The Gallery

celebrates the

musicals of

20th Century Fox

 

But let's start at the beginning...


William Fox

It all began with William Fox, a coat liner in New York who parlayed 25 “peep shows” into a film producing company, a chain of theaters and a top-notch stable of stars that included Theda Bara, Janet Gaynor, William Farnum and his best discovery, of course, Shirley Temple. By 1929 Fox was producing quality sound films with the new Movietone sound process. But in 1933 things began falling apart and an auto accident and bankruptcy sealed his fate.

 

  ...the first Fox Musical! ...



Fox Movietone Follies of 1929
Directed by David Butler


Fox Follies 1929 poster


Fox Follies pic

The story...

Wealthy and lovesick George Shelby (John Breeden) follows his “heart” to New York City where his gal Lila Beaumont (Lola Lane) is an understudy in a Broadway musical. George hopes he can persuade her to go back home and settle down but Lila is adamant. So good ol' George buys the show and fires her. That not only makes her fighting, mad but brings Actor' s Equity down on his head. When Lila has to step in for the temperamental lead, she wows them all, makes George believe in her and makes him a lot of money to boot.

Lola Lane



Dixie Lee

Notes...

.look for Sue Carol ( the future Mrs. Alan Ladd) and Dixie Lee (who married Bing Crosby shortly after this film was made.)

. Fox patented the Movietone sound process and used it in the title to promote this film along with a movie still that just showed the dancers legs.

. The film's hit song “The Breakaway” inspired its own dance craze.

 

Sue Carol

 

Across town in 1933...


Joseph Schenck

….the president of United Artists Joseph Schenck, ex-production head  Darryl Zanuck (Warner Bros.) and Spyros Skouras (Fox)  began putting their heads together and decided to form a film company they named 20th Century Films. Schenck had a little financial backing from MGM's Louis B. Mayer and they used the lot at UA.

Darryl Zanuck

Spyros Skouras

 

...the only 20th Century Musical! ...


Folies Bergere de Paris 1935

Directed by Roy Del Ruth


Folies Bergere de Paris 1935 poster

 The story....

Folies Bergere star Eugene Charlier (Maurice Chevalier)impersonates the Baron Cassini (also Chevalier) on stage while the real baron tries to seduce Charlier's mistress Mimi ( Ann Sothern) backstage. The baroness, Genevieve (Merle Oberon), tired of the baron's cheating, calls him back to the table and is shocked at his sudden change of attitude, not knowing it is Charlier who responds. This merry tug of war eventually improves the love life of all concerned and provides a lusty musical that typifies the 1930s very well.


Folies Bergere de Paris

Notes...

Merle Oberon makes her Hollywood debut

“Happy Song” better known as “The Straw Hat Number” won a Best Dance Direction Oscar for Dave Gould.



Then, in 1935....

Fox Films was scooped up by Schenck, Zanuck and Skouras as an addition  to 20th Century Films and......

…..the first 20th Century Fox musical was born!


The King of Burlesque 1936

Directed by Sidney Lansfield


The King of Burlesque poster

Warner Baxter.........Kerry Bolton
Alice Faye...............Pat Doran
Mona Barrie.............Rosalind Cleve
Jack Oakie...............Joe Cooney
Fats Waller...............Ben
Kenny Baker............Arthur


The King of Burlesque.

The story.....

Kerry Bolton was moving on up the avenue from burlesque to legitimate theater when he hit a roadblock. He married society's darling Rosalind Cleve and allowed her to shape his dream into a financial disaster. His lead singer, Pat Doran, left for London even though she was head over heels in love with Bolton. But when news reached her that the marriage was over and Kerry's troubles were piling up, Pat and a few old friends came back to put him back on the road to success.

 

 

 





Notes......

This was considered one of the best backstage musicals. It was remade as “Hello, Frisco, Hello” in 1943 with Alice Faye and Jack Oakie still in the cast.

Sammy Lee won a Best Dance Direction Oscar the last time it was offered by the Academy.

Kenny Baker would go on to do 17 film musicals and become the vocalist for both Arthur Godfrey and Fred Allen.

 

“Whose Big Baby Are You?” Alice Faye

 



Now, here are some of your favorites....

Alexander's Ragtime Band 1938

Directed by Henry King

Tyrone Power.......Roger Grant (Alexander)
Alice Faye.............Stella Kirby
Don Ameche..........Charlie Dwyer
Ethel Merman.........Jerry Allen
Jack Haley...............Davey Lane
Jean Hersholt..........Prof. Heinrich

The story......

