Monday, August 22, 2011

19. "Everything Old is New Again" from All That Jazz

Sidelined for a week, but I'm back and this will still be up and finished by the months end.  I'm planning to unveil the top 10 all at once, in what surely will be the movie musical event of the season.  First, though, are nine almost as amazing selections, starting with one I'd call a personal favorite, moreso even than many of the more spectacular numbers to follow.

All That Jazz is the apogee of the movie musical, or at the very least, the last landmark of the genre, directed by one of the definitive filmmakers in that particular field.  Bob Fosse was one-of-a-kind, and it's only fitting that the film which served as his cinematic autobiography would be his greatest. 

The film's musical numbers are few and far between, but they all leave an impression when they roll around, but although there are grander and stranger things to follow, I've always been totally fixated on the simple routine performed by Fosse surrogate Joe Gideon's (Roy Scheider) daughter and girlfriend.  "Everything Old is New Again" is a musical number as a labor of love, and there's more genuine emotion in these few minutes than in the genre's next 30 years all together. 

Fosse was one of the few directors who understood stage and screen in equal measure, which meant he also played to the strengths of his medium.  His own patented brand of choreography is on display here, but of no less importance is the way he uses the camera to frame it all.  This right here is a classic slice of 70s cinema, when it could easily have been little more than a filmed dance routine.  I suppose it also helps that no one before or since could move like Ann Reinking.  I mean, I know she pulls it all off so naturally, but that ain't easy.  And I can't look away.

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