Posts Tagged ‘cyd charisse’

Silk Stockings

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Silk Stockings [Blu-ray]


Starring – Fred Astaire (Steve Canfield), Cyd Charisse (Ninotchka Yoschenko), Janis Paige (Peggy Dayton), Peter Lorre (Brankov), George Tobias (Vassili Markovitch).

Released – June, 1957

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – American film producer Steve Canfield is making his next picture in Paris, France. Canfield wants the music for the film to be composed by Russian Peter Illyich Boroff. This is fine with Boroff as he likes Paris so much he does not want to return to Russia.

His decision does not sit well with the Russian government and they send three operatives from Moscow to bring the composer back to the mother country. In order to keep Boroff from being brought home, Canfield must come up with something to dissuade the Russian operatives from their mission.

He decides to use the most effective means possible by bribing the operatives with women, nightclubs, and champagne. In addition, Canfield asks his leading lady Peggy Dayton to use her feminine wiles to help with the problem.

Back in Moscow, the commissar of the Ministry is worried why the mission is taking so long. He decides to send the very hard-lined agent Ninotchka Yoschenko to bring everyone home. While she steadfastly refuses to be lured by the decadent appeal of Paris, somehow Canfield is able to romance her in the hope of sabotaging her mission. He goes so far as to even propose marriage.

Upon hearing how Boroff’s music has been changed to suit the film, Yoschenko and Boroff return to Russia.

While this may seem like the end of the films production, Canfield has one more trick up his sleeve.

NOTABLE: After the completion of Silk Stockings, Fred Astaire decided to take a break from musicals and concentrate on non-musical roles. He would not make another musical until 1968.

For Director Rouben Mamoulian this would be his last motion picture. He would spend the remainder of his career directing Broadway plays.

The original Broadway play of Silk Stockings ran for 478 performances. The storyline is a remake of the 1939 film Ninotchka starring Greta Garbo who was also directed by Mamoulian.

Cyd Charisse’s vocals were performed by Carol Richards. Richards had also sung for Charisse in the films Brigadoon (1954) and It’s Always Fair Weather (1955).

It’s Always Fair Weather

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

It’s Always Fair Weather

Tagline – MGM’s Gigantic and Joyous Musical

Starring – Gene Kelly (Ted Riley), Dan Dailey (Doug Hallerton), Cyd Charisse (Jackie Leighton), Dolores Gray (Madeline Bradville), Michael Kidd (Angie Valentine).

Released – September, 1955

Directed By – Stanley Donan, Gene Kelly

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Ex-GI’s Ted, Doug, and Angie, became best friends while serving together during World War II. The war has ended and the trio has returned home to spend their last evening together in their favorite New York bar.

Before going their separate ways, they discuss their hopes and dreams for the future and agree to meet again at the bar in ten years. Ten years is a long time and, although they all show up for the ten year meeting, things have changed.

In very little time they realize that they have grown apart during the ten year period and are now very different people. Ted became a boxing promoter and it didn’t work out, Angie runs a small hamburger stand and struggles to get by, and Doug is in advertising and nursing an ulcer.

Each man is now forced to face the reality that his life has not turned out to be one of fulfilled hopes and dreams. However, they are destined for one more reunion when Ted falls for Jackie, a beautiful woman with a plan.

Jackie, a television program coordinator, has secretly arranged for the men to be brought together again on a popular live TV show. But, arranging the circumstances to bring the men together has hit a snag… it seems there are a group of gangsters looking for Ted.

NOTABLE: It’s Always Fair Weather received two Oscar nominations, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay.

Originally conceived as a Broadway sequel to ‘On The Town,’ the plans were changed at Gene Kelly’s insistence. It was produced as an MGM musical upon Kelly’s return from Europe where he had been making musicals to take advantage of tax laws. The films failed, the tax law was revoked and Kelly returned to America.

Cyd Charisse’s singing was dubbed by Carol Richards.

Although receiving good reviews, It’s Always Fair Weather was a financial disappointment. There were a number of reasons as there is a certain sadness to the film and audiences just didn’t like unhappy musicals. Also, more and more Americans were staying home to watch television.

Many consider the tap-dancing on roller skates solo to ‘I Like Myself’ by Gene Kelly to be one of his finest routines.



The Band Wagon

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The Band Wagon [Blu-ray]

Tagline – MGM’s Top Technicolor Musical!

Starring – Fred Astaire (Tony Hunter), Cyd Charisse (Gabrielle Gerard), Oscar Levant (Lester Martin), Nanette Fabray (Lily Martin), Jack Buchanan (Jeffrey Cordova).

Released – August, 1953

Directed By – Vincente Minnelli

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Tony Hunter is a veteran musical comedy star, of both the stage and screen, who’s feeling a little insecure lately. Tony is afraid he’s getting older and losing his popularity.

He needs a show for a strong comeback and his friends Lester and Lily Martin are there to help. The duo has written a show they think is perfect for Tony. Everything seems to be working out until a director is hired.

Chosen to direct the play is big-shot, overly “artistic” director, producer Jeffrey Cordova who has brought with him a prima ballerina to co-star with Tony. Cordova changes the theme of the light comedy to a dark reinterpretation of Faust, starring himself as the Devil, and Tony as the Faust character.

As for Tony and co-star ballerina Gabrielle Gerard… it’s hate at first sight. When the out-of-town tryout fails miserably, both the show and Tony’s career seem doomed.

Can a rewrite of the show by Tony and the addition of the originally intended light musical comedy be restored and successful? And if so, there is still one huge problem – the financial backers have pulled out.

NOTABLE: The Band Wagon received three Academy Award nominations; Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, and Best Costume Design, Color.

In 1995, The Band Wagon was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Although only a modest box-office success, The Band Wagon is considered by many critics to rank right up there with the top MGM musicals.

In 2006, this motion picture was ranked as #17 on the American Film Institutes list of best musicals.




Friday, October 30th, 2009

Where Danger Lives / Tension (Film Noir Double Feature)

Tagline – The hard-hitting story of a man with a plan… Revenge!

Starring – Richard Basehart (Warren Quimby/Paul Sothern), Audrey Totter (Mrs. Claire Quimby), Cyd Charisse (Mary Chanler), Barry Sullivan (Police Lt. Collier Bonnabel).

Released – January, 1950

Directed By – John Berry

Produced By –  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – Quiet, soft-spoken, drugstore manager Warren Quimby’s unfaithful wife Claire leaves him for another man.  Hurt and outraged, Warren devises a very intricate plan where he will assume another identity and make changes to his appearance so as not to be linked to the crime. The crime – murder his wife’s lover.

The night of the planned murder he is unable to go through with the crime, but his wife’s lover turns up murdered by someone else with all the clues pointing directly at him.

NOTABLE: Audrey Totter had been promised top-billing by the MGM, but when Richard Basehart was borrowed from Fox to play her husband, the studio demanded that he get top billing as a condition of the agreement.