Musicals Forever: A Brief Introduction – Part 1

This is the first part of my notebook for all the Musicals i`ve seen in my life. An ever-growing list…

  • New York, New York

    1.New York, New York


    De Niro at his best, plus Minelli bringing back that divine Garland touch. It`s mesmerizingly beautiful, dashingly heat-warming, and brilliantly well-portrayed. Wonder why they think it is not coherent?! I feel stunned.

    p.s. Minelli version tops Sinatra!

  • Lola



    The first among the best varieties Jacques Demy made from the golden age of vaudeville and musicals, with Raul Coutard dashing black and white and Anouk Aimee flirting with our heart. It`s just beautiful, heart-wrenching and immortal.

  • The Young Girls of Rochefort

    3.The Young Girls of Rochefort


    Finally find a version of this elegant classic (surprise, surprise, I`m living in Iran). What can i say, It was more than i expected. I practically live in his world.

  • Poor Little Rich Girl

    4.Poor Little Rich Girl


    No wonder how Shirley Temple got eastern block on its knees!

  • Going My Way

    5.Going My Way


    Of all the musicals i have seen this one was really different; Marrying religion and musical is one tough task to be carried. Hopefully, Bing Crosby and Leo McCarey with the ingenious assistance of Barry Fitzgerald achieved it. Amazing Chemistry!

  • Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench

    6.Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench


    The notes for this list item reportedly contain spoilers.

    Watching an indie musical movie that digs out of your most sincere affections to cinema felt like love is in the air: The ingenious Damien Chazelle`s debut picture Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench routes out French Nouvelle Vague Musicals such as Une Femme C`est Une Femme by Goddard, or Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by Jacques Demy – There literally is a french number in the song-lists, created by Chazelle himself (among all other numbers of the film). Moreover odes to Shadows by “John Cassavetes” and The Green Ray by “Eric Rohmer” in directing and mise-en-scene. Have you seen such genuine girl pick-up scence as Guy does to Elena in the tube?

  • Meet Me in St. Louis

    7.Meet Me in St. Louis


    I enjoyed every single song and dance passage of this movie as a musical Idol, with one big exception that i thought it was one of the most dull movies per se I have ever seen in my life.Though i rediscovered some vaudevillian acts, I think i set my bars way too high after all this wait to watch it. Anyway, History Lesson!

  • For Love's Sake

    8.For Love’s Sake


    With its “Love is a battlefield” motto and some gory pulp scenes, it remains within the same orbit that Mike has always spanned; The same cliche of ensemble of though mother fuckers who kick ass and some nerds who fell in love with them in the most cheesy melodramatic way, with one big exception of Musical numbers who don`t seem catchy enough, but blends in masterfully with wuxia and Asian Pulp here.

  • State Fair

    9.State Fair


    I enjoyed the numbers + Viviane Blaine… Fun

  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

    10.The Umbrellas of Cherbourg


    The musical masterpiece among the Jacques Demy “romantic trilogy” is an never-ending libretto which goes all lyrical without a simple pause for “the book” all credited by Demy himself. A three act “recitative” opera filmed in fantastic color by Jean Rabier and orchestrated in immortal music by Michel Legrand. It`s where Opera meets Film.

  • Annie Get Your Gun

    11.Annie Get Your Gun


    The most vaudevillian MGM musical that i`ve ever seen and the most devoted on the idea of circus; The story goes like “As silly as it gets” (thanks to Betty Hutton & Howard Keel) and it has the most memorable number of Golden era “There`s No Business Like Show Business”

  • 42nd Street

    12.42nd Street


    I have to confess i never knew Ruby Keeler and had a wiped memory of Dick Powell before this.Furthermore, as much as i adored this archetype of back-stage musicals, i was very uneasy to communicate with the “42nd Street” in the first two-third of the movie. But miraculously, here came Busby Berkely and his ingenious visionary in staging a glamours dance scene, and the amazing shot of tunnel of the legs. What a great Finale.

