Movies At Home Archive

​Just scroll down to access past films, intros & discussions. Enjoy!

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L’il Abner

By Bill Rudman

If you can leave howls of “Sexism!” at the door, Li’l Abner offers lots and lots of pleasure to be found beyond Appassionata von Climax. It’s the 1959 film version of the Broadway hit, and one of the best things about it is that it basically reproduces the stage original, so you get a marvelous sense of state-of-the-art musical comedy in 1957—as conceived by the same bookwriters, choreographer, leading man (Peter Palmer was born to play the title role!), and first rate songs by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul.

Dogpatch USA, the world Al Capp created for a comic strip that ran 43 years, is a world of lovable (if most dim-witted) people. It has an overlay of puckish political satire, so that gives the opportunity to take the nation’s temperature in 1959. Safe to say it’s running a fever, as usual.

For film buffs, the highlight is the “Sadie Hawkins Day” ballet, recreated by Michael Kidd with 50 visual jokes per minute. But that’s not to underestimate the triumph of the whole enterprise. As unreal as Dogpatch may be, these actors are committed to finding their own reality there. Which makes it not only funny, but even touching.


If you’re a true film buff, there are at least three reasons you must not miss this classic film (link provided below).

First, it’s one of the first “all-talking pictures,” and if the art is often primitive by today’s standards, it’s never less than fascinating.

Second, it’s got the incomparable Helen Morgan in the leading role—she of the “tear-stained voice” who had become an overnight star two years earlier as Julie in Broadway’s Show Boat, introducing “Bill” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.”

And third, it was the first movie directed by Rouben Mamoulian, a trailblazer who tells a story with bracing imagination. If this film is flawed—and it is—within three years Mamoulian was ready to present us with a masterpiece, Love Me Tonight.

As for that story, get set for a downer: a melodrama (some would say it’s not a musical; I disagree) about an aging Broadway burlesque queen hooked up with a no-good comedian and fighting a losing battle with alcohol. But Morgan and Mamoulian together make this piece compelling cinema, and the chance to watch Morgan sing Gorney & Harburg’s “What Wouldn’t I Do for That Man?” is an object lesson in American popular singing.

Cover Girl

If you want to see Gene Kelly come into his own as a major movie star, here’s your chance. Yes, he had made a notable debut with Judy Garland two years earlier in For Me and My Gal, but he was then wasted in two other musicals. No fool Columbia, which borrowed him for this role, teams him with the young, radiant Rita Hayworth (who gets top billing in only her third film) making for a swell pair.

The very slim albeit charming plot finds Danny McGuire (Kelly) about to lose Rusty (Hayworth) to the siren song of Broadway until she sees the error of her ways and returns to Danny’s arms. But here’s what’s worth noting: This is the first time we encounter Kelly experimenting with the possibilities for dance on film. It’s the dramatic “Alter-Ego” routine in which it looks as though he’s dancing with himself in ways that actually plumb a bit of psychological depth. 

And then there’s the generous score by Jerome Kern (in his Hollywood period), teamed for the first and only time with Ira Gershwin, then still recovering from George’s untimely death but writing in top form, including their sublime “Long Ago and Far Away.”

Not to be overlooked: comic Phil Silvers, already registering his trademark “Howahya!” and shaking the wartime blues away with the exuberant song and dance “Make Way for Tomorrow,” holding his own with Hayworth and Kelly.

After Cover Girl, MGM never let Kelly get away again, and 12 musicals followed for Arthur Freed’s unit, including a masterpiece, An American in Paris. Here’s a legendary performer in the making.

As for Columbia’s Technicolor… stunning!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

It’s a classic, all right, but you’ll have to get through a layer of sexism before you love it as much as I do!

In the backwoods of Oregon in 1850, Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel) rides into town lookin’ fer a wife who will set up housekeeping in his rustic mountain home. He finds her in Milly (Jane Powell), who marries him without knowing what she’s getting into, which borders on heavy labor.

And to make matters worse, Adam’s six love-starved brothers kidnap six of Milly’s friends in town, who became trapped at the Pontipee cabin in the midst of winter. But you need to watch with my assurance all seven guys learn their lesson by the end.

