Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday Movie Picks Meme: Movies About Music

This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is movies about music, but there is a catch: we can't do biopics on musicians or anything about a real-life musician. That's not too bad. This might be (literally) a last-minute entry I quickly put together after realizing this week's theme, but I should be able to come up with something.

The Jazz Singer (1926)

Okay, so this is definitely not a movie that has aged well. In fact today it might be considered outright racist due to the infamous scenes of the main character performing in blackface. However, it did make a significant impact due to its technical accomplishments. The Jazz Singer was, at the time of its release, a huge gamble for Warner Bros. Studios. Sound technology had been experimented with for decades, but this is often credited as the first feature-length sound film (though technically it isn't so much a talking picture as it is a silent movie with short segments incorporating sound, usually for musical numbers).  It was this film that brought sound to the mainstream and made studios realize just how profitable talking pictures could be.

The Red Shoes (1948)

If one really wants to get technical, this film is mainly about the struggles of various characters to navigate the ballet industry, but ballet, by its very nature, based on music. The plot also centers around a performance of the ballet. As a result, it involves some incredible musical sequences, including an amazing (if heavily condensed) performance that actually managed to make me respect ballet for the first time in my life. We also can't forget that one of the other main characters is a musician and a composer, and his musical career is an integral part of the story.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

This bizarre film is a hilarious satire on the life of rock and roll icon Johnny Cash, represented here by the fictional character of Dewey Cox. The story of the film naturally concerns the strange events contributing to the rise and fall of Cox as a musician, who struggles with some unusual situations. Along the way, there are also cameos by famous rock stars. To call this movie surreal is an understatement, but it is still a lot of fun and definitely worth watching.


  1. I've only seen Walk Hard and it is certainly bizarre. I'm not a big fan of it, but a lot of people are so I expect to see it plenty today. I keep avoiding The Jazz Singer, mainly because of that pic. Maybe one day. After all, I braved through Birth of a Nation. Nice cheat with The Red Shoes. Great work.

  2. Love The Red Shoes! It is such a beautifully imagined film and the colours of the film are dream like to me. I have seen the Jazz Singer and it is pretty schlocky. The blackface is horrible but I feel we have to view it at the time it was made. heck Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby also did Blackface and they felt they were paying homage (it does make me wince but it was the times). I picked a silent film as well. I have not seen the last film but it sounds funny

  3. The Red Shoes is an inventive choice, never would have thought of it but it does fit so well. A beautiful looking film with some disturbing themes and a great performance from Anton Walbrook.

    The Jazz Singer is likewise a brilliant pick even if the picture itself is a creaky old antique. I've seen it but once was enough, the biggest charge I got out of it was spotting Myrna Loy in a small part. What gets me is that they remade it twice! Seemingly not understanding it was the novelty of sound which made it famous not the hoary old chestnut of a story. At least the 50's version had Peggy Lee singing a bunch of numbers in her inimitable way, the 80's version with Neil Diamond is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

    I've heard of but haven't seen Walk Hard.

  4. Good call on The Jazz Singer! I saw it for the first time a few years back and it was... not exactly what I would call good. But it is very easy to see how important it is to film history, and to imagine how it must have played to audiences back in 1926.

    The Red Shoes is SUCH a cheat... unless you're saying the film is about Julian Craster, the composer, which I could buy. Either way it is a superb film. So beautiful!

  5. I haven't seen the first two but I love that you included Walk Hard. That movie is hysterical.

  6. Walk Hard!! Yes! I almost picked that one myself. Brilliant!