List: Films that Paved the Way for 2016 Tony Winning and Nominated Productions

As I continue to follow Turner Classic Movies in their celebration of the Tony Awards through a month spotlighting films based on stage plays or musicals, I will continue with a list of any of this year’s Tony nominees that are either based on a film or on source material that has been made into a film that I have seen. All of these productions happen to be musical versions of other works (plus two plays based on novels with subsequent film versions that I haven’t seen).

First off, congratulations to Hamilton, with 11 awards. It set the record for the most nominations in Tony history with 16 and is an unquestionable cultural phenomenon. Because it is original material, though, it cannot be considered for this list. Along with each movie related to a nominated production, I will give a grade for the movie, a link to the trailer, and a clip from the current Broadway production. I am not able to see Broadway productions, so I can not review the shows that were honored on Sunday. I am only working with the movies here that came before the shows.

 

The Color Purple (1985; Steven Spielberg) A+

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This remarkable tale of redemption, faith, and overcoming oppression and abuse is based on the beloved Alice Walker novel of the same title. The 2005 Broadway musical was based on the same novel, and the 2015 revival won two Tonys on Sunday night: Best Revival of a Musical and Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Cynthia Ervio). The show was also nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Danielle Brooks), and Best Director of a Musical (John Doyle). Expect a review of the 1985 masterpiece from me next week.

See the trailer here.

See a video with a Gospel song from the current production of the Broadway musical here.

 

School of Rock (2003; Richard Linklater) B+

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Linklater’s School of Rock is the charming story of an irresponsible rocker (Jack Black) who will go to any length to get a gig. Trying to pass himself off as a substitute teacher in a prestigious private elementary school,  he creates a band out of his students. Through the students, he learns that he’s not as good of a musician as he thinks he is and matures into someone who is able to teach the kids about the power of music.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on this movie was nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Julian Fellows), Beset Score (music by Webber; lyrics by Glenn Slater), and Best Lead Actor in a Musical (Adam Brightman), but it didn’t win any awards on Sunday night.

See the trailer here.

See a hilarious scene with a great song from the stage musical.

 

The Shop around the Corner (1940) D

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Ernst Lubitsch’s romantic comedy is considered a classic to many, but the two leads are not convincing when they hate each other or when they love each other. They are competitors in business with secret pen pals. Neither knows that their pen pal is also their adversary. The film was based on Miklós László’s play Parfumerie/Illatszertár. The same play was the basis for the far superior 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail and the 1963 Broadway musical She Loves Me. The 2016 revival of She Loves Me won a Tony on Sunday night for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (David Rockwell). It was also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Lead Actor in a Musical (Zachary Levi), Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Laura Benanti), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Jane Krakowski), Best Director of a Musical (Scott Ellis), Best Orchestration (Larry Hochman), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Jeff Mahshie).

See the trailer here.

See a clip from the current production of She Loves Me.

 

Waitress (2007; Adrienne Shelly) B

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Here is another charmer that became a Broadway musical last season. Keri Russell makes inventive pies with hilarious names as a way to try to emotionally escape the reality of an abusive marriage and unplanned pregnancy. An unexpected relationship with her doctor helps her to do that as well, and a customer gives her constant encouragement that she can have a new start in life.

Pop star Sarah Bareilles wrote the music for the new Broadway musical. It was nominated for Best Musical, Best Score (Sarah Bareilles), Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Jessie Mueller), and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christopher Fitzgerald), but it won no awards on Sunday night.

See the trailer here.

See a performance from the stage musical here.

 

The Tony Awards also gave a single nomination each to musical versions of American Psycho (2000) and Tuck Everlasting (2002), but I have not seen either of these movies, so I could not include them here. Likewise, the nominated plays Misery and Thérèse Raquin are based on the respective Stephen King and Emile Zola novels that paved the way films I haven’t seen (Misery in 1990 and many film versions of Zola’s book including silent films in 1915 and 1928, a version starring Simone Signoret in 1953 and 2013’s In Secret starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange, and Oscar Isaac).

Stalag 17 (1953)

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William Holden initially turned down the role of prison camp inmate Sgt. J. J. Sefton in the film version of the Donald Bevan/Edmund Trzcinski play Stalag 17. He did so because of his belief that Sgt. Sefton is too cynical to be a hero. His studio, however, demanded that he take the role, and he won the only Oscar of his astounding career as a result. The cynicism that Holden was opposed to is the key ingredient to making this film’s lasting impact. Set entirely in the barracks of a WWII prison camp, we learn early in the film from the commandant (played by Otto Preminger in a performance that is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious) that “nobody has ever escaped from Stalag 17, not alive anyways.”

