Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: the Stage.


Just so all of you know...my mom is back to her "norm" and has no recollection that she was in the hospital nor that she had pneumonia. Dementia, in this case, is a blessing as who wants to remember this crap. Everyone is back to work so I can breathe and try and catch up on my own work. Thank you so very, very much for all your kind words, prayers and best wishes, I was very deeply moved. Now that life is back to norm( Ha!), the eclipse is done, and the freaks have hid themselves away, I can talk about the stage because we all know the world's a stage. This week at Wandering Through The Shelves, it is about the stage and I picked 3 films that, I believe, is a theme within a theme and I wasn't even going for that. It will be interesting what the other film nuts have chosen so head on over and check it out. Here are my 3....

1. THE BLUE ANGEL-1930


This is the film that made Marlene Dietrich famous but it was not her first film as she always liked to say. It stars the leggy Dietrich with Emil Jennings( he won the first actor Oscar) as the hapless professor who falls under her spell. The professor is angered by his male students being captivated by this cabaret star rather than wanting to study. He finally goes to the Blue Angel to catch the boys and over a few visits falls for Lola Lola. You see his slow decay as he succumbs to her, um, charms. It is directed by Joseph Von Sternberg who was Dietrich's Svengali. A great expressionist German film showing the decadence of Berlin. It is worth seeing how this decadence and a place that looks like garbage( what his students call him) seduces and ruins a man. Great film.

2. CABARET-1972


I love this film that has the Kit Kat Club as the centre for all that is going on in the lives of the people involved. You have Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minnelli, who loves to wear shocking nail polish, as the main headliner at the club. She meets the young student/writer, played by Michael York, who rents a room from the same place she is living at. They become romantically entwined and meet a rich Jewish lady, a young German man who falls for the Jewish lady and comes out as also being Jewish and a rich German playboy who likes to swing both ways. Decadent Berlin has never been shown better than by the MC of the Kit Kat Club, played by Joel Grey who showcases life that is happening outside the club. You not only have romance but horror. Bob Fosse brought horror with 2 musical pieces that I found shocking. The Gorilla skit and the young boy singing in a beer garden. The Nazi party is gaining ground and there is no way to stop it.

3. MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS-2005


I just watched this a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It take place during WW2 with Mrs. Henderson, played by the great Judi Dench, as a widow who is very, very wealthy. On a whim she buys a derelict theatre, fixes it up and starts having round the clock shows. It becomes such a success that other theatres adopt this which brings her finances for the club down so she starts having shows with women...naked. People are aghast and upset but she pulls it off and it becomes a hit. She loves the theatre, the girls and the people who work there. It is a thoughtful, fun and an entertaining film based on a true story.

What films would you choose?

74 comments:

  1. Hi, Birgit!

    I am happy to learn that your mother is doing better this week. Films about the stage aren't my favorite genre, but Mrs. Shady #1 and I went to see Cabaret when it was first released. Dripping with decadence as you pointed out, the movie delighted me thanks to magical performances by Liza and Joel Grey. The Blue Angel interests me because I enjoy a film that accurately depicts how a man can fall under the spell of a femme fatale.

    Two films about the stage that come to mind are Valley of the Dolls (1967) and one of my favorite Marilyn Monroe movies Let's Make Love (1960).

    Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, dear friend BB!

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    1. I think you would like The Blue Angel because it is decadent. I forgot about a great movie...Theatre of Blood! I have not seen Valley of the Dolls but I have seen Lets make Love...not my favourite although Yves and Marilyn loved making the movie...hubba hubba

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    2. But darling... I AM Jean-Marc Clement!

      :)

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  2. Glad your mom is back to 'normal', whatever that is for any of us nowadays. Never heard of that last flick and have only seen bits and pieces of the other two. Yes, you did find a theme within a theme.

