Monday, March 20, 2006

berthold brecht goes to broadway

And other thoughts on violent musicals.

My partner in crime called my attention to this article in the New York Times, on the evolution of NPR and Renee Montagne's secret Big Mac addiction,

"That attitude [that NPR was bound to be a day late and a dollar short] began to change, he said, during the presidency of Frank Mankiewicz, from 1977 to 1983. Mr. Mankiewicz, who had been Robert F. Kennedy's press secretary and George S. McGovern's campaign manager, invoked "West Side Story," imploring NPR's journalists to "walk tall, you're Jets," Mr. Kernis recalled." Image is a publicity still type thing not from West Side Story, but of it.

And speaking of sharks, that Broadway production of Brecht's Three Penny Opera mentioned and advertised in The New Yorker could be very cool. But I have a feeling it won't be.

Films to put on the violent musicals list include:

The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) - Nazism
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964) - French in Algeria
Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, 2000) - Capital Punishment
West Side Story (Wise, 1961) - American Racism
Threepenny Opera (GW Pabst, 1931) - Serial Killings and Capital Punishment

And then there's opera-opera.

Does anyone have any more films to suggest?

On The Sound of Music, these gentlemen at reverseblog appear to have spent too much time watching films with the well disciplined and respectfully silent film society and not enough time at the movies with the rest of us.

I appreciate the honesty and the irony and everyone has a new and disorienting experience now and then and it can be interesting to write about them. But have they never been to a film in another country, say? With people of different ages? At the drive-in? There are infinate viewing situations, so get over it.

And is the repressed violence of The Sound of Music really more appropriate for moviegoers with disabilities than the pop horror of The Hills Have Eyes? Everyone has a right to Hollywood pop horror . . . well, you know the argument. I try so hard to read film blogs, but then I am so disappointed so much of the time. I liked the Oscars response here, but then this . . .

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Blogger mzn said...

Since you mention opera-opera you might consider Carmen Jones. Cabaret and Chicago are both violent. I don't know if Nashville is really a musical but it's violent too. If you include stage productions I think there are lots more, like Sweeney Todd and Assassins.

9:39 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Bollywood musicals are frequently violent. The first Indian musical film I saw (I am so sorry, I can't recall any titles)shook me up. Everything seemed to indicate I was watching a wacky musical comedy, and then there was all this very graphic frightening violence. It's as if Donald O'Connor got his face slashed open in Singin' in the Rain.

Does Saturday Night Fever count as a musical?

9:28 AM  
Blogger zp said...

Thanks guys.

I was talking to Madame Librarian about this just after I wrote the post and I realized that I was looking for stories set against a "real" or at least identifiable historical context of violence - so Carmen Jones and Cabaret work well, and I'd go for Chicago too.

I bet that there are Bollywood musicals that do this, but I haven't seen any, or maybe I just haven't been aware of the historical or political significance of the violent tensions I've seen . . .

I'm not interested in musicals where the violence is confined to the story of the romantic leads, and somehow you guys knew that, it seems.

As for Don and Cosmo, if they had not left the small midwestern towns in which they were raised and headed for Hollywood . . . . someone MIGHT have gotten a knife in the face.

10:24 AM  
Blogger zp said...

And Fidler on the Roof.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous robbiefreeling said...

I think the point of the post, which many don't seem to get, is that The Hills Have Eyes is literally a film about homicidal, mentally-challenged mutants wreaking havoc on "normal" folk. It's like forcing little people to watch The Sentinel, or even, gasp, The Wizard of Oz.

Not that I've seen the film yet, of course...too busy getting ready for Liza with a Z's DVD premiere.

1:20 PM  
Blogger zp said...

thanks for dropping by.

but please, don't worry so much about who gets what, trust me, I get it . . . disabled people watching disturbing, offensive and fantastic representations of disabled people.

I am sure you get the idea that this kind of thing happens all the time. whether or not anyone even goes to the movies.

as for reverseblog, I was just out for a jog and poking through my neighbors discarded trash looking for things and i realized that, given the prairie home companion review, and the v for vendetta review, I think I HAVE found a film blog I don't hate . . .

2:20 PM  

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