Seven Brides is in essence a dance musical, expertly directed by Stanley Donen and choreographed by Michael Kidd with testosterone to spare. The barn-raising sequence alone will leave you breathless (truly!) and there’s lots more dancing to savor, accompanied by a grand score by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul.

The film was a “sleeper” in 1954; MGM execs were convinced that the movie version of Brigadoon would grab all the attention that year. How wrong they were! Seven Brides won rave reviews and packed theaters—a triumph—and it remains so to this day. (Sexism be damned!)

Stage Door Canteen

The is the classic World War II morale booster, and it’s a fascinating time capsule of a place that really existed. The Stage Door Canteen was an entertainment venue for American and Allied servicemen that operated in the Broadway theater district of New York City.

The servicemen packed the place night after night, relishing entertainment provided by the greatest stars of the American theater, who volunteered their time to support the war effort and even served the food!

To whet your appetite, you’ll find Katharine Hepburn, Paul Muni, Helen Hayes, Bette Davis, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and lots more. But you have to stay alert or you miss some of them if you blink!

There’s even a romance between a soldier (Frank Borzage) and a hostess (Cheryl Walker), but what’s touching is that the women working there can’t go out with the servicemen who are on leave. Falling in love can only happen at the tables inside the canteen, and who knows if any of these couples will ever see each other again…

Depending on which YouTube link you use, this movie runs anywhere from 95 to 132 minutes. Go for the longest version!

The Bandwagon

Here’s Fred Astaire in a completely unlike-Fred role—he’s a performer whose Hollywood star is fading fast in this witty 1953 musical written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (fresh from “Singin’ in the Rain”). The songs are by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, and if you don’t know them by name, you will by the final credits, because they wrote “Dancing in the Dark,” “By Myself,” and many other great songs in the 1930s that live on nearly 100 years later. Plus, “That’s Entertainment” was concocted especially for this MGM bonanza.

So… Fred is trying to make a comeback on Broadway, and he’s cast in a musical opposite a ballet dancer (Cyd Charisse in her first starring role). He’s petrified and so is she. How will they dance together? And the show they’re rehearsing has all the earmarks of a gigantic flop. 

Three guesses as to who saves the day…

Snow White

Walt Disney’s determination to create the first full-length animated feature film wasn’t just considered daring in 1937; cynical Hollywood insiders referred to the project as Disney’s Folly.

But 85 years and five generations later, we know who had the last laugh (and made a fortune along the way). Most importantly, the Disney experiment – he was only 36 at the time – in effect launched an American art form. Snow White remains captivating and stunningly beautiful, especially the forest sequences, which made use of the realism of the innovative “multiplane” camera.  

It required a virtual army or artists and craftsmen to pull this off. Remember: No computers in 1937! Instead, 750 men and women committed three years of their lives to the project. And although the storytelling adapted from the Grimm fairytale seems effortless, eight writers worked and reworked the script until it received Disney’s blessing.

Truly revolutionary: They gave each dwarf a distinct and memorable personality. And unlike so many film musicals of the day, this one has a real score: eight songs and lots of incidental music in a movie that runs just 83 minutes. Though the songwriters, Frank Churchill and Larry Morey, never became household names, they were among Disney’s stalwarts. “Whistle While You Work” and “Heigh-Ho” are iconic.

Kids totally connect with Disney’s Folly, of course, but so do adults – I just screened it for the first time in 50 years! Leonard Maltin got it right: “Only a real-life Grumpy could fail to love it.”

The Pirate

This is director Vincente Minnelli’s sophisticated cult film—it’s unlike anything else in Kelly or Garland’s career—about the leader of a band of strolling players in the West Indies. Serafin masquerades as the pirate Macoco to win the heart of Manuela, who fantasizes about romantic desperadoes. Witty and stylish to the nth degree, its splashy Technicolor is laced with Cole Porter songs including “Be a Clown.” 

The Pajama Game

What an unlikely subject for a musical comedy: a threatened strike at a pajama factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! But the show was a Broadway bonanza in 1954, and three years later the movie version proved to be just as much fun.

