Musical

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Director:

Jim Sharman

Writer:

Richard O’Brien

Starring:

Tim Curry

Susan Sarandon

Barry Bostwick

Richard O’Brien

Patricia Quinn

Nell Campbell

Jonathan Adam

Peter Hinwood

Blurb:

A newly-engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must seek shelter at the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-n-Furter.

Thoughts:

I remember where I was the first time I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not sure if a friend was trying to shock me or legitimately thought I’d like the movie, but I ended up loving it. I have not had the pleasure of watching in theaters, but one day, hopefully with that same friend.

The whiplash of going from Bedknobs and Broomsticks to Rocky Horror was amusing (My blog posts ended up being posted out of order). The opening helped ease me in, though. When the songs started, I didn’t care at all. I love the songs so much.

There is, of course, a lot of history tied with this film. It wasn’t a success at first, and only because of the studio’s policy to allow theaters to order from their backlog did it become a cult classic. Now it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Papers have been written on this movie, including an essay entitled “Bisexuality, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Me” by Elizabeth Reba Weise. It’s included in the book Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak OutRocky Horror represents the queer community in a way that I’m not sure was there in the seventies. Maybe, I’m not sure. I love that Frank N. Furter, Tim Curry, seduces everyone. He is a treasure in all things.

The costumes, the dance numbers, the humor, there is nothing that I don’t enjoy while watching this. If anyone ever asks me, I say that I don’t enjoy trippy movies or tv shows, but looking at my catalog and considering TV Shows I’ve been watching, I’m starting to think that’s not true. Maybe I’m just really picky about my trippiness?

A couple of attempts at sequels to Rocky Horror were made, but there doesn’t appear to be a true one released. The closest that came is a movie called Shock Treatment. I haven’t watched it and from what I can tell most people didn’t like it. I might try to dig up a copy one day to judge for myself.

I will not be getting rid of my 35th-anniversary blu-ray edition. It doesn’t appear as though the 45th edition has anything new. I’m hoping that at some point there’s a remaster, but who knows if that will happen.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Directors:

Robert Stevenson

Ward Kimball

Writers:

Ralph Wright

Ted Berman

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Ken Anderson

Starring:

Angela Lansbury

David Tomlinson

Blurb:

An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.

Thoughts:

I remember Bedknobs and Broomsticks fondly. It’s not a movie that I’ve seen often, but it made a big enough impact on me that I bought it when I saw it for sale. I’ve watched it once since then and still enjoyed it, but that’s been years and years ago (it’s a DVD to give you an idea). While talking with some friends, I discovered that they had the same experience. They’d seen it, liked it, but didn’t remember much if anything about it, just that they liked it.

It’s based on a book, of course. Disney purchased the rights when they had issues getting Mary Poppins and then Bedknobs was set aside when they finally did get Poppins. It seems like it did well at the time, though it was compared to Mary Poppins in reviews. I looked to see if there was a blu-ray available on Amazon and it appears to only be on streaming and DVD, so I guess it never made it to blu-ray. It’s not a movie that’s gotten a lot of love and I wonder if it’s because of the witch element.

After my re-watch, I still enjoy it, but since it’s on Disney+, I don’t feel the need to own it. There was a very long singing and dancing number that had some questionable representation. It also felt a bit like Mary Poppins, though, that could have been that one of the main actors was from that film. After reading the Wikipedia entry it sounds like at least one song originally written for Mary Poppins was included in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

By far, the best scene in the movie was the battle at the end. It was so bonkers ridiculous, and amazing. That part alone made me almost keep the film. Still, as I said, it’s a DVD, and Disney+ has it available, and it doesn’t seem likely to be taken down.

I just want to add, Angela Lansbury is a treasure, and every time I see her, I think of Murder She Wrote and want to watch it. Plus, she was Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, the best Disney movie ever! (Maybe not ever, but definitely up there)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Director:

Ken Hughes

Writers:

Roald Dahl

Ken Hughes

Richard Maibaum

Starring:

Dick Van Dyke

Sally Ann Howes

Lionel Jeffries

Gert Fröbe

Anna Quayle

Blurb:

A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Thoughts:

After my re-watch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I believe it’s not a movie I need to own. I enjoy it, but there’s nothing extraordinary about it. What makes me keep it is the heaps of nostalgia I have attached to it. It was one of maybe fifteen movies that I owned growing up, and I watched it so many times that it will forever be embedded in my mind. I could sing all of the songs even though I can’t remember the last time I watched it.

