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1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) HD online

1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Short / Documentary
Original Title: 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration
Released: 1955
Duration: 18min
Video type: Movie
This MGM short introduces some of the movies the studio will be releasing in 1955. Presented by George Murphy they include Jupiters Liebling (1955) with Esther Williams, Nachts auf den Boulevards (1955) with Anne Baxter and Steve Forrest, Der gläserne Pantoffel (1955) with Leslie Caron, Unterbrochene Melodie (1955), In Frisco vor Anker (1955), Des Königs Dieb (1955), Nachtclub-Affären (1955), Das Schloss im Schatten (1955), Tempel der Versuchung (1955) and Vorwiegend heiter (1955).
Complete credited cast:
George Murphy George Murphy - Himself - Host

This film short is available as an extra in the Warner DVD of Love Me or Leave Me (1955).

Reviews: [5]

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    Hosted by George Murphy, this "celebration" serves as a mildly interesting snapshot of showing the shape of the lion in it's 31st year. TV was clearly seriously impacting the studio's bottom line. Murphy initially tells audience--- without ever mentioning the one-eyed monster overtly--- that the theater the audience is in is worthy of it's continued patronage, with reminders of war bond drives (true--- theaters were responsible for selling millions in bonds and stamps during WWII), technological innovations (the recently abandoned 3-D isn't mentioned) and all-around spectacle. The personable George Murphy then peeks around the lot (which is highly staged and artificial) to see what's shooting; several productions are spotlighted. Unfortunately 1955 was a far from terrific year for the studio. The only really interesting sequence for me is the one showing 3 seconds of director King Vidor setting up a shot for "Love Me of Leave Me" with a glimpse of Jimmy Cagney getting on his mark. It's kind of sad to see Gene Kelley posturing about "It's Always Fair Weather" not realizing it was essentially the last of the MGM musicals of the 50's and arguably one of Kelley's lesser and least-seen efforts (okay, not counting 1980's roller-disco fantasy fiasco "Xanadu"). This 2-reel promo is probably best seen with your brain engaged, thinking about why it was made at all and is more significant for what it doesn't say. While several other studios also viewed TV as the enemy, MGM had more to lose in it's stance. It had lost it's theater franchise and hadn't had a truly profitable multi-year streak since 1946. 1955 would be one short year away from the wholesale collapse of the old studio system, something Metro should have seen coming when it cut loose the majority of it's stars five years earlier.
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    MGM promo for its lavish productions, mainly musicals, for 1955, including It's Always Fair Weather, Love Me or Leave Me, and a few other perennials that have stood the test of time. Also, of course, are a few that didn't pan-out, including Bedevilled and The Glass Slipper. All the clips, however, are in visually striking color, making for eye-type entertainment. Odd, however, that the intense b&W downer The Blackboard Jungle would be mentioned amidst the Technicolor parade. Also, are backstage clips with camera, lighting, sets, etc., the reality behind the dreams, always fascinating to catch. I'm not sure where the studio planned to show the promo, but wherever, the clips along with the many stars— Cagney, Kelly, Day, et al-- remain a treat for old movie fans.
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    George Murphy hosts this short documentary about MGM. It looks at a little of the studio's past when it was the biggest maker of movies in Hollywood. This short coincides with the end of the studio-owned chains of theaters following a 1948 Supreme Court ruling in an anti- trust suit. Murphy doesn't discuss any of that here, but this short seems obviously intended to urge audiences to continue to go to their local theaters. TV viewing was growing by leaps and bounds by the early 1950s. Interestingly, while MGM was the largest Hollywood studio in output, it did not have the largest theater chain. Others were much larger, including those of Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Paramount.

    This short film highlights MGM's place in making the large-scale musicals which were beginning to die out in audience appeal. Or, so we are told. But, I don't understand that because musicals have continued to be made over the years, and usually they are good ones that are quite successful. Of course, they aren't a steady stream from several studios. And, audiences still flock to concerts and performances of bands and singers. Stage shows with song and dance are still popular at entertainment centers such as Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City and at casinos around the country. Rather, I think that the studios had difficulty finding backing for large-scale productions that often cost far more than most other types of films. And they didn't have the degree of talent for making musicals. In other words, new talent wasn't coming along to replace the old hands in the business. And that means from the writing to the composing to the directing to the performing.