The commandant says this in response to an escape attempt that led to the deaths of two prisoners. The remaining soldiers placed bets on the outcome of the attempt. While most bet on how far the two escapees would get, Sefton wagered that would not make it out of the camp alive. As he won the bet, he became the most notorious figure in the camp, and the rest soon came to believe that he was trading secrets to the commandant, betraying his fellow prisoners. The movie, however, gives strong clues from the beginning that Sefton is in not doing this and is in fact a hero, despite his rough persona.

We see early on that cynicism is not equal with betrayal for Sefton but rather is the result of his trauma from war. Among the prisoners with Sefton, one is unable to speak, one endlessly searches the barracks for Betty Grable, most smoke, drink, and gamble, and they all (those who can speak anyways) make constant jokes about the their circumstances. These behaviors are all that they know in their current conditions to try to shut out the reality of the constant trauma around them. Sefton’s primary defense mechanism is his cynicism. In betting against the boys’ safety, he was in no way demonstrating a desire for their deaths; he said he merely liked the odds, and his behavior throughout the film reflects these words. He is cold, calculated, and smart making every decision based on the odds. Because of this, we see how much more there is to him than the cynic most of the inmates see.

Sefton is devoted to his fellow soldiers. He has hope for a future apart from war. It takes a majority of the movie, however, to recognize all the good qualities that Sefton possesses. It’s much easier to see the positive in the other soldiers, although they are the ones constantly judging Sefton, accusing him of treason because of a character trait that they do not understand. As I mentioned earlier, the audience is shown almost from the beginning that Sefton is not the traitor but that a traitor is among them. The tension of the story comes from knowing that any one of the seemingly upstanding characters could be that traitor, though no surface characteristic like Sefton’s cynicism is evident to help discern who it might be.

Stalag 17 portrays a powerful picture of the dangers involved with prejudice. Assuming that he is their enemy because of his cynical edge, the characters put themselves at risk of not finding the actual traitor. They tend to accept what any prisoner other than Sefton says to them without question, which could lead to the death of any of them since they are believing the words of the traitor.

We all tend to have prejudices about certain behaviors or personality types. We make assumptions about peoples’ moral or spiritual states based on surface actions or ways of communicating that in reality have nothing to do with those states. Billy Wilder’s great film reminds us that we cannot know what is truly in the hearts of people without getting to know them deeply. Certainly, the Bible tells us that we know good leaders by their fruit, but this does not mean that we can make broad judgments about a person (especially whether or not they are followers of Christ) based on their actions if we do not share deep personal connections with them. Stalag 17 gives us an opportunity to get to know someone whose surface actions do not make him appear to care about anybody other than himself. But the more we get to know him, the more we see compassion and devotion for other people that has been masked by his rough exterior formed at least in part through the trauma of war.

 

 

Reviews of Other Billy Wilder films:

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

 

List: Great Film Adaptations of Broadway Plays

Throughout the month of June, Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the upcoming Tony Awards (Sun. June 12) by spotlighting stage to screen adaptations two nights a week. Wednesday evenings-Thursday mornings they will show adaptations of plays, and Thursday evenings-Friday mornings they will show adaptations of musicals.

Last week, I published a list of the musical adaptations I consider to be the best. For this week, here is a list of the best adaptations of Broadway plays. In order to be considered for this list, a film must be a version of a play that has appeared on Broadway. If the movie airs on TCM this month, I will note that in the description so you catch it on TV. With each description, I also include a link to a video with a trailer for the film.

10.     The Bad Seed (1956)600full-the-bad-seed-

Maxwell Anderson’s play appeared on broadway in 1954-55. It was based on a novel by William March. Mervyn LeRoy directed the film version starring Patty McCormack, Nancy Kelly, and Eileen Heckart. The movie had to tame down some of the violence of the book and play for a 1956 movie audience, but it maintains the intense nature of a creepy, “perfect” 11-year-old girl who happens to be a serial killer.

TCM: Thursday, June 23 at 6:45AM EST

Watch the trailer here.

