Today, the Internet is alive with The Sound of Music — for it is the beloved film’s 50th anniversary. “Beloved” seems an obvious adjective to apply to the 174 minutes of pastoral perfection. But actually, as The Daily Beast points out, when it was first released, critics saw it more as 174 minutes of a plasticly bucolic, saccharinely tender nightmare. The website notes that Pauline Kael was so revolted as to write: “We have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.” … Read More
Tonight, NBC will broadcast The Sound of Music Live!, which is exactly what it sounds like: a live production of the classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Starring Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, the nun who forsakes her religious calling to marry the man she loves so they can tour the world with their brood of singing children, the production is the first live television event of its kind in decades. The Sound of Music is a beloved family classic, but there’s quite a lot you may not know about the musical, the wildly popular film based upon it, and the real-life Maria von Trapp. … Read More
This is a week chock-full of anniversaries, so here’s another: 49 years ago, the film version of Mary Poppins premiered to much fanfare at L.A.’s Grauman theatre. Much-anticipated at the time, it garnered rapturous critical reception, but in recent years people have complained it was an overly sugary version of the original P.L. Travers book. Here are 10 unexpected anecdotes arising from the production that you probably haven’t heard before. … Read More
We’re almost through the month of May, and you know what that means: it’s college commencement speech season! While some of us had boring academics speak at our college graduations, there are a lot of other people who get to listen to folks like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, or Meryl Streep. So if you’re like me and are still annoyed that the creator of Joan of Arcadia was the celebrated guest who spoke while you baked in your black polyester cap and gown, take a short break and listen to these famous (and, generally, hilarious) people give advice to 22-year-olds. … Read More
On Friday, we heard the news that Carrie Underwood will be playing Maria in NBC’s planned live adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical The Sound of Music. While we’re a little disappointed by the choice (could Underwood possibly have enough spunky charisma to pull off the part?), hopefully the country star will prove us wrong and the remake will win all of our hearts all over again. More likely we’ll all complain about it, but so it goes. As a helpful suggestion to anyone making further casting decisions — and er, because it’s fun for us — we’ve put in our two cents for the casting of the rest of the principals after the jump. Feel free to argue with us and promote your own favorite candidates in the comments! … Read More
In spite of all our best efforts, Rock of Ages — currently sitting at 38% fresh among top critics on Rotten Tomatoes — is out this Friday, because if the multiplexes were missing anything this summer, it’s painfully earnest renditions of “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and Tom Cruise in assless chaps. Yes, the movie musical has fallen on rather hard times, but if we can learn anything from tracking its ebbs and flows of popularity, it’s that you can never count the genre out; after the jump, we’ve put together a brief but educational timeline to illustrate the many beat-downs and comebacks of the movie musical. … Read More
This fall, Mary Poppins — er, actress and singer Julie Andrews — is directing a new musical entitled “The Great American Mousical,” based on the children’s book of the same name she co-wrote with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Goodspeed Musicals will put on the production at the Norma Terris Theater in Chester, Conn.,… Read More
This Saturday, October 15 people will be digging into their personal archives celebrating Home Movie Day. For those who don’t have a projector, the event provides an opportunity for people with reels of family memories and thrift shop finds to check them out on a big screen — many for the first time ever. The event will take place at 66 venues across 13 countries where historians, curators, archivists, and enthusiasts will be on hand to provide insight into the uniqueness and artistic relevance of amateur film.
English actor Roddy McDowall — best known for his role in the original Planet of the Apes — was also a home movie enthusiast. He recorded a group of Hollywood pals at random parties in the mid ’60s — and the list of friends reads like a who’s who of Tinseltown during its prime. Watch Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Judy Garland, Rock Hudson, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Andrews, and many more hang out. It’s a great, rare opportunity to see what some famous faces were like off screen. Click through for more. … Read More
Blake Edwards’ film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s opens with Holly Golightly gazing longingly in the famed jeweler’s window. She is holding one of those iconic paper cups of cheap New York deli coffee in her hands. Dawn is quietly breaking around her, and for all her cultivated glamour, she is utterly alone on that famed stretch of Fifth Avenue. (Years later, in Victor/Victoria, Edwards poses his wife Julie Andrews in the same position outside a cafe in Paris. Freezing, starving, and anonymous, Victoria, like Holly, is also hungry for richer nourishment, deeper meaning.) In Capote’s version, our heroine leaves us much as we found her, on the run. “Never love a wild thing,” indeed. In Edwards’ Technicolor reimagination, Holly and Fred end up kissing in an alley in the rain, the poor, nameless slob of a “Cat” in their arms. Hollywood demands happy endings. And Edwards, the jaundiced populist, did not shy from them. … Read More
Earlier this week The New York Times ran a story about how the lack of a major star often kills a Broadway show. Referencing the imminent death of Promises, Promises in January (after the exits of Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth), and the departure of Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (did you remember she won an Academy Award?) from A Little Night Music, the article brings to the forefront some sad truths about the current state of Broadway. Generally, a show loses millions of dollars when a big ol’ famous person isn’t at the helm.
A lot of rumors get tossed around about replacement casts and stunt casting to lift sagging shows’ box office receipts, so we thought we’d throw in our two cents and bring you five moves we DARE Broadway to try. Because they’d be so damn sweet… … Read More