Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Thoughts on Two Thirties Musicals

Showboat (1936)
Written by Edna Ferber & Oscar Hammerstein II
Stars: Irene Dunne as Magnolia, Allan Jones as Gaylord Ravenal, Charles Winninger as Cap'n Andy Hawks, Paul Robeson as Joe, Hattie McDaniel as Queenie

Premise/plot: Magnolia, the heroine, grows up on her father's showboat, when the showboat's star attraction is forced to leave, Magnolia takes her place and becomes quite popular. A newcomer to the act is a young man named Gaylord. The two fall deeply, madly in love with one another...and end up leaving as well to live life as a married couple. But happily ever after it is not....

My thoughts: OH MY EARS. If you've heard Irene Dunne sing, then you know why I'd begin with a strong exclamation!!!! But Allan Jones--in this movie, at least in a few scenes--looked remarkably like Matthew McConaughey. I don't know why!!!

Show Boat was originally a musical on the stage (Broadway) in 1927.

Favorite scenes: Paul Robeson singing Ol' Man River and Ah Still Suits Me.

Swing Time (1936)
Written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields
Stars: Fred Astaire as Lucky, Ginger Rogers as Penny, Victor Moore as Pop, Helen Broderick as Mabel, Georges Metaxa as Ricky Romero.

Premise/plot: Lucky doesn't prove Lucky when viewers first meet him. Pop and the rest of the show business act conspire to keep him from his wedding to Margaret. He ends up still very much single and much broker. (He recklessly made a bet (for all his money) with one of his friends that he'd "be married by the end of the day.") Lucky and Pop end up going to New York, still very much penniless except for his lucky nickel (or dime???). Lucky meets a young woman, Penny, who is a dance instructor. At first she HATES, HATES, HATES HIM. But then she begins to warm up to him when she realizes he is her ultimate dance partner and they've got a chance of making it BIG if they stick together.... Will they keep it professional, or are they destined to fall in love?!

My thoughts: I love this one so very much!!!

Favorite scenes: Fred Astaire singing You Look Wonderful Tonight to Ginger Rogers--as she's washing her hair in the other room. I also adore A FINE ROMANCE.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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