we sing, we dance, we take pictures


Old Hollywood musicals are a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't love all old musicals (some are just too campy and ridiculous to be any good), but even when I think they aren't any good I still enjoy watching them. However, even with the abundance of Glee fans out there, I don't know too many people who share quite the same level of enthusiasm for this particular genre. When I was younger it was all about the songs and the dancing (some of it, I usually hated when there was a ten minute ballet tossed in the mix), but these days I have more of an appreciation of the colours. I'm not alone in my love of the costuming, set design, lighting... even apartmenttherapy commented on it recently. Not every musical pays quite the same attention to detail (which is painfully obvious in some cases), but the ones that do (An American in Paris, My Fair Lady), do it so well that I'm left in awe.

Musicals are a guilty pleasure Anchors Aweigh

Throughout the year on Monday nights, the Edmonton Film Society screens old Hollywood classics at the Royal Alberta Museum. They run four series during the year, each consisting of eight movies organized under a particular theme. Much to my delight his summer's theme happened to be Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! Of course, I was either busy or just didn't attend the first six in the series, but when lucky number seven came along I made a date with Elize to check out "On Moonlight Bay" with the consistently perky Doris Day and Gordon MacRae. Not exactly my first choice of musical, since I don't really care too much for Doris Day musicals to me she will always be an actress who also sings, but that's because I was spoiled by seeing her first in Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson. But, like I said, even when I don't really think a musical is very good I still get some level of enjoyment out of it, so off we went.


It's been years since I've visited the museum to walk through the exhibits, but I have come to the grounds a few times since moving to Edmonton. Most notably, the gentleman and I strolled through the grounds last year after our first date. Elize and I arrived a bit early so we strolled around the fountain so that I could take some photos before we headed inside.

I'll admit that I was a little surprised to see quite as big of an age discrepancy as there was in the audience. The average age had to have been at least 70. I felt positively juvenile in a room full of spritely senior citizens. But then I pulled out my knitting and balance was restored.

Before the movie we were treated to a short introduction from one of the members of the Edmonton Film Society, who gave a little background to the movie made up of funny little tidbits pieced from various wikipedia entries and assorted trivia. They acknowledged that the film was a very thinly veiled rip-off of Meet Me in St. Louis, a far superior film in all respects. The plot was predictable, there wasn't enough singing, but it was still funny. It was sort of surreal to watch a musical on the big screen. You gain a new appreciation for the films when you get a chance to sit with that many people and laugh at the absolute ridiculous of some of the scenes. The audience found some of the situational comedy in this film were particularly uproarious, especially anything involving the devilish younger brother who fabricated a story of an alcoholic and abusive father in order to get out of being caught asleep in class. Only in this era of musical, where the story and characters are so innocent, are we able to laugh at such broad humour without it having to be too dark.

Tomorrow night they're screening The Music Man (Robert Preston, Shirley Jones and a very very young Ron Howard). If I'm done the layout work for the freelance project I'm working on with Elize, we are going to try to celebrate with another evening at the museum. I hope we do, because I love The Music Man. It would be such a big finish to the film society's summer series of singing and dancing.