tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
I'd decided my life was lacking in cute Anthony Perkins comedies, so after a great deal of trouble I tracked down The Matchmaker. It was fun (turns out Hello Dolly! is just The Matchmaker with some songs added, no really, the scripts are identical, the jokes are word-by-word the same) and Anthony Perkins was adorable (I was amazed at seeing him in drag before I realized that's basically the premise of Psycho). My second favourite thing was the Barnaby Tucker to Perkins' Cornelius Hackl, played by Robert Morse.

I'm fairly certain I've come across Morse before, but I always wrote him off as "that guy who reminds me of Mickey Rooney" (I don't like Mickey Rooney) because he's short, impish and gap-toothed. But I liked him in The Matchmaker, and then tonight I watched How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

I don't understand why I've heard so little about that musical. Sure it's got a washed-out beige colour scheme and some pretty sexist punchlines, but Morse is so charming as the lead you forget he plays a character who lies and manipulates his way to the top. All the while Morse got this infectious larger-than-life way of performing, very theatrical. The highlight of the movie is when he sings 'I Believe in You' to himself in the mirror. It starts off as a comedy number but gradually this great sense of earnestness and defiance creeps in; "I believe in you!"

Also yes I know Morse has been a big deal in Mad Men. I'm still not gonna watch Mad Men.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
I went to the movies and saw Les Misérables with my mum.

I've mentioned it before, I'm a recovering Les Mis obsessive (both book and musical). So when friends who've never cared one jot about musicals suddenly got obsessive about this one movie I was puzzled. Was it because the performances in it were so mind blowing, or just because the musical is so darn good?

This gon' get wordy )

So when the DVD comes, yeah I guess I'll have to splurge on it, even if there were elements that annoyed me to hell and back. In the meantime, mum has said we need to watch "the real one" (the tenth anniversary concert, you can't beat that Dream Cast) soon, and trying to remember the names of the ABC students made me realize it's high-time I reread the book (How many times have it been now? I stopped counting after the fourth read-through).
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
Found a new home, thank God. That last place may have had nice cupboards, but I've hated just about everything else about it. I refer to it as "that hole". Could hardly even get cell phone reception in there, and the landlord and lady were driving me up the wall.

So, my new digs: A groovy apartment from the sixties (Not a bedsit, a real apartment with two rooms!) that's newly had a lick of paint. Lovely, worn hardwood floor (none of that cold stone floor in my last home). Nice view of the (surprisingly large) garden. And the whole thing is not too far away from the train and bus station, which is really what sold me on it. I'm so utterly in love with it I don't even mind having the refrigerator in the living room (on account of the tiny kitchen).

I'm still mostly living out of boxes and bags, but more second-hand furniture should be arriving this weekend. I've got the TV in place anyway, and officially broke in my new apartment watching a musical last night: Call Me Madam - an Ethel Merman vehicle (blah) featuring Vera-Ellen (double blah) but with Donald O'Conner (who got the best number of the film), and George Sanders (dreamy sigh) in his one and only musical film performance. Whoa whoa whoa, did he have some pipes on him!

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Excuse me, got more unpacking to do!
tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd: Don't mind you watching)
I was pining for the great selection of pre-Code films at the library in Bergen, when I decided it was time to make the best of the situation: Namely, start exploring the many Indian films in stock at the Lørenskog library (they weren't there when I was growing up here).

I have seen maybe two films in Hindi in my entire life, so I had no idea where to start. I picked one that looked vaguely old and that advertized its many hit songs (I know Bollywood =! musicals, but being a Hollywood musical nut, I thought it was a good place to start). My pick turned out to be the 1965 musical Guide, which I learned was one of the milestones of Indian cinema!

It was great, and it certainly surprised me at every turn. Like, after Boy meets Girl, and Girl has captured Boy with her dance, and Boy has wooed and won Girl through his song, Boy then becomes an alcoholic with a gambling problem. Halfway through the movie. Did not see that coming. We get one of my favourite songs of the movie out of it though.

The absolute goosebump-inducing highlight of the movie though, is after Boy is mistaken for a monk and does all he can to end the drought that's killing the village (I told you this movie throws you a few curveballs). The prayer song that gets more and more and more intense absolutely kills me:

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(Around the four minute mark it segues into a battle between Boy's egotism and religion which doesn't make a lot of sense without the sub, but the song preceding it is still absolutely heartbreaking). Definitely going to have to scope out more Dev Anand flicks.
tilly_stratford: (Constantine: Sly smoke)
I've heard that all copies of the 1959 Porgy and Bess filmatization were destroyed long ago, but considering I've just seen it I've got an inkling that's not entirely true (though it's true that it's not available for commercial release - but gee, isn't the internet a wonderful thing?)