Well-bred but strait-laced violinist Roger Grant defies his aunt and music teacher to become a ragtime band leader in 1911 San Francisco. When he and pals Charlie and Davey Lane audition at a Barbary Coast saloon, they accidentally pick up sheet music that belongs to singer Stella Kirby. It's a hit and the band takes the name, the singer (reluctantly) and the tempo along for the ride. Roger and Stella fall in love but a lover's quarrel breaks up the act and the band. Roger goes to war and Stella marries Charlie even though he realizes her heart still belongs to Roger. Roger returns, forms a new band with a new singer, and becomes a new sensation. Charlie divorces Stella and she disappears but an old friend sets her up to be there when Roger makes his Carnegie Hall debut.

 

 

 

Notes.....

The story was the brainchild of composer Irving Berlin and the score includes many of his hit songs.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Rose of Washington Square 1939

Directed by Gregory Ratoff

Tyrone Power...............Barton DeWitt Clinton
Alice Faye....................Rose Sargent
Al Jolson.......................Ted Cotter
William Frawley...........Harry Long
Joyce Compton............. Peggy

The story........

Rose Sargent is a struggling singer whoe career has been limited to speakeasies and burlesque houses. Her friend, vaudeville performer Ted Cotter, tries hard to help her rise from music halls to Broadway. On a weekend off from the daily grind, she meets handsome scoundrel Bart Clinton and marries him. Even though he loves Rose, Bart can't seem to keep out of trouble. When he runs afoul of the law, Ted pays his bail but Bart skips town to escape prison. Rose, now a featured performer in the Ziegfeld Follies, is heartbroken. Then one night in a dark theater Bart hears her perform the song she has dedicated to him and realizes he has to make things right. He surrenders to police and Rose promises to wait for him.

 

 

 

 

Notes....

This was considered one of Alice Faye's best musicals.

The obvious similarity to the life of vaudeville entertainer Fanny Brice brought about a lawsuit settled out of court.

 

 

Tin Pan Alley 1940

Directed by Walter Lang

Alice Faye...........Katie Blane
Betty Grable........Lily Blane
John Payne..........Francis “Skeets” Harrigan
Jack Oakie...........Harry Calhoun
Allen Jenkins.......Casey
Esther Ralston......Nora Bayes

The story.....

In the New york of 1915, 46th Street and 8th Avenue was known as “Tin Pan Alley” and home to a bustling music district. Songwriters Harry Calhoun and “Skeets” Harrigan are struggling to make a living with a little help from Harrigan's fists. The two manage to get the Blane Sisters, Katie and Lily, a singing vaudeville act to plug their songs. Everything is going along fine with Katie joining them while Lily goes off to the London stage. Then the bottom falls out when the boys give the song they promised Katie to stage actress Nora Bayes. An angry Katie leaves for London to join her sister. The war sweeps up the both Calhoun and Harrigan and they end up in London. Their meeting is climatic in many ways and “accidentally” Calhoun comes up with his hit song.

 

 

 

Notes.....

. Harry Warren and Mack Gordon come up with one new song among the oldies....You Say the Sweetest Things, Baby”

Tyrone Power and Don Ameche were considered for the leading male roles but scheduling conflicts interfered.

This film was featured in the M*A*S*H* television episode “Alcoholics Unanimous”.


Sun Valley Serenade 1941

Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone

Sonja Henie..................Karen Benson
John Payne....................Ted Scott
Lynn Bari.......................Vivian Dawn
Milton Berle...................Jerome K. “Nifty” Adams
Glenn Miller ….............. Phil Corey
and the Glenn Miller band

The story.....

Phil Corey's band, the Dartmouth Troubadours, had just wrangled a gig in Sun Valley as well as the lovely vocalist Vivian Dawn who went with it, when an old publicity stunt came home to roost. While it was the brainchild of agent “Nifty” Adams, it was pianist Ted Scott that signed the contract and he was stuck with taking in the "child". This was sure to foul up Ted's plans to get closer to Vivian. When the band descended on Ellis Island armed with balloons and toys they found very grown-up and gorgeous Karen Benson who had fled her homeland when her father was killed. Ted now had a real problem. To complicate matters, Karen had marriage on her mind and her mind was hard to change. First, she surprises him with her skiing skills and, when Vivian finally leaves in a huff, she saves the day by staging an ice show.

