Miracle on 34th Street

Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is indignant to find that the man assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Percy Helton) is intoxicated. When he complains to event director Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), she persuades Kris to take his place. He does so well, he is hired to play Santa at Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.

Ignoring instructions to steer parents to buy from Macy’s, Kris directs one shopper (Thelma Ritter) to a competitor. Impressed, she tells Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge), head of the toy department, that she will become a loyal customer.

Miracle on 34th StreetAttorney Fred Gailey (John Payne), Doris’ neighbor, takes the young divorcée’s second-grade daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to see Santa. Doris has raised her to not believe in fairy tales, but Susan’s lack of faith is shaken after seeing Kris speak in Dutch with a girl who does not know English...

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Cast Away

Cast Away is a 2000 American epic survival drama film directed and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt and Nick Searcy. The film depicts a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific and his attempts to survive on the island using remnants of his plane’s cargo.

The film was released on December 22, 2000. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $429 million worldwide, with Hanks being nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards.

Cast AwayIn December 1995, Chuck Noland is a time-obsessed systems engineer, who travels worldwide resolving productivity problems at FedEx depots. He is in a long-term relationship with Kelly Frears, with whom he lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Although the couple wants to get married, Chuck’s busy schedule interferes with their relationship...

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Adam’s Rib

Adam’s Rib is a 1949 American film written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin and directed by George Cukor. It stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married lawyers who come to oppose each other in court. Judy Holliday co-stars as the third lead in her second credited movie role. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song “Farewell, Amanda”, which was written by Cole Porter.

Adam's RibDoris Attinger (Judy Holliday) follows her husband (Tom Ewell) with a gun one day after suspecting he is having an affair with another woman (Jean Hagen). In her rage, she fires at the couple multiple times. One of the bullets hits her husband in the shoulder.

The following morning, married lawyers Adam and Amanda Bonner (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) read about the incident in the newspaper. They argue over the case...

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Musical Composition

Musical Composition
by backgroundsfree

Musical composition can happen in advance with an aim towards repeat performance or it can happen on the spot when musicians improvise or jam. Composition describes the formal construction of a piece of music, both it’s incarnation on paper and its performance incarnation. Originally Western music was composed for the church and for worship. Its function was to be repeated but the artistic/creative elements of musical composition were lacking as the music itself was more pedagogical in purpose. Once polyphonic sounds began to creep in, composers began to record music on paper for future performance. This begins to happen when the view of music starts to change from that of a form of worship to a form of worship that also provides audio pleasure.

There is a mathematical precision to musical composition that is present in most studies of musical theory...

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Shall We Dance?

Shall We Dance? is a 2004 American film that is a remake of the award-winning 1996 Japanese film Shall We Dance.

John Clark is a lawyer with a charming wife, Beverly, and a loving family, who nevertheless feels that something is missing as he makes his way every day through the city. Each evening on his commute home through Chicago, John sees a beautiful woman staring with a lost expression through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train one night, and signs up for ballroom dancing lessons, hoping to meet her.

Shall We Dance?At first, it seems like a mistake. His teacher turns out to be not Paulina, but the older Miss Mitzi, and John proves to be just as clumsy as his equally clueless classmates Chic and Vern on the dance-floor...

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Whiplash

Whiplash is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The film stars Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, and Melissa Benoist. The film depicts the relationship between an ambitious jazz student (Teller) and an aggressive, abusive instructor (Simmons).

WhiplashAndrew Neiman is a first-year jazz student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York. He has been playing drums from a young age and aspires to become like Buddy Rich. Famed conductor Terence Fletcher discovers Andrew practicing in the music room and invites him into his studio band as the alternate for core drummer Carl Tanner. Fletcher is strict and abusive toward his students, mocking and insulting them; when the band rehearses the Hank Levy piece “Whiplash” and Andrew struggles to keep the tempo, Fletcher hurls a chair at him, slaps him and berates him in front of the class.

At a jazz competitio...

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Fences

Fences is a 2016 American period drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name (Wilson died in 2005, but completed a screenplay before his death). In addition to Washington, the film also stars Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sidney.

FencesIn 1950s Pittsburgh, Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) lives with his wife Rose (Viola Davis) and their son Cory (Jovan Adepo), and works as a waste collector alongside his best friend, Jim Bono (Stephen Henderson). Troy’s younger brother, Gabriel Maxson (Mykelti Williamson), sustained a head injury in World War II that left him mentally impaired, for which he received a $3,000 government payout that Troy used to purchase a home for his family...

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The Man From Laramie

The Man from Laramie is a 1955 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, and Cathy O’Donnell.