And yeah, that is pretty much the most nonsensical attempt at filming an opera I've ever seen. Watching it and then reading about the production shows some pretty interesting thinking going on at MGM:

- "Hey, let's make an opera movie, and it'll starr Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis Jr. What, only one of those can sing? Then we'll dub everybody else."
- "Hey, let's fire the director known for making good musicals and hire this other guy who's so paranoid anybody will hijack the editing he insists on filming the entire movie in extremely long takes and without a single close-up, essentially making it the most visually boring movie ever."
- "Hey, let's have Hermes Pan choreograph it. You know, the guy who was essentially the choreographing guru of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly? Oh yeah, and let's not have a single dance sequence in this movie."

I MEAN WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THIS MOVIE. The only thing that comes close to being memorable is Sammy Davis Jr.'s performance (which makes sense, according to what I've read Davis was the only starring actor who wasn't pressured to be in the movie against his will). You can tell he's just having a ball portraying Sportin' Life, and does some killer renditions of 'It ain't necessarily so' and 'There's a boat dat's leavin' soon'.

One good thing to come out of watching this thing was that it reminded me of my quest to one day see Stormy Weather from 1943. I mean, Cab Calloway (and The Cotton Club Orchestra), Fats Waller and The Nicholas Brothers in the same movie? It must be mindblowing.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
The Nostalgia Chick did a video on Les Miserables the musical this week, and that's how I learned that there was a 25th anniversary concert made a couple of years ago.

This might not be common knowledge, but back in the nineties my video of the 10th anniversary concert was my most prized possession. I watched it until the video tape wore out and then later the DVD became my most prized possession. I've been obsessed with the book too, but that's for another entry.

But you can understand my interest was peaked when I learned there had been another anniversary concert.

aaaaaah Les Mis )

There, outpouring and nostalgia done.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Watched that 1983 Pirates of Penzance studio movie. As much as I love Gilbert and Sullivan I've somehow never seen Pirates before. ...You know, I think Gilbert and Sullivan is pretty unknown in Norway? I've never ever heard of a Norwegian production of a G&S opera. Then again a lot of it is pretty untranslatable - in the case of Pirates I was having a lot of fun watching the subtitler nearly having a fit trying to make the orphan/often joke work.

Well the movie felt pretty tainted by its eighty-ness (get that synth out of my comedic opera!) but... you remember last year when I admitted that in my childhood I totally had a thing for Jeff Goldblum? As a follow-up I can now tell you that about the age of ten or so I had the most passionate infatuation with Kevin Kline... for about two weeks. A secret that I'd pretty much forgotten about until today when I saw him in the role of the Pirate King.

I really am all too predictable.

The movie did an odd bit of cut-and-pasting by including the song 'My eyes are fully open' (popularly known as 'It really doesn't matter') from the opera Ruddigore, but adding more of both tongue-twisters and Angela Lansbury - it's all forgiven.

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Speaking of tongue-twisters, I've made the greatest discovery ever: An album simply titled Gilbert and Sullivan and Danny Kaye! The undisputed king of tongue-twisters doing G&S, I'm astonished I hadn't heard of it. He even sings my favourite G&S song of all time, 'When first my old old love I knew' from Trial by Jury (it is, sad to say, not a great rendition of it, but the point still stands!). Ah, joy. His 'If you're anxious for to shine' is a beauty.

Okay, there. I think I have no more to say about Gilbert and Sullivan for today. God this fever does weird things to my brain.
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
A list of all movies I've seen this year!

Well not all; I didn't list rewatches, and I have a sneaking suspicion I must have forgotten a handful of movies, but still! Yaaay many movies!

I've done a clumsy attempt at categorizing them via things like my favourite directors/actors/genres/other weird little categories that presented themselves when I was looking over the list (like Dracula movies. No, not merely vampires. Dracula.)

The general rule is that although a movie might fit in several categories, unless it's checks both "favourite director" and "favourite actor" it'll only be in the first category it fits in.

Movies 2010 )

I'd try and count them, but because the world is a HORRIBLE PLACE I've contracted what might be the flu and I'm exhausted both mentally and physically. Seriously, immune system? Christmas and New Year's Eve?
tilly_stratford: (Buster: kiss)
Again back from the film club, and after watching The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) I've come to realize a couple of things:

You know that creepy guy who was the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? That was Robert Helpmann, a celebrated Australian ballet dancer! Also he was kinda hot. And Wikipedia tells me his obituary in The Times described him as "a homosexual of the proselytizing kind" which I find all kinds of hardcore. And a little humorous.

Second, that this haunting song right here:

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- is, in fact, from The Tales of Hoffmann. I've loved it for years, and I had no idea. (And oh my God, it's the music from the Evergood coffee commercials! I had 'Barcarolle' on CD, and just now I realized it's used in those commercials!)
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
[Movie starts - on the big screen at the film club]

Haha, this is going to be so weird! I've only ever seen Marlon Brando in The Godfather, I'll never be able to unsee that, I just know it!

