15 Movie Musicals That Will Brighten Your Dimming Spirit

By Leigh Blickley | HuffPost

It’s been a long few weeks in coronavirus isolation. 

Words fail,” I say as I sip my fourth cup of coffee and look out the window, thinking, “It’s quiet uptown.” I grab another pair of leggings and a T-shirt I’ve had for far too many years to change into.

Mother, what happened here?” I think as I watch my toddler take a crayon and drag it across my living room wall. “When life gives you eggs, make an omelet,”I concede. At the end of the day, I head to bed, restless. “Younger than springtime, are you,” I tell myself in the mirror as I wash my dry, blemish-filled face. “It’s the bitch of living.

Thank God for musicals. Show tunes have helped me through these dark days, which might last a little longer than some of us initially thought. So, since we can’t physically head to Broadway, why not stream some magic through our living room screens? 

In this list, HuffPost culture reporters share their picks for movie musicals that will have you smiling, singing and perhaps dancing through the pandemic, until we attempt to go “back to before.”  

“Meet Me In St. Louis” (1944)
Two words: Judy. Garland. If that alone isn’t enough to sway you, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” set in St. Louis right before the 1904 World’s Fair, is full of beautiful period costumes, and enduring songs like “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” But, again: Judy Freaking Garland.
― Emma Gray

Available to watch (with commercial breaks) on the TVTime smartTV app, or rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and Amazon Prime.

“The Harvey Girls” (1946)

Judy Garland will, of course, always be associated with “The Wizard of Oz.” One of the less-heralded gems in her cinematic oeuvre, however, is 1946′s “The Harvey Girls.” This delightfully campy Western fantasia gives us a showstopper in the exuberant “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” which won an Oscar for Best Song. There’s also a 20-year-old Angela Lansbury as a “dancehall girl” from a local brothel, and even an Emerald City reunion of sorts between Garland and Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in “Oz.”
― Curtis M. Wong 

Available for rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and Amazon Prime.

“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) 

No movie can brighten my mood and lift my spirits when I’m feeling down in mere seconds the way that “Singin’ in the Rain” does. This movie has everything: that famous MGM technicolor gloss, amazing set pieces, Gene Kelly’s effortlessly beautiful dancing, and Debbie Reynolds in her first big role in a major musical. Every single song in this movie — and I mean EVERY single song — is a banger. From “Good Morning” to “Moses Supposes” to the titular song, every time a new number starts the attention to detail and the art of pure spectacle and scale is unmatched. This movie is funny and sweet and sad in all the right places and, even at almost 70 years old, it still holds up.
― Zeba Blay 

Available for rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and Amazon Prime. 

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954)
I need to preface this recommendation by saying that it is … a problematic fave, to say the least. The plot of “Seven Brides” is rife with misogyny, yet if you saw it as a kid, like I did, you are probably still enraptured by it. It’s about seven “scroungy backwoodsmen” out West and the women they fall in love with. The songs are beautiful and catchy, and it contains one of the most exquisite extended dance scenes I’ve ever seen.
― Emma Gray

“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964)

Jacques Demy’s gorgeous French ballad was inspired by Hollywood’s Technicolor musicals, painting a vivid but bittersweet portrait of an ill-fated romance. The 1964 classic launched Catherine Deneuve’s career, inspired “La La Land” and remains one of the most handsomely designed productions ever committed to film. If you need a gentle cry, this is your jam.
― Matthew Jacobs

Available to watch on Criterion Channel, or rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Prime.

“Victor/Victoria” (1982)

If Julie Andrews hadn’t already been note-perfect in “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music,” perhaps more praise would be heaped on the woefully overlooked “Victor/Victoria.” Directed by Andrews’ husband Blake Edwards, the movie is an entertaining, genre-defying farce that, for its time, was also forward-thinking when it came to queer characters and themes. Andrews’ thrilling performance of “Le Jazz Hot” ranks alongside “My Favorite Things” (from “The Sound of Music”) as a sparkling musical achievement in cinema.
― Curtis M. Wong

Available for rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and Amazon Prime. 

“Polly” (1989)

This made-for-TV movie, directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen, was adapted from Eleanor H. Porter’s book “Pollyanna,” and starred Keshia Knight-Pulliam and Phylicia Rashad. The film follows orphan Polly Whittier who visits her well-to-do aunt in Harrington, Alabama, in the 1950s. Polly brings the small, segregated town together with her sunny disposition and, well, it’s also a bit of a tear-jerker at the very end. We played the VHS tape ad nauseam in my home in the ’90s, and I still know the words to all nine of the 100-minute movie’s musical numbers. It’s streaming on YouTube, but Disney Plus really needs to get it together and add it to the service.
― Erin E. Evans 

Available on YouTube.

“The Five Heartbeats” (1991)

“The Five Heartbeats” is, quite simply, a classic. The 10-song movie musical follows a Motown-inspired R&B group over three decades as the group members — portrayed by Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Harry Lennix, Leon and Tico Wells — make hit records, battle alcohol and substance abuse, and face turbulent moments in their relationships. Townsend, who starred and directed the film, said it was a “rollercoaster ride” to make, taking more than three years and 10,000 actor auditions before it was finally released in theaters. But it was all worth it, of course. I’ve watched this movie more than a dozen times and seeing Eddie King Jr. drunkenly sing “Nights Like This” never gets old.
― Erin E. Evans 

Read more >> http://ow.ly/3PSQ50zihMv

Share This Post
Have your say!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>