Started to write a post, get so far, and another theme or idea slips in, and demands to be written first?
I’m on this nostalgia kick, simply because when I turned on the TV to catch up with the latest COVID news, it was on a channel that shows old movies.
In case you don’t realize it, I love old movies, not just those from Hollywood, but also from Britain.
What was on?
An American in Paris.
Well, it had to be one of my favourites, even though I’m not a great fan of Gene Kelly, the sheer majesty of the music more than makes up for the story in between.
Could it be said, then, this was from the golden years of Hollywood? Such bright and cheerful movies such as Singing in the Rain, and An American in Paris, perhaps exemplify the Hollywood musical.
Years before, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the quintessential musical stars, followed by the likes of Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin, and later Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. A couple of musicals, in particular, comes to mind, firstly the Wizard of Oz and then High Society.
Moving forward to more modern times, several stand out in the1960s, My Fair Lady and Sound of Music. By this time theatregoers were dining on the superb talents of Rogers and Hammerstein, and Learner and Lowe. Of the former, musicals such as Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I were on my list of favourites.
Even later still in the 1970s, there is Funny Girl, and Hello Dolly, which have a connection to the past with its director, none other than, yes, Gene Kelly.
But it seems once the 60s had passed the notion of the Hollywood blockbuster musical had gone, and we were left with clip shows like That’s Entertainment, put together while Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were still alive. We still had the film versions of the stage plays, but the lustre had, somehow, gone.
Perhaps it will return, who knows, after all, everything old is usually new again, it just takes time to go full circle.