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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"See how I'm not punchin' him? I think I've grown."
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March 04 2006

For the love of Brigadoon. Joss Whedon tells all to the Daily Telegraph.

Interviews like this which are off the beaten track are always interesting to read.

What a fascinating take on staging and what has replaced musical numbers. It's rare to read a Joss interview that doesn't have at least one intriguing statement in it.
The Theatre Major (emphasis on Musical Theatre, Minor in Music) in me is just going "Squeeeeeeeeee!"
Sorry. I had to share. : )
You know, this guy would really be a great host for Turner Classic Movies, giving his take on certain movies. This isn't just some guy who took a comic book sensibility and turned it into classic cult TV. This guy is a student of all types of entertainment.
I especially agree with his comment that action scenes have become as important as musical numbers in the past (back when there were just as many musicals produced as westerns, comedies and the like). I remember a movie review for one of the the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, where Freddy Krueger's murders were set up just like musical numbers. "Viva Blackpool" further proves this point, where we see some of the characters in confrontations that morph into musical numbers on the spot.
I think people fly through plate-glass windows when they get shot because movies don't have dance scenes any more


Indeed.

This brings to mind the recent discussion here about the book, Singing A New Tune. The book itself is somewhat flimsy analysis-wise, but an entertaining read - and full of Jossiness about musicals in general, and Once More With Feeling in particular.

Although Brigadoon has never been a huge favorite of mine, this may spark a reason to revisit it.
I've heard of Brigadoon, but have never really been inclined to see it...but this interests me. Even if I end up disagreeing with him, it was a fascinating read.
I've heard of Brigadoon, but have never really been inclined to see it...but this interests me. Even if I end up disagreeing with him, it was a fascinating read.


Ah, see it if for no other reason but to see Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly dance together. (Also see them paired in "Singing In The Rain", another wonderful movie. The number with Debbie Reynolds is cute, but the one with Charisse is absolutely hot.)
And the portrayal of Scotland is even funnier than Braveheart...
Oooh, I love old musicals. I actually saw a dinner theater do Brigadoon when I was about 12, so I've liked it for a long time. The movie is ok, but I'll never forget that live performance.
Brigadoon is one of the few musicals I can stand to watch. It has a definite romance to it that, I agree with Joss, is helped by the tinge of cynical darkness underneath. Also, Gene Kelly, well the lad's a genius. And Cyd Charisse isn't exactly hard on the eyes.

And the portrayal of Scotland is even funnier than Braveheart...

Actually, where I was born and raised (near Glasgow) the entire background was a matte painting, everyone wore kilts all the time, spoke in hilarious lilting 'accents' and broke into spontaneous song so it seems bang on to me. Of course, I realise it's different in the East ;).

(and Braveheart was mainly filmed in Ireland I think tho', obviously, as you say, it was portraying Scotland. Rob Roy on the other hand was filmed almost entirely in auld Scotia and plainly by a director that loves the place - the hills around Fort William are almost another character in the picture)
Just coming on here to tell you all that we lost a dearly loved Ozcoat today.
We'll miss you my dear friend Chocolate.
It's hard when a man who embodies everything that is good about being a browncoat becomes for us our own leaf in the wind.
Cool article - and yes, if you have never seen Brigadoon, see it. Gene Kelly is wonderful and it is a cool story. I own the movie (but haven't watched it in ages so now I think I have to dust it off and give it a watch) and I have seen it in play form many time, I always liked it, as a kid it was one of my favorites along with Man of La Mancha and Celebration.
I just wished I watched this "Brigadoon". If you're comparing to 'Once More, With Feeling', now, I really feel left out. Another trip to UK amazon. Is this movie relative?
The original one sheet for Brigadoon says "IN GAYEST COLOR" on it. Different times.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-03-04 16:27 ]
as a kid it was one of my favorites along with Man of La Mancha and Celebration.


Celebration, passion? Like in Orphan, Angel (and the Devil Girls)and Mr. Rich? I was in a production of that when I was in college! :)
Oh my. That was a long, long...long time ago. *sigh* Good times, good times.
Nixy, My condolances to you, his family, and all the OZ fans who were close to him. It sounds like he will be greatly missed.

Brigadoon has never been one of my favorites, but I always liked it. I saw a stage production a couple years ago in Summer stock but have not seen the movie since I was a kid. I'll have to take another look with more adult eyes. :-)
Guess that sells it. Thanks, gossi.

Edit to add: nixygirl, I'm so sorry for your loss.

