Friday, February 26, 2016

Operetta

I notice that overnight tonight, TCM is running a pair of Nelson Eddy movies: Bitter Sweet at 2:00 AM, followed by Balalaika at 4:00 AM The first of the two movies also has Jeanette MacDonald, who was probably Eddy's most frequent co-star, appearing in a whole string of MGM musicals in the latter half of the 1930s.

To be honest, I've never gotten the appeal of either of them, especially Eddy. MacDonald does a good enough job in San Francisco, although I don't like her style of singing. Eddy, on the other hand, I've always found incredibly bland, and I don't like his style of singing. And yet the two of them were enormously popular in the 1930s. If they hadn't been popular, MGM wouldn't have cast them in the big-budget musicals they got.

So why was operetta so popular in the 1930s? Or, at least, why were Eddy and MacDonald so popular? I mean, other musicals had the Busby Berkeley numbers, or had Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers. There was some serious opera, too, with Grace Moore in One Night of Love or Lily Pons, or even Deanna Durbin showing off her coloratura, at least the professional opera singers tended to get cast as opera singers, with their movie careers not really going anywhere.

I have to admit that I don't really care for the Gilbert and Sullivan oeuvre, either, so it's not just Eddy and MacDonald.

1 comment:

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