Musicals to Movies

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,226
    Personally I am not fond of musicals made into movies. I prefer musicals in the theater and movies on the screen, even though I have enjoyed many movies that were based on musicals. The successful ones are:

    Chicago (I felt id did not deserve the best picture Oscar)

    The sound of music (loved it!)

    My Fair Lady (loved this too!)

    Phantom of the opera (probably not as successful as many others; I liked it a lot better live)

    Oliver! (I only vaguely remember the movie, and never saw it live)

    South Pacific (IMO this one was better on the silver screen due to the magnificent scenery)

    Camelot

    Mama Mia! (not that successful, but I liked it- may have been better in a theater)

    Beauty and the beast (definitely preferred the live theater to the animated movie)


    There is a lot of talk about the about to be released Les Miserable, and it could be really good.

    Which ones did I miss? I am sure there are many.
  2. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,263
    Evita is another one. I loved it in the theatre but the movie's cinematography was breathtaking.

    Grease and Dreamgirls .. loved both the stage and movie musicals

    Rent .. not a personal favourite
  3. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,226
    I never saw Evita in a theater; I wish I did when I had a chance to. Movies do have the advantage of outdoor cinematography, and huge sets compared to theater.
  4. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    The Camelot movie was TERRIBLE. They took a whimsical musical fantasy and made it a slow, dragging fiasco of a movie. If ever there were a musical film that needed a remake, that's the one.

    Beauty and the Beast was a film before it was a stage musical.

    As for other stage musicals that became movies, there's Show Boat, Anything Goes, Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I, Brigadoon, Pal Joey, West Side Story, Damn Yankees, Gypsy, The Pajama Game, Kiss Me Kate, Annie, Man of La Mancha, A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, and quite a lot more!
  5. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,022
    That's a good list. I would also add The Music Man.
  6. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    :duh: Oh RATS, I forgot The Music Man! I'm such an idiot!

    ETA: And Fiddler on the Roof, too!
  7. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,421
    I liked Little Shop of Horrors, Hairspray and Jesus Christ Superstar. Was Hairspray a movie first?
  8. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,678
    And isn't even the Broadway musical by Disney, too?

    Grease also was a movie before it became a musical, wasn't it?
  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,226
    I liked the 'King and I' as a movie, but I had seen it live in San Francisco in the 1980s, with Yul Bryner playing the king. Nothing could beat that experience.
  10. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    9,142
    Hairspray was a movie that was turned into a Broadway musical that was turned into a movie musical :lol:

    I think WSS is probably the pinnacle of the movie musical, but that's just IMHO.

    Phantom was the biggest damned disappointment of my entire life and I could write pages about all they ways they screwed that one up when it SHOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING. Ugh.

    I'm so excited about Les Mis I could cry.

    I absolutely love Gypsy but mostly because Natalie Wood is so pretty (and the series of scenes showing her transformation into Gypsy Rose Lee via multiple strips that gain in confidence and pizzaz is AMAZING), and Rosalind Russell was PHENOMENAL.

    My favorite movie musical of all time is Moulin Rouge!, though, which was never on Broadway.
  11. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    Same goes for The Producers, come to think of it!

    Hear, hear.
  12. icecat

    icecat Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    412
    Grease started out on the stage in a tiny theatre in Chicago called The Kingston Mines. The original was quite raunchy with lots of local humor. They sanitized it and rewrote it to have more"universal" appeal. and the rest, as they say, is history!
  13. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    13,827
    The movie with Zero Mostel was hysterical. The stage musical was awful.

    Another musical to movie was Promises, Promises which became The Apartment. I saw that on Broadway a few years ago with Kristen Chenowith & Sean Hayes.

    I saw Phantom as a stage musical & then as a movie. I thought the movie was slightly better but didn't enjoy either of them. Andrew Lloyd Webber writes good music but his book leaves a lot to be desired.
  14. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,768
    Loved the Broadway musical cast recording of Camelot ever since I was a kid, hated the movie version (Vanessa Redgrave can't sing)! Give me Julie Andrews (Richard Burton & Robert Goulet) any day! The Broadway cast recording is still my all time favorite Broadway musical. We did eventually get to see the revival on Broadway, but I wish I had had the opportunity to see it as a kid on Broadway. Love this musical so much that we've seen it many times locally - high school school shows and local professional theater.

