"My next favorite film version of 'A Christmas Carol,' right after the Alastair Sim movie, is this one from 1970. Finney received the 1970 Golden Globe Award for best actor in musical or comedy. The film was also nominated for Academy Awards for art direction/ set decoration, costume designer, best song ('Thank You Very Much') and best song score/ adaptation. A musical retelling with memorable songs and dances, (the song 'December the 25th' is a favorite) and a lively cast, this film ranks high on my list of 'must watch' DVDs during the holiday season. Filmed in such a way as to suggest that the only light is ambient sources on the set, it adds a look to the production that is simultaneously realistic and dream-like." An affectionate look at director Ronald Neame's musical adaptation, Scrooge. [more inside]
"One day early in 1954, Mary Martin and her husband, Richard Halliday, were driving on the Merritt Parkway, near their home in Norwalk, Connecticut. On the car radio came Frank Sinatra’s new hit, “Young at Heart.” It was perfect! That is, the song had the exact sentiment and feel they wanted for the pet project they’d long been planning, a musical version of J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan (original subtitle: “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”). Right on the spot, they decided they’d hire whoever had written the song to compose the score for their production." [more inside]
With the all-star Into the Woods movie coming this Christmas, it's good to take a look at some versions with more modest production values.
Why this lady is wearing a horse costume. previously.
"For the drama and the way it may happen to be played, and the plot or moral or meaning of it, nobody seems particularly to care. The point of interest is, first, the dancing; next, the dancers, and last, the scenery."[more inside]
As he sings, the walls of the apartment begin to move off, and the city walls surrounding them begin to close in on them. Then the apartment it self goes, and the two lovers begin to run, battering against the walls of the city, beginning to break through as chaotic figures of the gangs, of violence, fail around them. But they do break through, and suddenly-they are in a world of space and air and sun. They stop, looking at it, pleased, startled, as boys and girls both sides come on. And they, too, stop and stare, happy, pleased. Their clothes are soft and pastel versions of what they have worn before. They begin to dance, to play: no sides, no hostility now; join, making a world that Tony and Maria want to be in, belong to, share their love with. As they go into the steps of a gentle love dance, a voice is heard singing. [more inside]
"Someone in a Tree" -- an incedibly rare video from the original, 1976 production of "Pacific Overtures." I grew up listening to an L.P. of these same people perform this same song, but I've never before seen them perform it. I grew up in Southern Indiana, so actually seeing a Broadway show was out of the question. But I loved this song, and -- years later -- I read that it was Stephen Sondheim's favorite of all the songs he ever wrote. Today, I found this video on YouTube and it was like finally seeing someone after being blind for years. I still have chills running up and down my spine. Also: Sondheim forum, online journal, and various gems (and bombs) on youtube -- including the man himself teaching a master class and this 12-year-old's spirited performance!
Silence of the Lambs: The Musical - Featuring the showstopping tune "If I Could Smell Her..." Ummm...you know what? Just click the link.