One of my favorite parts is the machine that cooks breakfast. It always fascinated me, and I’d always try and figure out how it worked. It was still fun to watch, even though now I’m about 99% sure it couldn’t work. There’s still that part of me that wants it to.

The songs are excellent and fun to sing. Dick Van Dyke was a pleasure to watch and, thankfully, didn’t try to do a British accent.

This was a book adaption and did not follow the book very closely. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books. It was apparently a story that he told to his children. Reading Wikipedia, it looks like Roald Dahl worked on the movie script, which was something I didn’t know. I’m not sure how much of his version was kept since the director said he had to rewrite it. Still, it’s kind of cool that Dahl, a famous children’s story author, worked on this script.

Reviews on release were positive, but it sounds like 1968 was a dark year for movies. I haven’t checked to see what was released, but it was mentioned a couple of times. Later reviews were also positive, but it’s somehow got a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another sign that sites algorithms are garbage.

It didn’t make money on the initial release, but it seems like no movies did back then. Whether that was manipulative accounting practices or it was an actual loss, it doesn’t sound like it was considered a flop at the time.

I didn’t try watching this with my children, though, I did have it on in the background. The beginning held their focus, but it was too long for them. It was too long for me and could have easily had a couple of scenes cut entirely.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, though I won’t be watching it again anytime soon.

Bells are Ringing (1960)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bells are Ringing (1960)

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

Betty Comden

Adolph Green

Starring:

Judy Holliday

Dean Martin

Fred Clark

Eddie Foy Jr.

Jean Stapleton

Blurb:

A Brooklyn answering service operator becomes involved in the lives of her clients, including a struggling playwright with whom she begins to fall in love.

Thoughts:

This is the first movie on my list that is a comfort watch. Bells are Ringing isn’t as good as any of my previous films. Most people probably haven’t heard of it, and I completely understand if people don’t like it. The songs are good, with Dean Martin singing most songs would sound good. There’s nothing remarkable about the dancing. Judy Holliday is pretty funny. The story is dated but entertaining as long as you turn your brain off.

It’s a nostalgia watch for me. I used to rent a VHS copy of Bells are Ringing from my local video store. They had some random musicals, and this happened to be one of them. I was surprised when it was released on DVD and downright shocked to see that it’s on Blu-ray.

It was nominated for a couple of awards. It won one. It did not come even close to making back its money and took a pretty significant loss. It was a movie adaption of a stage production. Really, the biggest thing of note that I’m aware of is that it was Judy Holliday’s final film before she died of breast cancer a few years later.

I like Bells are Ringing and if you’re looking for a musical recommendation and trust my judgment, by all means, try it out. It’s available to rent on Amazon Prime, or if you feel like paying $2 more, you could even own it.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Directors:

Stanley Donen

Gene Kelly

Writers:

Betty Comden

Adolph Green

Starring:

Gene Kelly

Donald O’Connor

Debbie Reynolds

Jean Hagen

Millard Mitchell

Blurb:

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Thoughts:

I watched this movie last night and didn’t give it the attention it deserves. It’s a great musical with fantastic dance routines and good music. Gene Kelly isn’t as good a singer as some of the others I’ve been watching, but he’s possibly the best dancer. There was a lot of talent in this film.

While Gene Kelly is incredibly talented, he sounds like he was an asshole while working on this movie. He was so mean to Debbie Reynolds that she cried. He later said he was surprised she worked with him afterward, which says a lot. Fred Astaire ended up helping Debbie Reynolds with her dancing, which is so cool.

Easily my favorite part of the movie is the Make Em Laugh number performed by Donald O’Connor. It’s hilarious, and even as a child, I could see the skill it took to execute the moves he did.

Singin’ in The Rain is one of those movies that I can see scene by scene in my mind I’ve watched it so many times. It is easily the best musical I own, even if it isn’t my favorite. Some of the musical numbers last too long for me and don’t have much to do with the parts of the movie I enjoy the most.

It wasn’t a huge hit when it was first released, though it did make a profit. Reviewers seemed to like it, but it wasn’t until later that it reached its current popularity. It is yet another of my movies that has been selected by the US Library of Congress for preservation.

After getting rid of a lot of my older Disney movies, this ended up being the only movie from the 50s that I own.

Next up is Bells are Ringing from 1960.