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Nostalgic Oral History

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Release Date: July 02, 2004

Starring: Carol Burnett, Shirley MacLaine, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Orbach, Kim Hunter, Angela Lansbury, Ann Miller, Harold Prince, Bea Arthur, Gwen Vernon, John Raitt, and Robert Goulet

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older children to adults

Rating: Not Rated

Runtime: 110 minutes

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Content:

(H, B, C, LL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with some moral and redemptive elements and aspects; eight mostly light obscenities, seven strong profanities, and six light profanities; sounds of violence during sound recording of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE; implied rape during sound recording of STREETCAR and suggestive dancing; upper male nudity; shots of nightclubs with implied drinking; smoking; and, a couple stories of backstage cutthroat competition.

GENRE: Documentary

Summary:

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a nostalgic celebration of the golden age of Broadway between 1940 and 1968, with more than 90 interviews of stars and the talent who helped create the plays. BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a wonderful record of a time that has long since passed away. It is only marred by its humanist outlook of the theater, some foul language and a neglect a few of the great stars and plays, such as MY FAIR LADY.

Review:

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a nostalgic celebration of the golden age of Broadway between 1940 and 1968. For five years, actor Rick McKay gathered precious interviews with old Broadway stars such as Kim Hunter (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, John Raitt (CAROUSEL), Gwen Verdon (DAMN YANKEES), Carol Channing (HELLO DOLLY), and Ben Gazzara (CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF), a few of whom have passed away since he started. Also included are interviews with people still active, such as Carol Burnett, composer Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, and Jerry Orbach, formerly of TV’s LAW AND ORDER and an original cast member of THE FANTASTICKS.

McKay has mixed all of these glorious reminiscences of theater life in New York City with rare clips of rehearsals and actual plays, plus a few television performances. Among the highlights are people’s recollections of performances by the legendary Laurette Taylor (THE GLASS MENAGERIE), Kim Stanley (BUS STOP), and Marlon Brando, whose naturalistic stage performances transformed acting technique. The film shows Taylor’s 1938 screen test, a scene from BUS STOP, and a recording from Brando’s performance in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. It was also great to see and hear old recordings of singers John Raitt and Robert Goulet in their prime, which give a taste of what it must have been like to hear them belt out a tune on stage.

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a wonderful record of a time that has long since passed away. It is only marred by its basic humanist outlook of the theater, discussion about hanging around nightclubs after the performances, and some foul language, including a few strong profanities from a couple of Broadway’s more worldly performers.

Of course, there was another side of Broadway, with stars who had faith and values and solid family lives such as Greer Garson, Rosalind Russell and Robert Allen. In fact, Dr. Ted Baehr's father, whose stage name was Robert Allen, starred on Broadway in such classic plays as: I KILLED THE COUNT; KISS THEM FOR ME; SHOWBOAT; AUNTIE MAME; and, the revival of WHOPEE. Finally, where is the greatest of all Broadway plays, MY FAIR LADY, and one of the most beloved, PETER PAN?

In Brief:

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a nostalgic celebration of Broadway’s golden age between 1940 and 1968. For five years, Rick McKay gathered precious interviews with old Broadway stars like Kim Hunter (A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, John Raitt (CAROUSEL), Gwen Verdon (DAMN YANKEES), Carol Channing (HELLO DOLLY), and Ben Gazzara (CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF), a few of whom have passed away since. He mixes their glorious reminiscences of theater life in New York City with rare clips of rehearsals and actual plays, plus a few television performances. Among the highlights are people’s recollections of the legendary Laurette Taylor (THE GLASS MENAGERIE), Kim Stanley (BUS STOP), and Marlon Brando, whose naturalistic performances transformed acting technique. It was also great to see and hear singers John Raitt and Robert Goulet in their prime.

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE is a wonderful record of a time that has long since passed away. It is only marred by its humanist outlook of the theater and some foul language, including a few strong profanities from a couple of Broadway’s more worldly performers. Regrettebly, it neglect a few of the great stars and plays, such as MY FAIR LADY.