When you start to watch a musical made in 1954, starring Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds, with the same songwriters as Meet Me in St. Louis, you might think you have a pretty solid concept of what’s to come before you’ve even hit play. But that’s not quite the case with Athena, a film that seems to actively avoid many of this era’s favorite …
There are some nice treats this month on TCM, musical-wise, including some fantastic mainstream stuff both on TCM’s “Essential” birthday celebration (April 14), as well as a full two days celebrating MGM’s 90th anniversary (April 17-18). On the more obscure side, the programming also includes some rare treats featuring stars like Eleanor Powell, Nelson Eddy, Donald O’Connor, Leslie Caron, and more. For my That’s Entertainment-ing purposes, I’m also pleased to see Rosalie will be airing this month, as it’s one of the few remaining titles I’ve yet to track down.
I was delighted to spot this one coming up on my Rare Musicals list for October, as the sailor musical has quickly become one of my shortcuts to making my movie selections. I was particularly interested in Hit the Deck because of the stellar cast, as well as the fact that it’s both a late-stage MGM musical and late-stage for sailor musicals in general–coming nearly 10 years after the end of WWII.
Some interesting stuff this month, partly owing to a “Bob’s Picks” day with some great selections, and partly owing to the fact that I actually read the synopses and cast lists this month. Picking through my DVR I’ve been surprised a few times by something I’d start watching, only to discover that one of my favorite actors or actresses had a bit part in it that I never expected. And I’d let out a grateful sigh, extremely lucky that I hadn’t just deleted it into the ether. Knowledge is power!
It’s funny how, no matter what year a movie actually came out, it can only take a few lines to cement its place as a timeless classic–or damn it as a dated time capsule. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with a movie being “dated,” but it can be yet another barrier for modern viewers trying to enjoy a film in as much of its original context as possible.
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.