One of the best things about it—and there are many—is that it bring us pretty close to what audiences saw and heard on stage. Although leading lady Janis Paige was replaced by Hollywood star Doris Day (who is sensational), John Raitt got to reprise his Broadway role in this, his only film—as did a number of featured players including the marvelous comic actor Eddie Foy Jr. and dancer Carol Haney, whose “Steam Heat” does indeed sizzle.

And the authenticity running from coast to coast extended up the ladder of the creative team: a young Bob Fosse in his debut as choreographer, first-time Broadway songwriters Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and the anything-but-a-first-time director George Abbott, then 70.

The hit songs “Hey, There” and “Hernando’s Hideaway” still sound terrific, but I think you’ll also be struck by the Raitt-Day romance. He’s management; she’s labor. Trouble—and neither one of them wants to give in. Do the workers get their 7 1/2 cent raise so Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams can sing in harmony? That’s what we call a rhetorical question!

The Gang’s All Here

Picture this, if you will: Carmen Miranda enters in a cart pulled by two oxen, wearing a headdress laden with fruit. Then 60 girls follow with bananas so large they must be carried with both hands, and which the girls use to form patterns, all of which represent… yep.

“The Girl in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” was suggestive enough to be banned in Brazil and ranks as one of Busby Berkeley’s most imaginative—and craziest—concoctions. “The Gang’s All Here” must have cost a gazillion dollars, and 20th Century Fox makes sure you see where every penny was spent.

We can and should praise the Harry Warren-Leo Robin score, which includes “No Love, No Nothin’”; we can fall in love with Alice Faye and marvel at Miranda; we can delight in Charlotte Greenwood’s comedy. But in the end, Berkeley is “auteur,” masterminding every frame of this feel-good World War II musical that doesn’t know when to quit—thank goodness.

Swing Time

For me, this is the very best movie musical these two immortals ever made together — and they made 10! (Yes, that means I rate it even higher than Top Hat! We’ll see if you agree…)

If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Swing Time, or even if you have, you owe it to yourself to join us: Oscar-winning song (“The Way You Look Tonight”) and an altogether superior score by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields; expert direction by George Stevens; and three comic actors to treasure (Victor Moore, Helen Broderick and Eric Blore). And let’s not forget the screenwriter (they’re perpetually ignored), Howard Lindsay, one half of Broadway’s legendary Lindsay & Crouse (Life With Father).

As for Fred and Ginger, this was their sixth film in the series, and by now the chemistry is off the charts. In 1936, the only movie stars who ranked higher were Clark Gable and…Shirley Temple. What’s so amazing, of course, is that these musicals reached out to us in the midst of the Great Depression. But the message was clear in one of the Kern-Fields songs, “Pick Yourself Up.”

Hard to do in 2022, but what the heck? These folks are awfully persuasive.

The Court Jester

Starring Danny Kaye, Angela Lansbury, and Glynis Johns. This could well be Kaye’s best and funniest performance on film; he stars as a phony Medieval jester who becomes entangled in endless complications in the court. The songs were co-written by his wife, Sylvia Fine, and the movie includes the classic comedy routine built on the “vessel with the pestle.”

A Star is Born

America’s finest musical theater historian, Ethan Mordden, puts it this way: “If Judy Garland had not made A Star Is Born, it is likely she would not have become the legend that she did.”

And so…yes, we’re going to explore the Garland Star Is Born, with all due due respect to the two remakes that followed, the first in 1976 starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and just a few years ago, the second with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. In part because Garland had been through the wringer in Hollywood by the time she got to A Star Is Born, her performance is imbued with a strength, depth and heartbreak that we don’t find in the others, and James Mason more than holds his own with her. 

Everything about this film is spot on, beginning with Moss Hart’s screenplay and certainly including George Cukor’s direction, though their film was tragically cut soon after its first release. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1983, thanks to the work of the late Ron Haver, that A Star Is Born was restored to something close to the original Hart-Cukor vision. 