[Fifteen minutes in]

Oh God he's doing that trademark mumbling too! Hahaha! This just feels so wrong, Marlon Brando in a cheesy Goldwyn musical, this is gonna be weirder than that first time I saw Clark Gable singing and tap dancing. Look at him, he's not even conventionally leading-man handsome! Though he... he does look pretty good in that black suit...

[Jean Simmons and Brando sing 'I'll know'...]

Now COME ON! I love this song, and they give it to a guy who hasn't got a singing voice at all! Who made these horrible decisions?

[...before they kiss]

Wait, did I... did I just sigh? Hang on, which one of them am I envious of? I'm... I'M CONFUSED.


OH NO PLEASE DON'T TELL ME HE'S GOING TO DANCE. I'M PRETTY SURE THAT'S NOT SOMETHING I WANT TO SEE EVER AND IT'LL BE oh hey. Hey. Heeeey. That's awesome! Looking mighty fine on that dancefloor Mister Brando. Yeah, work that tush...

[Brando turns around and sends Simmons a Look.]

*Tilly absentmindedly bites on her neck pendant before realizing what she's doing*


Yeah, by the time he'd done a fairly decent rendition of 'Luck be a lady' I was already reduced to a puddle on the floor. Ladies, I've been converted to the Brando way. Guys and Dolls might not have been the perfect vehicle for him (because really, he didn't have much of a voice) but it did teach me that still pictures did not do this man justice. Jesus, the way he moves on that big screen...

I'd ought to have learned my lesson by now. If someone was regarded as a sex symbol in the fifties, it might have had less to do with the movie studio's PR department and more to do with that person oozing sex. God, I gotta get my hands on The Wild One...
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
So I figured it had been ages since I last watched a Bing Crosby movie. Tonight my choice landed on We're not dressing (1934), mostly because I'd heard of it. Oh and Bing is young and pretty and wears eyeliner.

For the first hour it's a refreshing musical with a song every five minutes and a lot of groanworthy jokes. I try not to be too upset by that poor harassed bear cub. There's the typical romantic plot of a man and a woman hating each other before they realize they love eachother, Bing croons 'Once in a blue moon', then the typical misunderstanding comes up, he gets mad and





This is not a squint-and-you-might-see-a-bit-of-subtext case. This is... not what I signed up for.

But the movie tells me it's okay! After he's tied her up and told her that this is what comes from leading him on, he decides she's "not worth it" and walks away. So he's totally sympathetic still right? And the next day she goes up to him and APOLOGISES. AND SAYS FROM NOW ON SHE'LL ALWAYS DO AS HE TELLS HER. They embrace, smiles all around, and he sings about how wonderful love is. End of movie.

I'M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS. I went to IMDB to see what other people had to say, and the verdict was that the movie was "charming" and "clever" and "romantically satisfying". I can't be the only one who isn't okay with this! I can watch movies involving violence and rape, but I can't accept it as a plot point in an otherwise unremarkable romantic comedy.

ROMANTICALLY SATISFYING MY ASS. *Cuddles up with Top hat*.


Jun. 13th, 2010 09:20 pm
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
Sat down to watch Chess in concert (final verdict: Passable music with a handful good tunes but the plot is too claustrophobic for my tastes) expecting to relive my late nineties crush on Josh Groban and found out -

David Bedella is hot. A total unknown but very, very hot.

That is all.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
There are certain things that I really should have thought of sooner.

Such as how I have had a lifelong love for Oliver Twist AND musicals, and yet it never occured to me to watch Oliver! (1968) until today.

Some thoughts )

I read somewhere Dickens was slightly horrified when he realized people thought that the life of Fagin and his boys sounded fun and colourful and exciting. Ah, reading the book when I was ten or so I wanted to join a pickpocket gang like that...
tilly_stratford: (Darkwing's not convinced)
Hey, I forgot: Now that Repo! The Genetic Opera has come out on DVD (and is, amazingly, available for purchase at my local retailer) I could finally see it and see what all the fuss was about (a fuss that has pretty much died down these days as far as I can see, but when it premiered last year everybody was talking about it).

I guess you can call it a review )

Silly me had somehow remembered that Paris Hilton is in this, yet not Sarah Brightman. Musical fail.

And, like 90 % of all girls watching this, I admit I found the Graverobber strangely appealing.
tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd don't mind you watching)
Of the things that have succeeded in keeping me sane this last month (support from my family going without saying), I'd definitely place Cab Calloway among them.

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There's not a thing that isn't amazing about this clip.

Meanwhile, there's a lot of noise out in my hall and I hear men's voices. I've no idea what's going on but as long as they don't bother me I'll let them go about their business, which appears to be in the attic judging from the sounds.