 

 

 

Notes....

In the summer and winter this movie is shown free of charge daily at 5 pm. at the Opera House in Sun Valley and at other times of year it can be viewed free of charge at 4:30 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays . It is also available 24 hours a day in all the rooms at the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn.

. One scene from this film was shot to be independent of the film itself and was not seen by audiences everywhere at the time. It features the hit song “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, sung by Dorothy Dandridge and the dancing by the fantastic Nicholas Brothers. We have included it here.

 

 

The Gang's All Here 1943

Directed by Busby Berkeley

Alice Faye.................Eadie Allen
Carmen Miranda …............Dorita
James Ellison......................Andy Mason
Phil Baker............................as himself
Charlotte Greenwood..........Blossom Potter
Eugene Pallette....................A.J. Mason
Edward Everett Horton.......Peyton Potter
Sheila Ryan.........................Vivian

The story.......

Millionaire A.J. Mason and his son Andy were enjoying the show at the Club New York while friend and partner Peyton Potter, trapped into dancing with Brazilian sensation Dorita , was worried that wife Blossom would learn about it. They were celebrating Andy's induction into the Army. Andy couldn't take his eyes off the nightclub's singer Eadie Allen and later followed her to the Broadway Canteen where she danced with the soldiers between shows. He introduced himself as Sgt. Pat Casey to keep her from knowing about his background. Although she wasn't allowed to see soldiers outside the canteen, Eadie succumbed to Andy's charms and promised to see him later. By the end of the evening they both had stars in their eyes and Eadie agreed to wait for him. When Andy returned a war hero, the Masons planned a celebration. The Club New Yorker was closed while the acts were rehearsing a new show so Mason just moved it to his house for the party and a Bond Rally. Vivian, Andy's old girlfriend also came and things got chilly but when the show ends it's Eadie and Andy that become a “permanent duet”.


Notes.......

This was Alice Faye's last major musical.

 

State Fair 1945

Directed by Walter Lang

Jeanne Crain...................Margy Frake
Dana Andrews................Pat Gilbert
Dick Haymes................Wayne Frake
Vivian Blane.................Emily Edwards
Charles Winninger........Abel Frake
Fay Bainter....................Melissa Frake
Percy Kilbride...............Dave Miller

The story.............

It was “fair” weather in Iowa and the Frakes were busy as bees. Abel Frake was getting his prize boar “Blue Boy” ready for competition while Melissa pondered whether to add brandy to her famous mincemeat recipe (she did and he did). Daughter Margy, upset that her beau won't go along, stalls for time over his marriage proposal while brother Wayne also gets a no-show from his sweetheart, too. A crotchety neighbor Dave Miller, looking at their sad faces, bets Abel they will all have a lousy time. Once they arrive at the trailer park and unpack, the younger Frakes go off to see the sights. That's when Wayne meets band singer Emily Edwards, who breaks up his brawl with a crooked ring toss barker masquerading as the police chief's daughter. Across the fairgrounds Margy finds newspaper reporter Pat Gilbert nice to talk to but the chemistry is so immediate it takes world-traveler Gilbert by surprise. Even Abel's “Blue Boy” finds love and almost misses his chance to shine. But will these new romances last? All in all, it is a fair to remember.

Notes....

. This was Rodgers & Hammerstein's only original Hollywood musical

For some reason Dana Andrews, a trained operatic singer, had his voice dubbed by Ben Gage for this film. The studio pleaded ignorance of that fact.

It Might As Well Be Spring” won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

 

 


 

Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe 1945

Directed by George Seaton

Betty Grable....................Bonnie Collins
Dick Haymes...................Joe Davis, Jr. (Joey)
William gaxton................Joe Davis, Sr.
Beatrice Kay.....................Claire Williams
Phil Silvers......................Blinkie Miller

The story......

