Archive for August 22nd, 2011

by Judy Geater

Director: Joseph L Mankiewicz

Producer: Samuel Goldwyn

Music and lyrics: Frank Loesser

Screenwriters: Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows, Joseph L Mankiewicz, Ben Hecht (uncredited)

Choreographer: Michael Kidd

Cinematographer: Harry Stradling Sr

Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company

Main actors: Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine


Frank Loesser’s amazing score for Guys and Dolls has to be one of the greatest ever written, packed with unforgettable songs, from Fugue for Tinhorns to Luck, Be a Lady and Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat. Michael Kidd’s fast-moving choreography in the colourful street scenes, using Cinemascope to its full effect, adds to the atmosphere, while the dialogue is full of sharp one-liners. However, the film has had much adverse criticism over the years and, in this countdown, I was in a minority of one in putting it top of my personal list of favourites.

So what’s the reason for the widespread lack of enthusiasm? I think it might be mainly that the stage musical is so beloved and frequently revived, with the film coming off second-best by comparison . As with so many adaptations, a few of the songs from the stage show were jettisoned for the film, including such greats as I’ve Never Been in Love Before – Marlon Brando, controversially cast in a singing role, is said to have struggled with some of the notes. However, as compensation, Loesser wrote some new songs for the film, including A Woman in Love for Brando and Sinatra’s show-stopper Adelaide, which, going full circle, is now sometimes included in stage productions. (more…)

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Brit Marling stars in affecting guilt and remorse drama "Another Earth", which also yields some intriguing metaphysical underpinnings

by Sam Juliano

The U.K’s Judy Geater of Movie Classics has set the Top 70 musical countdown in motion today with her terrific review of Guys and Dolls (1955), a film that made the Number 1 position on her personal ballot.  Finishing at Number 70, Guys and Dolls launches a venture that will extend all the way until November 10th, and will include six musical reviews a week on every day except Saturday.  As conveyed to the wide array of participants by e mail, the musical reviews will appear early in the morning and will top any other feature at the including the Monday Morning Diary and the “Fish Obscuro Series.”  Any other strategy would detract from the urgency of the project and slight the work being done by friends, affiliates and guests.

Kudos to our Chilean friend Jaime Grijalba, who has worked hard to promote and perpetuate his “Richard Kelly Blogothon” at Exodus 8:2.  It is hoped that any people with even a remote interest in Kelly’s brief but celebrated filmography will head over to Exodus 8:2 to make contributions of any kind.  Kelly’s Donnie Darko is a cult favorite that has steadily risen in critical esteem since it’s original release.

Dee Dee, Jamie Uhler and Marilyn Ferdinand have been attending “Noir 9” in Chicago, and reports have been emanated from posts at thie sites and through e mail correspondance.  It appears that some real rarities have surfaced in addition to some established genre classics and clut items.  Wonders in the Dark again extends its undying gratitude to Movie Man Joel Bocko for his spectacular service of linking writer’s posts together on the sidebar.  The time and work expended on the enterprise was staggering, and the results remarkable.

With the completion of both the “Pre-Code Festival” and “Buster Keaton Mondays” at the Film Forum over the past weeks and months, I have strived to take a break from festival appearances, (and succeeded for several days anyway!  Ha!) but returned on Wednesday night for two films in the Robert Ryan Festival and then again on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon for two more titles in that retrospective.  The weekend viewings of Nicholas Ray’s On Dangerous Ground and Born to be Bad (both with Ryan, of course) seem to be perfectly timed with our friend John Greco’s recent interview with the author of a recently-released Ray volume, and with an upcoming Ray Blogothon at Tony Dayoub’s Cinema Viewfinder. (more…)

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