Warner Bros. has an incredible cinematic musical legacy that rivals any other working studio. With a history of films that includes The Wizard of Oz, Singing’ in the Rain, and even Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it would be tough to name another production company that has left behind such an indelible pop-culture footprint of song and dance.
When Warner Bros. decided to release a box set containing the 20 best musicals in their film library, it must have been an extremely difficult decision narrowing it down to just 20. Well, they did a fantastic job and came up with a list that represents not only the timeless classics, but maybe some lesser-known gems that could end up as one of your new favorites.
Digging through the vaults all the way back to 1927, the oldest film in the set is the The Jazz Singer, a film infamous for the introduction of spoken dialogue. On the other side of the timeline is the 1988 classic Hairspray. In-between are 20 other infamous films, all renowned for their terrific characters, storytelling, and of course, wonderful music.
It’s a fascinating experience to chronicle the evolution of a specific genre such as this. Watching the films in chronological order, you really get an appreciation for the evolution of the craft and the exponential steps taken from one film to the next. While this particular set doesn’t offer anything new in terms of extras, the films are their own reward.
This is a DVD box set, with the DVD’s as they were previously released. This isn’t one of those fancy new sets where the films are completely remastered, but it’s rather just a set of great films that can be watched over and over again. There is definitely something for everybody in this set, even if you’re not a fan of the musical genre. Just in terms of sheer storytelling, there is an art to what they do, and watching these films come to life can be an exhilarating experience.
I’ve mentioned a few of the specific films by name, but here is a complete list: The Jazz Singer, The Broadway Melody, 42nd Street, The Great Ziegfeld, The Wizard of Oz, Yankee Doodle Dandy, An American in Paris, Show Boat, Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, A Star is Born, The Music Man, Viva Las Vegas, Camelot, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Cabaret, That’s Entertainment, Victor/Victoria, Little Shop of Horrors and Hairspray. Whew! That’s an incredible collection of films, and even if there is some overlap in your current collection, there are enough movies that probably aren’t there to make this a worthy addition to any film library.
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