  • Show Boat

    13.Show Boat


    One of the brilliant combinations of Musical with Melodrama, or rather say a light opera, “The Show Boat” routes back to one the greatest shows of Flo Ziegfeld. It has been appeared on screen three times (once silent 1927, once in 1936) and established some of the classic songs wrote by Rodgers and Hammerstein such as “Ol’ Man River”, “Make Believe”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” and “You Are Love”. Irene Dunn is glorious and Allan Jones sings from heaven.

  • The Broadway Melody

    14.The Broadway Melody


    The first among the glorious trend of MGM musical and a talkie debut for two of the iconic stars of silent era – Anita Page & Bessie Love – is one of the most amazing things Hollywood gave birth to it. Gosh, “You Were Meant For Me”!

    p.s. Arthur Freed is a wizard, but i didn`t know he was such a great lyricist.

  • The Band Wagon

    15.The Band Wagon


    Minnelli at it`s best + one of the most fascinating numbers i`ve ever set my eyes upon “The Girl Hunt Ballet”

  • She Done Him Wrong

    16.She Done Him Wrong


    Have you seen Mae West`s debut on silver screen? You`ll find a fine fast-talking dame partnered with such a young Carey Grant that you adore. The only Mae west picture i`ve ever saw.

  • Yankee Doodle Dandy

    17.Yankee Doodle Dandy


    What a picture, the American spirit of musical unfolds all the way, with James Cagney leading a great song and dance fella “who owned Broadway” once. Michael Curtiz best picture way above “Casablanca” and, and i`m speechless.

  • The Great Ziegfeld

    18.The Great Ziegfeld


    The Honest biopic of a man who gave us many of the most amazing songs, numbers and melodies to live “Flo Ziegfeld” and some of the most magnificent artists and stars of the Broadway musicals “Anna Held” and “Billy Burke”, with glorifying performance of the one and only “Louise Rainer”, What an Actress! Damn many Don`t Know her today!

  • Easter Parade

    19.Easter Parade


    The golden due`s best flick and one of the most memorable musicals of the history. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire are glorious and magnificent as dancing couples who fell in love. It`s impossible to not fell for “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” and “Easter Parade”, plus get your hands to “Mr. Monotony” number.

  • Gold Diggers of 1935

    20.Gold Diggers of 1935


    Long before David Lunch was born, and many years before Bergman came up with the idea of “Film Within a Film” there was Busby Berkeley and his masterful “Lullaby of Broadway” at the end of “Gold Diggers of 1935”. What a Joy!

  • A Star Is Born

    21.A Star Is Born


    A world-class, subtly intertwined, deliberately dramatic product of cinematic nature, it sure stands above the rates & expectations of a normal revue.

  • Le Bal

    22.Le Bal


    History according to musical! or rather half a century of European history told by musical numbers. Was Europe really a ball? The idea is brilliant and the ensemble sounds pitch.

  • Babes on Broadway

    23.Babes on Broadway


    The first encounter with Garland/ Rooney due; not so charming, still pleasant and sometimes entertaining.

  • My Fair Lady

    24.My Fair Lady


    Can you imagine something more sweet and delicate than this little beauty?

  • High Society

    25.High Society


    As much as i worshiped the original “Philadelphia Story” i didn’t get why they made a remake! It was flimsy and doll, that famous duet excluded.

  • Singin' in the Rain

    26.Singin’ in the Rain


    Have you ever considered how lame would it be to compare your usual doze of use of the word “masterpiece” in describing movies, in front of this Film?
    It is lame, don`t bother.

  • San Francisco

    27.San Francisco


    Have you ever came up with a diva called “Jeanette MacDonald”? If no, check her out. And you find every reason Film routes back to opera. She shines she overshadows Clark Gable.

