Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Magician

Shortly after Cyd Charisse died last week, I got an e-mail from my dad that included these lines:
If you want to know why I lament the passing of the musical and cannot help but feel that my kids have been shortchanged, type in Cyd Charisse on You Tube. Check out her "Dancing in the Dark" number with Fred Astaire from the movie The Band Wagon. It is set in Central Park (not the real thing, a Hollywood set), and that dance sequence is as good as it gets. She was plenty hot and did steamy numbers way ahead of her time, but the fact is that she was a world-class talent and, teamed with Astaire, who was the world-class talent, magic happened.
Well, I don't feel as shortchanged as I might, because my family introduced me to so many great musicals, but it's true that I didn't have a very good sense of Charisse's work. Hard to dispute that it's magic:

If you're interested in one of those steamy numbers, click here and wait for about a minute.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike George Carlin and worm food, this is
manna from heaven. BEAUTIFUL

11:03 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

I find that I despise about 90% of the musicals that I see. I don't know why, but I find musical theater and film musicals to be some of the more irritating art forms ever created.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous pf said...

OK, I'll weigh in as a counterpoint to the Neil Diamond-lover above. (By the way, isn't it about time for Neil Diamond to die? If I never hear "Sweet Caroline" again, whether on the radio or performed by a bar full of drunk douchebags, it'll be too soon. I hate Neil Diamond! Um, that is a picture of Neil Diamond, isn't it ... ?)

So, the musical -- I'm with you, JW. But it's odd, I wonder what you will think of this: I have a deep and abiding love for certain movie musicals, but I enjoy them far less on stage. I think part of the joy in movie musicals is the polish that lets you slip into a dreamy fantasy world where it's not cheesy and embarrassing to sing and dance in daily life. There's also an element of unabashed nostalgia in musicals, which I think might be lessened if you're seeing them performed in real time. Anyway, thanks for the clip.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

It most certainly is not Neil Diamond. It is none other than Sir Tom Jones.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey pf...all this time I thought that was a photo
of Tom Jones who turns me off as much as
Neil does you.

As for musicals, I think the movies emphasize the
story more and the theater brings alive the music
more. Personally, I prefer the live productions
and in particular those on Broadway. A movie
has never given me goose bumps.

I guess it's all in your experience.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous pf said...

Oh, of COURSE, it's Tom Jones! Thank God. I feel much better now.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

I love it! Those movies are classic, too bad the musical's these days are the atrocities like "Rent" or "Mama Mia". Granted these were plays first and then adapted for film, but come on, they're a little ridiculous, don't you think?

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Lily, but I LOVED "Mama Mia." Everyone
was dancing in the aisles. Have you seen it?

Same Anonymous

2:07 PM  
Blogger Dezmond said...

The masses are easily pleased.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Mrs. White said...

I see musicals like colors. Some shades of green are gorgeous while other are repellant, but green itself isn't intrinsically good or bad. It's just like any other genre of music or film - those who claim to not like musicals just haven't found their shade yet.

Nonetheless, gorgeous clip, John.

12:05 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Actually, Dezmond, "Mama Mia" was a blast. It's not a timeless musical or anything, but from someone who appreciates the cheesiness of Tom Jones, why not the cheesiness of Abba. It was a really fun show. (The movie looks atrocious, but that's another story.)

12:51 PM  

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