the Fab Four keeps the film energetic and the band members (especially John and Ringo) show remarkable gifts for comedic timing. And the music is swell, too.

Click here for more information about "A Hard Day's Night"
Click here for Dustin Gibeson's comparison of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!"

Practice Test...
Feeling Adventurous? Take the Musicals Practice Test to find out whether you are ready to become a "shimmering star in the cinema firmament". Click here for sample essay and discussion questions for this unit.

Other Musicals...
If you are interested in watching other great musicals click here to see more of our favorites.

1999 Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved. TERMS OF USE