    I really liked the movie version of The Producers (the original with Zero Mostel), but I did enjoy the musical very much.

    Were Gigi and 1776 Broadway musicals before they were made into movies? Love them both in movie form!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  15. TalentedButHumble

    TalentedButHumble Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,928
    Not sure if you mistyped, but The Apt. was a 1960 movie and Promises was a late 60s musical based on it.

    Also, paskatefan, 1776 was a stage musical first. Gigi (movie came first-didn't it later come to Bway?) is by Lerner and Loewe, has sometimes been compared to their MFL.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  16. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,574
    ^^^No, Gigi was not a movie first; the play first premiered in 1951, starring Audrey Hepburn; the movie wasn't made until 1958.
  17. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,022
    I've always thought Gigi was one of the best. There are so many that could/should have been wonderful but weren't because of casting decisions - necessary or not. For example -

    Brigadoon - should have been an all time classic but they chose Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse because of their dancing instead of concentrating on singing. (I had an album featuring Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones when I was young and loved it) I love Gene Kelly, but I wanted a singer in this roll.

    My Fair Lady - I don't think it has been listed so far. Most people know the story that Audrey Hepburn was cast because Julie Andrews was under contract to make Mary Poppins and that the studio couldn't/wouldn't wait for her. As much as I love Audrey Hepburn, I still think this was one of the most monumental mistakes in film history.
  18. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    That's true. However, it was a non-musical play at first. The music wasn't written until the movie was made.

    One of the most interesting cases of play/musical/movie: There was a play called Parfumerie, which was developed into a non-musical film called The Shop around the Corner, and then a musical film called In the Good Old Summertime. Then it became a musical play called She Loves Me. And finally, it was used as the basis for the movie You've Got Mail. One of those inexhaustible sources of material!

    (I don't think She Loves Me was ever made into a film. Pity -- it's delightful.)

    As for Brigadoon, I can't EVER regret that casting, particularly because Gene Kelly is the love of my life. :D It may be very different from the stage version, and it's unfortunate that they cut some good songs, but "The Heather on the Hill" and "Almost Like Being in Love" are magnificent pieces of work. However, it's a great shame that they were forced to film on a soundstage instead of on location. The sets are the worst part of the whole thing.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,226
    It is listed in the original post.

    I don't see the casting of Audrey Hepburn as "the most monumental mistakes in film history". Audrey was lovely and she portrayed Eliza very well. The knock on her was that she did not sing her songs. To me, it's not a big deal. I don't feel that an actor must be able to sing. For some others it may be a big deal. In the movie 'Ray', Jamie Foxx did not sing his songs either (though he can sing), but nobody seemed to mind that. IMO in the case of MFL it was seen more as a rejection of Julie than as acceptance of Audrey in that role.
  20. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Messages:
    25,226
    Has 'Can Can' been mentioned yet? I saw the movie but have only a vague memory of it. I think it was a musical before it was made into a movie.
  21. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Messages:
    5,550
    I agree Vash01 about musicals made into movies. I think musicals that work on the stage don't necessarily work on a movie screen just because a movie screen tends to make things very broad and sometimes the lack of a strong plot in a musical is really emphasized on screen whereas on the stage that can be supplemented by staging. My favorite movie musicals are probably Singin' in the Rain, My Fair Lady, and Oklahoma. I think the film version of Rent was horrid and really exposed the lack of depth in both the plot and most of the music. I'm looking forward to Les Miserables and hope it is effectively adapted for the screen. I think film directors make a mistake with movie musicals when they just throw up what was on stage on the screen and don't consider the specific demands of the film medium are different than those of the stage.
  22. merrywidow

    merrywidow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2001
    Messages:
    4,404
    Has "Flower Drum Song" been mentioned? I saw both the movie & the stage performance & tho't both were great.
  23. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    What about the other direction: movies to musicals? Movies that were not musicals originally (or minimally so) that were then turned into big stage musicals. I know a couple of Disney ones have been mentioned already, but I'm thinking of ones like Spamalot, probably my favourite in this category -- as much as I love The Holy Grail, Spamalot was even better. I also thoroughly enjoyed the stage version of Victor/Victoria -- the movie did of course have a couple of songs but was not really a musical in the classic definition. And the stage version of Young Frankenstein was pretty great too.

