TCM Greatest Classic Films:Broadway Musicals (4FE/DVD)
SHOW BOAT (1951) A vivid and vibrant saga of riverboat lives and loves has glorious stars (Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Marge and Gower Champion) in Technicolor radiance, timeless Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II songs and an equally timeless outcry against racial bigotry. Like Ol' Man River, its delights just keep rollin' along. ANNIE GET YOUR GUN Betty Hutton (as Annie Oakley) and Howard Keel (as Frank Butler) star in this sharpshootin' funfest an Oscar winner for adaptation scoring based on the Broadway smash boasting Irving Berlins beloved songs, including Doin' What Comes Naturally, I Got Lost in His Arms and the anthemic There's No Business like Show Business. SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS The perfect marriage of song and dance! Backwoods boys inspired by romance and the lure of hot biscuits raid the local town for brides. Un-uh: The would-be brides insist the fellas first become respectable! Howard Keel and Jane Powell head a leaping whoop for joy in this exuberant Oscar winner. KISS ME KATE When squabbling ex-married's Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel are cast as squabbling Renaissance romantics in a musical The Taming of the Shrew, life imitates art, art imitates life and it all proves no musical comedy imitates this backstage/onstage delight from the Broadway hit with 14 peerless Cole Porter songs. It's all Too Darn Hot!
Turner Classic Movies' Greatest Classic Films Collection: Broadway Musicals collects four movies on two double-sided discs, with top picture quality and the bonus features that appeared on disc 1 when one of those films was released on a two-disc set, or the features that appeared on the single discs of the other three. The four films here aren't really Broadway musicals, but rather movies that were (with one exception) based on material originally created for the Broadway stage. Show Boat was one of the earliest shows in the modern-musical era, and this 1951 adaptation (the third, following versions in 1929 and 1936) stars familiar MGM players Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, and others in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Southern epic, featuring "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine," and more. Annie Get Your Gun (1950) stars Bettie Hutton (in a role intended for Judy Garland) as a spunky Western gal who gives Howard Keel all he can handle, and features such Irving Berlin standards as "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Anything You Can Do," and "Doin' What Comes Naturally." Grayson and Keel return again in Kiss Me Kate (1953), as life imitates art in a production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, and the Cole Porter songs include "Wunderbar" and "So in Love." The exception is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), one of MGM's greatest original creations that was itself adapted for the stage years later. Keel woos Jane Powell to become his wife--and mother figure for his six brothers. Hilarity and much dancing ensue (especially in Michael Kidd's rousing barn number), and the Gene de Paul-Johnny Mercer songs include "Bless Yore Beautiful Hide," "Wonderful Wonderful Day," and "Spring, Spring, Spring." Bonus material on the two-sided discs is relatively plentiful for the TCM Classics series since only one of the movies had been released on a two-disc set: you lose Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' alternate cut and some supplemental material, but you still get director Stanley Donen's commentary track plus some trailers, shorts, and other material for the other three movies. --David Horiuchi