Archive for August 21st, 2011

Howard da Silva and William Daniels in William H. Hunt’s ‘1776,’ which finished among the 50 ‘nearlies’ in musical countdown launching tomorrow

by Sam Juliano

With the Top 70 musical countdown set to launch tomorrow, I’d like to take a brief-look at the also-rans – fifty films that narrowly missed the cut by placing from Numbers 71 to 120.  As mentioned in previous posts, seven (7) voters cast ballots which were then tabulated by Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr:  Greg Ferrara, Pat Perry, Marilyn Ferdinand, Judy Geater, Dennis Polifroni and Sam Juliano.

71.  Holiday Inn (1942; Marc Sandrich)

72.  Tommy  (1975; Ken Russell)

73.  Pajama Game (1957; George Abbott, Stanley Donen)

74.  Damn Yankees  (1958; George Abbott, Stanley Donen)

75.  Funny Girl  (1968; William Wyler)

76.  High Society ( 1956; Charles Walters)

77.  Everyone Says I Love You (1996; Woody Allen)

78.  100 Men and a Girl  (1937; Henry Koster)

79.  Porgy and Bess (1959; Otto Preminger)

80.  Pennies From Heaven   (1981; Herbert Ross)

81.  Sweet Charity (1969; Bob Fosse)

82.  Flying Down To Rio (1933; Thornton Freeland)

83.  Across the Universe (2007; Julie Taymor)

84.  Anchors Aweigh  (1945; George Sidney)

85.  Congress Dances  (1931; Eric Charell; Germany)

86.  Jailhouse Rock  (1957; Richard Thorpe)

87.  Duck Soup  (1933; Leo McCarey)

88.  Fra Diavolo  (1933; Hal Roach)

89. La Boheme  (1968; Franco Zeffirelli; Italy/France/West Germany)

90. Hair  (1979; Milos Forman)

91. Bye, Bye, Birdie  (1963; George Sidney)

92. Topsy Turvy  (1999; Mike Leigh; UK)

93. 1776  (1972; Peter H. Hunt)

94. First A Girl (1935; Victor Saville; UK)

95. Love Me or Leave Me  (1955; Charles Vidor)

96. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999; Trey Parker)

97. Black Orpheus  (1959; Marcel Camus; Brazil France)

98. Evergreen (1934; Victor Saville; UK)

99. Kismet (1955; Vincenti Minnelli)

100 Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975; Jim Sharman; UK/USA)

101. Tales of Hoffman  (1951; Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger; 1951)

102. Down Argentine Way  (1940; Irving Cummings)

103. Phantom of the Opera  (2005; Joel Schumacher; UK/USA)

104. Cavaleria Rusticana  (1982; Franco Zefirelli; Italy/France/West Germany)

105. The Great Ziegfeld  (1936; Robert Z. Leonard)

106. Carmen  (1984; Francesco Rosi; France)

107. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967; David Swift)

108. Broadway Melody of 1940  (1940; Norman Taurog)

109. Camelot  (1967; Joshua Logan)

110. Rent  (2005; Chris Columbus)

111. Awaara  (1951; Paj Kapoor; India)

112. Moulin Rouge  (2001; Baz Luhrmann; Australia/USA/UK)

113.  White Christmas  (1954; Michael Curtiz)

114.  The Commitments  (1993; Alan Parker; Ireland/USA/UK)

115.  Madama Butterfly  (1995; Frederic Mitterand; France; Italy)

116.  The Three Little Pigs  (1933; Burt Gillett)

117.  Victor Victoria  (1982; Blake Edwards)

118. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  (1968; Ken Hughes; UK)

119. The Harvey Girls  (1946; George Sidney)

120. The Muppet Movie  (1979; James Frawley)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 1933 71m) DVD1

Such a beautiful welcome home

p  William A.Wellman  d  William A.Wellman  w  Robert Lord, Wilson Mizner  ph  James Van Trees  ed  Howard Bretherton  art  Jack Okey

Richard Barthelmess (Tom Holmes), Loretta Young (Ruth Loring), Aline MacMahon (Mary Dennis), Berton Churchill (Mr Winston), Gordon Westcott (Roger Winston), Robert Barrat (Max Brinker), Grant Mitchell (George W.Gibson), Charley Grapewin (Pa Dennis), James Murray (blind soldier), Edwin Maxwell (Laundry president), Margaret Seddon (Jeanette Holmes), Douglass Dumbrille, Tammany Young, Ward Bond,

There have been plenty of forgotten classics from the pre-code years, forgotten from years of neglect, of the Production Code never allowing reissues, or of being tragically lost and ne’er seen again (oh for a copy of Convention City to turn up) or of simply being forgotten and even going out of copyright.  To that select list add Heroes for Sale, one of the first major works of Wild Bill Wellman.  Not his very first – gangster classic The Public Enemy, Night Nurse, Safe in Hell and silent Beggars of Life all predated it by several years.  What seems to make Heroes such a pleasure is that it seems, in essence, to be a hodge-podge of all the social critiques Warners were fond of in this era, in between the gangsters and chorus girl musicals.  More than any other studio they captured the spirit and, more importantly, the dispirit of the great Depression.  In Heroes, they distilled it completely, like best illegal moonshine.

            It follows one Tom Holmes, all but killed in the trenches in World War I when on a mission to bring back a German officer for questioning, only for his cowardly superior to be proclaimed a hero in his stead.  Tom is left to recuperate in a German field hospital and is still in agony from steel shards in his spine when the Armistice is signed.  To get over the pain he is given morphine tablets to which he becomes addicted, so that when he returns home – and is given a job by the initially guilt-ridden superior officer – he cannot hack it and is sent to a Narcotic Farm for six months.  Let out, he moves to Chicago, meets a young girl, has a whirlwind romance and becomes a hit in a laundry business where his friend, Max, invents something to ease the working day but, when their kindly boss dies suddenly and new owners take over, they exploit the invention to the maximum, laying off 75% of the work force.  Tom is then berated by his former co-workers, and when they start a riot he tries to stop it, only to be taken as a ringleader. (more…)

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