Thursday Movie Picks: The Stage

Welcome to another Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves that consists of picking three films to fit the week's theme.

This week's theme is pretty self-explanatory so with no further ado I leave you with my three picks.

Birdman (2014)

It follows a stage actor famous for portraying a superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play and battles his ego. This film is simply spectacular. Top notch director and acting; a score that blends with the story perfectly; and an outstanding cinematography, easily my favourite part because it makes the story so involving and makes you feel as you are living it.

The Salesman (2016)

A woman is assaulted in her new apartment by a client of the previous tenant and her husband becomes consumed with finding that man. How does this fit the theme? Because other than telling a complex revenge tale, Farhadi compared the drama the woman is living in real life with the drama she is living on stage in the play she is working on. 

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

It's the 1920's in New York and a playwright is forced to cast the talentless girlfriend of a mobster to get his drama produced. Another little gem/hilarious movie by Woody Allen. The story isn't his best, but it combines the stage world and the gangsterism world very well and the New York setting is just beautiful. Also, this movie has some damn fine cinematography, one of Allen's best. 


  1. I LOVE Bullets Over Broadway! Dianne Wiest is inimitable in it ('t speak!..DON'T SPEAK!!!) For her alone the picture is worth seeing but there is much more to it. I though Cusack was the weak link in the lead but everyone and everything else is terrific.

    I wasn't overly enamored of Birdman. I didn't hate it and would have much rather seen it win Best Picture than Boyhood though I didn't think either worthy but once was enough for me. It did capture the feeling of backstage life well and Keaton was excellent.

    Haven't seen The Salesman but in your description I can see echoes of one of my picks, I'll have to check it out.

    I stuck with films that centered exclusively on the theatrical life and all its vagaries.

    The Velvet Touch (1948)-Stage star Valerie Stanton (Rosalind Russell) attempts to break ties with her longtime producer and paramour Gordon Dunning (Leon Ames) after the closing of her latest play so she can move on with her life and career but during an argument in his office she accidently kills him. Unobserved she leaves and as suspicion falls on Gordon’s former flame Marian Webster (Claire Trevor) the film looks back at how matters came to such a pass. Meanwhile jocular policeman and theatre buff Captain Danbury (Sydney Greenstreet) investigates. Nice stage atmosphere and excellent performances add much to this undeservedly obscure, efficiently made little drama with a twist of noir thrown in that has a great ending.

    A Double Life (1947)-You’ve heard people jokingly tell others when they are getting carried away with something to “not get lost in the part!” but that’s just what happens in this noirish drama that won Ronald Colman a Best Actor Oscar. Anthony John (Colman) is a famed stage star greatly respected for his Shakespearian interpretations. The problem is that he lives the roles both onstage and off, when playing comedy he is the best guy in the world but when the material is dark so are his moods which among other things has led to the end of his marriage to his frequent costar Brita (Signe Hasso). Now he’s undertaken Othello and as he immerses himself deeply into the role his sanity begins to slip putting all around him including Brita and his mistress Pat (a young, whippet thin Shelley Winters) at risk.

    42nd Street (1933) - Aspiring hoofer Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) is a greenhorn new to the Broadway stage where through a friendship with two other chorines, the brassy Lorraine (Una Merkel) and the loose “Anytime Annie” (Ginger Rogers) she gets a spot in the chorus of a new show “Pretty Lady”. Through huge contretemps the star of the show has to bow out and Peggy is plucked from the line and told by the producer Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) “You’re going out there a nobody…but you’ve got to come back a STAR!” And she does with the help of mind bogglingly elaborate dance numbers staged by Busby Berkeley. Incredibly influential musical invented just about every cliché in the book.

  2. I love your first two picks but I haven't seen Bullets Over Broadway. I know I should have.

  3. Birdman is fantastic. I haven't seen the other two.

  4. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY!!! The incomparable Dianne Wiest and the brilliant Jennifer Tilly, and Chaz Palminteri being shockingly hilarious. Pity about John Cusack's character, but this is so funny, just a pure delight from start to finish.

    Birdman is BRILLIANT. A perfect deconstruction of life in the theater. I haven't yet seen The Salesman and I hate myself for that since Farhadi is such a genius.

  5. I have not heard of any of these, but they all sound excellent.

  6. I haven't seen the Salesman or Bullets but I will one day. I have seen Birdman and almost picked it myself. I feel Michael Keaton did a tour de force performance in his role. I enjoyed this film where my hubby thought the dir for was on drugs...hahahahaa