Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Classic musicals vol. 2

As I promised, here is the second instalment in my musical rating series.


The plot: The story of the orphan Annie, who is invited to spend a week at the billionaire Oliver Warbucks' mansion, and manages to inch herself into the old mans heart.

This is actually a really sweet story, and I do like the film. I just feel the potential for this story wasn't fully used. Normally I complain that the plot is moving too slow, but in this one it is almost moves too fast. It spends a lot of time on plot points, that aren't that important, and then just skips over the, in my opinion, most important one - the growing relationship between Annie and Mr. Warbucks. At first it wasn't there, and then after one sweet scene the film goes on to the next plot line. I would have liked it better, if the film had dwelt more at that relationship, and how it slowly grows.
And then, the actress playing Annie does her best, but I didn't really feel the character until the last 20 minutes, and in a 2 hour film I think that is a bit late.  
But it is a good film, and I think I was mainly a little disappointed  in it, because I saw it many years ago, and remembered it as better. (The evil tricks of memory)

The songs: I have mixed feelings about the songs. Some of them were really good, some of them okay, and some of them just plain annoying. And most of them didn't do much for the plot (besides stretching my patience), and some of them wasn't even related to the plot. So not the best soundtrack.

Favourite songs: I know "Tomorrow" is an obvious choice, but I simply love this song - it's so inspirational. And "Maybe" is a sweet, wistful and just downright beautiful song.

Rating: 6,0


The plot: Set in 1899, New York, a big group of children (newsies) feed themselves by selling papers at street corners. When the publishers raise the price of the papers for the newsies, they organise a big strike.

This is quickly becoming one of my new favourite movies. First of all the plot is brilliant. I love the theme of the underdogs fighting a much bigger force in order to achieve freedom - and knowing it is a Disney film, it is almost bound to have a happy ending. And the story has it all - drama, excitement, humour, friendship, even a little romance (even though they could have emitted that part without any loss, it didn't quite fit into the rest of the story). 
All the actors, and in particular a young Christian Bale in the leading role, are doing an amazing job portraying their characters.
It being a Disney film, there is of course also big choreographed dance numbers accompanying the songs, but I don't think they overdid it, I actually really liked the dancing in this one. I fitted perfectly into the dramatic songs, when 50 people suddenly started dancing synchronously in the street. (My first thoughts were that it reminded me of High School Musical, just bigger and better. Later I found out both films had the same director - that explains it all) 
The songs: Where to start on the songs? I just love them!! They have managed to have songs with all my favourite qualities: dramatic, epic, touching - it's all there. I think 90 % of the songs are at my current list of favourite songs - that speaks for itself.

Favourite songs: "Once and for all" is just epic - the suppressed anger and the dramatic build-up - just wonderful. And I do have a weakness for dramatic songs, so I could never exclude "The world will know".  

Rating: 9,0

South Pacific

The plot: Takes place on a naval base in the south pacific during WW2. Follows the love story between the nurse Nellie, and the resident french man Emile, who has a dark past.

It i actually quite hard to outline the plot - not because there isn't any, but because it doesn't make much sense to me. It is obvious, that the movie used to be a play, it consists more of a lot of individual scenes rather than a coherent plot. I had a hard time following the big jumps in the plot, that suddenly took place without much (if any) explanation. And also every time the characters made a decision, I was completely puzzled as to why - but then again, people had a different mindset in the 40's. But if you're prepared to just go with the flow, and never question how and why, then it's a nice and light film (except for the last 20 minutes, where the filmmakers decided to underline, that there's a war going on - I didn't need to be reminded of that) 

The songs: The songs was perfectly fit for the film, but I gotta admit, although they were okay, I had forgot them as soon as the last note was sung. And just like the plot, they don't always make sense. Often there is this strange light effect, where the entire screen is turned an eerie shade of yellow for the entire song. A remnant from the stage show, I think. But there were one or two songs, that had some beautiful lyrics. And then there was one with a matching hand dance routine - quite funny.

Favourite songs: The only song I liked upon first hearing it, was "I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair", but I think I had heard it before. "Some enchanted evening" also has some beautiful lyrics.

Rating: 5,5 

The King and I

The plot: The widow Anna, travels to Siam to be a teacher to the king of Siam's children. At the same time she grows to be very close to the king.

Having grown accustomed to vague and bland plots in some musicals, I was pleasantly surprised, when the plot on this film actually could stand on it's own, and wasn't just made to go between the songs.
Firstly the actors are brilliant, they portrayed the characters so well. I especially love Yul Brenner as the king of Siam - he did a marvellous job. And the dialogue between Anna and the king was good and funny and full of little punch lines and funny lines to start reciting.
And then of course, the setting was great and made opportunities to show a lot of colourful costumes and gorgeous dresses.
My only complaint is, that I think the ending was a bit anticlimactic. I can't put a finger on what it is I didn't like - maybe I was just not ready for the film to end yet.
And then another thing, I still can't decide if it is really funny or just postponing the plot - maybe both, but at some point there was a lengthy play-within-the movie. And I don't think it had to be as long as it was, but then again, it was quite funny to see an Asian interpretation of "Uncle Toms Cabin".
So all in all - a positive surprise. 

The songs: The songs fitted beautifully into the style of the film, and although I didn't remember the songs when they were over, I remembered the nice warm feeling they gave me. The melodies were so beautiful, and the instrumentation was elaborate. Actually some of the best music came from the instrumental score.

Favourite songs: Definitely "Shall we dance?". It's so catchy, I think I could listen to it on endless repeat and never get tired of it.

Rating: 8,5


  1. Hey Rose. How can I follow your blog? Normally there is a 'follow' kind of button and I would push it. How can I follow yours? I would love to!

    1. I have added a "follow" button now, so that should make it easier. Thanks a lot for following!

  2. Newsies is one of my favourite musicals! Did you ever watched Singin' in the Rain? It's awesome!

    1. Oh Newsies...mu love for that musical has grown so much since I wrote this post:)
      Singin' in The Rain is one of my other favourites - I had planned to include it in Volume 3 but then never got around to write the post.


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