[ edited by Madhatter on 2006-03-04 16:49 ]
Ah, see it if for no other reason but to see Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly dance together. (Also see them paired in "Singing In The Rain", another wonderful movie. The number with Debbie Reynolds is cute, but the one with Charisse is absolutely hot.)


Ah yes, Singin' in the Rain is one of my most favorite movies. Donald O'Connor is brilliant in anything; he was definitely the best part of There's No Business Like Show Business.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-03-04 20:23 ]
I am checking out Once Upon A Time In The West tonight (yes, I've never seen it). I've no idea why. I think it was a subliminal message, broadwaved on the interweb.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-03-04 21:07 ]
I haven't seen this film, but I'm certainly impressed by the recommendations here! We'll have to Netflix this or see if the library has it.

[ edited by billz on 2006-03-04 23:46 ]
Once upon a time in the West is excellent. Henry Fonda like you may never have seen him before with bull-shooter blue eyes that never looked madder, character based musical themes, beautiful sweeping panoramas before they became big old cliches and Charles Bronson back when he still rocked, hard. If you haven't seen it and can stand westerns even slightly then you're in for a treat.

Oh and Claudia Cardinale is in it. And Ennio Morricone did the music. What's not to like ?

(got it on VHS, been meaning to get the DVD)
It's my opinion that Once Upon A Time In The West is basically The Train Job: The Movie. Minus the actual, you know, train heist.

There's a lot of Firefly characters in it. There's a lot of shots in it which appear almost exactly the same in The Train Job. The woman left behind.. Buh. How have I not seen this movie? I tend to like movies with long meandering shots - Elephant is a typical example, as is this.

I shall put together some words on it when I know what they are.
I love Once Upon A Time In The West, it's in my top 5 favourite movies of all time. I remember watching it when I was a young boy, and was totally blown away by it, and have seen it about 10 times since. I you like it, you should really consider getting the digitally remastered DVD edition, that came out about 2 years ago, the clarity is astounding, and made it look like it's been recently shot. Such a great movie... Once you see the slow, gradually building scene in the beginning at the train station, you know you're in for something special, and yes, Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is the stuff of legends imo. Oh and I just love this quote:

"Your friends have a high mortality rate" - Harmonica

[ edited by Kraze on 2006-03-05 10:44 ]
Once Upon a Time is the best western ever made...well, that would be true if John Ford hadn't gone and made The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Yeah, I have the digitally remastered version. Considering it is, what, 50 years old - it looks like it was shot yesterday.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance shall be purchased.

I have huge love for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by the way.
Although 'Brigadoon' is not my favourite musical ('On The Town' and 'Damn Yankees' probably fight it out for that title) it does contain one of my favourite songs, 'Almost Like Being In Love'.

As for 'Once Upon A Time In The West' and 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance', fine films both, neither would ever surpass the brilliance of 'The Searchers' for me - the very greatest of the John Ford-John Wayne films.
Agreed dashboardprophet, The Searchers is a truly great film, and could be the ultimate western.

Tho' Liberty Valance is also good, where it's about people being left behind by changing times (and a kind of origin story for modern America), The Searchers is, to me, partly about one person doing the leaving behind of an entire society and that's just inherently more romantic. Ethan Edwards is the ultimate outsider and probably John Wayne's best role (tho' I also really like Rio Bravo and The Shootist and must confess, despite its flaws, i've a huge soft spot for the movie of True Grit and can't recommend the superior book enough with its real sense of character to Mattie Ross and a pathos that doesn't come across in the film).

Reckon i'm gonna get the DVD of Once Upon a Time ... this P.M. Treat myself ;).
I said a mouthful, didn't I? I'll be hiding under my rock for the next year. Bye.
"Like in Orphan, Angel (and the Devil Girls)and Mr. Rich? I was in a production of that when I was in college! :)"

AmazonGirl Exactly - I loved Celebration - gee I thought I was one of the few people who knew it - it's so nice to have someone else recognize it! Amazingly enough I still remember many of the songs!
If Joss likes musicals, he must must watch some Indian movies. If he likes the "twee" and "totally artificial", I'd suggest Hum Aapke Hain Koun. For thrilling music and sports action, Lagaan. For sci-fi over-the-topness with a mad villain and jiggly heroine, the sci-fi musical Mr. India.

It would be keen if Joss were to work with some of India's better actors, like Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, or Rahul Bose.
For thrilling music and sports action, Lagaan.

I heartily agree. I Netflixed Lagaan and ended up watching it 3 times before I sent it back. It's now in my Amazon Wish List, and I'll probably just end up buying it.
I love Bollywood movies. They're amazing.

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