In this two-hour documentary, made for PBS and feeling a lot like... it was made for PBS, there's surprisingly little content germane to its title. Mostly, the film talks about the life of Hearst and the life of Orson Welles, separately. It isn't until the last half-hour when Citizen Kane is actually made and discussed, particularly as it relates to Hearst's hatred of it. And rightly so -- Welles was skewering the media magnate in the film; who could blame him for doing everything in his power to stop its release?
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I kid, of course. Among movie musicals, West Side Story ranks in the top five in greatness, and it's arguably the most popular musical ever released. It may be awfully frou-frou -- and let's face it, the dance numbers are awfully similar -- but West Side Story has a tale as timeless as its source material (Romeo and Juliet) and countless songs that have become musical classics. "Maria," "America," "I Feel Pretty," "Tonight" -- you can probably hum these without even thinking about it.
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Funny thing is: The Sound of Music doesn't need protection from critics. Yes, it's schmaltzy, but it's not nearly as schmaltzy as, say, Titanic. Yes it has all those adorable kids and all those adorable songs and even a cute puppet show stuck right in the middle of it, but it also has grit, drama, and some harrowing moments. Hell, it's got Nazis racing around in big black cars! It is a total cinematic experience, and one that benefits greatly from technological advances that let you enjoy its lavish sights and sounds on a big TV screen with big surround speakers that make it feel like Julie Andrews is embracing your or the Nazis are sneaking up on you from behind.
Continue reading: The Sound Of Music Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.