Ten musical films to watch now

Musical film: the list of must-sees

If you need to lift your mood, a good musical film always works. From the classics of the golden age of Hollywood to the success of the 70s by Bob Fosse to La La Land, which made director Damien Chazelle win many Oscars. Here are 10 musical films to watch at least once in a lifetime.

Ten musical films to watch now
Ten musical films to watch now

1. Pure escapism: Singing in the Rain (1952)

Singing in the rain

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Set in the moment in which Hollywood goes from silent to sound, this comedy in bright tones follows the vicissitudes of the icon of the big screen Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly). Co-directed by Stanley Donen and Kelly, the film is a concentrate of musical pieces and performance brilliant, including those of Donald O’Connor, in the role of Don’s best friend, Debbie Reynolds, the aspiring theater actress and Jean Hagen, perfidious and vain silent film star. The title itself makes you want to dance: try it to believe it.

2. A comedy protofemminista: Men prefer blondes (1953)

Men prefer blondes

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Despite tends to be remembered for the sensual interpretation of Marilyn Monroe of the famous Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, this satirical comedy directed by Howard Hawks has much more to offer. She narrates two showgirls, Lorelei (Marilyn) and Dorothy (Jane Russell), on a cruise ship bound for France. Dorothy is an incurable romantic while her friend is on the hunt for a rich husband. Smart dialogues, incredible sets and stage costumes ranging from clothes glitter structured rompers: simply fabulous.

3. The original version: A star was born (1954)

This bitter-sweet story about female ambition and male decline has been told several times before and since: by Janet Gaynor in 1937, Barbra Streisand in 1976 and Lady Gaga in 2018 but the version of Judy Garland it is unmatched. For George Cukor’s masterful direction, Garland plays a singer who is catapulted to success after being discovered by an established actor (James Mason). Virtuous voice, passionate monologues that go straight to the heart and one star power more obvious than ever.

4. At the origins of the Hollywood Golden Age: Carmen Jones (1954)

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A brave rereading of the Carmen by Georges Bizet, this dramatic musical directed by Otto Preminger features a cast entirely black and move the setting to a parachute factory during World War II. Dorothy Dandridge she is amazing in the role of the protagonist, an unreliable worker intent on seducing a soldier, played by Harry Belafonte, and making him break up with his girlfriend. The tragedy is on every corner but the electric presence of Dandridge, who thanks to the film obtained the first Oscar nomination for Best Actress for a black woman (as in Hollywood TV series) makes viewing a real pleasure.

5. A musical all to dance: West Side Story (1961)

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With the expected remake of Steven Spielberg out in a few months, there is no better time to look at the original award-winning version directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as Maria and Tony, two unfortunate lovers belonging to rival gangs who dance on New York City basketball courts and fire escapes. There are touching ballads, like Somewhere, Mary is Tonight but it is Rita Moreno and George Chakiris who steal the show with their interpretation of the noisy and revolutionary America.

6. A triumph of pastel colors: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964.

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This sublime reflection of Jacques Demy on lost love it continues to remain very current. From acid-colored shop windows, to boudoirs covered with wallpaper to the impeccable stage costumes worn by an angelica Catherine Deneuve: the film is a real joy for the eyes from start to finish. Catherine plays Geneviève, the melancholy daughter of an umbrella shop owner, whose boyfriend (Nino Castelnuovo) is called to fight in Algeria. Between sung dialogues and a heart-breaking soundtrack, Geneviève melts in anticipation of his return and imagines the future together.

7. From florist to grand lady: My Fair Lady (1964)

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Audrey Hepburn it’s a vision in this sentimental comedy directed by George Cukor, which tells the story of a florist torn from anonymity by a professor of glottology (Rex Harrison). Determined to teach her to speak the Queen’s perfect English and pass her off as a duchess, he subjects her to grueling diction lessons, but what begins as a social experiment quickly turns into an unprecedented love story. Among highlight I am the joyful I Could Have Danced All Night and the scene in Ascot choreographed to perfection and with the most extravagant stage costumes.

8. The subversive comedy: Cabaret (1972)

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Dark cabaret and decadent atmospheres: the Bob Fosse’s masterpiece it is set in the underworld scene of Berlin in the 30s and tells the love story between a soubrette (Liza Minnelli) and a shy and reserved teacher (Michael York) in the Weimar Republic period. The two spend the nights at Kit Kat Klub, managed by a shady entertainer (Joel Gray), which is the backdrop to countless performance unforgettable, including Maybe This Time, Mein Herr and touching it title track of the film, a revolutionary ode able to speak to the whole world.

9. Melodrama and sequins: Moulin Rouge! (2001)

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From the moment Nicole Kidman is lowered from the ceiling of a ballroom with sequined dress and top hat, it is impossible not to be enchanted by the atmospheres of this dramatic musical directed by Baz Luhrmann. Set in 1900 Paris, it tells of a penniless young writer (Ewan McGregor) who comes to the famous club and is drawn to his world of excess. Expect can-can dancers with more flashy costumes, waltzes on the roofs of Paris and elaborate declarations of love, without forgetting a deliciously kitsch soundtrack.

10. Melancholic romance: La La Land (2016)

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Inspired by the sumptuous MGM productions (An American in Paris, 1951) and the classics of the Nouvelle Vague French (Josephine, 1967), Damien Chazelle’s love for the show knows no boundaries in this fascinating comedy. The director gives birth to tip tap ballets in the moonlight, musical pieces on the highway of Los Angeles and solos full of emotion against the backdrop of pink sunsets, many of them sung by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, who respectively play an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist who makes her fall madly in love.

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