ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
2007, Sony Repertory, 133 min, USA/UK, Dir: Julie Taymor

Acclaimed director Julie Taymor adapts The Beatles songbook as a romance set in the 1960s. Liverpool dockworker Jude (Jim Sturgess) travels to America in search of his estranged father and meets the privileged Lucy Carrigan (Evan Rachel Wood); as anti-war protests, music and drugs swirl around them, the two fall in love. More than 30 Beatles songs are heard in this joyous and visually dazzling rock musical, whose story of young people finding their way in a turbulent world remains universal.


HIT THE DECK
1929, Warner Bros., 103 min, USA, Dir: Luther Reed

This adaptation of the popular Broadway musical was one of the most expensive films of its day, and included a couple of Technicolor sequences. Jack Oakie stars as Bilge, a sailor who crosses paths with the lovely Looloo (Polly Walker) while he’s on shore leave. One of Oakie’s favorite films, HIT THE DECK was considered lost for decades before a 35mm print surfaced in the Warner Bros. vault.


FOOTLIGHT PARADE
1933, Warner Bros., 104 min, USA, Dir: Lloyd Bacon

When the Depression forces a director (James Cagney) off the stage, he tries the screen, creating musical “prologues” to be staged in movie theaters before films; to land a big contract, he must mount three massive production numbers in a single night. Cagney is magnetic in a performance arguably superior to his Oscar-winning YANKEE DOODLE DANDY turn, and Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell are equally entertaining in supporting roles. This fast-paced pre-Code dazzler was named to the National Film Registry, thanks at least in part to Busby Berkeley’s spectacular dance sequences.


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