1969 – Oh! What A Lovely War

★★★★☆ UK. 2h24m. War / Comedy / Musical. Directed by Richard Attenborough. Written by Len Deighton (screenplay) and Gerry Raffles, Joan Littlewood (“The Long Long Trail”) and Charles Chilton (“The Long Long Trail”). Cinematography by Gerry Turpin. Edited by Kevin Connor. Starring Maggie Smith, Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud, Wendy Allnutt, Colin Farrell, Malcolm McFee, John Rae, Corin Redgrave, Maurice Roëves, Paul Shelley, Kim Smith, Angela Thorne, Mary Wimbush, Vincent Ball, Pia Colombo, Paul Daneman, Isabel Dean, Christian Doermer.

Oh! What a Lovely War summarises and comments on the events of World War I using popular songs of the time, many of which were parodies of older popular songs, and using allegorical settings such as Brighton’s West Pier to criticise the manner in which the eventual victory was won.

1954 – Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

★★★★☆ USA. 1h42m. Musical. Directed by Stanley Donen. Written by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Dorothy Kingsley (screenplay) and Stephen Vincent Benét (“The Sobbin’ Women”). Cinematography by George J. Folsey. Edited by Ralph E. Winters. Music by Gene de Paul, Johnny Mercer, Adolph Deutsch, Saul Chaplin. Starring Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Jeff Richards, Matt Mattox, Marc Platt, Jacques d’Amboise, Tommy Rall, Russ Tamblyn, Julie Newmar.

Based on the short story “The Sobbin’ Women”, by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was based in turn on the ancient Roman legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is set in Oregon in 1850, is particularly known for Kidd’s unusual choreography, which makes dance numbers out of such mundane frontier pursuits as chopping wood and raising a barn. Film critic Stephanie Zacharek has called the barn-raising sequence in Seven Brides “one of the most rousing dance numbers ever put on screen.” Academy Award winner for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture and nominated for four additional awards, including Best Picture (which it lost to Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront).

1929 – The Vagabond Lover

★★★☆☆ USA. 1h5m. Comedy / Musical. Directed by Marshall Neilan. Written by James Ashmore Creelman. Cinematography by Leo Tover. Edited by Arthur Roberts. Music by Harry M. Woods, Victor Baravalle. Starring Rudy Vallee, Sally Blane, Marie Dressler, Charles Sellon, Norman Peck, Danny O’Shea, Edward J. Nugent, Nella Walker, Malcolm Waite, Alan Roscoe.

A film about a small-town boy who finds fame and romance when he joins a dance band. The Vagabond Lover is an early example of a vehicle created for a popular music star, in a style echoed by later films such as Jailhouse Rock with Elvis Presley and A Hard Day’s Night with The Beatles.

1939 – The Wizard Of Oz

★★★★★ USA. 1h41m. Musical / Fantasy. Directed by Victor Fleming, King Vidor. Written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf (screenplay) and L. Frank Baum (“The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz”). Cinematography by Harold Rosson. Edited by Blanche Sewell. Music by Harold Arlen, Edgar Harburg, Herbert Stothart. Starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, it is the most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

1942 – Yankee Doodle Dandy

★★★★☆ USA. 2h6m. Biography / Musical. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Written by Robert Buckner, Edmund Joseph, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein. Cinematography by James Wong Howe. Edited by George Amy. Music by George M. Cohan, Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld. Starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf.

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as “The Man Who Owned Broadway”. The film was a major hit for Warner Brothers. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three.