Joe Davis shared top billing at Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe nightclub with singer/showgirl Bonnie Collins. The feuding rivalry between them was no secret. Their latest squabble was raging hot and heavy when Joe's son, Joey arrived home from medical school to announce he was quitting and going into show business. Joe was shocked and disappointed but set up his son as assistant to stage manager Blinkie Miller. Blinkie, on the other hand, believes Joey has talent and secretly gets him a job with a band outside the Horseshoe. Davis begins devoting all his time to Joey and even breaks his engagement to entertainer Claire Williams. Claire decides to fight fire with fire..or at least the mink coat that she uses to bribe Bonnie who always wanted it. Bonnie was supposed to charm Joey back into medical school then dump him. It backfires when Bonnie falls for the guy and Davis has her fired. Joey and Bonnie get married but Joey's career never quite takes off. and when his medical expertise saves a man's life Bonnie realizes that is Joey's true calling. She threatens to leave him if he doesn't go back to becoming a doctor. Later Davis finds out Bonnie has been working two jobs to keep Joey in medical school. He has Bonnie re-hired and there's a happy finale at the Horseshoe.

Notes.....

Impresario Billy Rose sold 20th Century Fox the rights to use the name of his famous nightclub for $75,000 with the guarantee George Seaton would direct and write the screenplay. The famous nightclub, located beneath New York's Paramount Hotel was closed in 1951.

 

 

Mother Wore Tights 1947

Directed by Walter Lang

Betty Grable …..................Myrtle McKinley Burt
Dan Dailey …....................Frank Burt
Mona Freeman...................Iris Burt
Connie Marshall.................Miriam (Mikie) Burt
Robert Arthur......................Bob Clarkman
Vanessa Brown....................Bessie
Sarah Allgood......................Grandma McKinley
Narrator (off screen).........................Anne Baxter

The story.....

In 1900, Myrtle McKinley graduated from high school, said no business but show business, and joined the chorus in a San Francisco vaudeville show. There she met singer/dancer Frank Burt. They formed a double act on stage and off-stage as well. When Myrtle became pregnant with their first child, she retired from the act and went home to live with her grandmother. Their first daughter, Iris, was joined three years later by another daughter they named Miriam but called “Mikie”. When Frank's partner left for the movies, Miriam went back on the road and the girls joined them from time to time during school vacations. On one holiday at a stuffy elite resort in the Berkshires Iris met Bob Clarkman and prodded Myrtle into sending the girls to an exclusive boarding school. Iris continued to see Bob Clarkman in his society environment and the wide difference in her own. Seeing the dilemma Iris had, Myrtle arranged to have her graduating class front and center when her parents performed nearby. It worked out so well Iris sang one of the songs her parents made famous at her graduation.

Notes......

This film was the most successful film of 1947 for 20th Century Fox. It was also the first pairing of Betty Grable and Dan Dailey who would go on to make three more films together. This one was the highest grossing film of Betty Grable's career and was touted as her favorite.

Alfred Newman won the Academy Award of Original Music Score.

“Kokomo, Indiana” Betty Grable & Dan Dailey

 

 

 

My Blue Heaven 1950

Directed by Henry Koster

Betty Grable............Kitty Moran
Dan Dailey................Jack Moran
David Wayne.............Walter Pringle
Jane Wyatt..................Janet Pringle
Mitzi Gaynor..............Gloria Adams
Una Merkel.................Miss Irma Gilbert
Louise Beavers............Selma
Laura Pierpont..............Mrs. Johnson

The story.....

Jack and Kitty Moran, a popular radio show couple, have babies on their mind! Kitty miscarried after an auto accident and was told she may never be able to have another child. Even the news that their show is moving to television fails to lift her spirits. Then, while visiting the Pringle farm, the Morans find hope. Janet and Dave Pringle, the show's scriptwriters, have six children but the first two were adopted. It seems Janet was told the same thing so they adopted the two oldest but then Janet became pregnant,,,four times! Jack and Kitty decided to to go to the same adoption agency only to find their backgrounds and livelihoods were questionable. However, just after the debut of their new show the agency's Miss Gilbert arrives to tell them a baby boy is available and the founder Miss Johnson needs to see their apartment. Unfortiunately a boisterous baby shower is going on and she takes the baby back. Again, Kitty is devastated. An attempt to get a baby girl by a back door method also ends in failure. To make matters worse, the new dancer on the show Gloria Adams makes a play for Jack. Then things suddenly turn around so fast Kitty's head spins. Both babies are returned to them and they decide to adopt both of them. Then Kitty faints during her performance. You guessed it! When it rains, it pours...babies!

Notes:

This was the film debut of Mitzi Gaynor.

Jane Wyatt and Elinor Donahue (who has a bit part in the film) later starred on the television show “Father Knows Best”.

“Miss Johnson” was Laura Pierpont's only credited film role.

