Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Films about Music


So, this week over at Wandering Through the Shelves, the topic is films about Music/Making Music/Musicians (no Musicals or bios about about real life Musicians). Oh I am skipping next week's entry since it is about films from South-East Asia...I know nadda, nyet, nuttin about those films. No Clue so I may just write about something else:)

I had to think for a bit on this one and let me tell you, some brain cells were sacrificed in this thought...it doesn't take much. Here are my 3

1.  PHANTOM OF THE OPERA-1925



A silent movie!? About music?? Yup and a great one at that, thanks to the legendary performance of Lon Chaney (Snr). This film has been remade countless times with various changes in the plot mainly, making the actual phantom more of a victim. The reason? Lon Chaney's performance that's why! The phantom hears the beautiful operatic voice of a young lady whom he deems must be a star and quite rightly. He eventually kidnaps her and brings her to his underground lair under the Paris Opera. The scene when Mary Philbin unmasks Chaney still sends goosebumps. Chaney went through horrible pain to achieve the effects he wanted for his film roles as well as try to be as close to how the book described his characters. In this film he inserted wire in his nostrils and uptilted his nose with fishskin pulled up. Yikes!

2. THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC-1939



I stumbled across this movie when I was a young teen and fell in love with it. It came on TV quite frequently and I watched it every chance I could. It is all about a young delinquent who, by the power of music, changes his life forever. He is brilliant with the violin and finds a home in a place dedicated to music. Of course the home has a cash shortfall and may be closing. The great violinist, Jascha Heifetz is centre stage in this movie. It resonated with me because no one listened to the boy and he had to struggle but the power of music got him through the toughest of times.

3.  CADILLAC RECORDS-2008



Hold the phone! Yes I am showing a recent picture. I have not fallen off the stool but was really impressed with this movie. I don't think I am cheating either because, even though it shows people that actually existed like the great Etta James, it is more about the struggle to keep this music label alive featuring African American Artists. The record label was started by a Polish man of Jewish decent and shows the struggles of the label and yes the people behind it. OK If I am cheating...only slightly, don't yell....I am just bending the rules a bit and for a film that deserves more love than it got. As with any film based on something historical, you know things will be omitted or twisted, but the acting is quite good and the singing is excellent.

What films would you pick?  I omitted one I could have picked but will talk about it on Friday:)



32 comments:

  1. I've seen the first one. Will look for the last one.
    Movies about music... High Fidelity, Walk the Line, and of course, the classic This is Spinal Tap!

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    1. I have seen Walk the Line which is great but have not seen High Fidelity or Spinal Tap! I know another great one I have missed all these years

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  2. lol about showing a recent picture. I haven't seen the silent version of Phantom. Only the 2004 remake, which I liked, but my theater obsessed friend dubbed as "the worst" when we finished it.

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    1. I like the musical. I liked how they made it look like an old movie. I have seen just about all of them except for Phantom of Paradise

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  3. Oh dear, not seen any of these. I've seen the newer Phantom of the Opera and recently seen it on stage - brilliant piece of theatre. The poster looks amazing for 1925 film. Might need to go back to the Opera once more.

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    1. Yeah-I love that poster and in the 1925 version they hand tinted the film when he made his appearance as the Masque of the red death

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  4. They Shall Have Music! Stumbled across that a while back on TCM and it is enjoyable in its way.

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    1. It is not a Wow classic but it just spoke to me

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  5. Wonderful choices! Love the reaching back to the silent Phantom. Lon Chaney was such an individual talent and his films good, this film, The Unknown etc, or bad, Mr. Wu, are always worth seeing at least just for him.

    Like Dan I happened upon They Shall Have Music on TCM recently and thought it was a sweet little film, no classic but sensational music and a pleasant story. Love Joel McCrea!

    Cadillac Records was okay, amazing music of course but I thought the direction was mediocre. Not a bad film just ordinary.

    There are so many films that fall into this genre I decided to try and find ones that each involved different types of music, classical, jazz, rock and a brass band. My extra stretches the rules a bit because while it’s not a strict bio it is based on the band whose music is used in the film.

    Humoresque (1946)-Violin prodigy Paul Boray (John Garfield) is scraping by because his temper and impatience with others less talented than he keeps getting in his way. One night performing at a party he meets Helen Wright (Joan Crawford), a neurotic socialite on her third husband who takes him under her wing and turns him into a star at great cost to them both. Amazing music, beautiful noirish photography and perhaps Crawford's career best performance.

    Blues in the Night (1941)-"Jigger" Lane's jazz band is so down on their luck they are catching a lift in a boxcar when they befriend a gangster, Del Davis who happens to run a roadhouse and offers them a job. What seems at first a break is just the start of their troubles. Del's moll Kay takes a fancy to Leo, one of the band members, causing much pain to his wife, the band's singer Character. Jigger tries to distract her but is driven to madness by Kay's cruelty and things only go downhill from there. Atmospheric music drama, not a musical. Good cast including Priscilla Lane, Jack Carson and in a rare acting role future director Elia Kazan as one of the boys in the band.

    Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)-An ambitious young reporter (Ellen Barkin) latches onto the story of the mysterious death of rock legend Eddie Wilson (Michael Pare). Through her research and the reminiscences of former members of Eddie’s band she begins to uncover hidden facts that make her question the known facts of the band’s rise and his demise. A pastiche of the legends of James Dean, The Doors and Bruce Springsteen this rock & roll drama produced a soundtrack album by John Caffrey & the Beaver Brown Band that was far more successful than the movie ever was.

