Best Music Movies of 1954
A Star Is Born
A movie star helps a young singer-actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.
Two talented song-and-dance men team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. In time they befriend and become romantically involved with the beautiful Haynes sisters who comprise a sister act.
River of No Return
An itinerant farmer and his young son help a heart-of-gold saloon singer search for her estranged husband.
The Glenn Miller Story
A vibrant tribute to one of America's legendary bandleaders, charting Glenn Miller's rise from obscurity and poverty to fame and wealth in the early 1940s.
Americans Jeff and Tommy, hunting in Scotland, stumble upon a village - Brigadoon. They soon learn that the town appears once every 100 years in order to preserve its peace and special beauty. The citizens go to bed at night and when they wake up, it's 100 years later. Tommy falls in love with a beautiful young woman, Fiona, and is torn between staying or going back to his hectic life in New York.
The Country Girl
An ex-theater actor is given one more chance to star in a musical yet his alcoholism may prevent it from happening.
The tale of the cigarette-maker Carmen and the Spanish cavalry soldier Don Jose is translated into a modern-day story of a parachute factory worker and a stalwart GI named Joe who is about to go to flying school. Conflict arises when a prize-ring champ captures the heart of Carmen after she has seduced Joe and caused him to go AWOL.
Living It Up
Homer Flagg (Lewis) is a railroad worker in the small town of Desert Hole, New Mexico. One day he finds an abandoned automobile at an old atomic proving ground. His doctor and best friend, Steve Harris (Martin), diagnoses him with radiation poisoning and gives Homer three weeks to live. A reporter for a New York newspaper, hears of Homer's plight and convinces her editor, to provide an all-expenses paid trip to New York.
Young at Heart
The lives and romances of three sisters in a musical family; the youngest daughter's life is complicated by the subsequent arrival of a charming composer and a cynical music arranger.
A rich, young beauty, Louise Durant, follows the man she loves and hopes to marry to Zurich where he studies violin at the conservatory. A piano student at the conservatory falls madly in love with Louise. The violinist loves his music first and Louise second. The pianist loves Louise first and his music second. Louise must ultimately choose which man she wants.
There's No Business Like Show Business
Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart.
So This Is Paris
Three sailors on leave head for Paris with one thing on their minds.
Pigs Is Pigs
Flannery, a railway agent does everything by the book. He gets into a scrape with a customer, McMorehouse, who wants to pay 44 cents freight for two guinea pigs which he considers pets. Flannery, however, considers them pigs (freight 48 cents), a decision he begins to regret when the animals begin to reproduce.
The Student Prince
A prince has a romance with a barmaid before he must give up personal happiness for duty.
Deep in My Heart
Biographic movie about the American composer Sigmund Romberg.
Three struggling theatrical performers meet a famous songwriter who is trying to convince a wealthy oilman to finance a musical he is scripting, promising them stardom if it comes to fruition.
Babes in Toyland
Based on the classic Broadway operetta by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough, this live television special became an annual Christmas tradition with rotating cast members.
New Faces was a musical revue with songs and comedy skits tied together by a quirky plot. It ran on Broadway for nearly a year in 1952 and was then made into a motion picture in 1954. It helped jump start the careers of several young performers including Paul Lynde, Alice Ghostley, Eartha Kitt, Carol Lawrence, performer/writer Mel Brooks (as Melvin Brooks), and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. The film was basically a reproduction of the stage revue with a thin plot added. The plot involved a producer and performer (Ronny Graham) in financial trouble and is trying to stave off an angry creditor long enough to open his show. A wealthy Texan offers to help out, on the condition that his daughter be in the show.
On an ocean liner, a nightclub singer tries to help a fellow American romance an English heiress who is being forced to return home to marry a man she doesn't love. The American must avoid his boss who is traveling on the same vessel and disguises himself as a gangster traveling with a minister who is, in fact, a disguised gangster on the lam.
Few films wield the awesome spiritual power of Jazz Dance, on which Leacock was one of two cameramen charting the slow, smoldering build of a Manhattan dance club from idle space to explosive, carnal bacchanal. Employing handheld cameras, limited light and sheer proximity, the film achieved an intimacy never before witnessed in a documentary.
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol was written in London by Charles Dickens in 1843. Since that time it has been the subject of countless adaptations for theatrical productions, radio, film, television, and even the opera! This musical version, adapted by Maxwell Anderson for the television show Shower of Stars, features Fredric March (The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit) as the misanthropic Ebenezer Scrooge, who's redemption comes after a ghostly night-time journey through his Christmas Past, Present and Future, and March received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal. The great Basil Rathbone (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) co-stars as the ghost of Scrooge's dead partner Jacob Marley, in what many consider to be the best and most chilling portrayal of Marley ever.
King Richard and the Crusaders
Based on Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman, this is the story of the romantic adventures of Christians and Muslims during the battle for the Holy Land in the time of King Richard the Lionheart.
Johnny Green leads the MGM Symphony Orchestra in a medley of waltzes and other familiar pieces by three members of the Strauss family.
Jerry Biffle is the star of the Blendo Soap Program. He has been invited to participate in an autograph-signing party for his new book at an important department store. Jerry meets Sally Peters, one of the department store models, and makes her part of his TV troupe. As part of his campaign to court Sally, Jerry gets Cliff Lane, the tenor of his TV company, to sing to her over the phone. When Sally and Cliff meet, they fall in love, with Biffle ignorant of the complications.
The First Piano Quartette
The First Piano Quartette is a 1954 short documentary film directed by Otto Lang. It shows the First Piano Quartette composed of Adan Garner, Edward Edson, Frank Mittler and Glauco D'Attilli as they play Lecuona's "Malaguena," Debussy's "Clair de Lune," and John Phillip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever." The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, One-Reel.
La Gazza Ladra Overture
In this short, Johnny Green leads the MGM Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the overture to Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra".
Autumn in Rome
A lonely young woman sings two melancholy ballads in her Manhattan high rise apartment.
Hansel and Gretel
An "electronic puppet" version of the Humperdinck opera, adapted for children and using spoken dialogue as well as Humperdinck's music.
Satins and Spurs
A rodeo performer at a show in Madison Square Garden falls for a handsome photographer who's been assigned to do a story on the show for Life Magazine.
Two for the Record
Animated sequences are set to two Benny Goodman numbers.
The Man on the Flying Trapeze
Sort of a cartoon version of "All About Eve" or people-using-people themes. It opens with a man singing the title song, accompanied by a pianist, a trumpeter and a trombonist. A flashback to the story of Fifi who leaves Waldo for Alonzo, and then leaves Alonzo for the circus owner. Back in the present it is shown that all three men are the musicians and they are almost run down by a limousine, occupied by Fifi, now a stage star.
The first British 3D short, this delightful 27 minute short is like spending a night at the Palladium with several variety acts. They include dancing by the Jack Billings Trio; a song by the Beverley Sisters; "Swan Lake" by Svetlana Beriosova and David Paltenghi of the Sadler's Wells Ballet; precision dancing by The Television Toppers and a comedy routine with Dora Bryan and Max Bygraves.
Set in a nightclub in Sugarland---not the one in Texas---the bon-bons, lollipops, taffy and other sweet-and-sticky citizens perform in a musical show. The grand finale features the Sugar Lump Orchestra playing "Ain't She Sweet" while the bouncing-ball leads the theatre audience in a sing-along.