Will Lockhart (James Stewart) becomes entangled in the happenings of Coronado, an isolated western town, after delivering supplies there from Laramie. He immediately ends up at odds with the Waggomans, an influential ranching family. Lockhart is quietly searching for information about someone selling repeating rifles to the local Apaches; his brother, a green Army Lieutenant, was killed in an Apache attack at Dutch Creek.

The Man From LaramieCattle baron Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp) is haunted by dreams of a stranger who intends to kill his son. He is also gradually losing his eyesight and cannot count on his son Dave (Alex Nicol), an immature, vicious and arrogant man who refuses to learn how to run the ranch the way his father wants it done.

Lockhart ...

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Paths of Glory

 Paths of Glory is a 1957 American anti-war film by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb. Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the commanding officer of French soldiers who refuse to continue a suicidal attack. Dax attempts to defend them against a charge of cowardice in a court-martial.

Paths of GloryThe film begins with a voiceover describing the trench warfare situation of World War I up to 1916. In a château, General Georges Broulard (Adolphe Menjou), a member of the French General Staff, asks his subordinate, the ambitious General Mireau (George Macready), to send his division on a suicide mission to take a well-defended German position called the “Anthill.” Mireau initially refuses, citing the impossibility of success, but when Broulard mentions a potential promotion, Mireau quickly convinces himself the attack will succeed.

Mire...

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How to Steal a Million

How to Steal a Million is a 1966 heist comedy film, directed by William Wyler and starring Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach and Hugh Griffith. How to Steal a Million is set and was filmed in France, though the characters speak entirely in English. Audrey Hepburn’s clothes were designed by Givenchy.

How to Steal a MilionIn How to Steal a Million, Charles Bonnet (Hugh Griffith) is well-known as an art collector, but actually he forges paintings to sell them. His daughter Nicole (Audrey Hepburn) disapproves and is also afraid that he may get caught. Bonnet lends a renowned “Cellini” statuette of Venus to the Kléber-Lafayette Museum in Paris for an important exhibition. He has never sold it because modern testing would reveal it as a forgery (by his father).

That night Nicole finds a burglar, Simon Dermott (Peter O’Toole), holding a “Van Gogh” forged by her father...

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Operation Pacific

Operation Pacific is a 1951 World War II submarine film starring John Wayne and Patricia Neal, featuring Ward Bond and Philip Carey and directed by George Waggner. The technical advisor for this film was Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, the actual Commander, Submarine Forces, Pacific (COMSUBPAC) during World War II.

Operation PacificDuring World War II, an American submarine, the Thunderfish, under the command of Cmdr. John T. “Pop” Perry (Ward Bond), takes on a group of children and nuns to transport them to Pearl Harbor. including a newborn infant nicknamed “Butch”. The sub sights a Japanese aircraft carrier and attacks, but its torpedoes malfunction, exploding halfway to the target. Pursued by the carrier’s escorts, the sub manages to escape.

While in Pearl Harbor, the ship’s Executive Officer, Lt Cmdr. Duke E...

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Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley is a 1935 American biographical film directed by George Stevens and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas, and Moroni Olsen. The film Annie Oakley is based on the life of Annie Oakley.

Annie OakleyIn late 1800s Ohio, a young woman from the backwoods, Annie Oakley (Barbara Stanwyck) delivers six dozen quail she has shot to the owner of the general store. He sends them to the MacIvor hotel in Cincinnati, where the mayor is holding a large banquet in honor of Toby Walker (Preston Foster), the “greatest shot in the whole world”. Walker is particular about what he eats–the hotel owner (James MacIvor, played by Andy Clyde) bought Oakley’s quail because she shoots the quail cleanly through the head, leaving no buckshot elsewhere.

At the banquet, Jeff Hogarth (Melvyn Douglas) signs Walker to a contract making him part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show...

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Gaby

Gaby is a 1956 drama film made by MGM. It is the third version of the play Waterloo Bridge, previously made into films in 1931 and 1940. It is the only version of the play made in color, and the least faithful to it. Not only the story but the names of the characters were also changed. Unlike the 1931 and 1940 versions, this film ends happily.

GabyThis version was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Edwin H. Knopf. The screenplay was by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich and Charles Lederer, based on the screenplay of Waterloo Bridge by S. N. Behrman, Paul H. Rameau and George Froeschel. All three versions were based on the play by Robert E. Sherwood.

The film stars Leslie Caron as Gaby and John Kerr with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Taina Elg and Margalo Gillmore.

Gaby (Caron) is a ballet dancer in 1944 London who runs into corporal Gregory Wendell (Kerr) while rushing to catch the bus...

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My Darling Clementine

My Darling Clementine is a 1946 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp during the period leading up to the gunfight at the OK Corral. The ensemble cast also features Victor Mature (as Doc Holliday), Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Cathy Downs and Ward Bond.

