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To wrap up our extended look at music and film this month, I'll be looking at my favourite musicals!  Of course, there are the classics: Singing in the Rain, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music, all of which I've seen hundreds of times, and I could sing along to each and every song.  But it seems that the era of the classic musical is over.  The most contemporary musical that really works for me is from 1986, a six-part BBC series called The Singing Detective, written by Dennis Potter and directed by Jon Amiel (NOT the 2003 remake with Robert Downey Jr.! - though I think Robert Downey Jr. is great, the remake could never live up to the original, and I can't believe Hollywood could even attempt such a thing... but I digress.)  Dennis Potter is the real genius behind this series, as can be seen in his other, brilliant works, such as Pennies From Heaven. The first time I saw The Singing Detective, I was simultaneously repulsed (The main character, a mystery writer named Phillip E. Marlow, is in the hospital for a horrible skin disease), delighted by the surreal lip-synced musical numbers of 1940s-era songs, which Marlow hallucinates, intrigued by clever interweaving of different worlds and noir mystery, and horrified by some of Marlow's dark flashbacks to his childhood.  The juxtaposition of cheerful, catchy tunes, such as ""Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters" with dark, bleak settings and sudden bursts of manic choreography, is simply amazing. 


 

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