by Caren Crane
WARNING: This post is about MOVIE MUSICALS. Many of those overburdened with testosterone despise them (though a few openly admit to their charm, wit and magic), so remember you were warned.
I know many Banditas adore a musical. I could totally get the whole Lair singing "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria". As a matter of fact, that may or may not have happened at a certain Bash at the RWA conference. And Mary Poppins? Our Golden Heart winner, Susan Seyfarth, would knock some people out of the way to be the one who gets to dance with Bert. Don't let her pixie-like looks and size fool you, folks. She is SERIOUS about her Mary Poppins.
But why? Why do we love our musicals so?
My youngest and I went to see WALL-E last night. What a great movie! If you haven't seen it, you must know that WALL-E is a fan of the musical "Hello, Dolly". This is the 1969 version starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. WALL-E watches "Hello Dolly" often and, apparently, learns about love from the song "It Only Takes a Moment." In the song, the clerk, Cornelius, expresses his feelings to Irene. At then end of the song, they join hands and head off, strolling through the park. Poor WALL-E joins his little robot fingers together to simulate hand-holding. Heartbreaking! Though there is no dialogue, you feel all his pain and loneliness, his longing for love.
For me, the musical is a great ride because the music encapsulates the mood of a scene perfectly. As writers, we struggle for the perfect words to set the stage, create the mood, immerse the reader in our character's angst or joy. In a musical, the character simply bursts into song and takes us there.
I have noticed that musicals, like romance, are often marginalized by reviewers and the movie-going public. There are those who loathe them simply because they are what they are. Romance is regarded this way by lots of readers who don't understand, much less read, the genre. Fie on both those fickle groups!
I am proud to say I am totally immersed today in Loretta Chase's "Your Scandalous Ways". It is delectable! And tomorrow, my youngest and I have decided we MUST watch "The Sound Of Music" and, naturally, "Hello, Dolly". Of course, a side trip into "The King and I" or "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is likely. I have thoroughly corrupted my offspring.
So, are you a musical lover or does "Shall We Dance" leave you cold? If you love them, what is your favorite? And most importantly, was Dick Van Dyke cuter as Bert in "Mary Poppins" or as Caractacus Potts in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"? Or am I the only dork who will admit to thinking Dick Van Dyke is totally adorable?