From The Jazz Singer to La La Land, moviegoers around the world have been entertained by musicals since the advent of cinema. Over the decades, numerous musicals have piqued the interest of many movie enthusiasts, but there are a few that should not be missed.
The Sound of Music
Filmed in the picturesque city of Salzburg, Austria, The Sound of Music is a delightful love story starring Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp, a cheerful novice nun turned governess, for seven children of a stern widower, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Maria disrupts the military household by bringing music and laughter to the Von Trapp family, while simultaneously winning the Captain’s heart. Memorable songs such as ‘My Favorite Things’ and ‘Edelweiss’ continue to captivate fans, even decades after its release, making it the most successful movie musical of all time.
Saturday Night Fever
Which came first, disco or Tony Manero (John Travolta)? In the disco era, attitudes, fashions, and musical styling were the defining symbols of the ’70s. Saturday Night Fever encapsulated it all perfectly and created a new cultural phenomenon across the globe. The foot stomping, hand-clapping music of the Bee Gees, Tavares, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band made the album a best-seller of its time. By day, Tony Manero is a struggling loser, and at night, a disco god with moves that can part the dance floor, as though it were the Red Sea. It is a classic love story between dance partners training together and falling in love.
A Tom Hanks production, Mamma Mia! is a romantic musical comedy, based on songs by ABBA. The band rose to stardom in the seventies, topping the music charts worldwide, while Mamma Mia!’s soundtrack peaked to #1 on the Billboard charts in 2008. A wonderful story, with Meryl Streep leading the cast as Donna Sheridan, finds herself in a tricky situation when her daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) invites three possible fathers to her wedding. The sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is scheduled to be released in July, 2018.
The Lion King
One of Disney’s most popular animated musical films, The Lion King presents the story of a young lion cub, Simba, who is destined to inherit his father’s (King Mufasa) throne. Simba’s (voiced by Matthew Broderick) happy childhood turns tragic when King Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) is murdered by his brother Scar (voiced by Jeremey Irons), in an act of rivalry to become the King of the Pride Lands, banishing Simba from the kingdom. The Lion King is set to Elton John’s Academy Award-winning song, ‘The Circle of Life’, and offers some of the most beautiful and stunning animation. The original soundtrack is a strong component in the success of the film, making it the best-selling soundtrack to an animated film in the United States.
La La Land
While keeping the audience at bay with reality, La La Land, an old-fashioned musical, break outs into song and dance, while telling the story of a modern-day romance. Set in Los Angeles, this light-hearted film is about Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who struggle to make a name for themselves. The movie touches on relatable themes like the pursuit of happiness as well as the joys and pains of everyday life. The upbeat and quick tempo songs are reminiscent of old Hollywood music that will surely lift the spirits of anyone – young or old.