    P.S. San Francisco number and Griffith/ Von Stroheim collaboration on Van Dyke`s work are all over the movie

  • London Road

    28.London Road


    In a year everybody is dazed and crazy for the grandeur and inventiveness of La La Land, it is hard to point your fingers to something else to describe the new definition of movie musical. But at the end of London Road your keen eye for the go-betweens of Opera, Film, and Stage Musical would be stoned. Truth to be told, I have never encountered with something more subtle, brilliant. It is exquisitely outperforming to the extent that gives this genre a whole new richness, profundity and meaning.

    A cine-opera by magical numbers such as “It Could Be Him,” “Cellular Material,” and a documentary in the style of verbatim reportage, you just need a chameleon like Olivia Coleman (and of course Tom Hardy) the new-coming director Rufus Norris is already claiming his reign for the realm that was ruled by Clio Barnard in The Arbor or Andrea Arnold in Fish Tank . The New British Cinema!

    P.S. that The Musical Is Back!

  • Les Misérables

    29.Les Misérables


    I really adored the attempt to make a musical from a novel everybody knows by heart, but there was something missing: Memorable Numbers , or rather dance scenes. It was a cine-opera which i didn`t like the twist were Javer dies and there is a happy ending.

  • Hairspray



    What a fine musical remake, enjoyed every bit of it!

  • White Christmas

    31.White Christmas


    One of the best Curtiz pictures, full of patriotic acts and memorable numbers from the one and only Irving Berlin. A perfect retro-eye-candy.

  • Fatmah



    One of the most amazing archetypes of Egyptian Musicals, Fatmah starring legendary Umm Kulthum and Anwar Wadjdi, is an amazing case for understanding the variations of pop-corn mainstream cinema in the middle east. The genre, which dates back to 60 years ago, is an art child of Musicals with some overdose of melodrama, and in time got spread in Egypt, Turkey, Iran and India with a single formula, albeit variations, and often called rewardingly as Fim-Misri, Film-Turkey, Film-Farsi.
    P..S. That voice is divine.

  • La La Land

    33.La La Land


    These are my day to day thoughts and after thoughts so far…

    Jan 12. I`m crying of joy! Can`t stop my tears… A very serious candidate for the Best Film of the 21st century!

    Jan 15. Still can`t stop my tears. All i can think is that revue. Humming the melodies and feeling lovestruck. What have you done?!

    Feb 20. Cant` believe just saw an Original 35 mm CinemaScope on Cinestar Original Und IMAX in Berlin. You juts get one shot at resurrecting a Cinema you worship and Chazelle did a great Job!
    I just know I feel so good
    Don’t you know I feel so good
    I just know I feel so good

    After Oscar Night: I am afraid to confess that, despite such exaggerating claims, Moonlight`s total aesthetic value is nothing versus the deep cinematic appreciation in the opening sequence of that tracking shot in L.A traffic. A sequence which is based on an authentically continental camera work, integrated with a number – which might be signed by Godard himself from The Weekend, or Demy in The Young Girls of Rochefort – and heavily glamourised in Basby Berkley`s style of 42nd Street. I am somehow embarrassed that the genius put in this ballad to avoid the slippery slope of melodrama and Hollywood ending, makes the total movie of “Moonlight” look like a kindergarten kid`s reply for a mathematical equation of “what is the total sum of race + gender issue?”. An Answer which moonlight gives with a vast corporative appetite.

    Aug 21. Through all these years of writing about movies i learnt that i can not ignore one fact: Every director get one shot, only one chance in a lifetime to try to resurrect the cinema he adores! That`s right; Only one. It must be too savvy for many people, but i came to realize that it is true. So, when we saw that the Musicals been gone for some years we got that it would be back sometime. Though every miserable attempts  in the process from Moulin Rouge, to Les Miserables or Chicago, even smaller endeavors such as Once just turned out as an O.K thing from the recipient or elite part. Still, the fact remained unchanged; Like Jazz, the genre was  gone. It sadly belonged to a past era and It needed a total revolution. Damn, Chazelle made it all happen.