 

9.     The Children’s Hour (1961)

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Lillian Hellman’s play has been on broadway twice: 1934-36 and 1952-53. William Wyler directed this movie version (as well as an earlier one entitled These Three in which the story was dramatically altered to remove the topic of homosexuality from the story, since that was not allowed in American film according to the Hayes’ Code still in effect when the first film version was released in 1936) starring Shirley MacLaine, Audrey Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, Faye Bainter, and James Garner.

Watch the trailer here.

 

8.     The Women (1939)

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Clare Boothe Luce’s play has been on Broadway three times: 1936-38, 1973, and 2001-02. George Cuckor directed the first movie version (there was a far inferior remake in 2008) starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell. Both the play and movie are groundbreakers with entirely female casts. Characters discussed about men that male characters are developed, even though they are never seen.

TCM: Today at 3:45PM EST

Watch the trailer here.

 

7.     A Place in the Sun (1951)

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Patrick Kearney’s play An American Tragedy was based on the Theodor Dreiser novel of the same title. George Stevens directed this movie version with a new title starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelly Winters. There was also a 1931 film adaptation using the original title that I have not yet seen. A Place in the Sun is a morality play confronting its audience with the questions of whether or not intention to harm another person is itself harmful and  whether or not a sin of omission is as damaging as sinful action.

TCM: A Place in the Sun does not air this month for the stage-to-screen spotlight, but it can be seen Sat. Aug. 6 at 10:30PM EST.

Watch the trailer here.

 

6.     A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

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While predating Broadway by almost 300 years, Shakespeare’s comedic fantasy of fairies, demigods, and a donkey/man has run on Broadway eleven times: 1826, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1927, 1932, 1954, 1971, and 1996. Many movie versions have also been made, the best of which is the 1935 film directed by William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt starring James Cagney, Dick Powell, Mickey Rooney, Ross Alexander, Olivia de Havilland, and Joe E. Brown.

TCM: Thursday, June 29 at 12:45AM EST

Watch the trailer here.

 

5.     Amadeus (1984)

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Peter Shaffer’s play has been on Broadway twice: 1980-83 and 1999-2000, the first time starring Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Milos Forman directed the movie version starring Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham, and Elizabeth Berridge. The fictionalized rivalry between Mozart and fellow composer Antonio Salieri. While history shows that it is unlikely that the two men ever even met each other, the fantasy created gives a powerful picture of the end results of obsession and envy.

R.I.P. Peter Shaffer. The playwright passed away on Monday of this week at the age of 90.

Watch the trailer here.

 

4.     On Golden Pond (1981)

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Ernest Thompson’s play has been on Broadway three times: 1978-79, 1979, and 2005. Mark Rydell directed the movie version starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Doug McKeon, and Dabney Coleman. On Golden Pond is a warm, hilarious, and ernest movie about family relationships in their most raw form. The real-life father/daughter Fondas claimed to have found healing in their relationship through playing the roles of the fictional father/daughter Thayers.

Watch the trailer here.

 

3.     12 Angry Men (1957)

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Reginald Ross’ play was first performed in 1954. It did not make its Broadway debut, however, for 50 years but it did run on Broadway for six months between 2004 and 2005. Sidney Lumet directed the movie version starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Martin Balsam.

Watch the trailer here.

 

2.     Grand Hotel (1932)

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William Blake’s play appeared on Broadway in 1930-31. Edmund Goulding directed the movie version starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, John Barrymore, and Lionel Barrymore. Several disparate stories gradually interlock as they all center around guests of the Grand Hotel.

Watch the trailer here.

 

1.     Stalag 17 (1953)

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Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski wrote the comedic WWII prison camp thriller that appeared on Broadway in 1951-52. Billy Wilder directed the movie version starring William Holden, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck, and Peter Graves. Sadly, it is best known today for paving the way for one of the worst sitcoms ever put on TV, “Hogan’s Heroes,” but the film in an unquestionable masterwork.

TCM: Though not in one of the official stage-to-screen time slots, Stalag 17 does appear on TCM this month, Saturday June 10 at 12:00AM EST.

Watch the trailer here.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Last week, 20th Century Fox announced a remake in the works of this 1955 film which was based on a 1950 Frank Loesser stage musical. The stage production was adapted from Damon Runyon’s short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown.” In all its incarnations, the story has proved delightful to many audiences; it is a story worth retelling. In my estimation, the most crucial elements to creating a successful remake will be the casting of actors who can sing, dance, and play their characters inventively without trying to be Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, or Vivian Blaine. Most importantly, Michael Grandage (who was announced as the forthcoming film’s director) will need to pay attention to include many small details that allow the story to subtly move beyond its giddy, goofy, and lighthearted exterior into a story with substance about marriage, gender, sex, and faith as Joseph L. Mankiewicz did in the 1955 film.

Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) and Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) are rival gangsters and gamblers who make room in their “careers” for very unusual dealings if the payoff is good enough. They bet each other over things like how much cheesecake a restaurant sells and whether or not Nathan can remember what color tie he is wearing at a given moment. The story is built around Nathan’s attempt to set up a crap game while knowing the police are trying to find and hinder the plan. As part of his attempt to make the game happen, Nathan and Sky make their strangest wager of all; Nathan bets that Sky cannot get a date with Sgt. Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) of Save-a-Soul Mission (think Salvation Army)in which he must take her to Havana, Cuba (from New York City). The scene where this bet is made, along with all early scenes involving Sky and Nathan together, show these two characters as extremely misogynistic. In one of these scenes, Sky utters the notorious line, “I am not putting the knock on dolls. It’s just that they are something to have around only when they come in handy, like cough drops.”

As Sky approaches Sgt. Brown, we see a type of conversion taking place. They talk about the Bible, about sin, about repentance, and he shows a respect for the Bible but disinterest toward any change of his life. As he continues the process of his bet, however, his attitude toward women, toward love, and toward his own life changes dramatically. There is a scene in Havana where he gets Sarah drunk (unwitting on her part). He has a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the situation sexually; typically in the 1950s, characters would be seen beginning to kiss as the camera shifts away to tell the audience that sex is about to happen without needing to show anything that the Hayes Code would not allow them to show. However, we don’t get a scene like that here. Sarah talks about a nervous habit where she fiddles with her clothing and accidentally unbuttons part of her top. When Sky is faced with the opportunity he entered the situation hoping for, he reaches toward her, quietly and unassumingly, and he buttons her back up.

Subtleties like this show believable changes in the characters and even indicate an openness to all of what Sarah Brown stands far, including her faith in Jesus. While the story finds no need in explicitly telling us any of Sky’s specific spiritual conviction (before of after Sarah), the audience sees a genuine spirit of repentance in Sky. We are invited to see how he has learned to love, not merely in a romantic sense, but through respect of other people that he did not possess at the beginning of the story.

Guys and Dolls is one of the funniest films ever made. By focusing on the moral and spiritual journey of Sky Masterson, I have probably given an impression of much greater importance than the movie actually claims. I do so, nevertheless, to encourage viewers to pay close attention to the small details throughout the movie. Through these nuances, great depth is evident, much more than we would expect entering such a crazy comedy. As with the wit, the musical elements are continuously entertaining. Even Marlon Brando’s singing is quite good. Frank Sinatra supposedly called Brando “Mumbles” throughout filming, never giving up his disapproval of the decision to cast Brandon in the role he wanted for himself. Brando’s performance of the show’s most popular number “Luck Be a Lady” is handled appropriately to compensate for Brando’s weaknesses as a singer and to highlight his masterful acting ability. Ironically, only a few years later, Frank Sinatra recorded a version of “Luck Be a Lady” that became his signature song. All the characters are well-drawn to fit the romanticized view of 1940s New York gangsters that all versions of the story have intended to portray.

So, in recommending Guys and Dolls, I recommend it for the fun, escapist entertainment that it appears to be. But I also suggest looking deeply into the messages hidden throughout the film. These messages of repentance, respect, and equality elevate the film from its surface escapism into an intelligent and spiritual experience.

Stumble AlertGuys and Dolls has no objectionable content and is appropriate for all ages.

Also Directed by Joseph L. MankiewiczAll about Eve (1950)

List: Great Film Adaptations of Broadway Musicals

Throughout the month of June, Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the upcoming Tony Awards (Sun. June 12) by spotlighting stage to screen adaptations two nights a week. Wednesday evenings-Thursday mornings they will show adaptations of plays, and Thursday evenings-Friday mornings they will show adaptations of musicals.

Here is a list of the musical adaptations I consider the best (I will do the same with film versions of plays next week). In order to be considered for this list, a film must be a version of a musical that has appeared on Broadway. If the movie airs on TCM this month, I will note that in the description so you catch it on TV. With each description, I also include a link to a video with what I consider to be the best song in each movie.

