Friday, June 17th-Sunday, June 26th: Hollywood Musicals of the 70s

Hollywood Musicals of the 70s
Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., Manhattan)
$9

Did the American movie musical die with DR. DOOLITTLE? Definitely not! This June, Anthology sets out to prove that movies went on singing and dancing throughout Vietnam, Watergate, Women’s Lib, stagflation, and the energy crisis. Though the mood was less hospitable to the genre’s optimism, the 70s had no shortage of musicals, from existential critiques of showbiz to rockin’ sex comedies.

The series begins in the aftermath of the Beatles breakup, with 200 MOTELS, Tony Palmer and Frank Zappa’s experimental musical starring Ringo as Zappa. It ends on the eve of MTV with Herbert Ross’s emotional deconstruction of pop music in the American psyche, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN. Between these cultural benchmarks, disco and punk emerge, along with more nuanced trends, like groovy ‘Me Decade’ self-help crusades (THE WIZ) and nostalgic revivals of Old Hollywood art deco (NEW YORK, NEW YORK and AT LONG LAST LOVE) and doo-wop/surf-rock bubblegum (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE).

Clearing away the cobwebs, common threads are elusive. It’s tempting to use the word ‘postmodern’, but is anything in this lineup really darker, campier, more ironic, or more self-reflexive than GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933? Such was the rich diversity of 70s “Hollywood” that half of these films were produced outside California. Some are independent, low-budget creations, others Broadway-export mega-productions. Celebrity filmmakers Scorsese, De Palma, Lumet, Altman, and Bogdanovich bring their signatures to the genre. Bob Fosse co-writes and directs ALL THAT JAZZ, a psychotropic, semi-autobiographical extravaganza – terrain weirdly similar to 200 MOTELS. And Roger Corman casts Joey Ramone as a heartthrob bedroom balladeer in ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. Unorthodoxy is indeed the norm, but even purists will vouch for the genius choreography in THE LITTLE PRINCE (Fosse’s “Snake in the Grass”) and PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (Christopher Walken’s “Let’s Misbehave”).

This medley of musicals puts critical darlings together in the spotlight with historic train wrecks. Let’s face the music! –Leah Churner

Curated by Leah Churner; special thanks to Nick Pinkerton, Brian Block (Criterion USA), Kathryn Brennan (Paramount), Paul Ginsburg (Universal), Jim Orr (MGM), Caitlin Robertson (20th Century Fox), Germaine Simiens (New Horizons Picture Corp.), Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA Film & Television Archive), and Marilee Womack & Sean Domachowski (Warner Bros.).

Upcoming Screenings

Tony Palmer and Frank Zappa
200 MOTELS
June 17 at 7:15 PM
June 20 at 9:00 PM
June 26 at 6:30 PM

Brian De Palma
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
June 17 at 9:30 PM
June 24 at 7:00 PM

Stanley Donen
THE LITTLE PRINCE
June 18 at 4:00 PM
June 22 at 9:00 PM
June 25 at 6:30 PM

Peter Bogdanovich
AT LONG LAST LOVE
June 18 at 6:00 PM
June 21 at 9:30 PM

Martin Scorsese
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
June 18 at 8:30 PM
June 21 at 6:30 PM
June 25 at 8:30 PM

Sidney Lumet
THE WIZ
June 19 at 4:00 PM
June 23 at 6:45 PM

Allan Arkush
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL
June 19 at 6:45 PM
June 24 at 9:00 PM

Bob Fosse
ALL THAT JAZZ
June 19 at 8:45 PM
June 22 at 6:30 PM

Herbert Ross
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
June 20 at 6:45 PM
June 23 at 9:30 PM
June 26 at 8:30 PM