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    1. She is I am happy to say. I believe I did have a theme

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  3. So pleased Mom is back to her norm.....such a relief for you ....
    I have seen them all Birgit ...how amazing is that and what is more loved them all ....hope the rest of the week is good and the sun shines xxxxx

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    1. I'm surprised you saw them all...happy about that.

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  4. Glad to hear about your mom and that things are "normal."

    Of your picks, I've only seen Mrs. Henderson Presents. I also enjoyed it. I desperately need to watch Cabaret, though.

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    1. Cabaret is great. Mrs. Henderson is a fun and nice movie

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  5. I'm glad your mom is feeling better!

    I haven't seen any of these, but I'm putting Cabaret on my tentative Blind Spot list for next year right now before I forget lol

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    1. Thanks. Yes...you have to see it. Really quite good.

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  6. So glad your mom is back to "normal". Yes, it is good that she can't remember it - or is it.

    I hadn't heard of the last film either. I think way back in the past I saw Blue Angel on TV. Not sure if I saw Cabaret or also saw bits and pieces.

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    1. The Blue Angel was on tv more than once but many years back

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  7. Good morning, Birgit. Glad your ship is resting in calm waters (at the moment:)
    I need to revisit The Cabaret. I saw it MANY years ago and I'm sure I missed a lot of the nuances.
    YOU, have a great one:)

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    1. Cabaret is excellent. I plan on having a good weekend

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  8. Cabaret is great. Liza is such a strange character, and I love that she's still kicking around in Arrested Development.

    I would add "Waiting for Guffman," Christopher Guest's hilarious mockumentary about community theatre. Oh, and "The Producers," of course.

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    1. I still have to see Waiting for Guffman but I know it's supposed to be quite good.

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  9. Cabaret is on my list of the top ten best movies ever.

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  10. Great that everything is getting back to the norm and the crazies have squirreled away for a while.

    I struck out this week. Not sure what ones I'd pick. Know I've seen some, but none really pop in.

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    1. I almost picked Shakespeare in Love..maybe you saw this one

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  11. Love a theme within the theme! Great picks for it!

    The Blue Angel is gritty and dark. It's nowhere near my favorite Dietrich film but it is very evocative of that time and place in history, moreso because it was such a recent past. I've always wondered what the relationship was behind the scenes between Marlene, a vocal opponent of Nazism and Jannings, a faithful adherent. I'm guessing it was chilly.

    I know I should love Cabaret more than I do but I just don't. It is dark and powerful in parts, Joel Grey is deeply unsettling but while Liza rocks the joint with her performance but that's sort of my problem with the film. She's just too talented for the role. Sally Bowles is at best supposed to be a second rate talent in a dump where the customers come more for the depravity than the singer. She tears into "Maybe This Time" and I'm right out of the film. I realize this is my issue and the film is venerated and I'd never discourage anyone from watching because of that. I've also seen the origin film "I Am a Camera" with Julie Harris, quite different but interesting.

    I liked Mrs. Henderson but it was kind of fluffy. Still Judi and Bob Hoskins paired well in it.

    I reached back this week for all three. I love all three but am especially fond of my first.

    The Velvet Touch (1948)-Stage star Valerie Stanton (Rosalind Russell) attempts to break ties with her longtime producer and paramour Gordon Dunning (Leon Ames) after the closing of her latest play so she can move on with her life and career but during an argument in his office she accidently kills him. Unobserved she leaves and as suspicion falls on Gordon’s former flame Marian Webster (Claire Trevor) the film looks back at how matters came to such a pass. Meanwhile jocular policeman and theatre buff Captain Danbury (Sydney Greenstreet) investigates. Nice stage atmosphere and excellent performances add much to this undeservedly obscure, efficiently made little drama with a twist of noir thrown in that has a great ending.

