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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Don't Watch TCM Without It ...


Richard Barrios Does Musicals Proud

Atop Greenbriar pyramid of author/historians is Richard Barrios, who wrote hands-down best survey of All Talking/Singing/Dancing film, A Song In The Dark, which I've read twice and have consulted many more times than that. Barrios also gave us Dangerous Rhythms, where he deftly follows musicals past earliest sound era to the present. It's fitting this author address the genre for, besides being foremost authority re musicals, his is a voice distinctive and product of lifelong research. Big plus is Barrios wit and turn of phrasing, this common to whatever he writes. Being also a collector for many years lends knowledge of each film's afterlife, as none existed in mere bubble of years they were released. All is brought to bear on the author's newest, Must-See Musicals: 50 Show-Stopping Movies We Can't Forget. Barrios intro-confesses struggle to pick but fifty from such wealth of favorites, a commission I'd not envy him, but which choices I applaud. The book also bears TCM's logo, this apt for most of selections played often there. Regular viewing of the network will be much enhanced by handy access to this book. I certainly will be inclined to forge for all fifty now with the author's eloquent appreciations as guide.




Barrios answers so many of questions that I would ask, like what became of talent associated with these films, how/why certain musicals were altered, or off viewer radar for decades (the King Of Jazz and A Star Is Born sagas are told). He considers changed attitudes and impact this has on reaction to musicals. Barrios does not shrink from reality of classics that lost money when new. Who'd guess The Bandwagon sank in red ink? --- yet it did. He points out Singin' In The Rain as last musical to star Gene Kelly and turn profit. He cites Esther Williams own-up to spike of autobio (with untrue sensation) to boost sales. These are truths behind tunes and gaiety that make Must-See Musicals far more than recite of favorites with pics to illustrate. Latter, by the way, is dazzling array of stills, poster art, rare behind-scenes glimpse, with color imagery seasoned throughout. Must-See Musicals will satisfy both long term fans and newcomers to the genre. Strikes me too as an ideal holiday gift for those hooked on TCM or Blu-Ray/DVD's that are available on virtually all titles that Barrios covers.

1 Comments:

Blogger Richard Schilling said...

Thank you for posting this; Richard Barrios is one of my favorite film writers. His A SONG IN THE DARK was one of the most enjoyable film histories I have ever read - each page was a revelation about an era long too negelected.

12:35 AM  

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