Monday, June 21, 2010

My heart wants to sing every song it hears

I think I sort of lost focus on my whole list project. You see, it all started out as this thing where I'd make a list every month. Just one post. Just one list. And then, when I started listing out my favorite dancers and linking to all my favorite dances, it occurred to me that no one would have the time or the inclination to watch all of those dances all at once, but they might watch them if I posted one post on each dancer. Anyway, then it sort of worked its way into this huge project where I was posting practically every day, and at least every week on these lists and I think I may have gotten a bit carried away. I like lists. I think lists are fun. I like reading them and I enjoy writing them. The whole point of this was to take the memes of Favorite Actors and Favorite Actresses one step farther and start more lists. I had hoped that maybe other bloggers would participate and then we could be listing our favorites and it would be barrels of fun.

So, I think I'm going to go back to my original intent. I'm going to write a list a month and let it go at that. Every now and again, I may move back into multiple postings and, at that point, I'll let you know. But I think that, for the most part, I'd like to just stick with lists. So, here is my list for the month of June:

Favorite female singers in movies:

20. Irene Dunne
Favorite song: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from Roberta

19. Jane Powell
Favorite song: "Goin' Cotin'" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

18. Shirley Jones
Favorite song: "Many A New Day" from Oklahoma

17. Kathryn Grayson
Favorite song: "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate

16. Ann Blyth
Favorite song: "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads" from Kismet (song clip starts at 1:42)

15. June Allyson
Favorite song: "Thou Swell" from Words and Music

14. Judy Garland
Favorite song: "Mr. Monotony" from Easter Parade

13. Frances Langford
Favorite song: "Over There" from Yankee Doodle Dandy

12. Marni Nixon
Favorite songs: "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story and "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady

11. Doris Day
Favorite song: "The Deadwood Stage" from Calamity Jane

10. Dolores Gray

Favorite song: "Not Since Ninevah" from Kismet (song clip starts at 2:11)
I love the way Dolores Gray belts. She has an awesome voice that is powerful and sultry at the same time. I'd like to see her in more films but I've only seen in her Kismet and It's Always Fair Weather. Any recommendations?

9. Rosemary Clooney
Favorite song: "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" from White Christmas

6. Annette Funicello
Favorite songs: "Strummin' Song" from The Horsemasters, "I Can't Do The Sum" from Babes In Toyland, and "I Think You Think" from Beach Blanket Bingo

7. Gloria de Haven

Favorite song: "My Mother Told Me" from Two Girls and a Sailor

6. Marilyn Monroe
Favorite songs: "Lazy" from There's No Business Like Show Business, "I Wanna Be Loved By You" from Some Like It Hot, "I'm Through With Love" from Some Like It Hot and... well, basically, I love her, so pretty much every song.

5. Ginger Rogers
Favorite songs: "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket" from Follow the Fleet, "Let Yourself Go" from Follow the Fleet, "We're In The Money" from The Gold Diggers of 1933

4. Ann Miller

Favorite songs: "Prehistoric Man" from On The Town, "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate (really weird vid, sorry! but the audio is good), and "Shakin' the Blues Away" from Easter Parade.

3. Lena Horne
Favorite songs: "Honeysuckle Rose" from Thousands Cheer and "Paper Doll" from Two Girls and a Sailor (I'm sorry that I have no YouTube vids to share. I couldn't find either of these online)

2. Fran Jeffries

Favorite songs: "Meglio Stasera" from The Pink Panther and "Sex and the Single Girl" from Sex and the Single Girl

1. Julie Andrews

Favorite songs: "I Have Confidence" from Sound of Music, "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" from Mary Poppins, and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" from Thoroughly Modern Millie

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Have you got any monotony today?

Now, continuing in my list of singing ladies...

15. June Allyson

Favorite song: "Thou Swell" from Words and Music
June Allyson is probably my favorite girl-next-door. Her dancing seemed like every day dancing, her acting appeared natural, and her singing was almost like your average girl singing (but not quite). I love her dusty voice. She always seems easy to relate to and her singing adds to that effect.

14. Judy Garland

Favorite song: "Mr. Monotony" from Easter Parade
I realize that this number was deleted from the film but I really like it. Not many could pull off a melody of so few notes but Judy manages it brilliantly. You may be surprised that such a famous and one-of-a-kind singer is so low on my list. The truth is, I go back and forth over whether or not I like her voice. She had an amazing voice - no contest there - I am simply not always in the mood for it.

13. Frances Langford

Favorite song: "Over There" from Yankee Doodle Dandy
This girl is another one of those Where's Waldo situations and, I must say, I'm still quite proud of myself for placing her. I loved her voice in Yankee Doodle Dandy and when I heard "Hey, Babe, Hey," I had a feeling it was the same singer. I was right!