 

10.     Oliver! (1968)

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Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver Twist has been on Broadway three times: 1963-64, 1965, & 1984. Carol Reed directed the 1968 movie version starring Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Jack Wild, Oliver Reed, and Shani Wallace.

Best song: “Consider Yourself

TCM: Friday, June 17 (6:15PM EST)

 

9.       Guys and Dolls (1955)

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Frank Loesser’s musical, based on Damon Runyan story, has been on Broadway six times: 1950-53, 1955, 1965, 1976-77, 1992-95, & 2009. Joseph L. Mankiewicz directed the 1955 movie version starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine. This week, it was announced that a remake is in the works.

Best song: “Adelaide’s Lament

TCM: Friday, June 10 (3:00AM EST)

 

8.       The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, based on the Gaston Leroux novel, opened on Broadway in 1988; it still runs today and is the longest-running show in Broadway history. Joel Schumacher directed the 2004 movie version starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Minnie Driver, and Miranda Richardson.

Best song: “All I Ask of You

 

7.       Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

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Joseph Stein wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of his own stage musical based on several stories by Sholom Aleichem. The show has been on Broadway six times: 1964-72, 1976-77, 1981, 1990-91, 2004-2006, and a current production that began its run in December 2015. Norman Jewish directed the movie version starring Tool, Norma Crane, and Leonard Frey.

Best song: “If I Were a Rich Man

 

6.       Chicago (2002)

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Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb, and John Kander wrote the stage musical based on based on a non-musical play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. The show has been on Broadway twice: 1975-77 and a current production that began running in 1996. Rob Marshall directed the movie version starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere, and John C. Riley.

Best song: “Mr. Cellophane” (Warning: This video contains tame sexual dialogue and one curse word).

 

5.       Show Boat (1936)

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The Oscar Hammerstein/Jerome Kern musical has been on broadway seven times: 1927-29, 1932, 1946-47, 1948, 1954, 1983, and 1994-97. James Whale directed the movie version starring Irene Dunn, Alan Jones, Charles Winninger, Paul Robson, and Helen Morgan.

TCM: Tonight at 8:00PM EST

Best song “Ol’ Man River

4.       Cabaret (1972)

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Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, and John Kander wrote the stage musical based on based on a non-musical play by John Van Druten. The show has been on Broadway four times: 1966-69, 1987-88, 1998-2004, and 2014-15. Bob Fosse directed the movie version starring Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, Helmut Griem, and Marisa Berenson.

Best song: “Willkommen” (Warning: As the title suggests, the film is set in a highly sexualized atmosphere, yet it is handled without showing any sex or nudity; the film is rated PG but is nonetheless quite sexual in its context, and this clip is no exception.)

TCM: Thursday, June 30 (8:00PM EST)

 

3.       On the Town (1949)

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The Betty Comden/Alfred Green/Leonard Bernstein musical has been on Broadway four times: 1944-46, 1971-71, 1989-89, and 2014-15. Stanley Donen directed the movie version starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, and Alice Pearce.

Best song: “You Can Count on Me” (Warning: If you haven’t already seen this movie, this video will probably seem extremely bizarre and pointless outside the context of the full movie but in context it’s hilarious).

TCM: Friday June 3 (7:15AM EST)

 

2.       Carmen Jones (1954)

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The Rogers and Hammerstein musical is based on the Geoges Bizet opera Carmen and adapts the lyrics into English and the story into 1940s Chicago. The show has been on broadway three times: 1943-45, later in 1945, and 1946.The movie version was directed by Otto Preminger and stars Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, and Pearl Bailey.

Best song: “Dat’s Love

 

1.        Les Misérables (2012)

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Alain Boubil’s musical, based on Victor Hugo’s novel, has been on Broadway three times: 1987-2003, 2006-08, and a current production that began running in 2014. Tom Hooper directed the film with all the singing performed in front of the camera instead of in a sound booth. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, and Amanda Seyfried.

Best song: “Do You Hear the People Sing?” (Warning: This video involves some violent content at the end, after the song is complete.)

David and Lisa (1962)

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The subject of mental illness was not dealt with much in the arts in 1962. When it was, it was usually built around offensive stereotypes and labels: “crazy,” “nuts,” “loonies,” etc. The only exceptions I know of prior to David and Lisa are Now, Voyager (1942), The Snake Pit (1948), and The Three Faces of Eve (1957). These were all sensitive and respectful to the mentally ill (The Snake Pit was rightfully very critical of the general state of mental health care at the time); they used the best knowledge available at their respective times regarding the types of illness they dealt with, although that was extremely limited.

