Arthur Freed

Arthur Freed

Arthur Freed Quick Links

Film RSS

On The Town Review


Excellent
In the 1949 musical On the Town, you'll find a lot of things that might seem familiar from other musicals - big set pieces and a whimsical, can-do attitude - but at least one or two that will seem completely foreign. Top of the list: Frank Sinatra himself playing a detail-oriented nerd of a guy more interested in seeing the sights than he is scoring with a big-city dame. Also up there: the women in the film are much brassier than just about any actresses you'd see on screen these days, but more on that later.

Starting with the beyond-iconic framing number "New York, New York," which blasts out with unalloyed gusto just as the film's three sailors come tumbling off their boat with a mere 24 hours' shore leave to take in all the sights and sounds of New York, the film is an unapologetically muscular toe-tapper of a show. This is most clearly due to Adolph Green and Betty Comden's script and songs that come piling out in quick succession, practically elbowing each other out of the way with the help of Leonard Bernstein's score. The intended effect is to convey the feel of a bustling American city during all its phases (from the quiet, just waking-up opener "I Feel Like I'm Not Out of Bed Yet" to the nightlife epic "On the Town"), and it's nearly perfectly conveyed.

Continue reading: On The Town Review

Ziegfeld Follies Review


Good
Who knew they made clip shows into movies? Ziegfeld Follies is two hours of skits, songs, dances, and jokes from the dying days of vaudeville, brought to us by a who's-who of yesteryear performers. The film opens, believe it or not, with a deceased Florenz Ziegfeld, looking down from heaven, dreaming about his perfect variety show. What follows is that dream, put to film.

With a tagline like "The Greatest Production Since The Birth Of Motion Pictures," you get a little something like the unmanageable monstrosity that Follies ultimately becomes. Structured as a series of unrelated vignettes, directed by different people (not to mention that screenwriting credit list), it's ultimately just a jumble of parts that add up to less than a whole movie.

Continue reading: Ziegfeld Follies Review

Annie Get Your Gun Review


Good
Betty Hutton is irrepressible in Annie Get Your Gun, starting off as a scrappy, brash, in-your-face gunslinger and ending the film as cleaned-up, brash, in-your-face gunslinger in a dress. She belts her lungs out here -- "There's No Business (Like Show Business)" is a classic -- though "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" has been, um, done better in other venues. As for the story, it's got Annie Oakley shooting her way to traveling sideshow celebrity and into the heart of Frank Butler (a wooden Howard Keel). And into a dress, natch.

Singin' In The Rain Review


Essential
Being a child of Star Wars and Pretty in Pink, it's usually hard for my generation to appreciate frou-frou musicals.

Not so with Singin' in the Rain, probably the best musical ever made and 50 years after its original production, its special edition DVD proves it's just as great now as when it was originally produced. If somebody doesn't like this movie, they're either dumb, dead, or both.

Continue reading: Singin' In The Rain Review

Gigi Review


Weak
Why doesn't Gigi disturb more people?

The premise: a wealthy Parisian (Louis Jourdan) is training a young girl (Leslie Caron) to be his mistress. He and his ribald uncle (Maurice Chevalier) even sing songs like "Thank Heaven for Little Girls." It's a musical about pedophilia -- and this is one of Hollywood's most glorified song-and-dance films. Even more bizarre is that Caron was 27 when she was tapped to play young Gigi. She looks like she's about 16.

Continue reading: Gigi Review

The Barkleys Of Broadway Review


OK
Ten years after what everyone assumed would be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' last joint venture, they reunited for a final time. Unfortunately the result is a tepid Technicolor musical with little to recommend it aside from its historical value. The story is barely worth mentioning: Backstage histrionics surrounding a pair of Broadway theatricals and their power play. The dancing isn't much more noteworthy, mainly recycled Gershwin tunes that have been put to better effect in other films -- including ones starring this famous duo.

Show Boat Review


Good
Widely regarded as a classic, the 1951 Technicolor bonanza that is Show Boat (based on the Broadway musical) has not aged well. The film starts as two riverboat performers (including the lovely show-stealing Ava Gardner) are forced to quit their jobs when it's discovered they have black ancestry somewhere down the line. Such "mixed blood" doesn't sit well with the locals, so replacements are hired, including the daughter of the "cap'n." Later they go broke. That's the gist: The film doesn't offer much more story, as its musical numbers (including the famous "Old Man River") take center stage. Too bad the racial politics just don't play the same as they did when Edna Ferber wrote the novel in 1926.

Continue reading: Show Boat Review

Meet Me In St. Louis Review


Excellent
Released in 1944, Meet Me in St. Louis was director Vincente Minnelli's first big hit, and it showcases two of Minnelli's prime obsessions: The glittering Technicolor musical and the romantic melodrama. Set in turn-of-the-century St. Louis, it tracks a year in the life of the Smith family, which is enthusiastically anticipating the 1903 World's Fair. It's not Minnelli's best musical; The Bandwagon is more antic fun and has better songs, and the ballet of An American in Paris remains his best-choreographed, most engaging film. But the home-and-hearth feel of St. Louis has its own warm enchantments, and it's one of Judy Garland's best performance this side of A Star is Born.

It's best not to concentrate too hard on the plot itself, which mainly circles around Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames), the family patriarch, threatening to move the family from St. Louis to New York City. This causes much handwringing amongst the family members: Esther (Garland), Rose (Lucille Bremer), and Tootie, played by child star Margaret O'Brien, who pulled down an Oscar for her precocious performance. If the dialogue seems stilted and square today - Esther wonders where, oh where could Mr. Truitt's chapeau have gone off to, and those newfangled telephones are such a bother - the Technicolor style works wonderfully, particularly in the period dresses that puff and flounce through the Smith household.

Continue reading: Meet Me In St. Louis Review

Arthur Freed

Arthur Freed Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Suggested

Relive Kate Bush's 2014 Live Show With 'Before The Dawn'

Relive Kate Bush's 2014 Live Show With 'Before The Dawn'

The live album is set for released in November.

Benedict Cumberbatch Joins David Gilmour Onstage For 'Comfortably Numb'

Benedict Cumberbatch Joins David Gilmour Onstage For 'Comfortably Numb'

The 'Sherlock' and 'Doctor Strange' star joined Gilmour onstage at the Royal Albert Hall for a rendition of the Pink Floyd classic.

Advertisement
Chapter Three Of 'American Horror Story: Roanoke' Explains The Story Behind The Haunting (Spoilers)

Chapter Three Of 'American Horror Story: Roanoke' Explains The Story Behind The Haunting (Spoilers)

Time to learn what Kathy Bates' character has to do with all of this.

Advertisement

Arthur Freed Movies

Singin' in the Rain Movie Review

Singin' in the Rain Movie Review

Being a child of Star Wars and Pretty in Pink, it's usually hard for my...

Advertisement
Meet Me in St. Louis Movie Review

Meet Me in St. Louis Movie Review

Released in 1944, Meet Me in St. Louis was director Vincente Minnelli's first big hit,...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.