 

 

With A Song In My Heart 1952

Directed by Walter Lang

Susan Hayward............Jane Froman
Rory Calhoun...............John Burn
David Wayne................Don Ross
Thelma Ritter................Clancy
Robert Wagner..............G.I.paratrooper

The story......

Ellen Jane Froman was a little girl from Missouri with a big voice and a bigger heart. But, in the mid-1930s, things were looking grim when she was late for her first radio audition. Then pianist Don Ross came to her rescue. When her career blossomed and Don proposed, she married him even though she didn't love him and he became her manager. But the marriage never really hit any high notes. Jane was soon radio's favorite singer and a hit in New York nightclubs but when the country went to war, Jane decided to go with it. She asked the USO to arrange a tour of overseas bases and in February, 1943 she got her wish. On the long flight to London from Bermuda and Lisbon, Jane spent the time talking with fellow entertainer Jennifer March and co-pilot John Burn. The plane crashed into Lisbon's Tagus River on approach killing Jennifer and badly injuring Jane and Burn who kept her afloat until rescuers arrived. Out of 38 passengers, only 15 survived. Jane's left leg was almost severed below the knee and the right leg broken so severely that amputation was considered. It was her nurse Clancy that helped her through the many painful surgeries to save it. Jane went back to nightclubs even though she had to be carried onstage and one night she sang to a young paratrooper on his way to war. While on a 30,000 mile, seven country tour of army bases (on crutches) she meets him again. Suffering shell-shock the boy is mute and she helps him to speak again. The marriage to Don over, Jane finally admits her love for John.

Notes.....

Jane Froman had a stutter since childhood that disappeared when she sang. It was one of the reasons Jane couldn't play herself in the film and personally chose Hayward for the role.

Jane had three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame...radio, television and recordings.

. Alfred Newman won the Oscar for Best Music and Best Scoring of a musical picture, Oscar nominations were given to Susan Hayward (Best Actress), Thelma Ritter (Supporting Actress), Charle Le Maire (Best Costume Design) and Thomas Moulton (Best Sound, recording).

 


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953

Directed by Howard Hawks

Jane Russell.............Dorothy Shaw
Marilyn Monroe.......Lorelei Lee
Charles Coburn........Sir Francis “Piggy” Beekman
Elliott Reid...............Ernie Malone
Tommy Noonan........Gus Esmond, Jr.
Norma Varden...........Lady Beekman

The story.....

Two showgirls, close as sisters but as different as the color of their hair, set out for France. Lorelei Lee has an engagement ring and a line of credit from her rich beau, Gus Esmond, Jr. whose father objects to their union. Dorothy Shaw just wants a man “who can outrun me”. While Lorelei searches the ship for someone “suitable” for Dorothy, a private detective hired by Gus Esmond, Sr., is also on board watching her. Ernie Malone bribes the headwaiter to be seated at the girls' table but the mutual attraction between Dorothy and Ernie complicates matters until she catches him taking pictures of Lorelei and diamond merchant Sir Francis “Piggy” Beekman through a porthole. The girls spike Ernie's drink then search his clothes and cabin until they find the film. A grateful “Piggy” gives Lorelei his wife's diamond tiara only to steal it back later. In Paris, the girls go on a shopping spree but when they get to their hotel they find Gus's father has canceled the line of credit and Lady Beekman accuses Lorelei of theft. Dorothy comes to Lorelei's defense (in a blonde wig), Ernie comes to Dorothy's defense and both girls get their man. Dorothy's advice: “Remember, honey, on your wedding day, it's alright to say yes.”

Notes.......

Check out “Henry Spofford III” one of the “rich men” on board that Lorelei picks out from the passenger list to court Dorothy. He is played by 7-year-old George “Foghorn” Winslow and George steals every scene he is in.

 


There's No Business Like Show Business 1953

Directed by Walter Lang

Ethel Merman....................Molly Donahue
Dan Dailey..........................Terrence Donahue
Donald O'Connor.................Tim
Mitzi Gaynor.........................Katy
Johnny Ray...........................Steve
Marilyn Monroe....................Vicky Hoffman
Richard Eastham...................Lew Harris
Hugh O'Brian........................Charles Gibbs


The story.......