Nu Veiv

May. 10th, 2009 07:59 pm
tilly_stratford: (That's Mr. Awesome Welles to you)
Both Tiny and I have in the past exposed our friends to Rocky Horror Picture Show and several times been rewarded with "That... is the weirdest movie I've ever seen." But today I feel more like, come on, that's when you take it for granted that a movie has to make any sort of narrative sense.

I've just seen Forbidden Zone. I... don't think I liked it. It had some cute references to old musicals and featured Oingo Boingo music, but. No.

I think I'll stick to just Oingo Boingo. This is just about how eighties I can tolerate music to be, but I've grown to like it.

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It helps that Danny Elfman is awesome and used to be kinda massively sexy in a red-headed weirdo way.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
I know he did you wrong and I'm here to give ya
What you wanted all along

If Tiny and I lived in a bad family comedy I know exactly how last night would have been edited:

TINY: I don't think we'll do another one of those sessions of chatting all night about sexy guys. Honestly.
TILLY: (Laughs) Oh goodness no.
TINY: I tell you dude, Jackman's hand brushes against that guy's crotch just before he strokes his thigh.
TILLY: What? Rewind, rewind!

The result is that I now have a message alert sound that'll be more than a little embarassing if it goes off during a lecture.

Well, it's Sunday again and that mountain is not going to climb itself.
tilly_stratford: (That's Mr. Awesome Welles to you)
When you move in right up close to me
That's when I get the chills all over me

Ah, one more week and then vacation. Homesickness always seems to hit right when I get hold of the train tickets.

I've forsaken night trains, so I've got to consider my travel entertainment. I've got no more shiny Holmes audios I haven't listened to (well to be honest I've got a couple of pastiches left, but the last ones I listened to were so bad I can't bring myself to pick another up just yet. The actors are still great but oh God some of those scripts), so the question is what other audio candy I'll bring with me.

I've finished the first season of Dickie Dick Dickens, and I suppose I'll listen to another season sooner or later. It's cute and campy fun, but that old "let every secondary character be dumber than dirt to make our hero seem smarter" gets pretty tiresome. If I had to pick a secondary character that I feel is at all likeable, I'd go with Dickens' cat.

I suppose I'll just download some episodes of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue from The Internet Archive, perhaps some Goon Show, and I'm set.

Oh, and I'll be bringing my old laptop along, preferably with some movies on it. When I returned to Bergen three weeks ago I watched The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T on the train (if you haven't heard of it, it's a musical by Dr. Seuss). I got some very odd looks. I hope I can find something equally weird for this trip.

Hey, I didn't know I had The Inspector General! Two hours of my eight-hour train trip will be spent on Danny Kaye, what could be sweeter?

*Sigh* Just another week.
tilly_stratford: (I say! Wooster)
But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations
He remains an Englishman

I have now seen my first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta! I discovered the library had a DVD performance of HMS Pinafore on its opera shelf. Opera Australia, in case anyone is keeping track of these thing.

Well, that was endearingly silly. It's no secret I'm a sucker for those kind of love-hindered-by-class stories, and it just kept going on for miles in HMS Pinafore. Complete with Importance of Earnest-twist at the end and cheerfully implied incest.

Captein Corcoran was the best thing about it though. Sure, David Hobson as Ralph had a voice to die for, but the Captain stole my heart. It might have been the moustache.

And dude, living in a city by the sea means it's not unusual for me to spot men in sailor suits about town (in the summer at least), but I kept thinking how it should be mandatory for them to wear as much eyeliner as the sailors in this production. It would look brilliant.

Tomorrow I intend to watch Trial by Jury with the same cast. If Anthony Warlow isn't sporting that same moustache my heart will break.
tilly_stratford: (Cello in the rain)
It's too easy humming songs
To a girl in yellow dress
It's been a long time since the party
And the room is in a mess

I can't seem to quite shake this blue mood off. When I get like this it feels like it's been weeks since I last found pleasure in anything at all, though I know for a fact I was chatting and joking with my classmates just earlier today. I don't get it.

So lying in bed, staring at the ceiling while prodding at that feeling of self-pitying numbness like the way you prod at an achey tooth with your tongue, I decided I just needed something, anything, to occupy my mind for a little while.

Then I remembered that I last week bought one of those trashy two-for-one DVD sets that cost next to nothing, and fired up that. A Bing Crosby musical, Rhythm on the River from 1940.

And then Basil Rahtbone is the villain, pencil moustache and all. In a Bing Crosby musical. I had no idea such a thing had ever been made.

I take it as the universe's way of giving me a big hug.

That's okay Universe, I like you too. I feel a little bit better now. Hopefully a good night's sleep and a trip down to FRETEX tomorrow to look at stuff will take care of the rest.


tilly_stratford: (Default)

March 2015



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