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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Classic Musicals at the TCMFF

This year the TCMFF has chosen FUNNY GIRL and Barbra Streisand’s perfect golden voice echoing that original funny girl, Fanny Brice to lead off the song and dance fest for the musical lovers among us. And now it is pure bliss to know we are also getting SOUTH PACIFIC, KISMIT, ON THE TOWN, and FLYING DOWN TO RIO, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, in a way every movie is a musical. The score of many a movie has become a concert star. Behind the most serious, the scariest, the funniest of movies there is music. Music sets the emotion, cues the hero (or the fiend), wraps the lovers, plays with the children, heightens the awe of a shimmering alien or a beautiful woman, heralds the arrival of the Indians or the Calvary or the winner of the race – horse, dog, or foot. The score alerts, warns, rejoices, speeds, floats. In short it often tells us how we should feel. When done at its best it is without force but rather with comfort and support.

Music from ROBIN HOOD (Errol Flynn’s ROBIN HOOD that is) made a ballet of a sword fight and an unforgettable classic of a passing good adventure film. STAR WARS thundered into our hearts and minds on a world class John Williams score so that by the time the star ship finished its eye widening first pass across the screen the movie goer was hooked, set and ready to be involved in the perfectly logical world of Jedis, Wookies, and scoundrels like handsome Han Solo, as well as a lovely young princess with a will of steel. The score of JAWS too has made the concert scene, having provided one of the most iconic moments in movie history. It is only a short line of notes but ones that perfectly telegraph “something large and wicked this way comes” far better than any yell of “Danger!” or “Shark!”

Even the silent films had/have music whether from humble upright pianos in days gone by or with the mighty organs of today, or whole orchestras (such as at the screening of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD at last year’s TCMFF). There’s nothing like hearing that bit of music, that theme that warns the train is coming, or the villain is at the door. Music is an actor as much in the silent films of yesteryear or in the joyous romps and great Broadway shows brought to the silver screen, let alone the scores of today’s greatest 3D epics.

If I love the fantasy of the movies (the other world where I may live out an adventure, a romance, history, or any other emotion and experience one can possible dream of) I do believe it is the music that makes the illusion whole. It is the music that thrills, chills, lets me dance on toe, spin through space, feel the shark at my heels and land safe back in my seat when the lights go up. I love the music of the movies, and I love the movie musicals best of all.

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