based on true story, film, musical

Movie Review: The Unsinkable Molly Brown

If the title does not sound familiar, maybe the name does as she was one of the survivors of the Titanic. However Molly Brown in this 1964 musical film (based on the 1960 musical of the same name) is not portrayed by Kathy Bates (like the famous 1997 movie but that is another day), but by the lovable Debbie Reynolds who received her only Oscar nomination for this part. While not everything in this movie may be accurate, it is a nice thought. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

After surviving the Colorado river as an infant, a baby is taken in by Seamus Tobin (Ed Begley), who grows up to be tomboy named Molly (Reynolds). Being a determined and stubborn woman Molly travels to Leadville, CO to learn how to read and write as well as find a wealthy man to marry. Along the way she meets the very handsome miner Johnny Brown (Harve Presnell, the only one from the original Broadway cast to reprise his role for the movie). It is obvious how smitten the two are within meeting each other, but Molly leaves in a rush thinking Johnny has bad intentions (which may or may not have been true). Molly soon gets hired as a singer at a local saloon, and Johnny teaches her how to read and write. While they get to know each other they fall deeply in love and marry. Johnny sells his claim to a silver mine for $300,000 but when trying to hid the money Molly accidentally burns it. However by accident Johnny finds the richest gold vein in Colorado and the happy couple (along with Seamus) move to a beautiful Denver mansion. Unfortunately their unconventional ways turn the neighbors off, which upsets Molly as she wants to bring up her social status, while Johnny would rather go back to Leadville. The two decide to go to Europe and are embrace by the top people of the country; however while Molly can let go of their old lives Johnny cannot and the two have a falling out. Molly travels back to Europe, but soon realizes exactly what she is missing in life and travels back on the Titanic, which well you know that story, Molly is one of the survivors and she and Johnny happily reunite.

Debbie Reynolds was an absolute joy to watch in this movie as she has a very unique voice, not just in singing but talking. She really brought the role to life, telling a lot with one look or speaking very fast. This was my first time watching Harve Presnell in a movie and there were three things I noticed right off the bat: he was very handsome, he had the voice of an angel and the pants he was wearing were we first meet him were a little tight (which my mother did not mind at all). The two have great chemistry together and I liked the happy ending, unlike real life where Molly and Johnny never got back together, but still cared deeply for one another for their children. The writing may not be the best, but the music more than makes up for it.

There are quite a few songs I love in the movie, but three stand out for me. “I Ain’t Down Yet” is Molly’s opening number where she tells anyone within listening range exactly what she wants in life. “Colorado, My Home” is Johnny’s big number where he expresses his love for Colorado. Finally, and my personal favorite from the movie, “I’ll Never Say No” where Johnny tells Molly how he feels about her, promising to never say no to her. If any number is worth listening too it’s that one. If you can find The Unsinkable Molly Brown on TV, most likely Turner Classic, I would highly recommend watching this pretty good musical.

classic, film, musical, must see

Classic Movie Review: Singin In the Rain

As you guys are well aware I’m an old soul when it comes to movies. There is nothing wrong with the movies we have now or a few decades ago, but I love many classics. You may remember my review of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a great film if you haven’t watched it, but today I’m picking something a little more fun: Singin in the Rain. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Haven’t seen or heard of this film, allow me to give you a quick summary. Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood a silent movie actor whom falls in love with a chorus girl Kathy Sullivan (Debbie Reynolds.) There is so much more to the story than love. This film takes place around the time when silent films were starting to fad and talking pictures are forcing studios to adapt. It’s not a problem with Don, but his frequent leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen nominated for an Oscar for the role), cannot act, sing or dance to save her life although she thinks she is not only great but Don’s girlfriend. Don, Kathy and his best friend Cosmo (Donald O’Connor winning a Golden Globe for this role) have to make their next movie great for the talking pictures.

This musical is very light hearted and it is a great watch for the family. The music numbers are absolutely top-notch; cannot possibly be any better Gene Kelly without a doubt is one of the best actor dancers in film industry and he proves it again in the film. One of his best dance numbers maybe in his career is with Cyd Charisse. Dream sequence maybe did not make sense in the movie kinda but by the end of the sequence no one cares about that except the phenomenal dancing. I know Debbie Reynolds and Gene had issues on set, but by the end of the film ¬†they did become friends. Donald O’Connor steals the spotlight as the comically funny best friend, and has a stand out number himself with Make Em Laugh, makes me laugh everytime I watch it. And of course Jean Hagen is so good at being the squeaky villain you will hate her.

Now I have got a funny story about this movie. A few years ago I was in my last community college class before going to Rutgers. It was a film class, we studied about what goes on behind the scenes with movies, camera work, lighting, how they get incredible shots, music, you get the point. In a class like this we did watch movies or clips of movies that had to do with the lesson over the week (it was a summer course and we met twice a week.) Now one week the lesson was about transitions in movies. The teacher was having trouble deciding what movie to watch regarding the lesson. I must confess I did not watch the Singin in the Rain movie yet, but I had seen a production not that long before (besides I looked up the movie enough to know what it was about.) So I suggested the movie, and my hand to God, everyone in the class said “What is that?”

I’m used to hearing “I haven’t seen it” or “Haven’t watched it.”, but Singing in the Rain gets parodied a hundred times, I was shocked no one in my class had even heard of the movie. It made up the teacher’s mind and we watched it the next class. I’m pretty sure my classmates liked it. I did see a few people laughing during Make Em Laugh. One girl even said after that number “That was awesome.” So if the people in my class that liked B- rated horror flicks liked those movies, why not try this?