Saturday, September 28, 2013

Celebrate Musicals: Brigadoon Review Part II


“I found that sometimes the things you believe in become more real to you than all the things you can explain away or understand.”
Brigadoon


So…much as I passionately love the dancing, there are many other reasons I think Brigadoon is one of the greatest films ever. Now to touch a very little on some of the themes running through it.


Brigadoon is full of opposites. First there is Tommy and his best friend. At the beginning both are more or less equally depressed with life in general (though Tommy is obviously more serious about his disappointment with it). A major difference betwixt them however (making the opposite) is that Tommy is more open to believing than Jeff.


The entire film is also a comparison between an older, more simple way of life in which one can really believe and love, and the new, more technical way of life in which life becomes a rushing hither and thither in a world that has cut everything down to a belief in only what you can understand and in the “scientifically proven”. Brigadoon was filmed at the early dawn of the technological age and the comparisons and questions the film raises have become even more true as the world has become far, far, more technologically advanced (or is it confused?) since that time.



Brigadoon is one of those rare films which is like a story of which you know nearly every word yet is at the same time fresh and vibrant on each perusing. I have watched this film three times and each time I discover another reason for which to relish it–whether it be about the plot, the dancing, the acting, the filming, or simply noticing what an utterly adorable grin Tommy has. :)


So in summary: romance, dancing, singing, and a thoughtful look at life are all wrapped up in one wonderful word–Brigadoon!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Celebrate Musicals: Brigadoon Review Part I


I am an avid period drama and classic movie hunter. I take my job seriously. I research. I compare notes. I hum and haw. I search for the very best–the hidden gems–the rare specimens hidden in the very depths of Amazon recommendations and in the movie reviews on blogs.


I am especially on the search for the perfect musical. You see, I love musicals, but the greater portion tend to have shallower story lines and at least one strange dance scene. I was searching for more musicals that I felt could be ranked with “The Sound of Music” and the 1957 Cinderella. Then I found it–the musical with the perfect balance of fairytale, gorgeous music, humor, thrilling dancing, and a storyline with depth. It at first was only one rather inconsequential publicity shot titled “Brigadoon” with a few words saying that it was a great musical.

 

“Ah!” I said, and (if I had one) I would have put in my monocle and leaned back in my chair with an expression expressive of the emotion of, “At last. I think we may have found something.”


I will now fast forward a little to when I got the soundtrack. I don't know about you, but I am inclined to find most soundtracks–even or especially soundtracks from musicals–rather uninteresting unless I have seen the movie. They just seem so featureless and soundtrack-y sounding when one cannot not picture the actor’s expressions or dancing. But Brigadoon was different.


With the first pulse of the folksy music of the bagpipes, faultlessly intermingled as one with the strings and the tinkly sweep of the classic movie sound, I loved it. And after that the entire CD was one sweeping song after another: from “Down on Maconnachy Square” and “I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean”, which pulse with the rhythm of Scottish village life as the villagers gather to buy and sell and generally delight in life, to “Heather on the Hill” + the “Reprise”, in which scenes Tommy and Fiona dance two of the most sweeping, gorgeous, romantic, thrilling, and breathtaking dances ever. Pardon me, somewhere in that previous sentence I became carried away with enthusiasm and switched from the soundtrack to the film, ahem.


Well, anyway, Tommy and Fiona in their dances not only flow perfectly together, but in the first one you can see clearly–simply–through their dance and expressions how through it they go from being two strangers from entirely different worlds to lovers. And then in the Reprise, the “courtship” draws together into a fuller sweeping rendition of the first version. It gives me thrills simply remembering both of them. :)




Monday, September 23, 2013

Celebrate Musicals: Kick-Off and Tag

Thanks to Miss Dashwood for organizing this party!


1. What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why?
After much deliberation and weighty thought I decided upon Brigadoon (1954) with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, because a.) IMHO it is the most beautiful, romantic, and humorous musical ever and b.) picking it gives me an excuse to watch it yet again–yay! 

2. If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be? 
“I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean”, “The Wedding Dance”, and  “Heather on the Hill”. The first is merry, the second is dramatic, and the third is filled with romance and glorious dancing.


3. What's your least favorite song from your musical? 
None. I think they are all beautiful and fit perfectly in the film.

4. Who are your favorite characters (choose up to three)? 
First and second place are easy: the hero and the heroine, of course, but third place is harder to pick. Should it be Jeff, Tommy's friend with the ironic sense of humor? Or the kindhearted Dominie? I think I will dispense third place to the masses and stand in the village square singing, “Ye all have a place in mine heart!”


5. Is this your favorite musical of all time? If not, what is? 
Brigadoon is definitely my favorite, but the Julie Andrews Cinderella comes in a very close second.

6. What is your favorite costume from your musical? 
Fiona's brown dress with the dark orange petticoat that she wears when gathering (and dancing) “Heather on the Hill”. I also love the little detail of how Tommy's orange t- shirt matches her petticoat.


7. Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage? 
If this were a perfect world and I could dance like a prima ballerina and act like–(well, Cyd Charisse!)–my first choice would surely be Fiona from Brigadoon. I love her story, the rest of the story, everything about the entire musical! And my second choice would be (surprise) Cinderella from the Rogers & Hammerstein musical.

8. Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals? 
I am in the early stages of my “musicals” education and I have not seen an enormous amount of the above, however, I have enjoyed the greater portion of the ones I have seen and am most certainly an eager student in my studies!


9. Are you tired of the word "musical" yet?
No. :-)

10. Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating!  How do these rank on your favorites/most-listened-to list? 
At the moment (on my current device) I can't do shuffle or Pandora, but I'm quite certain it would be something from Brigadoon or Phantom of the Opera (specifically the 25th Anniversary Concert). :-)




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