Psychological expertise was still limited in 1962, but Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin  was one of the most influential psychologists who changed this. Especially between the 1950s and 1970s, his writing helped to de-stigmatize mental illness and to educate the masses. His short story “Lisa and David,” a fictionalized compilation of many of his real experiences, was the basis for Frank Perry’s film which brought Dr. Rubin’s important work to a larger audience. The film, set in a mental hospital with all teenaged patients, never tells its audience any diagnoses for its characters. David (Kier Dullea), a patient, suggests that his fellow patient Lisa (Janet Margolin) is schizophrenic, but the film never confirms or denies David’s suggestion. From a current perspective, Lisa’s diagnosis would most likely be a dissociative disorder, and David’s would be OCD and generalized anxiety disorder.

The lack of specificities regarding the diagnoses is crucial to the film’s impact toward de-stigmitazation. It takes both nature and nurture seriously without favoring one over the other in why any of the patients behave as they do. They are sick organically, but they are also deeply wounded emotionally. Since no false dichotomy between nature and nurture is evident, the film interacts with the spiritual truth that we live in a fallen world where nobody’s body or mind is perfectly healthy. This truth is illustrated beautifully in a scene where several patients take a walk together and stop by a train station where a rude, bigoted man bullies them, and their bold, unified response points to the reality that he is just as sick (though in a very different way) as they are (see that scene here).

David and Lisa is predominantly about two relationships: obviously the relationship between the two title characters and also the relationship between David and Dr. Alan Swinford (Howard De Silva). Both of these relationships are hindered by David’s fears. His fears are vividly displayed through dream sequences that are among the greatest scenes in film history (see the film’s first dream sequence here). Many look at David and Lisa as a romance, but the movie never gives any indication that the main characters have anything resembling attraction for one another. What they do have for one another (and what David and Dr. Swinford also have for one another), however, is a relationship that confronts each other other’s fears and forces them to face those fears. As those fears are worked through, the characters learn to choose love rather than  the the fear that previously blocked their abilities to give and to receive love. By thoughtfully and sensitively showing the lives, struggles, and progress of mentally ill patients, David and Lisa also provides a stunningly strange, profound, and moving portrait of the truth that love casts out fear.

Stumble Alert: There is no objectionable material in this film. Its depictions of mental illness, however, are realistic and intense. As such, the film is not appropriate for children not mature enough to understand the topics at hand.

Watch David and LisaThis movie is currently available for free with an Amazon Prime account. You can also see it in its entirety on Youtube (click here), but I cannot find any copyright information for the movie, so it is possible that this video will not last long).

Exploring Film Masterpieces

Welcome to Exploring Film Masterpieces. I am Edmund Bertram, film enthusiast. I am a Christian who believes in the prophetic value of all of the arts. To this end, I watch movies understanding that the makers of the film, whether they realize it or not, are gifted by the Triune God to share a message to the world that has originated from God. Undoubtedly, because of the fall and the fact that most people in the arts do not know God or understand that their talents are prophetic gifts these messages are tainted and often difficult to discern because of the sinful influence also evident. Nevertheless, the gift is there; the divine is there. My purpose for this website is to share my love of film and to seek out the prophetic in it with you, my readers.

Every Tuesday, I plan to post a review of a classic film (I refer more to quality than to age when I use the word “classic” as I will review films from all periods of cinematic history) where the goal is to highlight the prophetic of that movie. I will also post a themed list each Thursday that will give you ideas of what you may want to watch next.

As a Bible-believing follower of Jesus, I take sin seriously and do not want to condone or dismiss the destructiveness of it. I am broad, even liberal with films I watch as I do not believe that experiencing something that depicts sinful acts equates supporting the actions. I will make that abundantly clear in the reviews I will post on Tuesdays. Having said this, I also take seriously the fact that every person is vulnerable to temptations from very different triggers. Because of this, I will provide warnings with each film I review (and in lists when applicable) that I will call “stumble alerts,” because I am confident that it is not sin to watch the material, but it could trigger temptations for some people that I do not want to encourage.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope to have fruitful and live dialogue through this site. Thank you for commenting and for in me in my exploration of film masterpieces.

 

Edumnd