The greatest musicals of all time (and where to watch them)
Ever since Al Jolson got excited that “you haven’t heard a thing yet” in the 1927s The jazz singer, the musical has been a staple of cinema.
Of Sing in the rain to the stars of last year Prom, movies and music have often been a marriage in heaven. Yes, there have been some high-profile missteps and hiccups along the way (think of the 1980 remake with Neil Diamond The jazz singer or 2019 is very vilified Cats), but there are plenty of examples that show just how transformative and emotional the musical can be.
To celebrate the arrival in Kiwi theaters of the highly anticipated adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit In the heights, Things to watch put together this list of what we consider to be the best chunky movies of all time (and where you can watch them).
* Eight great movies that are now 40 (and where you can watch them)
* Pinocchio nominated for Oscars among eight great films at Cinema Italiano this year
* A “biopic” inspired by the crazy Celine Dion makes the front page of the 2021 Aotearoa French Film Festival
Beauty and the Beast (Disney +)
It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time, animated films without celebrity voices or compositions, weren’t littered with pop culture references, and were hand-drawn rather than computer-designed. And, in this case of 1991, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture (beaten by Thesilenceofthelambs), but had the consolation of winning the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy).
While this 18th-century fairy-tale-inspired story lacks any out-of-the-ordinary pop success, it does contain a handful of fantastic songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Incredibly the work of 12 screenwriters, the story mixes visual and verbal humor (“If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it”) with real scares reminiscent of Disney’s golden age. Pinocchio and White as snow.
Chicago (iTunes, Google Play)
This Oscar-winning film in 2002 was based on the 1970s musical Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb, itself based on the 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Inspired by Watkins’ time as Chicago Tribune reporter during the “trial of the century” of accused murderer Roxie Hart, the daring and inventive star of Rob Marshall is the story of two women – Roxie (Renee Zellweger) and Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
Kissing Chicago’s theatrical roots through elaborate sets, stunning footwork, brassy vocals and glittering costumes, Marshall has also created something distinctly cinematic.
Nice to meet you (iTunes)
From the opening of the pop-up storybook with a narration by Julie Andrews, Kevin Lima’s 2007 fantasy is both a beautiful tribute to (listen to the cameos of previous Disney heroines) and a witty subversion. from Disney’s animated legacy.
Amy Adams looks stunning as Giselle, the princess tricked by a jealous queen into a place where there is apparently no happy afternoon – the New York City of today. Patrick Dempsey is the divorce lawyer and the father of a child who changes his perspective on fairy tales.
The Greatest Showman (Disney +)
Rejected by some critics for its hokey storytelling and the mixed performances of its protagonists, this 2017 was destined for box office success by audiences who returned again and again to revel in Hugh Jackman’s performance as PT Barnum.
Joined by Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and half-kiwifruit Keala Settle, Michael Gracey’s tale of the rise and fall of the American Barnum Museum and its human “attractions” is swept away by poignant songs and powerful as A million dreams, Never enough and the hymn It’s me.
Hamilton (Disney +)
While this is actually just a filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show (a proper film adaptation is still planned to hit the runway), this 2020 release simply reminds you of the power of a stage production and the breathtaking daring of Miranda’s vision.
For those of you who don’t know, it’s the incredible life and times of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, told through an eclectic range of musical styles – from hip hop to rap.
La La Land (Netflix)
This completely modern 2016 update of the traditional old-school Hollywood musical initially appears to display the worst excesses of the tradition of stories sung in America. But then, little by little, Damien Chazelle hooks you (and his harmonies) and, in the end, you will be spellbound by his love letter to Los Angeles, his bittersweet romance and his songs that will stay in your head for a while. week after. visualization.
It also helps that it has two extremely attractive leads. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have both improved their individual reputations and stock as Hollywood’s best movie couple since Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Les Misérables (Amazon Prime Video)
The 2012 version of Alain Boublil by Tom Hooper, the adaptation by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer of the 1862 post-French revolution novel by Victor Hugo is better than anyone dared to dream. Natural lighting, hand-held camera work, and imperfect vocals give the film the grim, grimy realism that this radical Dickensian story deserves.
Delivering power and a refreshingly “ugly” performance, Hugh Jackman is a stunning Jean Valjean, while Eddie Redmayne is a revelation and a distressed and depressed Anne Hathaway steals the show as Fantine with her heartbreaking portrayal of I dreamed a dream.
Small shop of horrors (iTunes, GooglePlay)
Former Muppet man Frank Oz is the perfect director for this 1986 adaptation of the 1960s black comedy (itself based on a 1960 Roger Corman film), first performed off Broadway in 1982. Not only does he bring the central “monster plant” to magnificent life via animatronics and Levi Stubbs’ suave tones, but he also manages to make audiences believe in it. ghost hunters‘Rick Moranis as a romantic leader.
Aside from the scene-stealing cameos of John Candy, Bill Murray and Steve Martin, the real stars are the hilarious tunes and lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
Moulin Rouge (Disney +)
The ultimate jukebox musical for Gen X and the culmination of Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s visual symphonic style in 2001. Ewan McGregor is the struggling writer who falls in love with the eponymous cabaret star courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman), a craze which, according to him, will only end badly.
An eclectic supporting cast, which includes John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent and Richard Roxburgh, sings and dances through mash-ups and re-imaginations of ’70s and’ 80s hits like Roxanne, Your song, Lady Marmelade and Like a virgin, whose words take on new, evocative and provocative meanings. A visual and sound triumph which, once observed, is not easily forgotten.
Once (iTunes, GooglePlay)
Charming romantic musical from 2007 that has since grown into a popular show. Writer-director John Carney’s masterpiece was to choose two professional musicians, rather than actors, to play the Grafton Street busker (Glen Hansard) and the Czech flower seller (Marketa Irglova).
The couple’s chemistry is palpable from the get-go, their singing vocals are gorgeous, and the end result is not what you might expect. It’s hard not to shed a tear or get chills down your spine when they combine to sing the Oscar-winning song Slowly falling.
The sound of music (Disney +)
More than 55 years after its 1965 debut, Robert Wise’s adaptation of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical still entertains audiences, especially as a staple of Christmas viewing.
Based on Maria von Trapp’s 1949 memoir, it’s an unlikely premise for a beloved family film. A young governess takes care of the seven children of a retired and widowed naval officer, charms them all, and then has to help them escape the Nazi invaders. Technicolor wonder, Wise has found inventive ways to add visual spice to the clutch of memorable songs, especially the title melody.
West Side History (Google Play, iTunes)
Being redesigned by Steven Spielberg, the success of the 1961 original will take a lot of hits. Not only did it win 10 Oscars (including Best Picture), it was also the highest grossing film of that year.
An adaptation of the 1957 Broadway hit, this Romeo and Juliet-esque tale centers on Natalie Wood’s Maria and Richard Beymer’s Tony, lovers cursed because their families are part of rival gangs. Beautifully choreographed and filled with beautiful songs like Tonight and Somewhere, this is a rare case where two directors are better than one. Robert Wise was in charge of the dramaturgy, while Jerome Robbins (who had helped bring the Broadway show to life) was in charge of the musical sequences.