You all know about the Christmas musicals: Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, etc. That's where you
go if you want your holiday fix tinged with song (or, in the case of Meet Me in St.
Louis, deep depression). This list is just an offering of seven wonderful (non-holiday) musicals from someone
who is a complete sucker for the genre and actually likes to spend the holidays singing along with people on the TV.
2. All That Jazz: I plan to shoehorn this movie into as many Cinematical lists as I can, because I'm just that obsessed. Every time I see All That Jazz, the audacity of it stuns me anew, and it somehow improves and expands a little bit with each viewing. Just an incredible creation.
3. Robin and the 7 Hoods: "There's somethin' wrong wit his t'roat." As far as I'm concerned, this movie is simple proof of the little known axiom that anything that brings Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Falk, and Bing Crosby together can't possibly go wrong. It's campy and silly and just wonderful, in a deeply flawed sort of way. Plus, Mr. Booze is one of the best songs ever sung in a church that's really a gambling hall.
4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Hi, my name is Martha and I have a weakness for Bing Crosby - and I think it's because of this movie. There was a while during my childhood during which if The Beastmaster wasn't the special Saturday afternoon TV movie, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was. And I watched it a lot. Honestly, at this point I don't remember many details - but what has stuck with me is just a general sense of innocent joy, a totally unconvincing castle set, and Bing's firm belief that he'd be deeply unhappy, if only he could find the time.
5. Top Hat: The dance to Isn't It a Lovely Day is one of the sexiest, most romantic scenes in any movie, and Fred and Ginger aren't even touching most of the time. Pure, gorgeous class.
6. My Fair Lady: I first saw this under the same arrangement as I did Guys and Dolls, and even as a kid it totally grabbed me. I loved Rex Harrison because, despite the fact that he was an utter bastard, he was a wry bastard, which somehow made him ok. As an adult, I'm incredibly put off by Jeremy Brett and the stupid Freddy, but the movie as a whole remains magical. Wonderful music and endearing characters aside, what really blows my mind is the incredibly elaborate and costly production - watch the "come on Dover, move your bloomin' ass!" sequence, and just look at the hats and dresses. It's actually glorious enough to make you miss the big studio days.
7. Gold Diggers of 1933: They're wearing giant coins and dancing around singing We're in the Money - and that's just the opening! Great cast, great music, and an unusually complex tone for a Depression-era musical. Easily the best of the Gold Diggers series, and finally about to make its first appearance on DVD, just in time for the holidays.