Only a half-dozen songs, but all of them terrific; the songwriters, after all, were lyricist Ira Gershwin and Garland’s favorite composer, Harold Arlen, who with Yip Harburg created the songs for The Wizard of Oz. Each musical produced a masterpiece: “Over the Rainbow,” of course, in Oz, and “The Man That Got Away” in Star Is Born. Garland could hardly have been more fortunate.

The film marks the 50th movie musical to be featured in our Let’s Go to the Movies…at Home! series, and I chose as a special way to launch the new year. Please plan on joining us for the discussion on January 6. There’s so much to talk about!

High Society

After taking half the summer off, WE’RE BACK with the 28th movie in our series, and we hope you’ll come along!

For those of you who love Katharine Hepburn in “The Philadelphia Story,” give the musical version a try. No, you don’t get Hepburn, Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, but you do get Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm…and the incomparable Louis Armstrong.

You also get the last major film score by Cole Porter, written when he was 64 — and it includes the biggest hit song he ever wrote for Hollywood, “True Love.”

The musical doesn’t have the bite and banter of the 1940 film, but it’s glossy fun nonetheless. Footnote: this was the last movie made by Grace Kelly before she gave up acting and because Princess Grace of Monaco. Our loss, because she was never less than captivating.

My Fair Lady

Warner Bros., 1964

Witty, Stunning and ‘Loverly’

In making the movie version of a Broadway hit, Hollywood tends to tamper with the material far too often. Not so with Lerner & Loewe’s 1956 masterpiece, My Fair Lady. What you’ll see — and I’m betting you haven’t seen the film in a long time — is impressively loyal to the original. Alan Jay Lerner was allowed to write the screenplay, and no songs from the stage were cut. So what you’ll hear includes “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”

Even the “look” of the film respects Lerner & Loewe, with Cecil Beaton’s production design recreating his eye-popping costumes. Remember the all black-and-white apparel for the “Ascot Gavotte” scene? Of course you do!

Producer Jack Warner did, however, tamper notoriously with the casting, passing over Julie Andrews in favor of a movie box-office name, Audrey Hepburn. And not many people know that Rex Harrison would not have had the chance to reprise his immortal Henry Higgins if Cary Grant had accepted Warner’s offer. But Stanley Holloway remains the one-and-only Alfred P. Doolittle, Harrison is once again magnificent, and Hepburn is aglow as Eliza, directed by George Cukor, known for his stellar and sensitive work with women.

When we get to the discussion, though, we’ll want to talk about how this story plays in our own Me Too era, since Prof. Higgins remains a misogynist, albeit a brilliant one. What do we make of this kinda/sorta romance today? As always, our “Let’s Go to the Movies” audience will share their strong opinions. We’ve come to depend on them…

She Done Him Wrong

Paramount, 1933

Mae West, that is, at TMTP’s “Let’s Go to the Movies”!

​Special Note for This Movie:

We decided to switch the movie to “She Done Him Wrong” as we just couldn’t find a reliable streaming source to view “I’m No Angel” in its entirety. However, our introduction video is still very much appropriate to any discussion of the fabulous Mae West.

By Bill Rudman

We’ve shared with you 25 classic film musicals so far in this series, but never anything like “She Done Him Wrong” (1933), co-starring two iconic performers: Mae West and Cary Grant. 

No need to talk about Cary at this late date, but Mae is another matter. She’s a star who truly invented her persona — in which she could take a line and fill it with sexual innuendo. This movie was her first major role, and it is a hoot. As one critic has observed, as Lady Lou, Mae proved that all you needed to become a sex goddess was “a suggestive strut and a nasal twang.”

You either embraced her hourglass figure or were offended by the whole package, and the following year, those who were offended made sure that a Hays Code was put in place to “censor” her when and where the Puritans thought it was necessary. Audiences kept coming for 11 of her films — and let’s remind ourselves that she didn’t even become a movie star until she was 40. In today’s Hollywood, many female actors are unmarketable by that age. Her determined liberation was something to celebrate.

But Mae took no prisoners on any level. Her sexuality was right out there, and if a man couldn’t deal with this strong woman, he was sent packing. Even the songs made her intentions clear. My favorite from this score is “A Guy What Takes His Time. No explanation necessary.

