Musical

Mother India (1957) Mehboob Khan, Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Drama, Musical, Family

Mother India (1957)
The film begins with the finishing of a water canal for the village set in the present. Radha (Nargis), as the mother of the village, is asked to open the canal and remembers back to her past when she was newly married, mirroring the new independence of India. The wedding between Radha and Shamu (Raaj Kumar) was paid for by Radha’s mother-in-law, who got a loan from the moneylender Sukhilala. This event starts the spiral of poverty and hardship that Radha endures. The conditions of the loan are disputed, but the village elders decide in favor of the moneylender, after which Shamu and Radha are forced to pay three-quarters of their crop as interest on the loan of 500 rupees. While trying to use more of their land to alleviate their poverty, Shamu’s arms are crushed by a boulder. He is shamed by his helplessness and is humiliated by others in the village. Deciding that he is no use to his family, he leaves and does not return. Soon after this, Radha’s mother-in-law dies.

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La pianiste / The Piano Teacher (2001) Michael Haneke, Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel, Drama, Music, Romance

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Erika Kohut is a pianist, teaching music. Schubert and Schumann are her forte, but she’s not quite at concert level. She’s approaching middle age, living with her mother who is domineering then submissive; Erika is a victim then combative. With her students she is severe. She visits a sex shop to watch DVDs; she walks a drive-in theater to stare at couples having sex. Walter is a self-assured student with some musical talent; he auditions for her class and is forthright in his attraction to her. She responds coldly then demands he let her lead. Next she changes the game with a letter, inviting him into her fantasies. How will he respond; how does sex have power over our other faculties?

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Invitation to the Waltz (1935) Paul Merzbach, Lilian Harvey, Wendy Toye, Carl Esmond, Musical

happy-1933
Lilian Harvey, the toast of two continents, is her usual radiant self in Invitation to the Waltz. Harvey plays Jenny Peachey (honest!), a Drury Lane ballerina during the Napoleonic Wars. Swept off her slippers by the handsome Duke of Wurtemberg (Harold Warrender), Jenny gives up her dancing career to become the Duke’s mistress. As the war between England and France intensifies, our heroine uses her influence to persuade the Duke to sign a treaty with England, thereby helping to bring about the downfall of Napoleon (Esme Percy). Through it all, Jenny is worshipped from afar by handsome lieutenant Carl (Carl Esmond). Magnificently produced, Invitation to the Waltz was a lighthearted follow-up to Lillian Harvey’s more serious “ballerina sacrifices all” opus, Schwartze Rosen.

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Happy (1933) Frederic Zelnik, Stanley Lupino, Laddie Cliff, Will Fyffe, Comedy, Musical

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Too expensive for a “quota quickie” but not quite costly enough to qualify as an “A” picture, Happy is a shapeless but generally satisfying vehicle for several of England’s top music-hall attractions. Stanley Lupino (Ida’s dad) and Laddie Cliff star as Frank and George, a pair of nightclub musicians living in an attic owned by irascible Scotsman Simmy (Will Fyffe). Hoping to get rich quick, Frank invents a device that, when attached to an automobile, will immediately alert the police if the car is stolen. A millionaire car manufacturer is interested in the device, but agrees to purchase it only after his pretty daughter falls in love with Frank. Balking at the idea of marrying the girl for her money and influence, Frank nearly throws away his chance for true happiness, but it’s all smiles and happy songs at the end.

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Horse Feathers (1932) Norman Z. McLeod, Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Comedy, Musical, Romance

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Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff has just been installed as the new president of Huxley College. His cavalier attitude toward education is not reserved for his son Frank, who is seeing the college widow, Connie Bailey. Frank influences Wagstaff to recruit two football players who hang out in a speakeasy, in order to beat rival school Darwin. Unfortunately, Wagstaff mistakenly hires the misfits Baravelli and Pinky. Finding out that Darwin has beaten him to the “real” players, Wagstaff enlists Baravelli and Pinky to kidnap them, which leads to an anarchic football finale.

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Royal Wedding (1951) Stanley Donen, Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Comedy, Musical, Romance

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Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by ship where Ellen meets and becomes involved with Lord John Brindale. This causes her to miss a rehearsal. Tom (Astaire) uses the time to dance with a hat rack and gym equipment. Later Tom and Ellen attempt a graceful dance number as the ship rolls. Upon arrival Tom holds auditions and meets Anne. There is much indecision by the siblings about their romantic partners even though they are in-the-clouds. Tom dances on the walls and ceiling of his hotel room. All ends well in this light musical. By the way, there is a vaudeville-style dance number in their show that features slapstick. It’s a hoot.

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Between Love and Goodbye (2008) Casper Andreas, Simon Miller, Justin Tensen, Rob Harmon, Drama, Music, Romance

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Love makes the world go round. At least that’s what Marcel and Kyle believe, until they suddenly discover that love can alternatively flip the world upside-down. When certain elements are set into motion, they tend to stay in motion. If tampered with, they can spin out of control. Marcel and Kyle are in love at first sight, and even though they can’t legally marry, they will find a way to make it work. French Marcel marries their lesbian friend Sarah so he can stay in the USA with Kyle. Together they can overcome any obstacle, hurdle any barrier. Together they cannot be stopped. Enter Kyle’s sister April, a former prostitute. She needs a place to crash, but for how long? Taking a quick dislike to Marcel, April methodically drips poison into their happiness. But where Marcel sees a conniving woman with a not-so-hidden agenda, Kyle only sees his sister – in need. And how do you choose between family and the love of your life? Why should you have to?

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Amar (1954) Mehboob Khan, Madhubala, Nimmi, Dilip Kumar, Romance, Musical

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Anju Rai lives a wealthy lifestyle with her widowed dad in a palatial house. She is now of marriageable age, and her dad has arranged her marriage with Advocate Amarnath. Both Anju and Amarnath meet and fall in love with each other. Shortly before their formal engagement, Anju notices a change in Amarnath – as he appears to be drifting further from her. Then he decides to demolish his house and re-built it, and also refuses to go near any Mandir – either alone or in Anju’s company. When part of the house collapses, he is injured, but recuperates quickly. It is then the town is set afire with rumors that Amarnath may have sexually molested a village belle named Sonia, who sells milk, lives a poor lifestyle with her widowed dad, cruel step-mother, and is to be married to the village goon, Shankar. Watch what happens when Shankar gets killed, and Sonia is arrested for killing him.

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