The musical genre found itself in a state of transition in 1964.
Broadway adaptations were still popular; one, My Fair Lady, would even win a best picture Oscar® that year. But the times were changing, and so were the techniques and the financial structure of the studio system. New things were happening: influences from Europe were everywhere, a French musical in which all the dialogue was sung was making a splash—and four boys from Liverpool were making their screen debut.
My Fair Lady (Dir. George Cukor)
The Academy Award winning film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical, based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Arrogant phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) wagers that he can take flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) and turn her into a proper English one.
A Hard Day's Night (Dir. Richard Lester)
A 'typical' day in the life of the Beatles, including many of their famous songs. Starring Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, in their film debut. Music by Lennon and McCartney.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Dir. Jacques Demy) - French Film with English Subtitles
A young girl separated from her lover by war faces a life altering decision. Starring Catherine Deneuve. All dialogue is sung, in this unique musical. Music and lyrics by Michel Legrand.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Dir. Charles Walters)
Adapted from the Meredith Wilson musical, and based loosely on the life of Molly Brown, who survived the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, Debbie Reynolds portrays an uneducated, poor, mountain girl who leaves her mountain cabin in search of a wealthy husband, respect and a better life.
Mary Poppins (Dir. Robert Stevenson)
A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker's unhappy family. Produced by Walt Disney, and featuring songs by Richard and Robert Sherman, and starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
Subscribe and Save! These events can be purchased together as part of the following subscription: Class Package: I Could Have Danced All Night: Musicals of 1964.
Philip Harwood currently lectures at 92nd Street Y and LIU: C.W. Post. He was the coordinator for Lifelong Learning at Queens College, where he also coordinated the annual Summer Film Festival. He is also a published author.
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