If you haven’t seen her in decades (Bette Midler channeling Mae is no substitute), she’s back. If this is a discovery, she will amaze you, even in our anything-goes era.

Released June 10, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live June 17, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Cabin in the Sky

MGM, 1943

Directed by Vincente Minnelli

Cabin in the Sky is one of only four film musicals made in the 1940s featuring an all-African American cast, and it’s an all-star company: Ethel Waters in her only major role in a movie musical, Louis Armstrong, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Duke Ellington’s orchestra and Lena Horne in her first acting assignment.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube
(some fees may apply).

Released May 20, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live May 27, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Hans Christian Andersen

MGM, 1952

Directed by Charles Vidor, lyrics and music by Frank Loesser.
Starring Danny Kaye.

Hans Christian Andersen is probably Hollywood’s finest so-called children’s musical — second only to The Wizard of Oz. That means it’s as much fun for adults as kids. We think of Kaye as being constantly and hilariously over the top, but his performance as the immortal Danish storyteller is gentle, charming and understated. 

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube
(some fees may apply).

Released April 29, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live May 6, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Best Foot Forward

MGM, 1943

Directed by Edward Buzzell, starring Lucille BallWilliam GaxtonVirginia WeidlerJune AllysonGloria DeHaven, Nancy Walker, Tommy Dix and the Harry James Orchestra. Music by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin.

What was Lucille Ball like in her pre-“I Love Lucy” days? Here’s your chance to find out: By the time “Best Forward” was released in 1943, she was a Hollywood star. She plays herself in this breezy musical comedy about the complications that arise from a publicity stunt hatched by press agent William Gaxton — with Ball accepting an invitation to a prom at a military academy teeming with young men and their girlfriends.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube
(some fees may apply).

Released April 8, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live April 15, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Funny Face

Paramount, 1957

Directed by Stanley Donen and starring Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson. It’s one of the most gorgeous movie musicals of all time, inspired by the photography of Richard Avedon. It’s the story of a fashion photographer (Astaire) and a Greenwich Villlage intellectual (Hepburn) whose heart melts under the romantic influence of Paris and, of course, Mr. Astaire.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube
(some fees may apply).

Released March 17, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live March 25, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Girl Crazy

MGM, 1943

Girl Crazy showcases music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. Starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, and featuring Rags Ragland, Nancy Walker and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Directed by Norman Taurog, this was the fourth (and final) full-length film musical created for the dynamic duo. The classic songs by the Gershwin brothers include “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You” and “But Not for Me.” The story? New York playboy Mickey is sent by his father to an all-male college out West so he won’t be distracted by girls. Trouble is, he falls for the town’s postmistress — Judy, of course.

​Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube (some fees may apply).

Released February 23, 2021  | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live March 4, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

The Music Man

This 1962 film directed by by Morton DaCosta is the story of con man (and traveling salesman) Harold Hill as he attacks a small town in Iowa in 1912. This fake “professor” can’t read a note of music, but that doesn’t stop him from selling a boys’ band everywhere he goes, complete with dazzling instruments and uniforms — then skips town with the money. Robert Preston reprises his Tony Award-winning Broadway role, and Shirley Jones is Marian the Librarian. She’s another part of the con — until he falls in love with her. 
​(151 min)

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released February 5, 2021 | Pre-Film Talk

​Filmed Live February 11, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

This 1970 Vincente Minnelli film stars Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand and features a stunning score by Lerner & Lane. An unusual woman (Streisand) who hears phones before they ring, and does wonders with her flowers, wants to quit smoking to please her fiancé. She goes to a doctor of hypnosis to do it. But once she’s under, her doctor finds out that she can regress into past lives and different personalities, and he finds himself falling in love with one of them. (129 min.)

Available to stream on Amazon Prime and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released December 31, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live January 7, 2021 | Post-Film Discussion

Meet Me in St. Louis

It’s one of the greatest movie musicals of all-time. The 1944 Vincent Minnelli film take place in the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, where four daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York. And it includes the moment Judy Garland introduced the world to the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” (113 min.)