    I haven't seen Legally Blonde or Catch Me If You Can, but I understand both were/are pretty popular.

    I agree that "the musical" is generally better in stage format than on screen -- aside from the dynamics of live performance, there's a suspension of disbelief that has to happen in a musical that's easier to achieve in theater than in film. But what I do like about the movie musical is the accessibility of it, particularly when it's big-name stars in the roles -- we don't all have the priviledge of getting to Broadway or the West End every year, y'know! And I also like how the film musical promotes the musical theatre genre. I'm sure a lot of people never saw a stage musical (unless they or their kids were involved in a school production) but then had their eyes opened because of a good movie version.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  24. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    I got to see Catch Me If You Can on Broadway and loved it. I don't think it got the acclaim it deserved. The score was terrific, and so were the performances. At least it's on tour now, so more people will get to see it.
  25. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,022
    I agree. My problem is not with the inclusion of Audrey Hepburn but rather the lack of Julie Andrews. I know the film is good and it received tons of awards. However, given that the part was written specifically for Julie Andrews and that she had one of the truly beautiful voices ever and that she was in full voice and powers at the time - I will always think that the decision not to wait for her to be available was a huge mistake. What might we have seen? Yes, I know it's water under the bridge.
  26. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,763
    Sweet Charity
  27. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    I thought it did get the acclaim. It was nominated in all the top categories for the Tonys and the Drama Desk Awards that year -- it just had the bad luck to be up against Book of Mormon. And Norbert Leo Butz won for best actor in both.
  28. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    13,827
    George Bernard Shaw wrote Pygmalian specifically for Julie Andrews? Somehow I don't think so. I have seen JA in lots of movies where I loved her performance (Victor/Victoria was brilliant) but I doubt she would have been more wonderful than Audrey Hepburn in MFL. I have always hated the controversy because I don't think anyone was dissing Julie Andrews - I believe it was business, not personal. AH was much better known than Julie at the time, & Marni Nixon was a very popular choice for Eliza's songs & had (IMO) just as good a singing voice. And Audrey was much prettier too.
  29. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    As a matter of fact, Alan Jay Lerner originally wanted Mary Martin as Eliza. The mind reels. :)
  30. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    No, it only got four Tony noms, and Butz was the only actor nominated. Mixed reviews, one Tony award, and a five-and-a-half-month run weren't nearly as much acclaim as it deserved, in my opinion.

    I just hope the tour is a success.

    (Sorry for the double post.)
  31. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    886
    I've never seen Guys and Dolls done by professionals onstage, only a high school production. I love the music but not the movie. Except for Vivian Blaine and Stubby Kaye, I don't like the casting--not even Sinatra. Putting Marlon Brando in this movie has always seemed just weird to me.
  32. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    I liked Sinatra, but not Brando. It kills me that they had to take my favorite song ("I've Never Been in Love Before") out of the score because he couldn't sing it.

    (Sorry for all the blabbing in this thread. I'm crazy about musicals. :D )
  33. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,421
    I didn't think Mame translated well to the screen and I thought it a terrific musical. I always wanted to see the musical about dancers (gypsies) on the screen--it starred Lauren Bacall and was called Applause. I guess it wasn't considered a stand-out show.
  34. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,647
    Applause was based on All about Eve, wasn't it?
  35. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Messages:
    9,973
    It was all because of Lucille Ball's casting. She was far too old, couldn't sing, and I think her comedy wasn't right for the role. Watch Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame and you realize that the actress needs to have the presence of a somewhat dignified yet eccentric lady who knows how to deliver her lines with wit and impeccable timing. So when some of the more zany scenes happen, it's funnier.

    People already got to know Ball as a screwball comedienne, so it seemed like I Love Lucy in a different setting.