My Darling ClementineIn 1882 (in reality, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral happened on October 26, 1881), Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil, and James Earp are driving cattle to California when they cross Old Man Clanton. When they learn about the nearby boom town of Tombstone, the older brothers ride in, leaving the youngest brother James to watch over the cattle. The Earps soon learn that Tombstone is a lawless town without a marshal. Wyatt is the only man in the town willing to face the drunk Indian shooting at the townspeople. When they return to their camp, they find the cattle rustled and James murdered.

Seeki...

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Childs Choir Music

I once had a friend that wanted to help out any way that she could at her church. Let’s just say that it didn’t take anyone in the church long to realize that they had hit pay dirt as they did not have a Childs Choir Director. They called her in and asked her if she would be in charge of one of the most important positions in the church – Director of Childs Choir Music. How could she refuse? After all this was one of the most important positions, and how hard could it be to get children to sing songs.

Her duties, she found, including setting up their first choir fundraiser and helping with all aspects of choir including song selection and recruiting. As in many cases the job of the volunteer can cover many different areas that are not anticipated. When it comes to choir, though, there are so many fun things to do to make it enjoyable for the kids.

After all, they natur...

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When In Rome

When in Rome is a 2010 American romantic comedy film directed by Mark Steven Johnson, co-written by Johnson, David Diamond and David Weissman. It stars Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. It was released by Touchstone Pictures in the United States on January 29, 2010.

When In RomeSuccessful and single Beth (Kristen Bell), an art curator at the Guggenheim, is at a point in her life where love seems like a luxury she can’t afford. Waiting for the “perfect” romance has embittered her. After flying to Rome to attend her younger sister Joan’s (Alexis Dziena) impulsive wedding, she meets Nicholas Beamon (Josh Duhamel). He rescues her in a couple of difficult situations but they are both clumsy. Still, they hit it off.

As Beth comes to believe in love again, she sees Nick kissing another woman, who turns out to be the groom’s (Luca Calvani) “crazy cousin...

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Victor/Victoria

Victor/Victoria is a 1982 British-American musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies.

Victor/VictoriaSet in 1934 Paris, the film opens with Richard di Nardo, a young hustler, emerging from the bed of gay middle-aged Carroll Todd (Robert Preston), a.k.a. Toddy; Richard dresses, takes money from Toddy’s wallet and leaves Toddy’s apartment. Going about his day, Toddy, a performer at Chez Lui in Paris, sees Labisse, the club owner, auditioning a frail, impoverished soprano, Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews). After the audition, Labisse drily writes her off, and she responds by sustaining a pitch to shatter his wine glass using resonant frequency. That night, Richard comes to Chez Lui as part of a straight foursome and Toddy incites a brawl by insulting Richard and the women in his group...

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Fanny

Fanny is a 1961 American Technicolor drama film directed by Joshua Logan. The screenplay by Julius J. Epstein is based on the book for the 1954 stage musical of the same title by Logan and S.N. Behrman, which in turn had been adapted from Marcel Pagnol’s trilogy: Marius (1929) and Fanny (1932), plays which he adapted to film a year or two later; and César, the film he wrote and directed for the screen in 1936 (and later adapted for the stage).

FannyThe film deleted all the songs from the 1954 stage musical, but the music by Harold Rome served as the underscore for the soundtrack, and the title tune is used as the Main Title theme. Although it had been composed for another medium, it was nominated for both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

César (Charles Boyer) is a barkeeper in Marseille in the early 1920s...

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Why You Should Go and See the Mamma Mia Musical

The international hit musical Mamma Mia is best seen in the West End because of value for money, professionalism, safety and variety of other activities. The West End has the UK’s best talent. Public transportation is also available so the car can be left at home.

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the hit musical Mamma Mia, based on the music of Swedish pop sensation ABBA. Although productions of Mamma Mia can be found from coast to coast all over the UK since the very first showing in 1999, the best place to see it is London’s West End.

Mamma MiaIt is a common misconception that the strength of a musical stands on its plot and songs. If that was true, then there would be no reason for anyone to go to the West End or even across the Pond to Broadway when the local drama club is putting on a revue...

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Lion

Lion is a 2016 biographical film directed by Garth Davis (in his feature debut) and written by Luke Davies, based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose. The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman.

LionIn 1986, Saroo, a five-year-old boy lives with his elder brother Guddu, his mother and his younger sister in Khandwa, India. Guddu and Saroo steal coal from freight trains to trade for milk and food. One day, Saroo follows his brother to a job and they arrive at a nearby train station, where Saroo decides to stay back and take a nap. Guddu tries to wake him up, but Saroo is too tired. When Guddu does not return, Saroo searches for him and boards a train presuming Guddu is aboard. He falls asleep again in one of the compartments, and wakes up to find the train in motion...

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