Monday, October 30, 2006

Finding This Stuff Is What Makes Life Worth Living

I know I shouldn't just post YouTube finds without having something to say about them, but I just found this and I can't think of anything to say except "wow, I'm glad somebody uploaded this": the last truly great Busby Berkeley number, from his 1943 Fox Technicolor extravaganza The Gang's All Here: "The Lady In the Tutti-Frutti Hat," a celebration of everything Berkeley loved: arranging chorus girls in geometric patterns; spectacular camera movements, and rampant sexual innuendo.

One thing I can add about The Gang's All Here is that it's one of the few Fox musicals that really takes advantage of the studio's distinctively lush, beautiful use of Technicolor. Most Fox musicals had rather drab production values, with most of the musical numbers restricted to small Vaudeville stages or nightclubs; they rarely had any visual imagination to match that spectacular color photography. Berkeley had visual imagination to spare, of course, and his sensibility combined with the Fox Technicolor makes for some of the most amazing visual experiences in the history of movie musicals.

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