12. Marni Nixon

Favorite songs: "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story and "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady
Marni Nixon doesn't get as much credit as she deserves (and she probably deserves to be higher on my list but I'm not sure where to put her). She enchanted audiences in several famous musicals but we never get to see her face and most of us, myself included, forget her entirely. But she had an amazing and beautiful voice that really aded to the magic of classics like The King and I, My Fair Lady, and West Side Story.

11. Doris Day

Favorite song: "The Deadwood Stage" from Calamity Jane
I've picked this song as my favorite for a few reasons. First, it's probably my favorite Doris Day film. Second reason is that Doris Day had a cool, dusty voice that works well with both boisterous songs and soft ballads - and this song has both aspects to it. Mostly, it's a boisterous, rowdy introduction to Calamity Jane but there is a particular moment when she sings about the stage coming home like "a pigeon that's hankering after its nest" - it's a pretty moment to listen to. I did not pick "Que Sera Sera" because I haven't seen that film yet and that didn't seem fair.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"I couldn't be clearer if I was a button hook in well water!"

Congratulations to Juliette, SassyGinger, Mel, and VKMfan for getting the quote right last week! Ironically, I read soon after that the quote was featured on a list of funniest movie quotes (and I think I misquoted it slightly.. oops!).

Now, for this week's quote of the week:

"I couldn't be clearer if I was a button hook in well water!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sometimes toe-shoes

Spotlight on a costume! (Actually, this is going to be more like a spotlight on several costumes... I just can't resist!) It seems as though all of the actresses in that golden age got to wear really amazing costumes all the time. Cyd Charisse is no exception. I'm sure I could find at least ten of her outfits I absolutely must have in my dream wardrobe. This one here is one of those ten. She wears it in The Band Wagon in the scene where Gabrielle Gerard first meets Tony Hunter. I love this lacy dress with the green undertone - so classy and beautiful! [I also love this scene but that's another matter]

This movie has lots of fantastic outfits for Miss Charisse. I know I've discussed the matter with Emma Wallace (who I had the chance to interview the other day!) and she's quite partial to the dress Cyd Charisse wears at the end of the film (which can be found near the beginning of the trailer). Every time I watch the movie with my mom, she says how much she loves the dress in "Dancing in the Dark." And my sister has mentioned how incredible that see-through dress in "Girl Hunt Ballet" is (go to 5:00 to see the dress). And then, of course, there's the more famous red vixen dress which was, apparently, Cyd Charisse's favorite:

So, which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh, it sets your senses in a whirl

So, my themed list for this month is going to be: favorite actresses who sing in movies. Note: not favorite singers, but favorite singers in the movies. Thus, some people may be lower on the list because they're not in many movies or I don't like the songs they sing in the movies they're in, etc. I'm still debating whether or not singing in the credits count. I haven't decided yet.

In the meantime, here is 16-20 in my list:

The Sopranos
I love these singers, but I don't always enjoy listening to their songs. I appreciate the fact that they made the movies more high high brow and I appreciate their contribution to film, but I'm just often not in the mood to sit through their numbers. However, I want to include them because they were a significant contribution to the musical genre and were immensely talented. Besides, I do like some of their songs. It's just that when we get into the long, lyrical ballads I get a little immature and skip forward. Ironically, my favorite songs of theirs are often the less classical sounding pieces.

Kathryn Grayson
Favorite song: "I Hate Men" from Kiss Me Kate

Ann Blyth
Favorite song: "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads" from Kismet (song clip starts at 1:42)

Shirley Jones
Favorite song: "Many A New Day" from Oklahoma

Jane Powell
Favorite song: "Goin' Cotin'" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Irene Dunne
Favorite song: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from Roberta

Deanna Durbin was amazing as well, but I've only seen in her one film. I am working on that!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lanky brunettes with wicked jaws

I have a mystery for all of you. This is quite important. I should probably explain a little bit first though... last week I worked for several hours in this one conference room. The conference room is vaguely decorated with old Hollywood - in that there are 4 framed photographs on the walls: Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and a brunette who, I assume, is from the '40's era. The problem is I really, honestly, have no idea who this lady is! My coworkers were guessing Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy, Ava Gardner. I told them that she wasn't any of those ladies and then they told me to go ask an old movie buff. I said I am an old movie buff and then they said to go ask another old movie buff.

So, I'm taking their advice: who is this woman???

The best suggestion I've heard is a very young, glamorous Virginia O'Brien. That's the only guess I've heard that sounds possible. Please help because this is driving crazy!

