Moulin Rouge! (2001) PG-13
The opening scene of this movie is a frenetic, whirling burst of lights, colors, and music! But try and stick with it because it is one luscious movie!
As the story goes, Christian, an impoverished writer, comes to Paris and falls in with Toulouse-Lautrec and the Bohemians of Montmartre, which leads us all to a merry romp at the Moulin Rouge. Christian meets Satine, the club’s star and a beautiful courtesan. When he falls head-over-heels in love with her, a dangerous love triangle begins!
Ewan McGregor is terrific as Christian, Nicole Kidman is perfect as Satine, and they sing and dance! Visit About.com to find more about the movie, the stars, and the music.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
This funny and entertaining musical just might be Marilyn Monroe’s best movie. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe and costar Jane Russell are superb. To publicize the movie, the actresses put their handprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – and they both wrote “gentlemen prefer blondes.”
For more fun facts about the movie, visit the TCM website. And enjoy this video of the leading ladies at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Holiday Inn (1942)
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire shine in this classic film featuring the music of Irving Berlin. After his girl leaves him for showbiz partner Ted Hanover (Astaire), Jim Hardy (Crosby) heads to Connecticut to run an inn that’s only open on the holidays. While the best known “holiday” song is the Academy Award-winning “White Christmas” (1943 Best Song), other entertaining tunes include ditties for Washington’s birthday (“I Can’t Tell a Lie”) and Independence Day (“Song of Freedom”). Follow the men as they meet each holiday to compete for a woman – who also happens to be Hardy’s new partner.
Bells are Ringing (1960)
Telephone operator Ella Peterson (Judy Holliday) becomes involved with the lives of all the customers at Susanswerphone, including handsome playwright Jeffrey Moss (Dean Martin). When Ella finally meets Jeffrey, its love at first sight, but she can’t tell him who she really is–the motherly voice on the phone who has been listening to his problems and giving him advice. Includes the songs “Just in Time” and “The Party’s Over.” Also with Jean Stapleton (of All in the Family) and directed by Vincente Minnelli. See it at the library on Friday, December 5 at 7:00.
Bride and Prejudice (2004) PG-13
The stunning Aishwarya Rai stars in this Bollywood reworking of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. In the middle of the sparkling musical numbers, a story breaks out! Will the independent Lalita, daughter of the matchmaking Mrs. Bakshi, and Will Darcy (whom Lalita considers arrogant) get together, or will his pride and her prejudice prevail?
If you want the classic Pride and Prejudice, here’s what you can find at the library: the five hour BBC version starring Colin Firth, the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley, the book, CD audiobook, or Playaway.
Lubitsch Musicals (2008)
For anyone with an interest in classic movies, this collection of four very early Ernst Lubitsch musicals is for you. The movies – Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), and One Hour With You (1932) – star Maurice Chavlalier, Jeanette MacDonald, a very young Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, and Charles Ruggles. These “pre-code” movies will surprise you with their wink wink nod nod innuendo and slinky negligees. Although not to everyone’s tastes, there are many delightful moments in these charming treasures.
Get information about each of the movies, as well as links to reviews in national newspapers and magazines, at the Criterion Collection site. You can also listen to an NPR review of the collection.