My Top Ten Movie Musicals

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I’m not usually the biggest fan of musicals & I always think I should watch more of them to be all cultured & shit (movie musicals as well as actually going into London to watch more proper stage musicals). However, I do really like some of the ones I’ve seen. I sometimes hate them (Les Miserables and especially Into The Woods) but below are the musicals that I really enjoyed. Maybe some of you will have some recommendations for others I should check out based on what I like? 🙂

**I’ve had to make some rules with this one. When looking up “movie musicals”, a lot of movies that I really wouldn’t consider musicals came up. Also, every single Disney movie with at least one song in it came up. So these are movies that I’m excluding from this list:

– Anything animated and/or movies that are aimed mainly at kids (all Disney animated films, Yellow Submarine, Labyrinth, and things like the Muppet movies)
Daft Punk’s Electroma, Phantom Of The Paradise, and Krush Groove (although they came up in a search for “musicals”, they really aren’t my definition of musicals. they’re awesome, though)
Pitch Perfect 1 & 2 (again, not “musicals” to me but they wouldn’t make my top ten anyway)

So now, counting down from ten to my number one favorite, here are My Top Ten Movie Musicals:

10. TIE: Hello, Dolly! and The King & I
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9. Annie
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8. Grease
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7. TIE: Mary Poppins & Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (okay, kind of aimed at kids but I felt they should be included)
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6. Singin’ In The Rain
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5. Across The Universe
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4. Jesus Christ Superstar
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3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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2. The Wizard Of Oz
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1. The Sound Of Music
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Honorable Mentions:
West Side Story
Pink Floyd The Wall
Tommy
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Dancer In The Dark
Xanadu
A Chorus Line
Bugsy Malone

The Ones I Should Really Get Around To Watching Sometime:
The Jazz Singer
Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (is this a musical?)
The King & I
Fame
All The Beatles movies other than Yellow Submarine

**List updated 29/06/17 to add The King & I and Bugsy Malone**

Singin’ In The Rain (1952) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Kelechi of Confessions From A Geek Mind. Thanks for the review, Kelechi! Now let’s see what he has to say about Singin’ In The Rain, IMDB rank 86 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Every time I watch Singin’ in the Rain it always leaves me with a smile on my face.  Why?  Because this is the greatest musical ever made.

 It’s a bold statement from me considering when you have so many fantastic musicals – Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Grease, Mary Poppins etc.  Yet nothing really compares with Singin’ in the Rain.  It’s a masterpiece.

 “Well, we movie stars get the glory. I guess we have to take the little heartaches that go with it. People think we lead lives of glamour and romance, but we’re really lonely – terribly lonely.” – Don Lockwood

 Singin’ in the Rain tells the story of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a famous film star of the silent movie era.  From his humble beginnings he has worked his way to the top alongside his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’ Connor).  From the outside, Don seemed to have it all – the fame, attention and the perfect off-screen relationship with fellow actress Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen).  But it’s all a lie and an encounter with aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) brings him down to Earth.  But with Hollywood transitioning over to the talkies, Don has to make changes both professionally and personally for the sake of his career and happiness.

The beauty of Singin’ in the Rain comes down to the plot.  It’s easy to overlook but Singin’ in the Rain is a celebration and tribute to a forgotten past.  The character of Don Lockwood represents the hundreds of actors who had made their success and fortune during the silent movie period.  They captivated the screen with their Hollywood good looks and their theatrical performance. At first the audience was sceptical of cinema because majority were theatregoers. Kathy Selden’s comment between herself and Don as she drives him home illustrates the perception divide between theatre and cinema – “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all”.   Yet audiences couldn’t get enough of the medium and everything changed in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, the first film with synchronized sound.  It was a groundbreaking achievement with audiences flocking to the cinema to embrace the new technology and the studios took note.  Now every movie they made had to have sound.  Every cinema had to be upgraded and equipped so they could stay up to date with demand and attendances.  There were hiccups along the way (which was comically demonstrated in the film) but the impact of sound was significant.

During this transition, actors who thrived during the silent era suddenly had to change and adapt. No longer could they get away with their good looks and theatrical performances – they had to sound the part.  Some actors became stubborn, thinking talkies wouldn’t last.  In the end, the result was conclusive.  Those who adapted (like the fictional character Don Lockwood) continued in the business and found a new lease of life.  Those who couldn’t or stubbornly refused to take part in the transition, their careers declined which is where Lina Lamont, a shallow, calculating yet dim-witted star probably ended up.

Ultimately this film gives you a unique perspective to cinema history without you realising it!

Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses he knowses his toeses aren’t roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be.” – Don and Cosmo

I look at Singin’ in the Rain as a time in Hollywood when movies were movies.  Films you know they simply don’t make anymore.  Where you look at the cast and all you can see is talent, whether it was singing or dancing.  Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’ Connor are simply brilliant.

Gene Kelly has a lovable charm with his ‘melt like butter’ smile.  His comic timing is perfect, especially when he’s interacting with his best friend, Cosmo.   In the early scenes with Kathy (a character who is feisty yet honest), Gene’s on-screen chemistry and attraction with Debbie Reynolds is believable.  Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont adds the comedic touch – beautiful to look at as long as you don’t let her speak!  A selfish character you love to hate and yet her tongue is blessed with wicked lines.

The dancing is off the chart.  Technically brilliant and never missing a beat, it’s completely mesmerising, hypnotic and breathless.  I dare you to watch Cosmo’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” if you think any different.  It’s full of positivity and high energy that has been rigorously rehearsed again and again until perfection.  Most shots filmed in one take that could give the tracking shot from True Detective a run for its money.  The music is simple, melodic yet memorable, always capturing the feel good spirit of the film.  When the two elements are mixed together you have a deadly yet seamless combination (with an added bonus of comedy).

The core reason for that is because the central focus is love.  Singin’ in the Rain is an emotive experience.  That feeling inspires the songs, the dancing and the dialogue. Whether its love for a special person or a friend, a love shared through laughter or love for the things you do, Singin’ in the Rain naturally ticks all the boxes.  It emphasises that it can make you a better person and without it you would be like Don and Lina – empty and lonely.  So when Don sings the title song, his love with Kathy is more than just words.  It’s something you can’t express in writing so he chooses the only way he knows – he dances and he sings…and probably caught hypothermia in the process!  But it doesn’t matter because the feeling of love is greater than any force imaginable.  That’s why this dance sequence works and why it’s the most cinematic and iconic moment in film history.

While the Oscar winning film The Artist took a page out of Singin’ in the Rain, in the end you are swept up in the magic of this film.  Not only does it pay tribute to cinema history, this film is history – one that will be treasured for the rest of time.

I can’t think of a better film that will make you feel on top of the world.