The spirit of Motown runs through the long-awaited film adaption of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, which centres around a young female singing trio who burst upon the music scene in the '60s, complete with bouffant hairdos, glitzy gowns, and a soul sound new to the white-bread American music charts. Sound familiar? You aren't the first one to draw comparisons to the meteoric rise of the Supremes, and despite any protests to the contrary, this is most definitely a thinly veiled reinterpretation of that success story. The Dreamettes--statuesque Deena (Beyonce Knowles), daffy Lorell (Anika Noni Rose) and brassy Effie (Jennifer Hudson)--are a girl group making the talent-show rounds when they're discovered by car salesman and aspiring music manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx). Sensing greatness (as well as a new marketing opportunity) Curtis signs the Dreamettes as backup singers for R&B star James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy). But when Early's mercurial ways and singing style don't mesh with primarily white audiences, Curtis moves the newly-renamed Dreams to centre stage--with Deena as lead singer in place of Effie. And that's not the only arena in which Effie is replaced, as Curtis abandons their love affair for a relationship with star-in-the-making Deena. Besides the Supremes comparison, one can't talk about Dreamgirls now without revisiting its notorious Oscar snub; though it received eight nominations, the most for any film from 2006, it was shut out of the Best Picture and Director races entirely. Was the oversight justified? While Dreamgirls is certainly a handsomely mounted, lovingly executed and often vibrant film adaptation, it inspires more respect than passion, only getting under your skin during the musical numbers, which become more sporadic as the film goes on. Writer-director Bill Condon is definitely focussed on recreating the Motown milieu (down to uncanny photographs of Knowles in full Diana Ross mode), he often forgets to flesh out his characters, who even on the Broadway stage were underwritten and relied on powerhouse performances to sell them to audiences. (Stage fans will also note that numerous songs are either truncated or dropped entirely from the film.) Condon has assembled a game cast, as Knowles does a canny riff on the essence of Diana Ross' glamour (as opposed to an all-out impersonation) and Rose makes a peripheral character surprisingly vibrant; only Foxx, who never gets to pour on the charisma, is miscast. Still, there are two things even the most cranky viewers will warm to in Dreamgirls: the performances of veteran Eddie Murphy and newcomer Jennifer Hudson. Murphy is all sly charm and dazzling energy as the devilish Early, who's part James Brown, part Little Richard, and all showman. And Hudson, an American Idol contestant who didn't even make the top three, makes an impressive debut as the larger-than-life Effie, whose voice matches her passions and stubbornness. Though she sometimes may seem too young for the role, Hudson nails the movie's signature song, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," with a breathtaking power that must be seen and heard to believe. And for those five minutes, if not more, you will be in Dreamgirls' thrall. --Mark Englehart
The day WWII ends Jimmy (De Niro) a selfish and smooth-talking musician meets Francine (Minelli) a lounge singer. From that moment on their relationship grows into love as they struggle with their careers and aim for the top...
The class of the Broadway Melody series with the burnished talents of Astaire and Murphy and the timeless tunes of Cole Porter. The plot never the point of these exercises pits two dancers in a friendly rivalry for the attentions of Powell. This was the only screen appearance together of Astaire and Powell and it makes you wish for more. Also features a fifteen year old Judy Garland.
Camp Rock tells the rock n' roll Cinderella story of Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato), a teen with an amazing voice and a driving ambition to be a pop singer who wants to spend her summer at a prestigious rock camp.
The Royal Shakespeare Company's 1999 production of The Winter's Tale is the finest production of this great classic for the past decade. This landmark production was hailed by critics and played to packed houses both in Stratford and London. Originally released in an edited version in 2001 Heritage Theatre is delighted to be able to bring you the complete edition; the full three hour production exactly as it was staged at the Barbican. Also included are interviews with the cast and creative team as an extra feature.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers whose last joint project had been made 10 years before come together one final time for this film. The magical pair play performers Josh and Dinah Barkley whose act - and marriage - break up when Dinah decides to become a ""serious actress"". Among the unforgettable numbers are: ""They Can't Take that Away from Me"" (which Astaire and Rogers first performed in 1937's ""Shall We Dance"") ""Shoes With Wings On"" ""Swing Trot"" and ""You'd Be So Hard to Replace"".