    A Double Life (1947)-You’ve heard people jokingly tell others when they are getting carried away with something to “not get lost in the part!” but that’s just what happens in this noirish drama that won Ronald Colman a Best Actor Oscar. Anthony John (Colman) is a famed stage star greatly respected for his Shakespearian interpretations. The problem is that he lives the roles both onstage and off, when playing comedy he is the best guy in the world but when the material is dark so are his moods which among other things has led to the end of his marriage to his frequent costar Brita (Signe Hasso). Now he’s undertaken Othello and as he immerses himself deeply into the role his sanity begins to slip putting all around him including Brita and his mistress Pat (a young, whippet thin Shelley Winters) at risk.

    42nd Street (1933) - Aspiring hoofer Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) is a greenhorn new to the Broadway stage where through a friendship with two other chorines, the brassy Lorraine (Una Merkel) and the loose “Anytime Annie” (Ginger Rogers) she gets a spot in the chorus of a new show “Pretty Lady”. Through huge contretemps the star of the show has to bow out and Peggy is plucked from the line and told by the producer Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) “You’re going out there a nobody…but you’ve got to come back a STAR!” And she does with the help of mind bogglingly elaborate dance numbers staged by Busby Berkeley. Incredibly influential musical invented just about every cliché in the book.

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    1. By the way Birgit I saw the 50's remake of The Blue Angel with Curd Jurgens and May Britt a few months ago after many years of searching. Well....Jurgens was good as he usually was but May Britt was miles from Dietrich's equal. It was a rough remake overall, beautiful location filming aside, but the shadow of the first hung very, very heavily over it. Have you seen it?

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    2. I have not seen the remake of the Blue Angel...always wanted to but I had a feeling May Britt would not be able to fill Marlene's shoes. Mrs. Henderson is fluff but fun fluff and always love Bob Hoskins. Marlene' hated Emil and made his time on set difficult. He hated it because Sternberg catered more to her. I have to see the The Velvet Touch and A Double Life. 42nd St is so over the top and I love it

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  12. So glad you've gone back to normal. Must be a relief.

    I've heard of all of these but seen none. This topic has a bunch of choices. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of The Producers, Noises Off, and Stage Door. But I'd have to spend more time thinking through this to find my favorites.

    I see what you did with your mini theme :)

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    1. It is a big relief! I totally forgot about The Producers and I love that movie with Gene Wilder. I saw Noises Off with Jane Curtin in NYC but never the movie...it was very funny.

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  13. I'm a little late to the game here. I didn't know about your mom, and I'm so sorry to hear about all that has gone on with her. My mom has dementia too. It's a wretched disease. Really, there is no other word. It just sucks and I'm so sorry you have to go through that. My heart goes out to you. Much love to you. Elsie

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    1. It is a wretched disease and it's so hard to explain to people unless one is going through it. My heart goes out to you

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  14. Mrs. Henderson was one of the first movies we saw when we started Netflix a long time ago. I want to watch it again. I thought Cabaret was sad and horrific. In a way I'm glad I don't recall much of the story, from both the movie or the novel.

    I'm glad to hear your mom's feeling better.

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    1. I found Mrs. Henderson a very nice movie and enjoyed it. Yes, in some ways Cabaret could be a horror movie

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  15. I've never seen 'The Blue Angel,' but all I could think about when watching this clip is the coming catastrophe of the 1940s.
    That makes me sad.

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    1. Oh yes...you are so right about that as I thought the same thing which is why I think Cabaret is its sister

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  16. Glad to hear your mom is out of hospital. I've seen 2 out of 3 - wow! Blue Angel once, a long time ago. Cabaret several times (divine decadence) though not for a while. I still remember the shock of the Tomorrow Belongs to Me scene the first time I saw it. It's all becoming a bit too topical again.

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    1. That scene looks so sweet at first and brings you in! You realize after how horrific it is and you are right about how it seems close to home now

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  17. I haven't been around in awhile and I'm sorry to hear that Mom was sick. I'm very glad to hear that she's doing better now, and that you have some normal back.
    I've not seen any of those movies, but they all sound well worth the time, especially "Mrs. Henderson Presents..."
    Thanks for the recommendations and have a great ending to your week,
    Andrea

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    1. She is all better..as much as she can be with the damm dementia. No worries about not visiting in a while...we all get so busy. I hope you get to see one of these movies and enjoy them

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  18. I've seen the first two. Blue Angel is too old and too foreign for me to judge properly. I think Cabaret is overrated. Worth seeing for Grey's performance, but LM was horribly miscast.

