Program Details

Sing, Sing a Song: Six Great Movie Musicals

Kurt F. Stone
Movies / History
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Movies have long been subdivided into different genres: Westerns, Gangster Pics, "Weepers," film noir, Comedy (sub-genre, "screwball"), Adventure and Jungle pics, Historic epics and War name but a few. For the most part, these various genres come and go and then return. One example of a category that has come and gone and then come back is the movie musical. This course will feature six movie musicals ranging from the very first, The Hollywood Review of 1929 ( written specifically as a film), to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), the first movie musical entirely sung. Each session will begin with Stone introducing the film, then showing it in its entirety, and then concluding with a discussion and dissection of what we've just seen.


  1. The Hollywood Review of 1929: The very first Hollywood musical, MGM filled this "movie with music" with virtually every actor on the lot, many of whom couldn't sing a lick!
  2. Top Hat (1935): Arguably, the best of the ten films Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made together.
  3. An American in Paris (1951): Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant, this film brought home six Oscars.
  4. The Bandwagon (1953): Starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, this is a classic “back stage” musical about a pretentious art director who changes a musical beyond recognition. Includes the classic “Dancing in the Dark.”
  5. Gigi (1958): Starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan,  with music by Lerner and Lowe, the film that made “Thank Heavens for Little Girls” famous.
  6. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964): Starring the 20-year old Catherine Deneuve, with music by Michel Legrand, this was the first movie musical entirely sung.  Simply one of the best movie musicals of all time.

About the Instructor

  • Kurt F. Stone, D.D., is now in his 23rd year with Lifelong Learning. His passion for film is, he says, "genetic," having been born in Hollywood, CA, and raised both in and around the movie industry. Stone is a multi-disciplinary sort of man who has also written two well-received books on Congress, published nearly 900 essays, is an ordained rabbi, and earns his living as a medical ethicist.


    Recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award