  • À Nous la Liberté

    34.À Nous la Liberté


    The most amazing french musical i`ve ever seen, and one of the most brilliant sources of inspiration for the all masters, composed by the Grand Maestro Rene Clair. À Nous la Liberté is warm and immortal with some of the most enchanting musical numbers of the history of cinema (including the title song).
    Raymond Cordy and Henri Marchand are dashingly heart-wrenching. They portray the dehumanized society of the post first world war with brutally laughable and the anarchistic wit, which added by Clair satiric and ingenious experiment in creating rhythm through the machinery, workers and surrounding to lyricize . No wonder Chaplin` Modern Times was inspired from this movie… It was just not his fault, that comes with what they call the charm of a masterpiece.

  • Gold Diggers of 1933

    35.Gold Diggers of 1933


    One of the finest and most stylish Busby Berkley masterpieces with dozens of breath-taking numbers from Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and of course the infamous “We`re in Money” from Ginger Rogers

  • Sing



    The American Dream revived. Fascinating song and dance flick that can gives your eye and mind a candy to remember. Totally amazing.

  • I'm No Angel

    37.I’m No Angel


    Mae West and Cary Grant working swell on this flick, and that court sequence is one of the most hilarious scenes in the history of cinema!

  • Swing Time

    38.Swing Time


    Oh, is there anything more tenderly than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance? They are the emblem of magic in cinema, swaying around the stage and stunning the viewers. I want to seize the opportunity to quote one of my all-time favorite critics here:
    “Godard told us in the 1960s that “the cinema is truth 24 times a second, and every cut is a lie.” Astaire arrived at the same conclusion 35 years earlier. He believed every dance number should be filmed, as nearly as possible, in one unbroken take, always showing the full figures of the dancers from head to toes.”

  • Flying Down to Rio

    39.Flying Down to Rio


    I was going to get fascinated by first Astaire-Rogers due, but fell in love with Dolores del Rio….

  • The Gay Divorcee

    40.The Gay Divorcee


    How is it possible to be so breathtakingly good and brilliant in what you do?! That is when you are genius.

  • Roberta



    Adding Irene Dunne to that golden couple was the smartest move any director did in their 10 films together. Can anybody seen anything more beautiful than “I’ll be Hard to Handle ” or “I Won’t Dance”?

  • Shall We Dance

    42.Shall We Dance


    Another jewel from the undisputed King and Queen of Hollywood Musicals…

  • Top Hat

    43.Top Hat


    It is my first Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, and my first encounter with the visual embodiment of “Chick to Chick”. I loved every bit of it, especially the routine in the park (“Isn`t it a lovely Day?”)

  • Follow the Fleet

    44.Follow the Fleet


    Well not as memorable as Irving Berlin`s best numbers and Golden due`s best movies, this is more of a propaganda than entertainment… Still liked it…

  • Carefree



    Amazingly funny once Ralph Bellamy gets into the mixup, the numbers are sometimes brilliant and sometimes boring, But that long kiss… Oh, that long kiss!

  • The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

    46.The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle


    The last RKO musical from the king and queen is the most disenchanting one… I don`t know if the term was coined that day but it is all chauvinism except for that kiss… that long long kiss.


9 thoughts on “Musicals Forever: A Brief Introduction – Part 1

  1. I spent my life seeing musicals and became a massive musical fan. Most have been seen in movie format and live on stage. I saw the recent Beauty and the Beast movie, seen La La Land, movie of King and I, Little Shop of Horrors, Wicked live (4x), Les Mis live (4x), 25th anniversary concert film and the movie, Newsies live, movie of South Pacific, movie of Oklahoma, movie of Annie Get Your Gun, movie of White Christmas, movie of Singing in the Rain, movie and stage show of Sound of Music, movie and stage show of Annie, etc. You get the picture that I have lots of musicals even beyond the ones I just mentioned


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