    I have a soft-spot for the film version of Gypsy but even I can't ignore many of the faults. The pacing was all wrong (it seemed to overly long in many scenes) and Rosalind Russell played Rose like Auntie Mame. That said, there are moments where I love Russell's Rose despite the fact that I don't think the interpretation was spot-on. What I do love is the choreography, the three strippers (they were perfect), Dainty/Baby June and Natalie Wood. IMO, she's the best Gypsy. Her monologue at the end was perfect, and I love that twinkle in her eye when she's watching the strippers sing "Gotta Have a Gimmick" and you sense she's becoming Gypsy Rose Lee.

    I also think the trick with Gypsy is that near the end, you see Gypsy finally get her due (after Rose steals all the scenes) and have that great Strip number. Then they have an argument, and then Rose has the final song, and you see Rose stealing the show again without the audience realizing that Rose totally stole Gypsy's thunder. With Roz's limited singing, it's more difficult for her to sell that part.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  36. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,678
    Not sure where your information comes from but I recently finished the biography of Walt Disney and that states that Julie Andrews wasn't under contract yet. The film studio chose Hepburn over Andrews because they wanted a "fresh face" and Andrews did Mary Poppins as a "consolation". Then Andrews went on to win the Oscar while, if I remember correctly, Hepburn wasn't even nominated for My Fair Lady. Though I might be wrong there but Andrews definitely won the Oscar for Mary Poppins whereas Hepburn didn't win anything for My Fair Lady.
  37. pilgrimsoul

    pilgrimsoul Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Messages:
    336
    The Pirates of Penzance has always been a favorite. Kevin Kline was incredible as the pirate king!
  38. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Messages:
    9,973
    I do wonder if Julie Andrews would've won an Oscar for My Fair Lady because Andrews lost the Tony for My Fair Lady to Judy Holliday for Bells Are Ringing (Ms. Holliday also beat Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard and Bette Davis in All About Eve for the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Born Yesterday). I'm sure she would have since My Fair Lady won a lot of Oscars, and it doesn't seem like her competition was that great that year.

    To be quite honest, Hepburn deserved a nomination that year. Sure she didn't sing, but for some reason Hollywood began to care about dubbing in the 1960s while other dubbed actresses were nominated for musicals in the past (Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones and Deborah Kerr in The King and I). From a book I read about regarding the Broadway/Hollywood relationship, the perception that Hepburn "stole" the role from Andrews was very strong at the time and she received major backlash from it. It was realized when she didn't receive an Oscar nomination. She apparently took it personally, but like a class-act, went to the Oscars and presented Best Actor to her co-star Rex Harrison. Katherine Hepburn wrote her a letter saying telling her not to worry and that the Academy will give her another nomination for a lesser performance once the whole thing blew over.

    In the end, Rex Harrison called Andrews and Hepburn his "two fair ladies" (they didn't call him Sexy Rexy for nothing), and Hepburn and Andrews became friends after the controversy. Also, Hollywood seemed to forgive her after that and she received another Oscar nomination years later.

    All that being said, Julie Andrews not getting My Fair Lady may have been a blessing. Not only do we have her glorious voice on two cast albums (Broadway and London), but she got a great role in Mary Poppins (which was a huge blockbuster and I think made more money than My Fair Lady the year of its release), got huge and audience Hollywood support for not getting the role, and last but certainly not least, the producers of The Sound of Music hired Andrews after seeing footage of Mary Poppins (it wasn't released yet), and offered her the role of Maria von Trapp, and the rest is history. I also like that we get to hear Marni Nixon's renditions of the My Fair Lady songs because I positively love the way she sang the material. They're more introspective and smooth to match Hepburn's Eliza.
  39. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,399
    The best adaptation of a musical to movie screen is "Fiddler on the Roof" imo. There's a rawness about the environment in that movie that grounded it a bit.

    "Chicago" made a smart decision IMO in placing the context of the movie in Roxie's imagination (which is not how it's presented on stage).
  40. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    Love that version -- in spite of Linda Ronstadt. Who wasn't awful, just ... not great. And too old! I've seen lots of less-than-ingénue-aged women in stage versions of G&S, but again, it's easier to suspend disbelief as a live audience than for film.

    But Kevin Kline's amazingness more than made up for it, along with the OTT cheezy/campy feel to the whole thing. Angela Lansbury was great as Ruth too.