Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cavalcade & Chicago

The Letter of the Day is "C". It's episode 6 of "Best Pictures From the Outside In" and Nick, Goatdog and myself take on the Frank Lloyd stage-to-screen history epic known as Cavalcade (1933) and the stage-to-screen musical Chicago (2002)

You're familiar enough with Chicago but you probably haven't seen the earlier film --it's a hard-to-find title. No one seems eager to release it on DVD. (If I ran the world all movie studios would receive much pressure to have all of their films available on new formats, regardless of profit potentials *sigh* ...but I don't run the world.) Cavalcade is based on a Noel Coward play and it follows the Marryots (Clive Brooks and Diana Wynyard headline), the Bridges (Una O'Connor and Herbert Mundin support) and all their children through 32 years of British history. It begins with the Boers War sails on through the death of the Queen. It pauses for the sinking of the Titanic and trudges on through World War I. That's only the history part. They make room for family drama and romance, too. If that sounds like a chore, well, luckily our conversation wasn't.

Read the discussion @ Nick's Flick Picks


Anonymous said...

Umm...that was Queen Victoria, right?

Anonymous said...

Cavalcade? Broadway Melody? From the way you guys make it sound, Oscar history truly doesn't seem like something I would have any interest in trudging through.

And Chicago I have no pleasant memories of (partially because I had to stop the movie halfway because our kitchen was on fire).

Anonymous said...

Can't post this over there, as I have identity issues, apparently.

A question - if the one-word "C" title has such an unstoppable mojo, then where is the BP nomination for "Catwoman"?


Carl... I have no idea what I'm talking about with the queens. Unlike the Marryots and the Bridges history doesn't flow through me. I just trudge along and sometimes it happens near me ;)

I have it on good authority that Catwoman came in 6th.

(I'm cidding people. relax!)

oh and mik ... i'm sorry to give you that impression. I don't think it's much different than what they do now. It seems like they're only allowed one great BP winners every few years. The rest are supposed to be subpar. It's like, the rules!

M said...

*sigh*... I really tried with "Cavalcade". Basically, it had everything I love in a movie, but then it just wouldn't improve over the whole largeness of it. Not largeness for epicness or lenght, but because it just didn't seem to have a friggin' end. So by the first paragraphs of this edition I was in love. A cathartic hoot.

Janice said...

Fun discussion, thank you fellas (for suffering through Calvacade for the rest of us.)

I read the comments at nicks picks and I have to agree with Dame JH - I liked Richard Gere in the role. (*dodges flying tomatos*) Yes, Yes, Hugh Jackman in the role would have been the superior singer and dancer (I'm not making any excuses for Gere in that department - this is a musical, after all) but Gere brought a persona to the screen - that "arrogance" that he brought to American Gigolo - that completely worked for the character. And, "They both reached for the gun" was one of my favorite moments in the film (not the least of which for RZ's "dummy" impersonation. *insert snide comments here*)

Speaking of RZ - yes, watching the film on the big screen when it came out, I was wowed by CZJ's dancing; yes, Renee's dancing and singing came off poorly in comparison. But i still cannot imagine anyone else in the role on SCREEN (I admit I haven't seen it on stage), I can't imagine anyone else bringing the same chutzpah to it. She nailed Roxie.

I still prefer Moulin Rouge, but it's like comparing apples and oranges, really. When we walked out of the theater after seeing Chicago my sweetie, who dislikes MR (she calls it "insipid") said that Chicago was more like a "real musical" to her (or her concept of what a "musical" was.) Admittedly, she doesn't watch many musicals, so she's not well versed on the genre. (So is it that MR appeals to those who are film buffs and Chicago has more general audience appeal?)

It is ironic that as a BP winner Chicago is so cynical and the characters have few if any redeeming qualities - but perhaps when you look at it that way the BP win for NCFOM isn't as odd as it otherwise seems.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood the appeal of RZ in Chicago... that everyone is making hoohah that Nicole Kidman stole the oscar from her... The oscar is Nicole's, legitimately...

Anonymous said...

You guys truly believe that Cavalcade was ment as a serious drama, don't you? If it is, it must be one of the worst films ever made, but to be honest, I'm not that sure.

I think it's more ment to be a Forrest Gump-like dramedy. Not a very good one, I admit, but with some funny moments (the Titanic scene obviously the most hilarious one, while that 'wow, is that a plane?' scene is more smile-funny)

Both ways, the film didn't age well (to say the least), but I truly can't imagine that audiences took this film as serioulsly as Noel Coward's In Which We Serve or Brief Encounter. I think it's more a Blith Spirit with a message kind of thing.


sjimen. hmmmm, I do admit I was thrown because I expected a comedy of sorts. Maybe the fact that it just wasn't funny disguised it's intent not to be serious?

Anonymous said...

GREAT MOVIE!!! I cannot wait for the directors to come out with another movie or something!! If I were Siskel and Ebert I would grab all my friends and tell everyone to put up their thumbs all at the same time!! :) (Yup thats how many thumbs)
It was funny and serious at times, but then again thats my personal opinion. I love watching movies and really going in detail with the film, it is really exciting to try and figure out what the next scene is gonna be allll about! :)