    Where were the great songwriters, lyricists, and composers after the middle decades of the 20th century? Where were the new George and Ira Gershwins? Where were the new talents after Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Burt Bacharach, Elmer or Leonard Bernstein, Gus Kahn, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sig Romberg, or so many others? Where were the new great choreographers? Where were the performers – the dancers to replace Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Vera Allen, Eleanor Powell, Ginger Rogers, Danny Kaye, Marge and Gower Champion? There are many bands, singers and individual songwriters today. But, rare are the talents that can compose, choreograph, write and make a story musical, or even a revue type of old. And, then, where are the talented singers and dancers to stage such musicals? Oh, there are some, to be sure. But not many. So, every year or two someone does put together a slam-bang musical that does very well. And there may be a few lesser ones that are OK.

    Two big hit movie musicals of the early 21st century support my point. "Chicago" of 2002 and "Les Miserables" of 2012 were huge films with budgets of $45 million and $60 million, respectively. Both were lavish productions and adaptations of earlier stories. They were set to music. They were entertaining and were big box office hits. Yet neither had exceptional musical scores or numbers. Nor did they have big name singers or dancers. The performers were just okay, and the lead actors were passable in their musical numbers (Richard Gere and Hugh Jackman). There were no great hoofers or voices in either of these big films – but they were very successful. We don't seem to have the super multi-talents today that we had in the past. Fred Astaire, the king of dance could also sing and act. Danny Kaye could do them all and some fantastic mimicry and tongue twisting. Marge and Gower Champion were great dancers and choreographers, and he directed musicals for the silver screen and Broadway. Oscar Levant was a composer, pianist, songwriter, author, comedian and actor. There don't seem to be that many talents today who can do just two of those things very well.

    Anyway, this film has interviews with some stars and snippets of MGM movies in the making or planned for the future. Murphy takes us onto the sets for "Jupiter's Darling" with Esther Williams, Howard Keel, and Marge and Gower Champion. And, we get trailer snippets of other films being made – "The Glass Slipper," "Bedeviled," "Interrupted Melody," "Hit the Deck," "The King's Thief," "Moonfleet," "Love Me Or Leave Me," and "It's Always Fair Weather." Then we hear of several films planned by MGM based on books.

    This is a somewhat interesting and lightly entertaining short about MGM from its glory days of the past to the (1955) present and unknown future.
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    . . . here than "1955 MOTION PICTURE THEATRE CELEBRATION." What anyone with eyes in their head sees when they watch this piece is A SALUTE TO THE THEATERS. Perhaps the British misspelling of the word "theater" is a dead giveaway that some misinformed minion of the Queen who cannot spell American entered the faulty data on this title. The upshot of this error is that Americans (who constitute far more IMDb users than Brits) may not be able to access information on this AMER!CAN-produced live action short. Which is quite a pity, since it's bad enough to suffer from defective foreign films, without adding insult to injury by having our MADE-IN-AMER!CA products besmirched by alien corruption. The fact of the matter is that this 17-minute film is NOT "a salute to to the theaters" on MGM's part. Studio flackactor George Murphy says TWO SENTENCES mentioning movie theaters. The remaining time is devoted to a PR release on 16 different MGM feature films slated for release in 1955. Everything is packaged in what was considered an entertaining "You are here" format in the 1950s, but Don Draper would have done it better, and spelled everything out in American!
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    1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955)

    ** (out of 4)

    George Murphy "hosts" this MGM short, which features the personality addresses the audience as he thanks theatre owners for bring movies to towns, updating their equipment for "new" Hollywood systems and of course raising money for good causes. The actor then introduces us to Ester Williams who quickly talks about her upcoming movie JUPITER'S DARLING. From this point on it's just one long MGM promo reel as we see clips from films like HIT THE DECK, MOONFLEET, INTERRUPTED MELODY and LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME. As you watch this short it becomes quite clear that the studio really didn't have too many good films released this year but there's no question the best known is LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME with James Cagney and Doris Day. It's a shame Cagney wasn't interviewed for this sequence but I'm going to guess that would have been too much trouble. If you've got nothing better to do and this short pops up on Turner Classic Movies then it's not totally worthless but at the same time there's very little here worth viewing. If you're unfamiliar with the films shown here then this short might introduce you to some new titles but on the whole there's nothing to remarkable here. The one thing is that it is shown 2.55:1, which was clearly the studio showing off this new format.