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A Splash of Color

MFA shows classic Technicolor musicals this weekend


Dust off your ruby slippers, polish your 76 trombones, and get ready for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend filled with singin’ (and dancin’) in the rain.

This weekend, the Museum of Fine Arts is concluding its Technicolor Musicals film series, a celebration of the golden age of American musicals and the brilliant Technicolor that helped bring them to vivid life. The series began earlier this month with a screening of West Side Story (1961) and closes Sunday, June 1, with An American in Paris (1954). While each movie’s studios, stars, and release dates differ, all were shot using Technicolor technology.

Today’s exciting double feature is two 1960s award-winners: at 4 p.m., The Music Man (1962) and at 7 p.m., Walt Disney’s fantasy Mary Poppins (1964). The story of a con man who tries to scam a Midwestern town by pretending to create a marching band, The Music Man has an infectious score and delightfully catchy songs (“76 Trombones,” “Shipoopi,” and “Till There Was You”) that won the film won the Oscar for Best Music. The Oscar-winning musical Mary Poppins, about a nanny (Julie Andrews) who sweetens the lives of a dysfunctional London family through magic (and a spoonful of sugar), features a combination of live action and animation that appeals to both children and adults and is one of Disney’s most successful films.

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Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964), being shown tonight, Friday, May 30, at 7 p.m. Photo courtesy of Mary Poppins

Saturday belongs to Hollywood legend Judy Garland. See a morning showing of A Star Is Born (11 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.), the 1954 musical drama of a rising star (Garland) whose success threatens her relationship with a movie actor with a career that’s on the wane. Stick around for a screening of Garland’s most famous performance, Dorothy Gale in MGM’s 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz (2:30 to 4:10 p.m.).

Sunday, June 1, is the series’ grand finale, with two of the most critically acclaimed Technicolor musicals of all time, Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and An American in Paris (1951), both starring actor-choreographer Gene Kelly. Singin’ in the Rain, MGM’s musical spoof of the film industry’s transition from silent movies to talkies, airs at 11 a.m. Its stellar songs (the eponymous “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Good Morning,” “You Were Meant for Me,” and “All I Do Is Dream of You”) and dazzling dance numbers (“Make ’Em Laugh” and “Broadway Rhythm Ballet”) contributed to its being voted the greatest musical of all time by the American Film Institute. At 1:30 p.m., the series closes with the 1952 Oscar-winner for Best Picture, An American in Paris, whose songs by George and Ira Gershwin, among them “Love Is Here to Stay” and “’S Wonderful,” are Great American Songbook standards.

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MGM’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952), voted the greatest musical of all time by the American Film Institute, will be featured at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 1. Photo courtesy of Singin’ in the Rain

All of the films shown this weekend appear on the American Film Institute’s list of the 180 greatest all-time movie musicals. Seeing them on a big screen, where the Technicolor really pops, is worth a trip.

The Technicolor Musicals film series is at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through June 1. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Nonmember ticket prices range from $8 to $11, and discounts are available with a valid student ID or an MFA membership. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the MFA website. Find a complete listing of show times and prices here. By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line E trolley or 39 bus to the Museum of Fine Arts stop or an Orange Line train or bus routes 8, 47, or CT2 to the Ruggles stop.

Samantha Pickette can be reached at pickette@bu.edu.


2 Comments on A Splash of Color

  • Mel611 on 05.30.2014 at 9:14 am

    We all love technicolor…it brings the old into the new, where we can all enjoy the 21st century together.

  • Joanne Grant on 06.04.2014 at 3:05 pm

    great seeing an article written by you. XO Joanne

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