The story of a vaudeville family is like a musical scrapbook as “The Donahues” become “The Five Donahues” over the years. Mother Molly tried giving the three kids a stable existence by putting them in a Catholic boarding school but they kept running away. Even the headmaster Father Dineen felt they belonged with their parents. So Molly and Terry bought a house. Then came the Depression and the Donahues had to take any job they could find until show business came back to life. By 1937 they were “The Five Donahues” again with Katy dancing, Steve singing and Tim doing it all just like his father. Then things began to come apart. Steve decided to become a priest. Katy and Tim went off to join a Broadway revue along with Vicky Hoffman. Katy married lyricist Charlie Gibbs. Steve performed the ceremony before leaving to become an army chaplain. But Tim's romance with Vicky hit rocky ground and he began to drink heavily. After a auto accident and a bad scene with his father, Tim disappears. Terry hardly listens when Molly tells him they have been asked to do a benefit performance at the Hippodrome. Instead he leaves home to search for Tim so Katy, Steve and even Vicky come home to help. Molly is on stage when Tim and Terry show up in the wings and suddenly “The Five Donahues Plus One” are back on stage to close the show..

Notes....

The title song was boirrowed from the original stage production of “Annie Get Your Gun” (1946) and the subsequent MGM musical in 1950.

MUSIC TRACK “Oh, If You Believe” by Johnny Ray

 

 

 

The King and I 1956

Directed by Walter Lang

Deborah Kerr.............Anna Leonowens
Yul Brynner................The King of Siam
Rita Moreno................Tuptim
Terry Saunders.............Lady Thiang
Martin Benson.............Kralahome
Rex Thompson.............Louis
Carlos Riva...................Lun Tha
Alan Mowbray..............Sir John Hay

The story....

In 1862 a young widowed schoolteacher, Anna Leonowen took her son Louis and all her courage and sailed from England to Bangkok, Thailand. She had accepted a position as governess to the children of Mongkut, the King of Siam with the guarantee of her own house outside the palace. What she found there was an unbearable, stubborn king, her only accomodations inside the castle walls and adorable, loving children. So she stayed and the battle was on. The king wanted to modernize his kingdom without giving up any of its customs while Anna had to learn some customs could not be changed without damaging the kingdom. Anna could see her job was not going to be easy. Most serious was the case of a new wife Tuptim, the lovely girl given to the king as a gift from Burma. Tuptim loved Lun Tha and they were meeting secretly. The other was the king's fear that the British were about to overthrow him and declare Siam a protectorate. Anna arranged a meeting with the British ambassador. Grateful, Mogkut promises her a house of her own. Then Tuptim is caught running away with Lun Tha. The king orders her beaten and Anna intervenes calling him “ a barbarian with no heart”. The king takes the whip, crumples and then leaves the room. Anna is preparing to leave Siam when Lady Thiang comes with a letter from the king who is dying. In tears as she reads it, Anna rushes to his bedside. Later, she sends Louis to bring back their luggage.

Notes......

This film swept the Oscars garnering six awards with Yul Brynner leading the pack with the Best Actor statuette.

Maureen O'Hara wanted the role of Anna but the studio passed over her even though she had a lovely singing voice. It seems they felt audiences would never believe her in this role after so many “pirate”films.

Marni Nixon aptly dubbed Anna's singing voice.

 

 

South Pacific 1958

Directed by Joshua Logan

Rossano Brazzi..............Emile de Becque
Mitzi Gaynor ................Ensign Nellie Forbush USN
John Kerr.......................Lt. Joseph Cable USMC
Ray Walston..................Luther Billis
Juanita Hall....................Bloody Mary
France Nuyen.................Liat

The story......

On a special mission to the South Pacific, Marine Lt. Joseph Cable lands to find fast-talking sailor Luther Billis trying to out-haggle Bloody Mary, a native woman from the mysterious Balai Ha'i. At headquarters he reveals his mission is to create a secret outpost in Japanese-held territory to radio their ship movements back to the Navy. He also needs the help of French planter Emile de Becque who knows the area. In the meantime, De Becque and nurse Nellie Forbush are making romantic music at his hilltop home. He tells her he once killed a bully in his village and had to leave France but he forgets to tell her that he has two half-Polynesian children. Later, when asked, Emile refuses to be part of Cable's dangerous plan because he has too much to lose. The plan on hold, Cable and Billis visit Balai Ha'i where Joe meets Liat, Bloody Mary's daughter and falls in love with her. But when it comes down to it, both Nellie and Joe realize their inbred bigotries will never let them marry their island lovers. Rejected, Emile decides to go on the mission with Joe while Nellie contemplates leaving the island. The news that the mission was a success but Cable is dead and de Becque missing, suddenly makes Nellie come to grips with her unrealistic fears. She goes to his children and, while they are singing one of the children's favorite French songs, Emile shows up to join them.