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music — Winner of five ACADEMY AWARDS® including Best Picture* — with this 2-disc Blu-ray™ set that includes an all-new hour-long documentary detailing Julie Andrews’ return visit to Salzburg where she filmed her iconic role as Maria half a century ago! *1965: Directing Film Editing Music Best Picture Sound Includes All-New 60-Minute Documentary – The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg and more!
The ITV Sessions – Uriah Heep: Live in concert DVD, is one of the first titles released from the ITV Sessions, a multi-part music concert series, featuring some of the biggest names in the UK music scene from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The ITV Sessions feature rare and previously unavailable music concerts, long laying dormant in ITV’s archives and include live performances and studio sessions by international hit-makers such as Status Quo, Belinda Carlisle, Pulp, Motorhead, Wishbone Ash, Spandau Ballet and many more.Uriah Heep released several commercially successful albums in the 1970s such as Uriah Heep Live (1973), but their audience declined by the 1980s, to the point where they became essentially a cult band in the US and UK. The rock band maintains a significant following in Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, the Balkans, Japan and Russia, where they still perform at stadium-sized venues. They have sold over 30 million albums. Tracks: Bird Of Prey, Bad Bad Man, Stealin', Blood Red Roses, Mr Majestic, The Wizard, July Morning, Rich Kid, Gypsy, Easy Livin, Lady In Black, Land Of Hope And Glory (Pomp and Circumstance)
Directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico) and penned by Joel Schumacher (Batman and Robin), this lavish 1978 adaptation of the Broadway hit The Wiz was the biggest production filmed in New York City up to that point, utilising the newly revamped Astoria Studios and locations around the city. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross (reprising his Tony-winning role as the Lion) star in this Academy Award-nominated musical for the whole family. The Wiz is probably the grandest take on L. Frank Baum's classic tale The Wizard of Oz. The production team created sets with a sense of urban magic and spectacle: a New York subway station literally comes to life, and the massive plaza between the World Trade Center towers is transformed into the Emerald City, featuring nearly 400 dancers with three costume changes. Like all good musicals, the Quincy Jones arrangements are highly hummable long after viewing (especially the funky "Ease On Down the Road" and the inspirational "Brand New Day"). In an era before MTV, the camera stays nearly stationary as Ross and Lena Horne vocally soar through their numbers. Their stage-like performances successfully make the leap to film, making The Wiz a testament to their singing talents and star presence. The then-thirtysomething Ross raised some eyebrows playing the traditionally teenaged Dorothy, but she and her supporting cast (including Richard Pryor as the Wiz) carry the tunes with an infectious verve that will appeal to folks of all ages. --Shannon Gee
Cliff Richard & The Shadows are hired to star in a movie shot amid the lush tropical scenery of the Canary Islands. A sunny seaside spectacular filled with romance excitement and high spirits - not to mention a dozen musical numbers.
Set against the background of World War II and featuring the music of The Andrews Sisters 'Private Buckaroo' follows the fortunes of a reluctant army recruit who struggles to adjust to military life until he falls for the charms of a retired officer's daughter.
Under the stark white lights of an empty Broadway theatre, a stream of hopefuls audition before Zach, the harsh and critical director of a new musical. There is tension in the air as sixteen are singled out for further auditioning, and as the director and his assistant put the dancers through their paces, they begin to relay their lives into word and song. Suddenly an unexpected latecomer arrives. It is Cassie, a beautiful and talented dancer who used to be a star, returned to ask Zach, her former lover, for a job. Passions run high, but he allows her to audition. Over the course of the day, the dancers, all desperate for the job, reveal more and more about themselves to the ever watchful director, as he searches for his chosen Chorus Line. Starring Michael Douglas, and directed by Richard Attenborough, A CHORUS LINE is based on the hugely successful and award winning Broadway musical of the same name.
Following on for the 2010 TV series comes the 2010 Live Tour! Featuring the spectacular Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean plus a host of celebrity skaters this show is too cool to miss!
When top street dancer Ash (Hentschel) is humiliated and laughed off stage by American crew Invincible, he sets off to gather the best dancers from around the world to take them on - with a dance style they weren't expecting.
