Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #188: Breaking into song in non-musical movies

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week, the theme is movies in which people break out into a song, but which aren't musicals. Unfortunately, I used It Happened One Night, which would be perfect here for the scene in which everybody on the bus starts singing "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze". After some thought, however, I came up with three other movies that fit the theme to greater or lesser degrees:

Manhattan Melodrama (1934). Technically, it's not any of the main characters breaking into song; it's a nightclub show. But what a song. The lyrics probably don't sound familiar, but even if you didn't see the title of the Youtube video, you might be able to guess the tune:

The movie itself is pretty good, too: Clark Gable and William Powell plays friends since childhood. Gable grows up to become a bootlegger, Powell a crusading politician. Their paths cross over Myrna Loy, and Gable's willingness to go to unorthodox means to protect Powell's political career once he decides to run for governor. And if you haven't seen it, it's going to be on TCM tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

The Strawberry Blonde (1941). James Cagney plays a man who's just gotten out of prison circa 1900 who studied dentistry in prison. His old friend Jack Carson needs emergency dental work one Sunday afternoon. But we learn in flashback how Carson got Cagney into prison, and how Carson got the strawberry blonde (Rita Hayworth), while Cagney had to settle for Olivia de Havilland. The movie ends after the credits with a singalong of "The Band Played On", encouraging the audience to sing.

On the Beach (1959). Nuclear war has destroyed Earth, with the exception of Australia, which still hasn't succumbed because the prevailing winds haven't brought as much of the radiation to Australia. But its time is coming. One scene has a bunch of people enjoying a weekend out in the country, at which point they all break into "Waltzing Matilda". An all-star cast of non-Australians, including Fred Astaire in a rare dramatic non-dancing role, is on hand for the proceedings.


Brittani Burnham said...

The 3rd pick had me until you said non-Australians. Why though? lol

joel65913 said...

Manhattan Melodrama was okay but I guess because of its infamy as being the picture that Dillinger saw just before he was gunned down I expected something more than a routine crime drama. All three leads were good but Powell & Loy made better films together.

I LOVE The Strawberry Blonde! Cagney, Carson, de Havilland and Hayworth are all just wonderful in their parts. Rita is wonderfully sly, Jimmy and Olivia have such a lovely chemistry it's too bad they didn't work together more and the underappreciated Carson is an unctuous delight.

On the Beach is a grim watch albeit well acted. The use of Waltzing Matilda adds a plaintive touch.

I went a little more current this week since I was stumped when I went looking through older films.

Adventures in Babysitting (1987)-When Chris Parker (a phenomenal Elisabeth Shue) agrees to babysit the Anderson kids after her date cancels at the last minute she has no idea that she is embarking on the rollercoaster ride of her life thanks to her friend Brenda (a hilarious Penelope Ann Miller) being stuck at the bus station in the city. Going to help against her better judgement she and the kids have one harrowing madcap adventure after another including an unexpected but spirited impromptu performance in a jazz club. Disarming and just plain fun.

The First Wives Club (1996)- At the funeral of one of their college roommates who committed suicide when her ex-husband married a younger woman three women (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton) reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years. When they realize the reason for their friend's suicide, they discover a common bond-all of their ex-husbands have taken them for granted as well-they decide it's time for revenge and unite to get back at their exes. Scheming and chicanery topped by a musical number follow.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)-Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) panics when her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) calls out of the blue and tells her he is getting married the next weekend to pert, ultra-wealthy Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Once upon a time Julianne and Michael had made a pact to marry each other if they hadn’t found someone by their 28th birthday, with this news she decides Michael is the man for her and sets out to stop the wedding against the advice of her other best friend George (a scene stealing Rupert Everett). Hilarity and an unexpected musical number ensue. Disarming romantic comedy with Roberts’s superstar charisma totally responsible for making her rather contemptible character someone you almost root for.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these.

Dell said...

Haven't seen any of these, but I'm definitely interested in Strawberry Blonde. Cagney is THE MAN.

Birgit said...

Ive seen all 3 and enjoyed all 3 but the last one is a tough watch and that scene is so very sad to me. Manhattan Melodrama is good and I enjoy Powell and Loy but I love them as Nick and Nora. I haven’t seen the Strawberry Blonde in years but I always thought Cagney got the prettier girl