Thank you.

P.S. Funny thing. Can you see Fred Astaire's photo reflected on the glass?

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's putting me way behind in my drinking

I hate to say it, but I've been falling behind lately. I wish I could blame it on something cool like, "I've been working on my manuscript" or "I just got back from a marvelous vacation!" but, sadly, the reason is quite boring: I've been working some crazy hours and I'm too lazy to write when I get home. But in the midst of my crazy work hours, I managed to write out some blog posts - all I have to do is transcribe them to blogger, find the photos and the videos and then schedule them.

I also need to catch up on my blog comments. I have far too many unread blog posts. I will slowly be catching up on this. So if you randomly get a comment from me on a post written several weeks ago, don't be surprised. I'd just leave it be and start new but I don't want to miss anything amazing and I hate that you have all been amazing and been commenting on my blog and I haven't reciprocated. So, I plan to work on that as well.

Oh! and good news: you know how, oh so long ago, I said that I wanted to watch all the special features on my movies? Well, I finally started working on that the other day by watching a featurette on Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Tonight, I continued with 101 Dalmatians and The Band Wagon. It's awfully exciting that I'm finally working on that!

Anyway, I just wanted to write a brief disclaimer about the belated comments I will be leaving.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"It must have been tough on your mother not having any children."

Good job to awopbopaloobopalopbamboom for correctly guessing last week's quote of the week! Hooray! It was from Anchors Aweigh.

Now, for this week's quote of the week:

"It must have been tough on your mother not having any children."

This is one of my favorite lines from the movie. I think it's so funny! If only I could come up with comebacks like that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Then you'll see roses in the snow. Joi de vivre will make them grow...

Heigh-ho! Hello everybody! It seems as though I'm often explaining about my negligence in posting, tardiness in commenting. I apologize for my lack of discipline lately. Work has been crazy. I'm generally working 45-50 hours, at least that's how it's been the past few weeks, and I'm barely getting my movie-watching in, let alone my blog posting! But I'm working to redeem that right now. I cleaned my room tonight, which is a step in the right direction. And this past week I had an unusual opportunity to sit in a quiet room for 4 hours at a time (I was proctoring) several times a week, so I wrote several blog posts. It's all very exciting, I just have to get these posts from paper to blogger and I have to add photos and find videos and whatnot. But, I'm working on it. Work in progress. In the meantime, I want to continue with my segment posts. Tonight, I'm due for a spotlight on a musical number, so here we go...

There are some incredibly famous composer teams in movie history: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin and Gershwin, Gilbert and Sullivan... but one of my all-time favorite writing duos ever has got to be the Sherman brothers: Richard and Robert.

Those guys were geniuses, no way around it. They wrote some of the most recognizable songs and a great deal of the classic Disney numbers: "It's a Small World," "In the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room," "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," and the songs from The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, The Parent Trap, That Darn Cat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, and, of course, Mary Poppins... and much, much more! They were brilliant. So, today, I'd like to feature one of their less known songs, one from In Search of the Castaways, called "Enjoy It!" This was written for Maurice Chevalier (who also worked with their father) and it's one of my favorites of his (and theirs). This song makes me happy every time I hear it.

By the way, I absolutely must see the documentary about them. I just now discovered it. It will happen. I'm a little nervous by its description as "heartbreaking" and "moving" but I'll brace myself accordingly. I've become a bit of a fangirl for them and I'm determined to learn as much as possible about them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

'S in the box?

I'm in the process of transcribing all of my notes onto blogger so that I can finally start this month's themed list. But for now, continuing in my list of 100 movies...

#29 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

This is one of those movies I watch and remember how funny it is. So many great lines, so many memorable moments! The basic plot is as follows: David Huxley (Cary Grant) is work hard to complete the brontosaurus skeleton for his museum. On the afternoon before his wedding, he goes to talk to Mr. Peabody, a lawyer whose client is planning to give away $1 million. While trying to convince Mr. Peabody during a game of golf that the museum deserves this generous donation, David meets madcap heiress, Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn). Susan takes a liking to David and tricks him into helping her transport a leopard, Baby, to her farm in Connecticut on the day of his wedding. Misadventures and misunderstandings (along with a great deal of hilarity) ensue.

This movie is filled with fantastic dialogue and scenes. This is one of my favorites of Hepburn's performances - she's so crazy but likeable. Cary Grant is absolutely adorable as the strait-laced Dr. Huxley. This is the film with Cary Grant's famous "I just went gay all of a sudden" line, which has always been a curiosity to me (the line, that is, not the placement of it).

