It turns out that the last musical I watched is not, in fact, on the AFI Greatest Movie Musicals list (link is a pdf from the AFI website. I am not trying to infect your computer with anything except AWESOME.). And there's probably a reason it was left off. But I looked back over my 101 in 1001 list today and realized that "100 movies from my Netflix queue" is a goal, so I figured it was time to start keeping track. Ladies and gentlemen, Brigadoon (1954):
I had no idea going into it what on earth this movie would be like. All I knew is that Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse are amazing - and they were, despite Cyd Dahling's atrocious Scottish accent. Well, everyone's atrocious accents, really. Except Gene's, because he played an American, thank god.
It was set in the "Scottish Countryside" in the same way that 1948's The Pirate was set in the "Islands of the Caribbean." That is, there was extremely little effort made to make the soundstage in which the movie was built look like the real Scottish countryside. But the backdrops were so beautifully painted that I couldn't really tell where the walls were, so that's something. There seems to be a theme in movie musicals from this era of not caring much whether the set itself looked realistic. The shots are mostly full body or medium, there are few close-ups even when the lovers meet, and the set looks like a jumped up version of the stage set. I suppose that's reasonable - the point was to put big name musical stars in money-making musicals for the movie-going public. I was brought up on these musicals (except, apparently, Brigadoon...) and I love them, but I do find it hard to compare it with, say, Moulin Rouge! or Chicago. The cinematic paradigm shifted over the course of fifty-some-odd years and now brings us musicals that are staged and shot like regular movies - or at least, most of the time. I'm looking at you, Hugh Jackman's Oklahoma!
Anyway, the story of Brigadoon is hokey and charming and the music - when not accompanied by the aforementioned atrocious accents - is sweet. There was precious little Highland dancing and a whole lotta ballet, but as that's Cyd Dahling's background (and she does it so well) I didn't mind so much. Plus it gave me the opportunity to ogle Gene Kelly's butt, which is always a plus. You can keep your Fred Astaire - give me Kelly and some tight pants any day.
Will I ever see Brigadoon again? Maybe, although it's not one I would deliberately seek out. It's more likely to vanish into the mists like the town itself.
101 in 1001 Goal #67, "Watch 100 movies from Netflix Queue" (1/100)