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5 Film Collection: Musicals [5 Discs] [DVD]

SKU:29198249
Release Date:10/20/2015
Rating:
Five classic musicals in one five-DVD set, including Singin' in the Rain, The Music Man, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Viva Las Vegas.
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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

    Special Features


    • Closed Captioned

    Synopsis


    The Music Man
    Meredith Wilson's hit 1957 Broadway musical was transferred to the screen in larger-than-life fashion in 1962. Robert Preston repeats his legendary stage performance as fast-talking con man Harold Hill, who goes from town to town selling citizens on starting a "boy's band," then extracts money from them by ordering instruments and uniforms, with the promise that he'll teach the kids how to be musicians. Once he's collected his bankroll, Hill skips town, leaving the kids in the lurch. Looking for new suckers in Iowa, Hill arrives in River City, where he declares that the only way to save the youth of River City from the lure of the poolroom is to organize a boy's band. He charms the mayor's wife Eulalie (Hermione Gingold) into forming a "ladies' dance committee" and sets his sights on winning over local music teacher Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones). Marian rightly considers Hill a fraud, especially when he espouses the "Think System" of learning music: if you think a tune, he claims, you can play it. But Marian becomes Hill's staunchest ally when her young brother Winthrop (Ronny Howard), sullen and withdrawn since the death of his father, exuberantly comes out of his shell at the prospect of joining Hill's band; and Marian's budding romance with the charming but unreliable Hill ultimately brings her out of her own shell as well. Marion Hargrove's script uses most of the original play, with a handful of amusing expansions, especially in the roles played by Gingold and by Buddy Hackett as Hill's comic sidekick. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    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

    Singin' in the Rain
    Hollywood, 1927: the silent-film romantic team of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is the toast of Tinseltown. While Lockwood and Lamont personify smoldering passions onscreen, in real life the down-to-earth Lockwood can't stand the egotistical, brainless Lina. He prefers the company of aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), whom he met while escaping his screaming fans. Watching these intrigues from the sidelines is Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), Don's best pal and on-set pianist. Cosmo is promoted to musical director of Monumental Pictures by studio head R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell) when the talking-picture revolution commences. That's all right for Cosmo, but how will talkies affect the upcoming Lockwood-Lamont vehicle "The Dueling Cavalier"? Don, an accomplished song-and-dance man, should have no trouble adapting to the microphone. Lina, however, is another matter; put as charitably as possible, she has a voice that sounds like fingernails on a blackboard. The disastrous preview of the team's first talkie has the audience howling with derisive laughter. On the strength of the plot alone, concocted by the matchless writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Singin' in the Rain is a delight. But with the addition of MGM's catalog of Arthur Freed-Nacio Herb Brown songs -- "You Were Meant for Me," "You Are My Lucky Star," "The Broadway Melody," and of course the title song -- the film becomes one of the greatest Hollywood musicals ever made. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Viva Las Vegas
    Viva Las Vegas, one of Elvis Presley's most popular vehicles, adheres as rigidly to formula as a Kabuki dance. Elvis plays a race-car driver competing in the Las Vegas Grand Prix opposite his principal rival, Cesare Danova. To finance his entry, Elvis takes a job as a casino waiter. Naturally, he is occasionally prevailed upon to sing, making one wonder why he didn't choose this talent as a means of making some quick cash. As always, Elvis chases all the wrong girls, only to ignore the "right" one, portrayed by Ann-Margret in her considerable youthful prime (We're supposed to believe that A-M is the daughter of irascible William Demarest. So much for the reliability of gene pools). With a pre-fat Presley, an indescribably gorgeous Ann-Margret, and no fewer than 12 songs on the soundtrack, how could Viva Las Vegas help but reap a fortune at the box office? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Yankee Doodle Dandy
    Yankee Doodle Dandy is no more the true-life story of George M. Cohan than The Jolson Story was the unvarnished truth about Al Jolson -- but who the heck cares? Dandy has song, dance, pathos, pageantry, uproarious comedy, and, best of all, James Cagney at his Oscar-winning best. After several failed attempts to bring the life of legendary, flag-waving song-and-dance man Cohan to the screen, Warners scenarist Robert Buckner opted for the anecdotal approach, unifying the film's largely unrelated episodes with a flashback framework. Summoned to the White House by President Roosevelt, the aging Cohan is encouraged to relate the events leading up to this momentous occasion. He recalls his birth on the Fourth of July, 1878; his early years as a cocky child performer in his family's vaudeville act; his decision to go out as a "single"; his sealed-with-a-handshake partnership with writer/producer Sam Harris (Richard Whorf); his first Broadway success, 1903's Little Johnny Jones; his blissful marriage to winsome wife Mary (a fictional amalgam of Cohan's two wives, played by Joan Leslie -- who, incredibly, was only 17 at the time); his patriotic civilian activities during World War I, culminating with his writing of that conflict's unofficial anthem "Over There" (performed by Nora Bayes, as played by Frances Langford); the deaths of his sister, Josie (played by Cagney's real-life sister Jeanne), his mother, Nellie (Rosemary DeCamp), and his father, Jerry (Walter Huston); his abortive attempt to retire; and his triumphant return to Broadway in Rodgers & Hart's I'd Rather Be Right. His story told, Cohan is surprised -- and profoundly moved -- when FDR presents him with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first such honor bestowed upon an entertainer. His eyes welling up with tears, Cohan expresses his gratitude by invoking his old vaudeville curtain speech: "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you." Glossing over such unsavory moments in Cohan's life as his bitter opposition of the formation of Actor's Equity -- not to mention George M.'s intense hatred of FDR! -- Yankee Doodle Dandy offers the George M. Cohan that people in 1942 wanted to see (proof of the pudding was the film's five-million-dollar gross). And besides, the plot and its fabrications were secondary to those marvelous Cohan melodies -- "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Harrigan," "Mary," "You're a Grand Old Flag," "45 Minutes from Broadway," and the title tune -- performed with brio by Cagney (who modifies his own loose-limbed dancing style in order to imitate Cohan's inimitable stiff-legged technique) and the rest of the spirited cast. Beyond its leading players, movie buffs will have a ball spotting the myriad of familiar character actors parading before the screen: S.Z. Sakall, George Tobias, Walter Catlett, George Barbier, Eddie Foy Jr. (playing his own father), Frank Faylen, Minor Watson, Tom Dugan, John Hamilton, and on and on and on. In addition to Cagney, music directors Ray Heindorf and Heinz Roemheld also won Oscars for their efforts. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Robert Preston
      Robert Preston - Harold Hill
    • Shirley Jones
      Shirley Jones - Marian Paroo
    • Buddy Hackett
      Buddy Hackett - Marcellus Washburn
    • Pert Kelton
      Pert Kelton - Mrs. Paroo
    • Hermione Gingold
      Hermione Gingold - Eulalie MacKechnie Shinn




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