    Honorable Mention-Brassed Off (1996)-The coal miners in a northern England town play in a brass band which is as old as the mine itself. Now when it is faced with closure the band members pull together to offer support and a chance at survival. Great music.

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    1. The last 2 are not classics by any means but i found them enjoyable and the Joel McCrea film touched my heart in a way. Love what you picked and you know-I have not seen any of them! Holy moly!! When is Joan Crawford not neurotic? Blues in the Night sounds excellent and would love to see that film. One day i have to see Eddie and the Cruisers-It has a cult following from what i have read

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    2. The original Eddie isn't a great film but has a lot of atmosphere. Avoid the sequel, it's junk.

      As soon as one of the people in Blues in the Night spoke to Priscilla Lane and called her Character and I realized that was her name I knew I would like the movie. It has some really trippy surrealistic sequences as well.

      Humoresque is the best of the quartet in my opinion. Yes Crawford is neurotic but her anguish is very modulated. It was her follow up to Mildred Pierce and I think feeling secure in her abilities she was able to really dig deeply into the character. It helps that she's paired with Garfield, a performer she couldn't just steamroll over but pushed back upping her game. Oh and it has Oscar Levant doing his best wisecracking greek chorus.

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    3. Now I must look for Blues in the Night. I think Priscilla Lane is an under-rated actress. Crawford need a strong man and Garfield is perfect-Another must see

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  6. I know I've seen films about musicians but I can only think of the ones about Ray Charles and Ike & Tina Turner. They were rather depressing. Could be why I block them out and shy away from movies about musicians. Ah, you got me thinking deeply, Birgit. I haven't seen the Lon Chaney version yet. Maybe if it comes on TV and I happen to come across it, I'll stick it through. I did see the musical version with that handsome man whose name I can't remember at the moment. I was impressed that he sung.

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    1. Gerard Butler played the Phantom! I was surprised like you:)

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  7. Seen the first one and have to look at the third indeed. Never even heard of the second before. Rudderless was the last music one I watched, was good, think that counts as music. High Fidelity wasn't bad and Detroit Rock City I liked. Almost famous was a good one too.

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    1. I liked Almost Famous but I haven't seen the other 3

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  8. Again I haven't seen these, but they all sound good. But funny story, son and his now wife, but for their first date they went to see the Get on Up movie about James Brown. Son sees the character driving a car, doing this and doing that, and leans over to his date (now wife) and says "I thought he was blind." He got James Brown and Stevie Wonder confused :)

    betty

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    1. That is funny:) I like Stevie Wonder and I can't stand James Brown-the man not his music

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  9. Nice list I haven't watched any of those yet.

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    1. There are so many movies and so little time

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  10. Films about music made me think of That Thing You Do, although I'm not sure if it applies. Haven't seen your picks. Well, I think I did see Cadillac Records.

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  11. Films about music that came to my mind:

    Pitch Perfect (which I love and included on my Top 25 List)
    Mr. Holland's Opus (which I really like and totally forgot about when I was thinking my Top 25 List)

    I see Pat mentioned Almost Famous. I love that movie (and, again, totally forgot about it when composing my Top 25!).

    So, those would be my three if I were composing a list for this meme. (This is a meme, right? I'm a bit confused about the term "meme.")

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  12. Never seen any of them. I seem to recall I saw Phantom on TV, the modern version, I love the music but NOT the story. Not sure if these count, but I loved The Benny Goodman Story and The Glen Miller Story. Also been a number of movies about people like da Silva, Brown and Henderson or Rogers and Hammerstein etc. all of which I very much enjoyed many years ago. I am a sucker for most musicals anyway. That is, some of the older ones. I couldn't get on with the prison one with All That Jazz, can't even remember the name of it, oh yes, Chicago.

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  13. BIRGIT ~
    Let's see... for sure 'THIS IS SPINAL TAP', which by coincidence I just watched again last night for the umpteenth time (hilarious movie!) And 'AMADEUS' for sure, too.

    Would have to give some thought to what my third selection would be. Actually, no. Probably the animated Disney movie 'MELODY TIME'. Love that one, even more than 'FANTASIA'.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  14. Oh my word... I simply must watch the 1925 Phantom. Thanks for the little teaser, Birgit. They Shall Have Music is the only one on the list I've watched.. and it comes on TV every now and again. Love it.
    hugs Asha

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  15. My friend just recommended Cadillac Records. I'm going to rent that baby.

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  16. My friend just recommended Cadillac Records. I'm going to rent that baby.

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  17. Ever see "Phantom of the Paradise", starring Paul Williams? It's a modernized take on "Phantom of the Opera" and was actually pretty good, but of course, can't compare to the classic version. I liked the Glenn Miller story starring Jimmy Stewart. Cadillac Records was good too. I haven't seen "They Shall have Music", but it sounds interesting. Jamie Foxx's performance as Ray Charles was excellent.

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  18. Quadrophenia - mods in 60s Brighton. Not sure how well that would travel though. Dreamgirls (disappointing) and Grace of my Heart, a fictionalised version of the Brill Building.

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  19. My favorite films about music are the stories about composers, songwriters, and artists. The stories are often inaccurate, but entertaining.

    Arlee Bird
    Wrote By Rote

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  20. I haven't seen that Phantom- only the more recently one. Must check it out. :)
    ~Jess

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  21. I haven't seen any of your picks, but I thought Cadillac Records looked great. Need to check it out.

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