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TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Broadway Musicals [2 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 5147024
  • Release Date: 05/05/2009
  • Rating: G
  • 5.0 (2)
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
5.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Annie Get Your Gun
Judy Garland was originally slated to star in MGM's film version of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, but she was forced to pull out of the production due to illness (recently discovered out-takes reveal a gaunt, dazed Garland, obviously incapable of completing her duties). She was replaced by Betty Hutton who, once she overcame the resentment of her co-workers, turned in an excellent performance--perhaps the best of her career. Hutton is of course cast as legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who ascends from dirty-faced backwoods gamin to the uppermost rungs of international stardom. Her mentor is Buffalo Bill, played by Louis Calhern (like Hutton, Calhern was a last-minute replacement: the original Buffalo Bill, Frank Morgan, died before production began). Annie's great rival is arrogant marksman Frank Butler (Howard Keel) with whom she eventually falls in love. She goes so far as to lose an important shooting match to prove her affection--a scene that hardly strikes a blow for feminism, but this is, after all, a 1950 film. Of the stellar supporting cast, J. Carroll Naish stands out as Sitting Bull, whose shrewd business acumen is good for several laughs. Virtually all the Irving Berlin tunes were retained from the Broadway version, including "Doin' What Comes Naturally", "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", "Anything You Can Do", "The Girl That I Marry", "My Defenses are Down", "They Say It's Wonderful" and the rousing "There's No Business Like Show Business", which was later tantalizingly excerpted in MGM's pastiche feature That's Entertainment II. Alas, due to a complicated legal tangle involving the estates of Irving Berlin and librettists Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields, Annie Get Your Gun hasn't been shown on television in years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Show Boat
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Based extremely loosely on the Stephen Vincent Benet story Sobbin' Women," Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of the best MGM musicals of the 1950s. Most of the story takes place on an Oregon ranch, maintained by Adam Pontabee (Howard Keel) and his six brothers, played by Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Mark Platt, Matt Mattox, and Jacques d'Amboise (it is no coincidence that five of those six boys are played by professional dancers). When Adam brings home his new bride Milly (Jane Powell), she is appalled at the brothers' slovenliness and sets about turning these unwashed louts into immaculate gentlemen. During the boisterous barn-raising scene, the brothers get into a scuffle with a group of townsmen over the affection of six comely lasses: Virginia Gibson, Julie Newmeyer (later Newmar), Ruth Kilmonis (later Ruth Lee), Nancy Kilgas, Betty Carr, and Norma Doggett (yep, most of the girls are dancers, too). Yearning to become husbands like their big brother, they ask Adam for advice. Alas, he has been reading a book about the abduction of the Sabine Women (or, as he puts it, the Sobbin' Women); and, in order to claim their gals, Adam explains, the boys must kidnap them--which they do, after blocking off all avenues of escape. Vowing to remain on their best behavior, the boys make no untoward advances towards their reluctant female guests--not even during one of the coldest winters on record. Comes the spring thaw, the angry townsfolk come charging up the mountain, demanding the return of the stolen girls (who, by this time, have "tamed" their men). A happy ending is ultimately had by all in this delightful if politically incorrect concoction. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Kiss Me Kate
Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate is a musical within a musical -- altogether appropriate, since its source material, Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, was a play within a play. Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson star as famous Broadway singing team who haven't worked together since their acrimonious divorce. Keel, collaborating with Cole Porter (played by Ron Randell), plans to star in a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew titled "Kiss Me Kate." Both he and Porter agree that only one actress should play the tempestuous Katherine, and that's Grayson. But she isn't buying, especially after discovering that Keel's latest paramour, Ann Miller, is going to be playing Bianca. Besides, Grayson is about to retire from showbiz to marry the "Ralph Bellamy character," played not by Bellamy, but by Willard Parker. A couple of gangsters (James Whitmore and Keenan Wynn) arrive on the scene, convinced Keel is heavily in debt to their boss; actually, a young hoofer in the chorus (Tommy Rall) owes the money, but signed Keel's name to an IOU. But since Grayson is having second thoughts about going on-stage, Keel plays along with the hoods, who force Grayson at gunpoint to co-star with her ex-husband so that they'll get paid off. Later the roles are reversed, and the gangsters are themselves finagled into appearing on-stage, Elizabethan costumes and all, though that scene is less of a comic success. This aside, Kiss Me Kate is a well-appointed (if bowdlerized) film adaptation of the Porter musical. Virtually all of the play's songs are retained for the screen version, notably "So in Love," "Wunderbar," "Faithful in My Fashion," "Too Darn Hot," "Why Can't You Behave?," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" (a delightful duet delivered delightfully by Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore), and the title song. Additionally, Porter lifted a song from another play, Out of This World, and incorporated it in the movie version of Kiss Me Kate; as a result, "From This Moment On" has been included in all subsequent stagings of Kate. This MGM musical has the distinction of being filmed in 3-D, which is why Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson throw so many chairs, dishes, and pieces of fruit at the camera in their domestic battle scenes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Betty Hutton
    Betty Hutton - Annie Oakley
  • Howard Keel
    Howard Keel - Frank Butler
  • Louis Calhern
    Louis Calhern - Buffalo Bill
  • J. Carrol Naish
    J. Carrol Naish - Chief Sitting Bull
  • Edward Arnold
    Edward Arnold - Pawnee Bill

Overall Customer Rating

(2 Reviews)
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