With a little help from these songs from the MGM musicals…
Pack up your troubles and just get happy with these great musical numbers.
As a child, I loved a number of MGM movies finding in these lavish musicals you can be transported to another world of song and dance with the stars. I’ve always had a soft spot for musicals be it as a wee girl such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and The Sound of Music (1965). Or those musicals I enjoyed more recently such as Chicago (2002) and Rock of Ages (2012). Where you end up humming the song tunes for days afterwards, and these and their accompanying dance routines remembered years later…
So when thinking about those MGM musicals, my immediate thought was West Side Story (1961). But then on researching more on this topic, I found so many of my favourite musical numbers and movies originated in those MGM studios. With some wonderful Hollywood names belting out those lyrics… or lip-synching to those tunes, and here they are.
True Love from High Society (1956)
High Society – True Love, trumpetboy1955
This has got to be one of my favourite movie remakes, which is on par with the original. I loved the original movie of this musical with Cary Grant, James Stewart and Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940). This musical version made just 16 years later is just as perfect casting, despite my hatred of films turned into musicals. The cast is wonderful with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and lovely Grace Kelly.
I won’t tell you more about where the True Love song takes place in the movie’s proceedings or even if it appears in flashback. But I will say this musical is about C.K. Dexter Haven (Crosby) trying to win back his ex-wife Tracy Samantha Lord (Kelly) from the man she’s due to marry. With the song True Love covered by everyone from Patsy Cline to Richard Chamberlain.
Singin’ in the Rain from Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Morecambe and Wise: Singing in the Rain, Adaptor Plug
Garland’s co-star in Summer Stock / If You Feel Like Singing (1950) as gittered about later, Gene Kelly starred in this film. It tells about a silent film star (Kelly) in a cast including Debbie Reynolds. Although I’ve never seen the film I do remember this song and this particular scene. This partly as it was shamelessly given the Morecambe and Wise treatment as part of their Christmas special way back in 1976. And that’s the video I’ve added here.. and why not?
The film was co-directed by Stanley Donen, who also surprisingly was the director of that controversial Michael Caine movie, Blame it on Rio (1984). Reviewed HERE if you want to see what all the fuss was about. And Singin’ in the Rain also has a Dallas connection with Gene Kelly and Dallas‘ Ian McShane both playing a character called Don Lockwood. The song has also featured in films as diverse as North by Northwest (1959) and Die Hard (1988).
Somewhere from West Side Story (1961)
West Side Story (8/10) Movie CLIP – Somewhere (1961) HD, Movieclips
One of my favourite musical scores, and my dad’s favourite films. I have fond memories of finding this in the Christmas telly listing and watching this with him as he sang along. And like most of you, I did think it was Natalie Wood singing her wee heart out along with her co-star Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers, Maria and Tony. With both actually lip-synching to Marnie Dixon and Jimmy Bryant’s duet.
I bought my dad the film soundtrack years before one Christmas sang my Kiri Te Kanawa. An opera singer who sang at Prince Charles and Dis wedding back in 1981. Years later I discovered West Side Story starred George Chakiris, aka Nicholas Pierce in the big D as Sue Ellen’s lover. Who fell out a window thanks to
good ol’ bad ol’ JR Ewing. Leading to JR being shot for the umpteenth time.
On a side note, Richard Chamberlain and Burt Reynolds also auditioned for the role of Tony. And Anthony Perkins and Warren Beatty both made the final 5 choices. And Audrey Hepburn and Valerie Harper hoped to win the part of Maria.
Let’s Misbehave! from Pennies From Heaven (1981)
Christopher Walken-Pennies from Heaven walkenfanchannel
Another one I’ve not seen, but I found it in my research for this post and it’s reported that it was the last big MGM musical of this kind. And couldn’t not add it.. as I just love Christopher Walken here and according to IMDB he also got praise from Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly for his dancing. Showing his talent as a last-minute replacement for Tim Curry in Annie (1982) for the following year as Rooster. And a bloody good dancer and lip syncher too…
This song is sung in this musical by Irving Aaronson and His Commanders. This Cole Porter song also more recently was heard in The Great Gatsby (2013). The Pennies from Heaven musical tells of an unhappily wed salesman (Steve Martin) who escapes his life through song and who has a fling with a teacher…
Get Happy from Summer Stock / If You Feel Like Singing (1950)
Summer Stock (1950) – Get Happy – Judy Garland, Warner Archive Instant
After watching this singer and actress biopic last year, I just had to include her in this list of lovelies. I remembered her watching her when I was wee in The Wizard of Oz, but this biopic also touched on more than a few films and musical numbers, I’d watched way back then. The Summer Stock / If You Feel Like Singing movie telling of a farm owner – played by Garland – who is torn between two men, including Gene Kelly.
I love this particular feel good number from Summer Stock / If You Feel Like Singing and the perfect showcase for this timeless singer. It’s reported that Garland was having personal problems behind the scenes, but Garland’s in true the film must go on mode, you wouldn’t guess from this chirpy performance. The song has also featured more recently in House (2002-14) and Twin Peaks (1990-91).
So let’s take Garland’s advice and watch and lose ourselves in an MGM musical with its spectacular stars, dancing, costumes, sets and musical numbers … and…
Forget your troubles and just get happy
Ya better chase all your cares away
This post was added to Hometowns to Hollywood MGM Musical Magic Blogathon. Other reviews here with this cast include Bing Crosby in 5 Golden Hollywood Greats. Judy Garland features in her biopic, Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows and in I Could Go On Singing. Gene Kelly appears in Xanadu. Morecambe and Wise starred here with Diana Rigg. Christopher Walken stars in Eddie the Eagle and Brainstorm. Bernadette Peters starred in Annie. Natalie Wood co-stars in Brainstorm and also appears in Gypsy and Meteor. George Chakaris starred in Dallas and its final episode Conundrum.