I found an interesting bit of trivia on IMDb about that line. I'll quote it because I don't think I would be able to paraphrase it properly: "David's response to Aunt Elizabeth asking him why he is wearing a woman's dressing gown ('Because I just went gay all of a sudden!') is considered by many film historians to be the first use of the word 'gay' in its roughly modern sense (as opposed to its archaic meaning of "happy, carefree") in an American studio film. Among homosexuals, the word first came into its current use during the 1920s or possibly even earlier, though it was not widely known by heterosexuals as a slang term for homosexuals until the late 1960s. The line was not in the original shooting script for the film; it was an ad lib from Cary Grant himself." Interesting, huh? I found that little tidbit while looking up trivia for the movie. I also found out that Cary Grant was not fond of the leopard, although Katharine Hepburn was (which, ironically, is how it works in the movie too) and that Katharine Hepburn needed coaching in her comedic timing, which is interesting.

Anyway, the film contains many more memorable lines than just the one discussed above. Here are some of my favorites:

"But isn't it chilly without a gun, Elizabeth?" - Major Horace Applegate

"Well, it isn't that I don't like you, Susan. After all, in moments of quiet I'm strangely drawn to you but, well, there haven't been any quiet moments." - David

Susan: Well you can't do the trick without dropping some of the olives, it takes practice.
David: What, to sit on my hat?
Susan: No, to drop an olive.

Elizabeth: Who are you?
David: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.

And, finally, I'm linking to a movie clip (our introduction to Baby) for your enjoyment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"If you feel like a mouse, you'll be looking for cheese and that's what you get."

Congratulations to Amanda and Lexie for correctly guessing last week's quote of the week (which was from Top Hat).

Now, for this week's quote:

"If you feel like a mouse, you'll be looking for cheese and that's what you'll get."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Okay, okay! Enough with the football talk, I'm going!

Now, for a quick break from our usual programming...

#28 Down With Love (2003)

I love this film. It's witty, it's sexy, and it's so much fun to watch. The basic plotline is as follows: womanizer Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor) is at the top of his game as a celebrated journalist and an often-celebrating man. But when author Barbara Novak writes a nonfiction book, Down With Love, that encourages women to get an equal footing in the workforce, a hilarious battle of the sexes ensues. Things get even more complicated (well, really, they're just beginning) when Barbara announces that Catcher is the worst kind of man and Catcher decides to have his revenge - by making her fall in love with him!

Now, I promised before to write more in-depth posts when I'm dealing with contemporary films so let me write out reasons for why this movie would appeal to classic film fans. I'm also going to link to some clips that highlight what I'm talking about in each section and I'm going to embed the trailer below so you guys can get a good idea of what this movie is like. It's honestly one of my favorite movies ever. It's so stinking funny!

1. The fashion.
We all know that the clothing in old movies is amazing. The films are treasure troves of fabulous vintage fashion. Well if you like 60's fashion, look no further than Down With Love (okay, you can look further, but look here as well). There are some super cute dresses and outfits throughout the movie. Here is a clip featuring several.

2. The 60's-ness.
This movie was more or less based on Pillow Talk (although I've written an entire post outlining how the movies compare and contrast). The makers of the film really worked to make it seem as if it came out of the 60's. They make use of green screens (in this clip, for example), crazy sets, and Tony Randall (he has a bit part). I like that the movie is a sort of homage to 60's movies and I think it should be applauded (or at least watched) for its efforts.

3. The wit.
The dialogue in this movie is fantastic. So very many clever lines! Now, as a caution: if you are offended by sexual humor then this movie isn't for you. It's a self-described "zany sex comedy" and sex plays a major part in the film. However, in my opinion, sex is dealt with in a very clever and witty way. There are tons of double entendres and innuendos. Now, with that warning out of the way, I can link to one of my favorite scenes in the movie: the audience's introduction to Catcher Block (who, by the way, is practically a reason in and of himself to watch this movie - Ewan McGregor in 60's fashion? Yes please!). Now, links aside, here is an example of that clever banter, other than the example linked over above...

Catcher: You said she was a spinster.
Mac: I never used the word 'spinster' in my life! Okay once. When I told my mother it was technically incorrect for her to call her son a spinster.
Catcher: You said she was a brunette.
Mac: I did not!
Catcher: She sure didn't sound like a blonde on the telephone... Do you still want to date Vicky?
Mac: Of course I do. Do you think I want to die a spinster?

Have I whetted your appetite yet? In my personal opinion, this movie is delightful from start to finish. I love the affected manner of the characters and the general wackiness of the movie. I love the humor. I love the movie's ability to pay tribute to classic film while bringing in a contemporary feel to the movie. Here is the trailer to further persuade you to check out this film. Enjoy!