Orchestra Wives is a great example of a band fully integrated into the picture’s overall narrative. Glenn Miller and his orchestra are the object of affection of the titular spouses, and the characters to whom we’re introduced throughout are a mix of actors and real-life band members.
Give a Girl a Break is another of the films I’ve been catching up on from TCM that isn’t available on Netflix, but I’m slowly working through them–hopefully before the next big DVR-buster of a schedule pops up. Anyway, it’s a great example of the behind-the-scenes musical subgenre, with a familiar but cheerfully welcome set up.
I mentioned the other day that wartime sailor musicals are one of my newly discovered favorite subgenres of musicals, and in that spirit, I’ve identified another worthy subgenre from my explorations: Las-Vegas-based musicals from the 1950s and 1960s. Not only do you get the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley at their peaks, but as a whole, the city of Las Vegas was really a unique cultural institution in this era as well–and as a city of constant reinvention, it’s unlikely to replicate this particular blend of style, danger, and opulence again.
It didn’t take much to get me to peak excitement for this film: Rat Pack + Robin Hood set in 1920s Chicago, and I was pretty much sold. Even if it turned out to be not great, the pieces were already set to make for a great movie experience.
My first exposure to the Broadway Melody series was the fantastic Broadway Melody of 1940, starring Eleanor Powell alongside Fred Astaire, so I was thrilled to catch the 1936 edition on TCM this weekend–especially as it’s not available on Netflix, which has become my primary source for musical rentals. Compared to the Gold Diggers series (which I also love), I think the Broadway Melodies tend to be a little more technically focused on the business of being musicals, and they certainly deliver.
In preparation for TCM’s absolutely apocalyptic rare musical schedule in the past few weeks, I had to start ticking through some of the features I’d taped earlier in the month to clear some space on my DVR. Getting low on DVR space is typically a great motivator for me to watch movies… as it gives the very dire ultimatum of “You really can’t watch anything new until you finish these.”