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Rooster Revue #8 • The Wizard of Awesome
Our friends at Thicket & Thistle review "The Wizard of Oz."
In this issue we look at the musical delights over at Tubi and our good friends at Thicket & Thistle review The Wizard of Oz in celebration of the second season of their podcast which dropped today!
New York's premier actor-musician theatre company takes a break from creating their own original brand of musical theatre to have round-table discussions on the most memorable movie musicals. Our movie musical podcast is fun, fresh, and lively, featuring tons of acclaimed guests and artists!
[Spotify] [Apple Podcasts]
• When animated musicals were in Vogue, Warner Bros. tried their hand with Quest for Camelot. 25 years later, this article examines why it failed and why it’s still beloved. [Polygon]
• After being postponed for over a year and getting lost in the Fox acquisition, we finally have news that Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will be on Amazon Prime September 17. And check out the trailer! [Deadline]
• Have you seen Bo Burnam’s new special, Inside, on Netflix? It can only be described as an experimental musical descent into despair and madness, and back again. “The work of a gifted experimentalist whose craft has caught up to his talent.” [NY Times]
• Listen to a song from the upcoming movie musical Annette, performed by Sparks, Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard feat. Simon Helberg. It’s wonderfully absurd. [YouTube]
If you don’t mind the ads, Tubi is a wonderful place to watch movies for FREE. This list barely breaks the surface of their musical collection.
Grease 2 (1982)
Directed by Patricia Birch
Songs by Various
With Maxwell Caulfield, Michelle Pfeiffer, Adrian Zmed, Lorna Luft
If you know, you know. Grease 2 is bigger and sexier than the original, despite never getting the credit it deserves.
Directed by Miloš Forman
Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
With Treat Williams, Don Dacus, Annie Golden, and Charlotte Rae
An Oklahoman visits New York and befriends some hippies before getting shipped off to war. This is quite frankly a cinematic masterpiece, directed by one of the greatest filmmakers, Miloš Forman. It’s structure is a bit loose, but there’s nothing quite like it.
The Point (1971)
Directed by Fred Wolf
Music & Lyrics by Harry Nilsson
With Ringo Starr, Paul Frees, Lennie Weinrib, Bill Martin
Harry Nilsson’s animated kids movie tells a beautiful story and has such a wonderfully sweet soundtrack.
Directed by Barbra Streisand
Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Music by Michel Legrand
With Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin, Amy Irving, Nehemiah Persoff
A Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy to enter religious training. Directed, co-written, co-produced by, and starring Barbra.
Guys and Dolls (1955)
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
With Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine
Sinatra's not a great actor, and Brando's not a great singer—BUT who cares? They were perfect. With colorful fake New York sets, the movie has a wonderful energy, and the story takes some surprising turns.
Sweet Charity (1969)
Directed by Bob Fosse
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Music by Cy Coleman
With Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin, Ricardo Montalban, Sammy Davis Jr.
Fosse’s film directorial debut.
The Fantasticks (1995)
Directed by Michael Ritchie
Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
With Joel Grey, Barnard Hughes, Jean Louisa Kelly, Joey McIntyre
Based on the longest running off-Broadway musical of all time.
Directed by Michael Berry
Music & Lyrics by Tim Young, Ben Maughan, Riley Thomas
With Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Ashanti, Arden Cho.
We always want to support and share independent movie musicals, even when they don’t work. Taking place entirely on one subway car, it’s a novel attempt at adapting something that should have stayed on stage.
Bang Bang Baby (2017)
Directed by Jeffrey St. Jules
Lyrics by Jeffrey St. Jules
Music by Richard Pell & David Wall
With Jane Levy, Justin Chatwin, David Reale, Peter Stormare
Before Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Jane Levy starred in this indie sci-fi Canadian musical. A small town teenager in the 1960s dreams of becoming a famous singer but a leak in a nearby chemical plant threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare. Isn’t for everyone, but we enjoyed it.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) - Average Kansan farm dog Toto takes his human on a wild adventure into a magical land where they make friends with weird loners and navigate bizarre political structures.
Review by Thicket & Thistle.
Directed by Victor Fleming
Lyrics by Edgar "Yip" Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
Streaming now on HBOMax
The Wizard of Oz is the original iconic movie musical classic. It’s hard to think of a movie musical that has permeated our culture more intrinsically than this technicolor marvel! For the first episode of our second season of the Thicket & Thistle Podcast, we gathered ‘round the proverbial table to discuss what this magical movie musical means to us and what it’s like watching this movie now as adults. We had a lot of thoughts!
First, there is a theory that the whole movie is based around Toto. Think about it—he is the one who bites Elmira Gultch, which leads to Dorothy running away. He’s also the reason Dorothy is in the bedroom where the window pane knocks her unconscious. And that’s just the beginning of Toto’s intricate involvement in the plot.
Another takeaway is the incredible women in this movie. Where to begin?! The strong motherly figure of Auntie Em, played by Clara Blandick (awful name for someone who is neither bland nor a dick!) is truly a rooting source for Dorothy’s trip as that seems to be the only thing at home she wants to get back to. Billy Burke, who plays Glinda the Good Witch, is a stunning vision in this film: from her transatlantic accent to her graceful tempo to the shade of saying “only bad witches are ugly.. so are you a good witch or a bad witch?” And perhaps our favorite female in this entire movie (sorry Judy, it ain’t you) is Margaret Hamilton who plays the Wicked Witch. This is the very essence of the word iconic, and it’s stunning that a lot of her scenes were chopped for being too scary! That evil laugh, the orchestrations, the green pointed face—we loved it all!! As an added bonus, Judy Garland said on set that Hamilton was the only person who treated her nicely and supported her. The world needs more Margaret Hamiltons!
Our final takeaway from this viewing was simply how astonishing of a feat this movie was. As the first technicolor film, it had a huge job of setting the standard for what a technicolor movie musical can do. And they pull out all the stops for this trick, packing the story with color at every turn: the yellow brick road, the ruby slippers, emerald city, and of course, the horse of a different color!
This movie is such a treasure trove of gems, and we had so much fun talking about it on our podcast! Be sure to check it out for more insight (like what color was that gingham dress really? And how did they get the horse that color?!) and join us for our second season, as we continue to celebrate our favorite aspects of movie musicals on the Thicket & Thistle podcast! (Available where all noteworthy podcasts are found)
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"Rooster Revue" is edited by Matt Andrews and Jeffrey Simon with contributions from the entire team at The Barn.