Movie Musicals

An American in Paris

"An American in Paris," the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 1951, has a score by George and Ira Gershwin. All of the songs, however, were from earlier Gershwin plays and movies. Included in the score are Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and Stairway to Paradise. [read more...]


The Broadway version of "1776," which opened in 1969, was well-received by both audiences and critics. It ran for 1,217 performances and won 3 Tony awards, including the award for Best Musical. The 1972 movie version, although almost identical in cast and production, did not fair nearly as well. [read more...]


Although "Amadeus" is not an opera, it has scenes from several of Mozart's operas and it probably introduced many viewers to opera. Three of the operas featured in "Amadeus" are "Don Giovanni," "The Magic Flute" and "The Marriage of Figaro." [read more...]


Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner wrote several musicals, but they are best known for their highly successful play, "My Fair Lady." Lerner and Loewe are the only composing team that wrote the scores for two movie musicals that won the Academy Award for Best Picture - "Gigi" in 1958 and "My Fair Lady" in 1964. [read more...]


The movie version of "Carousel," released in 1956, reunited Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones in the lead roles. Although the movie was well-received by critics, it was not a financial success and it did not receive any Academy Award nominations. [read more...]


The movie version of "Camelot" was released in 1967 and it starred Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and an unknown Italian actor, Franco Nero. The film version was not a success, although it retained most of Lerner and Loewe's wonderful score and it had a story that was particularly well-suited for film. [read more...]

The Buddy Holly Story

The movie version of "The Buddy Holly Story" was nominated for three Academy Awards, including a nomination for Gary Busey for his wonderful portrayal of Buddy Holly. The film won an Academy Award for Best Music. [read more...]

Bye Bye Birdie

The film version of "Bye Bye Birdie" had plot changes and, unfortunately, song changes from the original play. Some of the best songs from the play, including two that were sung by Chita Rivera, were eliminated from the film. I was particularly disappointed to find that "An English Teacher" and "Spanish Rose" were not in the film. The casting of Janet Leigh, an actress and not a singer, was probably the reason that the solo numbers for her character, Rosie, were eliminated. [read more...]


Although "Cabaret" was a very successful play, winning 6 Tony awards out of 10 nominations, and a highly successful movie, winning 10 Academy Awards out of 12 nominations, the two versions differed significantly, both in plot and songs. In the original play, the female lead, Sally Bowles, was English but in the film she was American, probably to better fit the role to the movie's star, Liza Minnelli. As a balance to the play, the male lead was switched from the American Cliff Bradshaw to the British Brian Roberts in the movie version. [read more...]


Although "Chicago" was a hit musical play in 1975, playing on Broadway for 2 years, it was not made into a movie musical until 25 years later, after a second highly successful run on Broadway. In fact, the movie version of "Chicago" was based on the 1996 revival rather than on the original 1975 play. [read more...]