Available to stream on: AmazonPrime and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released December 3, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live December 10, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Enjoy this clip from Bill Rudman’s interview with composer Hugh Martin for TMTP’s radio program Footlight Parade.

The Merry Widow

This 1934 movie musical is adapted from the Franz Lehar operetta of the same name. Playboy Captain Danilo (Maurice Chevalier) is ordered by King Achmet of Marshovia (George Barbier) to court and marry Madame Sonia (Jeanette MacDonald), a rich widow who owns a large portion of the kingdom. (99 min.)

Available to stream on: AmazonPrime and iTunes (some fees may apply).

​Released November 17, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live November 24, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Viva Las Vegas

Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) arrives in town with his car literally in tow ready for the first Las Vegas Grand Prix – once he has the money to buy an engine. Working as a waiter, he still finds time to court the young swimming pool manageress, Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Can he win both the race and the girl? (85 min)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

*Due to technical difficulties, the Q&A for Viva Las Vegas was not recorded on Thursday, November 12, 2020. We do apologize for any inconvenience!

​Released November 5, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Road to Morocco

Bing Crosby and Bob Hope star as two carefree castaways on a desert shore find an Arabian Nights city, where they compete for the luscious Princess Shalmar (Dorothy Lamour) and must contend with a villain played by Anthony Quinn! This was the third Hope and Crosby “Road” picture (1942) — the funniest, zaniest, craziest movie-musical series ever made, and the Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke score includes “Moonlight Becomes You,” one of the most best ballads of the decade. (82 min)

Available to stream on:  Amazon PrimeiTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released October 22, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live October 29, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Damsel in Distress

This 1937 English-themed Hollywood musical comedy film stars Fred AstaireJoan FontaineGeorge Burns, and Gracie Allen. Loosely based upon the P.G. Wodehouse 1919 novel of the same name, and the 1928 stage play written by Wodehouse and Ian Hay, it has music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. (101 min)

Available to stream on:  Amazon PrimeiTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released October 8, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live October 15, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Bye Bye Birdie

Conrad Birdie is the biggest rock & roll star of the 60’s ever to be drafted. The unsuccessful songwriter Albert is convinced he can make his fortune and marry his girlfriend Rosie if he writes Conrad’s farewell song and gets him to perform it with “one last kiss” to a lucky girl chosen at random on the Ed Sullivan show The town of Sweet Apple, Ohio is turned upside down when one of their own is selected for the honor. (112 min)

Available to stream on:  Amazon PrimeiTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released September 24, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live October 1, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Stormy Weather

The relationship between an aspiring dancer and a popular songstress provides a story of great African American entertainers that takes place between 1918 and the swing era. Lena Horne leads this cast featuring some of the finest acts of the era including Fats WallerThe Nicholas Brothers and Cab Calloway and His Band. (78 min)

Available to stream on:  Amazon PrimeiTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

​Released September 10, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live September 17, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

State Fair


Farm family Frake, with discontented daughter Margy, head for the Iowa State Fair. On the first day, both Margy and brother Wayne meet attractive new flames; so does father’s prize hog, Blue Boy. As the fair proceeds, so do the romances; must lovers separate when the fair closes? It’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only made-for-film musical and features the tunes “It Might as Well Be Spring,” “That’s for Me” and “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.” (100 min)

Available to stream on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply). Please make sure it’s the 1945 version and not the 1962 remake!

​Released August 27, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live September 3, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Fiddler On The Roof

It’s the film adaptation of one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village. With a beloved score by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock and adapted from the stories of the Sholom Aleichem, this one is not to be missed! (3h 1m)

Available to stream on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and YouTube (some fees may apply).

