Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955)


The Cinerama’s Saturday Classics series concludes this weekend with the laser projection of 1955’s smash hit musical Oklahoma!. The following is the review I wrote of the film last year, after finally bringing myself to watch it all the way through.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are generally credited with ushering in a Golden Age of musical theatre, this 1943 play marking the first truly integrated show, with music, lyrics and story seamlessly interwoven. Of course it wasn’t the first (Show Boat did much the same thing 15 years earlier, to say nothing of the operettas from the 19th century onward that did as well, but whatever), but it was a huge hit, inspiring many imitators, some of which are actually good. Similarly, the 1955 film adaptation was followed by a new form of musical film: more or less direct translations of stage musicals, often excruciatingly long, presented as roadshow extravaganzas (more expensive tickets, super widescreen formats, elaborate sets and locations). These films, increasingly bloated and dull, eventually killed the musical as a viable American film genre and played no small role in bankrupting the studio system that had been in place in Hollywood since the 1920s.

Continue reading Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955)”

Friday April 24 – Thursday April 30

Featured Film:

The Tales of Hoffmann at the Cinerama

The Cinerama this week presents Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s musical follow-up to The Red Shoes. An adaptation of the Jacques Offenbach opera, itself based on a trio of stories by author ETA Hoffman, melding ballet, music and romantic melodrama into a glorious Technicolor fantasy. Our Preview.
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Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs Our Preview

Central Cinema:

Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) Fri, Sun-Weds
Slither (James Gnn, 2006) Fri, Sun-Weds

Century Federal Way:

Twenty (Lee Byeong-heon) Fri-Thurs
Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982) Sun Only


The Tales of Hoffmann (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1951) Fri-Tues Our Preview
Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955) Sat Only Laser Projection Our Preview

Landmark Crest Cinema Center:

Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgen) Fri-Thurs

Grand Cinema:

GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Shlomi & Ronit Elkabetz) Sat & Tues Only
Captain Abu Raed (Amin Matalqa, 2007) Sun Only
TCC Diversity Film Series Short Films Weds Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Amour fou (Jessica Hausner) Fri-Thurs
Roar (Noel Marshall, 1981/2014) Fri-Sun, Thurs
Planetary (Guy Reid) Sun Only
Excinema (Various) Tues Only Video & 16mm

Cinemark Lincoln Square Cinemas:

Dohchay (Sudheer Varma) Fri-Thurs
Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982) Sun Only

Majestic Bay Theatre:

What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs Our Preview

Regal Meridian:

Let’s Get Married (Liu Jiang) Fri-Thurs
Desert Dancer (Richard Raymond) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Yakona: Journey Through the Eyes of a River (Paul Collins and Anlo Sepulveda) Fri-Sat Only Live Music, Filmmakers in Attendance

AMC Pacific Place:

Kung Fu Killer (Teddy Chan) Fri-Thurs Our Preview

Regal Parkway Plaza:

You’re My Boss (Antoinette Jadaone) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Lounge:

Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995) Fri Only
Fandango (Kevin Reynolds, 1985) Sat Only
The House of Mirth (Terrence Davies, 2000) Sun Only
The Hedgehog (Mona Achache, 2009) Sun Only
A Pistol for Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965) Mon Only
Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) Tues Only
The Taste of Tea (Katsuhito Ishii, 2004) Weds Only
Women Without Men (Shirin Neshat & Shoja Azari, 2009) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Shlomi & Ronit Elkabetz) Fri-Sun 
What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi) Fri-Sun, Weds Our Preview 
Mommy (Xavier Dolan) Mon Only
In Country (Mike Attie & Meghan O’Hara) Thurs Only

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Deli Man (Erik Anjou) Fri-Thurs
Black Souls (Francesco Munzi) Fri-Thurs
5 to 7 (Victor Levin) Fri-Thurs
Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón) Fri-Thurs Our Preview
What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs Our Preview

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi) Sun-Tues, Thurs Our Preview
GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Shlomi & Ronit Elkabetz) Mon-Thurs
Adult Beginners (Ross Katz) Mon Only Nick Kroll in Attendance
Best of HUMP! Tour 2015 Starts Thurs

The Tales of Hoffmann (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1951)


After the smashing success of 1948’s The Red Shoes, with its lengthy fantasy ballet sequence fusing the stage arts with effects possible only in cinema, the writing-directing-producing team of Michel Powell and Emeric Pressburger wanted to make a truly operatic film. In 1951, they adapted Jacques Offenbach’s mostly-finished fantasy opera The Tale of Hoffman, adapted from three stories by writer ETA Hoffmann. Truly pan-European in concept, it’s an English film adapting a French variation on an Italian art form based on stories from a German author drawing on Central European folk traditions (whose story The Nutcracker is also the basis for the most famous of all Russian ballets). The film is entirely dialogue-free, every line sung in an English adaptation of Offenbach’s score by opera professionals, all pre-recorded with the film edited to match the score (all but two of the actors are dubbed, only star Richard Rounseville and Ann Ayars sing their own parts). Divided in three sections with a frame story, Rounseville plays Hoffmann, who is in love with a ballerina named Stella (Moira Shearer, star of The Red Shoes). During an intermission in her performance, he goes to a bar and gets drunk, telling an assembly of students stories of his three past loves gone wrong. Those stories, about women named Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia, are then dramatized as operettas within the whole.

Continue reading The Tales of Hoffmann (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1951)”