Notes......

The singing voice for Emile de Becque was dubbed by Giorgio Tozzi, an operatic bass with the Metropolitan Opera. It had been planned to use Ezio Pinza, who died the year before the film got underway. Bill Lee (see music track) dubbed John Kerr's voice and even Juanita Hall was dubbed by Muriel Smith although Hall did the singing in the Broadway production. Only Mitzi Gaynor and Ray Walston sang for themselves.

Fred Hynes and Todd-AO won an Oscar for Best Sound.

 

 

Sound of Music 1965

Directed by Robert Wise

Maria..........................................Julie Andrews
Capt. Georg Von Trapp..............Christopher Plummer
Baroness Elsa Von Schraeder.....Eleanor Parker
Max Detweiler............................Richard Haydn
Rolf.............................................Daniel Truhette
Herr Zeller..................................Ben Wright

The children
Liesl................Charmain Carr
Friedrich..........Nicholas Hammond
Louisa..............Heather Menzies
Kurt..................Duane Chase
Brigitte.............Angela Cartwright
Marta................Debbie Turner
Greta.................Kym Karath

The Nuns
Mother Abbess......Peggy Wood
Sr. Margaretta........Anna Lee
Sr. Berthe...............Portia Nelson
Sr. Sophia...............Marni Nixon

The story......

Playful, lighthearted Maria was becoming a problem at the abbey and Mother Abbess decided she needed more time out in the world before making a final decision. So Maria was sent out as governess to the seven motherless children of a retired naval officer, Captain Georg Von Trapp. The captain's methods of discipline are foreign to Maria and when he is gone, she allows them more freedom to play and sing. When he returns with his friend Max and the Baroness Von Schraeder, the captain is so furious he discharges Elsa. The children are so unhappy they follow Maria to the abbey and the Mother Abbess makes her go back. Meanwhile Liesl has become romantically involved with a Nazi youth leader named Rolf. When Maria finds the captain is engaged to marry the baroness she again prepares to leave. It is only then they finally realize they love each other. The Baroness leaves and the captain and Maria are married in the abbey. While they are on their honeymoon the Nazis take over Austria. The captain is violently opposed to the Anschluss but is ordered to take a military command against his own country. Max, against the captain's wishes, entered the children in the Salzburg Festival but it proves to be the family's salvation. They take refuge in the abbey and, with the help of the nuns, escape through the nearby mountains into Switzerland.

Notes......

The film won five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (Robert Wise) Julie Andrews was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Julie Christie in “Darling”. Peggy Wood was also nominated (Best Supporting Actress).

 


Star! 1968

Directed by Robert Wise

Julie Andrews...................Gertrude Lawrence
Daniel Massey...................Noel Coward
Richard Crenna..................Richard Aldrich
Michael Craig.....................Sir Anthony Spencer
Robert Reed........................Charles Fraser
John Collin..........................Jack Roper
Jenny Agutter...................Pamela

The story.............

Gertrude Lawrence, currently the star of the 1940s Broadway hit musical “Lady in the Dark” sits watching her life and career passing before her in a newsreel documentary. The year 1915 marked the time she left her mother and childhood home in Bermondsley to join her father and his partner Rose and their vaudeville act in a seedy Brixton music hall. Then there was the chorus job with an Andre Charlot revue in London where she took over for an ailing star for a rousing performance of “Burlington Bertie from Bow” while pregnant. The news clips brought back those troubled memories of the marriage to Jack Roper that never really made sense to her except for their daughter, Pamela. They also chronicled her friendship with fellow actor and playwright Noel Coward that would last a lifetime. Gertrude's love affair with Sir Anthony Spencer gave her polish but not decorum while two other lovers waited in the wings to no avail. Her extravagant lifestyle led her to bankrupcy and then overwork to pay her debts almost cost her health. Then, while playing in “Private Lives” in London Gertrude met the only man who could tame her. His name was Richard Aldrich and he was a New England banker. It took a while but Gertrude finally found true love. So she married him.

Notes....

Julie Andrews had 125 original costumes designed just for her in this film.

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