The Elvis formula was well in place by the time of 1964's Roustabout, a concoction of undistinguished songs (anyone remember "Poison Ivy League"?), pretty girls, tight pants, a colourful setting and a little bit of karate to prove that Elvis really had been studying his martial arts. With that understood, Roustabout is a better-than-average work-out for the King--not as peppy as Viva Las Vegas, but a good deal livelier than the sleepwalking It Happened at the World's Fair. Elvis plays a bad-boy singer roaming the highways on his Japanese motorcycle; laid up after an accident, he joins a carnival owned by the feisty Barbara Stanwyck. ("This is not a circus, it's a carnival. There's a big difference.") The cast goes from high to low: both giant-sized future James Bond villain Richard Kiel and tiny Billy Barty are carny regulars, and Raquel Welch has a small role in the opening scene. Teri Garr is one of the carnival dancers behind Elvis. The legendary costume designer Edith Head puts Elvis in a series of snappy windbreakers, but thank goodness he's also in black leather a lot. As if that weren't enough to recommend it, the movie has a sequence involving Elvis riding a cycle inside the "Wall of Death", a huge wooden cylinder with high walls. This bit actually inspired an entire Irish film in 1986, Eat the Peach, in which friends build a similar contraption after they watch Roustabout on tape. --Robert Horton
Anna Neagle - one of Britain's very biggest stars - was poached by Hollywood to make this glorious Cinderellastory: Irene (Neagle, Spring in Park Lane) is the feisty Irish lass who catches the eye of millionaire Don Marshall.He helps her become a model for the fabulous fashion boutique 'Madame Lucy' and she makes quite animpression at a high-society ball (filmed in gorgeous Technicolor); soon Irene is the talk of the town. But willsuccess stop her finding her prince charming? A meeting of the best of both British and Hollywood, Irene is asumptuous indulgence from the golden age of movies.
The iconic director-choreographer Busby Berkeley's first full-length film in Technicolor is well established as being perhaps the most visually stunning spectacle of any Hollywood musical. But to focus on this risks overlooking its exuberant performances gleeful humour sensational music and glowing romance amidst countless other pleasures. A young soldier's fast-struck love affair with a New York City nightclub singer despite his long-standing betrothal to a wealthy childhood friend provides the catalyst for this dizzying parade of home-front melodrama comic set-pieces and mind-boggling musical numbers (including 'The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat' and 'The Polka-Dot Polka'). Featuring some of the most popular musical stars of its day including Alice Faye the incomparable Carmen Miranda and the legendary Benny Goodman along with brilliantly funny supporting turns from Edward Everett Horton Eugene Pallette and Charlotte Greenwood The Gang's All Here is an outlandishly surprising classic from one of the Hollywood dream factory's most influential innovators. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present a world premiere of a stunning new restoration on Blu-ray. Special Features: New high-definition 1080p presentation English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired New and exclusive full-length audio commentary with critics Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme and film historian Ed Hulse The documentary Busby Berkeley: A Journey with a Star A deleted scene from the film Trailer A 36-Page Booklet featuring essays on the film by critics David Cairns and Karina Longworth and more!
The era of big bands, grand ballrooms, and casino nightlife comes alive in The Eddy Duchin Story, a musical biography of the talented pianist and bandleader who set New York society on its ear in the 1930s and 40s. George Sidney directs this moving story of a man who discovers too late the real wonder of life. An emotionally rare motion picture scored to the unforgettable music of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Frederic Chopin and Oscar Hammerstein.
The international smash-hit Lord of the Dance is back with an all-new electrifying show. Filmed LIVE in Dublin and London during the sold out 2011 European Tour experience the magic excitement and passion like never before. Starring show creator and Irish dance pioneer Michael Flatley (returning to Lord of The Dance for the first time in 13 years); the breathtaking performance comprises a spectacular new set design state-of-the-art lighting special effects and costumes that will captivate audiences both young and old. Featuring unprecedented access to Flatley's performance and exclusive behind the scenes footage you'll never be closer to the action than this! Don't miss out on the performance film event of the year!
Rita Hayworth Academy Award winner Gene Kelly Phil Silvers and Eve Arden star in this lavishly produced musical about a nightclub dancer from Brooklyn who leaves her sweetheart after winning a Cover Girl contest - only to learn that fame and fortune are no substitute for true love. Rusty Parker is a chorus girl at a nightclub run by her sweetheart Danny McGuire. Driven by ambition she enters a ""Cover Girl"" contest. When Coudair the magazine's publisher discovers that she is the