Two things today got me thinking about about one of my cinematic passions: musicals. The first was the release of the new poster for forthcoming Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone musical La La Land. It’s lovely, and beautiful, and wonderful, and makes me detest romance and my perennial lack of it.
The second was Spike Jonze’s new advert for the latest perfume from Kenzo World (no, never heard of them either). It stars Margaret Qualley and sees her do a mental nutso dance at a posh gala. If you haven’t seen it, please do yourself a favour and check it out.
So I figured I’d put together a quick list of my favourite movie musicals (excluding Disney musicals as, frankly, I’ve banged on about them way too much recently).
- The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
It’s French, every single line of dialogue in it is sung, and it features the most beautiful shot petrol station in cinema history. Plus Catherine Deneuve. Oooh la la.
- West Side Story
Ok, right, yes, I know. The accents are awful and the very not-Puerto Rican Natalie Wood playing a Puerto Rican character is a bit dodgy to say the least. But the passion seeps from every frame, note, and bodily contortion, making West Side Story a brilliant mix of beauty and brutality that’s not yet been matched within the genre.
- The Wizard of Oz
It’d be in here for ‘Over the Rainbow’ alone: a simply perfect piece of music that aches with melancholy (and is also brilliantly used in Baz Luhrmann’s overlooked Australia). That there’s also so much joy to be found elsewhere only further cements its place.
- Singin’ in the Rain
Hardly an original choice, but if you’ve seen a better expression of joy than the bit where Gene Kelly splashes about in that puddle then, well, I’d quite like to watch it actually, as that’d be very impressive.
Vincente Minelli was a genius, and while Gigi isn’t his masterpiece (hello to you, An American in Paris), it’s full of the wonderful music, set design, costumes, and choreography that makes his films so special.
What are your favourite musicals? Let me know in the comments.