Musicals and cinema had a period of going hand in hand. I’m talking about the MGM classics of Hollywood and the beauty of voices such as Judy Garland and the crackling joy of the Jazz Singer (1927). yet, the last decade has seen a revival of ‘the musical’ to our screens, matching the likes of classic cinema. Once again, not a competitive list, just an adoration of this fabulous genre.
1. West Side Story (1961) – Tony’s death
I’m going to start this list of with the saddest of all the films. West Side Story is a masterpiece, that I personally believe is really underappreciated. Tony’s death is a gift to cinema, it is raw, real and beautiful. New York did experience gangs of hate of such this film portrays, which is what makes this even more poignant. The red dress of Maria stands out in this scene for portraying her passion for Tony, and the hate that has caused this death. I like to think that Maria ends the hate between the Jets and the Sharks. The almost funeral like parade that leads Tony out says so, either way this film is so beautiful and it represents a theme still standing today, set to the tune of “there’s a place for us”. With a film just round the corner by Spielberg, I’m even more in love with this film.
The Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzDfaI83C74
2. Singing in the Rain (1952) – You were meant for me
Oh this scene makes me flutter. The pure joy of watching this charming scene makes me love cinema every time. The purple tones, the wind machine, the ladder and the perfect costumes are what make this scene. The acting of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds are just the cherry on top. This scene is often used in film schools for lighting and you can see why, it’s taking full advantage of a studio space in the script and telling the audience what a studio can do. I particularly love the big door opening and the light flicking on!
The Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqsrVQfNYPc
3. La La Land (2016) – The Griffith Observatory
Maybe because I’ve just been to the Griffith Observatory, or because this film is perfection, La La Land hits the nail on the head here. This scene is clearly inspired from a number of scenes. From Rebel without and Cause’s (1955) shot of the car driving up, to Moulin Rouge (2001). I find this scene a little corny in the midst of a pretty amazing film, but in honesty, the feeling of going there and now watching this scene back makes it really special. There is an amazing video that explains the inspiration for the film posted bellow.
The Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5zdEQHuxOY
The Inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI5BPRrj554
4.White Christmas (1954) – The Ending
Everyone has a few Christmas films that they shove on every year, grab a snowball and a box of chocolates and just sink into. Well White Christmas is one of those films for me. I’m going to be honest here, I actually cry every time at this ending because your so happy for them! Not ashamed at all to admit that, the zooming shot of everyone watching the snow fall down behind the stage, and the visitors enjoying the last few hours of Christmas day, it is simply a happy and lovely moment.
The Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxBCb03JCo
5. Chicago (2002) – The intro
This scene is the introduction to the 2002 film, Chicago. While I don’t love love this film, I am aware that it is very well made. The introduction is sharp and snappy and I love that. The song “all that jazz” is so catchy, you’ll be singing it for weeks (great shower song). It is however the cinematography that I like here. The shots are slick and choreographed perfectly to the music, and I simply adore Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones, watch the film for just them and you won’t be disappointed!
The Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiBn8SUBRLg
Finely, here is an amazing you tube video! just watch and enjoy, there will be another post on musicals coming next week,
Thanks for reading!
Heather Jayne Dodson