    Waiting for Guffman
    Moulin Rouge!
    Chicago

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    1. I love Liza in the role even though she is far too talented for that Kit Kat Club. Shame how you feel about the older films because they are terrific. I still have to see Waiting For Guffman but I have seen the other 2. Moulin Rouge irritates me but did enjoy Chicago despite Rene Zellweger

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  19. Never seen Mrs. Henderson Presents but I've heard good things about it. Plus, I've loved Judi Dench in everything I've seen her in.

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  20. Would like to see Mrs. Henderson Presents. Maybe it is an on demand movie. I'll check. Thanks for sharing.

    Sorry to hear about your mother. Glad she is better.

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    1. This is a good movie and hope you find it

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  21. Glad your mother is doing better now.
    I think I'd go with The Blue Angel as my pick. My husband is coming around to black and white film so it's nice to have a movie buddy to watch these old films with now.

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  22. Its great that your mum is well now. Thanks for sharing about all these movies.

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  23. Hi Birgit - so glad your mother is feeling better. I've seen Mrs Henderson Presents ... the others went by me - though Cabaret I know about, and I hope Blue Angel will come up at one of our cinema showings that we have going on in the town ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I hope you get to see the other 2 films as they are really quite good.

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  24. The only one we say was Cabaret. I think Liza channeled her mother in this movie.
    We watched a movie today filmed in 38. It was about the woman who learns her husband is cheating on her. Dang, that was a good movie too.
    Meg Ryan played in a remake of that movie if I'm not mistaken.

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    1. I think you are right about Liza channeling her mom. I think she does this all the time. I think her voice sounds similar also. I wonder what film you are talking about

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  25. You picked movies on my bucket list. :-)

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  26. Hope your weekend was wondrous, Birgit.

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    1. Saturday was nice to spend with my friend, Sunday, not feeling well and now feeling icky...sore throats and laryngitis

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  27. I am glad your mom is better and things are getting back to normal. :)

    I have never seen any of these movies- but I have heard of two of them. So many movies to watch!
    ~Jess

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    1. You are so right about watching movies...never enough time for that or books

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  28. I'm glad your mom is better and everything is back to normal for you.

    All three of these films are ones I haven't seen.

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    1. She is better although we had another scare yesterday but she is ok. I think she will need to go into a wheelchair soon.

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  29. The only one I haven't seen is Mrs. Henderson Presents, so I guess I'd better do that. The others are great films to watch, so I can't choose. They're too different.

    I'm very glad, as I know you are, that your mom is out of the hospital.

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    1. I think you would enjoy Mrs. Henderson and I'm glad you saw the other 2. M very happy that my mom is ok

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  30. The Cabaret theme song is going through my head. That's a fun one.

    Glad your mom is back home.
    Have a good week, Birgit.

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    1. I have another song go through my head from that film...so many songs from that movie is great

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  31. I want to see Mrs. Henderson. That looks like a lot of fun.
    Hope your week sparkles:)

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    1. Hope you see the movie. My mom went back to the hospital yesterday but she is aok and was sent back home. The home is being diligent which is good. I think she will soon go into a wheelchair because it's hard for her to walk any distance. I am now sick...my lungs and throats and hope I don't get worse

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  32. Oh these, I have only seen Cabaret and WOW! has it been a long time. We used to use the theme song for an annual musical event at my high school when I was growing up. Now it will be rolling around in my head for days. lol

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    1. Such a great movie with so many great songs

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  33. Those are so cool movies! I sure am glad the Mom is better, being super sick is no fun.

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  34. I've only seen Mrs Henderson Presents and I found it entertaining as well.

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