This month I will be focusing on jukebox musicals, and for me in my experience, there’s no more obvious jukebox musical film than Mamma Mia!, having spent 20 years of my life being very aware of the music of ABBA being in the world.
I think the plot they’ve woven around these songs has to do with a woman about to get married and wanting to include the father she’s never met, only to find out her mother isn’t sure who that is because she was seeing three men at the same time. There are some details I’m more certain of than others, but finding fathers is definitely involved. I think the “sequel” is a flashback to that time frame entirely.
The music has already stood the test of time, but the story has to live up to one episode of Community that spent all its budget on the gag that the Halloween party playlist was just ABBA’s entire catalog.
I always had the impression this was a story about mafiosos and their molls, but the closest I ever came to any glimpse of the actual contents of the musical was… highly adulterated, and I’m pretty sure bears no relationship to the actual musical.
The summaries I’m seeing now seem to revolve around illegal gambling, which probably means organized crime, but it doesn’t really seem to be the focus. Obviously the real focus is probably “That Frank Sinatra is having a swell time singing”, more than likely with a dash of “and that nun is going to break her vows for him.”
I had an impression that Chevy Chase completely disappeared from whenever he left the Vacation movies in the 90s until the late 00s, when he suddenly resurfaced in Zoom, a Tim Allen vehicle about a retired superhero, and on Community. Apparently what he was actually doing at the time was starring in German/Romanian adaptations of British plays. An American company was also involved, but I sure don’t recall any significant American release.
I think this is the way most people have experienced Don Quixote. I’ve read some of the book, but despite the new translation I was using, the stilted nature of it still sometimes overpowered the comedy, which itself sometimes felt a little too much like “mental illness is funny!” It’s at the same time amazing how modern it feels at over 400 years old and yet how basic the storytelling can be at times, because it’s had 400 years to become part of the way we always tell stories.
But the grandeur of the way Man of La Mancha interprets the book is enticing and accessible. Everyone has heard at least a few bars of “The Impossible Dream”. It’s a classic showtune ballad. The romance is probably more feel-good in this take as well.
On the surface, this looks like just as much fluff as State Fair, but the setup sounds rather dark. It’s a man’s one more day to get it right with his family after a fatal accident. Moreover, one summary I saw specifically calls him abusive, though that’s probably from subtext. Depressing themes in a musical? Not something one would expect before the late 60s.
But then it manifests as flowy dancing around a carnival, so it can’t be entirely bleak.
This is being promoted as a romp with a wife who invents a lover to get revenge on her husband for spending more time with his secretary. Apparently it also involves travel to Europe, but I’m not clear how big a part of the movie that is. I suspect the story starts with them relocating for business reasons, and then the new secretary at the new office gets too much of the husband’s attention.
This is based on a play, so I’m expecting some really good dialogue, very long scenes, and a handful of location scenes in Europe because movies feel obligated to Open Up a play.
I’m sure there are other movies that reach this level of substanceless fame, and probably ones that I’ve reviewed here before, but while I know I’ve reviewed well-known movies nobody actually seems to discuss the content of before, I can’t think of one so big yet so mysterious.
I roughly know its time period, but mainly because Wall-E used some clips. Otherwise, it’s somehow the codifier of what a classic musical film is, to the point that it’s taken as a generic for “musical”. But it’s theoretically in that position because it’s good and because it’s influential. But the mold got overused and eventually musicals started defying it. Later on Broadway reinvented Disney reinvented Broadway, but that’s beyond the scope of a review of Hello, Dolly!Continue reading →
I was somewhat concerned to see that this movie is also silent and based on the Gillette play, but a glance at the first paragraph of the synopsis tells me this is definitely a different adaptation. Not being familiar with the text of the play I can’t say if the differences were added to this production or subtracted from the other one. This looks hopefully more engaging.
When I first attached a disambiguating year to a title, I never expected to do two movies with the same title back to back. I can’t say it’s just because there were fewer movies to get confused with back then, since even the past decade has seen multiple productions simply titled “Sherlock Holmes”. So it’s worth noting that in Britain it was titled Moriarty.
Not very long after I started this blog, I realized that I was reviewing so many Sherlock Holmes films that they would probably qualify for their own genre category. It seems like I’ve covered more than is tagged there, but it’s still a healthy sampling.
My fondness for Sherlock Holmes stories far predates Yesterday’s Movies, so I find myself running out of eligible and desirable films to review. The list of adaptations seems endless, but once I apply my criteria for a review selection, they’re just about dried up. As well, I have no intention of leaving recent and future films to age into eligibility before watching them, so I’ve decided to give Sherlock a retirement sendoff with a themed month of some of the most notable films.
It is only right, then, to begin with the silent film adaptation of the very first official adaptation of Doyle’s work. William Gillette was given an attempted stageplay by Doyle and tasked with rewriting it into something serviceable, and also starred as Holmes. Holmes’s iconic deerstalker hat, calabash pipe, and “Elementary, dear Watson” all came from Gillette. This is a historic piece of Sherlockiana.
Bonus mini-review: Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900) – In his first-ever film appearance, the world’s greatest detective is no match for camera magic.
I can’t recall if this is something I saw come up specifically referenced by somebody as a story about a woman tasked with automating her research department and it turns out even just alone she’s better than the computer, or if this is unrelated and just came up in my algorithmic recommendations.
All I know for sure is that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn apparently do a lot of verbal sparring, and I’m a big fan of verbal sparring, especially by legends. I guess I haven’t seen all that much of Spencer Tracy. It may just be Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and nothing else. But I know he’s highly regarded and that William Shatner in particular looked up to him.
It says this is a romantic comedy, and I’m wondering if the center couple is both Tracy and Hepburn. They seem mismatched in age.