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Archive for October 17th, 2011

by Brian of Classic Film Boy

The magnificent 1958 film “Gigi” is based upon Collette’s novel about a young woman who is schooled in the finer ways of becoming a mistress. It was turned into a French film and then a Broadway play – a non-musical – featuring the North American debut in any medium of Audrey Hepburn. The play and Hepburn were a hit in 1951.

The great MGM producer Arthur Freed saw “Gigi” in Los Angeles and decided to buy the rights so he could turn it into a musical. When it came to film it, he wanted Hepburn, but she turned down the role. However, Leslie Caron had played the role on stage in London and was cast in the film.

But one of my all-time favorite pieces of movie advice came when Freed was working with Alan Jay Lerner. Lerner and Frederick Loewe are responsible for “My Fair Lady,” but before that monster hit made its debut on Broadway, Freed told Lerner that he had one more movie to make under his contract and that “Gigi” would be that film. Lerner, dealing with out-of-town run-throughs for “My Fair Lady,” was too distracted to think of much else and simply said OK. (more…)

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Screen cap from shattering Afghan war documentary "Hell and Back Again"

by Sam Juliano

The musical countdown has reached the last leg of it’s nearly four-month journey, with the Top 25 having commenced this past week with a monumental thread under the review of Beauty and the Beast. Writer after writer have produced masterful reviews, and the site hits and comments have come at a furious pace. No doubt the greatest part of the venture has yet to come. Likewise, other site traditions continue with stellar entries, none so more remarkable than Jamie Uhler’s massive “Getting Over the Beatles” project, chugging away with exceeding scholarship and remarkable all-encompassing coverage of the period in British music. Jim Clark penned a brilliant treatment of Sunset Boulevard, Joel Bocko’s latest entry in his Sunday “Fixing a Hole” series yielded a stupendous review of Ulmer’s The Black Cat, and both Bob Clark’s anime series and Allan Fish’s ‘Obscuro’ have again offered some stellar writing and interesting subjects.

As the day for ‘trick or treating’ approaches one can get their horror fixes at a number of places around the blogosphere. Our own dear friend and colleague Jaime Grijalba of Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, has been at since the beginning of the month and his “one a day” coverage is surely an incredible feat by any barometer of measurement. Kevin Olson, another valued and longtime friend is preparing his own blogothon next week at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies.

Continued thanks are in order for Dee Dee, whose sidebar poster and film clip work remains a vital component in the presentation of the countdown.

This past week was another busy one, and the HD movie theatre broadcast of Gaetano Donizetti’s ANNA BOLENA launched the 2011-12 season in high-octane fashion. The great bel canto work that deals with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn contains some unforgettable arias and duets all with that long flowing line that characterizes Donizetti’s operatic output and the form that was fashionable at the time. (more…)

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