A Few Words from Bill Before You See the Film:

If you’ve never seen it, I think you’re going to be surprised by what director Norman Jewison (who had never directed a musical before) did with it. I ran into copyright issues that kept me from taping the intro I wanted to create, so you won’t see me until the Q&A. But here’s a link to a conversation between Jewison and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. Harnick’s story about writing “Sunrise, Sunset” is interesting, but even MORE interesting to me is Jewison’s obsession with getting world-renowned violinist Isaac Stern to dub the fiddler’s theme. It’s just one indication of the details that Jewison poured into telling this story. So as you watch a film that I for one believe to be a masterwork, here are some things to think about:

  • Why do you think the director chose Topol instead of Zero Mostel as his Tevye?
  • Why are there no stars in this film?
  • Just about every film musical I can think of — with the exception of much of Cabaret and Dreamgirls — is not done realistically. Why do you think Jewison wanted to go with realism?
  • What are some signs in the film of realism?
  • Why do you think Jewison — who’s been called the “relentless renegade” deserves that title?
  • Those who don’t like the film version find it too serious. Do you? Why or why not?
  • Which character — or characters — did you relate to most strongly, and why?
  • What does this film have to say to us in 2020?​

Filmed Live August 20, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Summer Stock

MGM brings on the show with music, dancing and technicolor in Summer Stock! As a favor to her actress sister Abigail, New England farmer Jane Falbury (Judy Garland) allows a group of actors to use her barn as a theater for their play. In return, the cast and crew have to help her with the farm chores. During rehearsals, Jane finds herself falling for the show’s director, Joe Ross (Gene Kelly), who also happens to be engaged to the show’s leading lady — Abigail. (108 min.)

Available to stream on: Amazon Prime, iTunes
 and YouTube (some fees may apply)

​Released July 30, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live August 7, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Damn Yankees

It’s the 1958 film adaptation of George Abbott‘s Broadway musical about a Washington Senators fan who makes a pact with the Devil to help his baseball team win the league pennant. With original star Gwen Verdon and choreographer Bob Fosse on hand, the film captures nearly every move of Verdon’s legendary Tony Award-winning performance. (111 min.)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
 and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released July 17, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live July 23, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Top Hat

​An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer. It’s considered one of the best Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers features in their ten-film partnership. (101 min.)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
 and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released July 3, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live July 10, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion


The original American Revolution musical blockbuster takes plays on the days leading up to July 4, 1776 when John Adams leads a heated debate among the American colonies to support a resolution on independence. The 1972 film features original Broadway cast members William DanielsHoward Da Silva and Ken Howard. (141 min.)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
 and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released June 19, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live June 26, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Guys and Dolls

In New York, a gambler is challenged to take a cold female missionary to Havana, but they fall for each other, and the bet has a hidden motive to finance a crap game. Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls is one of the most beloved musicals of all time and the 1955 film adaptation features Marlon BrandoJean SimmonsFrank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. (150 minutes)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
 and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released May 22, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live May 29, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

An American in Paris

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American ex-GI who stays in post-war Paris to become a painter, and falls for the gamine charms of Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron). However, his paintings come to the attention of a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just art. Vincente Minnelli‘s 1951 masterpiece features a knock out score by George and Ira Gershwin. (116 minutes)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
GooglePlay and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released May 8, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live May 15, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

42nd Street

​See the original 1933 Warner Bros. picture featuring Warner BaxterBebe DanielsGeorge BrentRuby KeelerDick Powell and Ginger Rogers! A bigtime producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a naive newcomer has to replace the star. Hilarity and romance ensue amidst dazzling choreography with songs including “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and of course, “42nd Street.” (89 minutes)

Available to stream on: Amazon PrimeiTunes
GooglePlay and YouTube (some fees may apply)

Released April 24, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live May 1, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Easter Parade

This 1948 MGM favorite features Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller. The film that delighted the world with Irving Berlin‘s “I Love a Piano,” “Shakin’ the Blues Away” and “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” centers around a nightclub performer who hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star. (93 minutes)

Available to stream on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, GooglePlay and YouTube (some fees may apply).

Released April 10, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live April 17, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion

Royal Wedding

This 1951 MGM movie musical features Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford and Keenan Wynn. It’s a romp about a brother-sister dance act that encounters challenges and romance when booked in London during the Royal Wedding. Score by Lerner & Lane. (93 minutes)

Available to stream on: Amazon Prime, iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube (some fees may apply) or FREE with most local library cards on Kanopy.

Released March 27, 2020 | Pre-Film Talk

Filmed Live April 3, 2020 | Post-Film Discussion