If you would like to read my initial review of the film La La Land, head on over to this link: https://goodnerdbadnerd.com/2017/01/07/la-la-land-a-first-impression/
So, the other day, I finally purchased La La Land. Being a lover of musicals, I don’t know what took me so long to add it to my collection. I re-watched it about two nights ago and fell in love with it all over again. And, the thing that I fell in love with the most, the aspect of the film that I love the most, is how it is not only a love letter to the City of Angels, but it is a love letter to the once great Golden Age of Musicals.
The Golden Age of Musicals is an era that stretches from the 1930s, with the creation of talking pictures, through the 1950s. Musicals became so popular in the 1930s because, for so long people couldn’t talk on film, let alone sing. So, Hollywood kind of just went head on with the musicals. It was kind of like going from crawling to running and never really processing how to walk. Musicals remained popular throughout World War II and its aftermath. That may seem odd because, well, The Great Depression and all, but people wanted to forget about the mess that was around them. And, musicals brought people joy. It was escapism at its finest. Once Arthur Freed came along in the 1940s and 1950s, he refreshed the “musical formula”, and it is mainly those musicals produced during the Freed Unit at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that La La Land pays homage to.
The most obvious musicals, I think, that are represented in Damien Chazelle’s film are Singin’ In The Rain, Top Hat (or pretty much any Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire musical), and An American In Paris.
An American In Paris has come to be recognized as one of the best movie musicals ever made. And the ENTIRE ending to La La Land is a direct reflection of the ending to An American In Paris, at least visually. (Some “Broadway Melody” from Singin’ in the Rain is thrown in there, too) First, do me a favor and watch the ending scene to La La Land.
Now, the entire ending of this film is a “what if” kind of scenario. “What if small things had gone differently?” And, a large chunk of it is shown through dance. The ending to An American in Paris is pretty much the same thing, just with solely dance. I, unfortunately, can’t find a full video of the ending, but the videos below have some examples of how, visually, the two endings are similar.
(Side note: Gene Kelly is my love forever and always)
Also, take a look at a segment from “Broadway Melody” from Singin’ in the Rain and tell me that they didn’t pull from that.
I mean, look at those vibrant colors.
Speaking of Singin’ in the Rain, I feel like the whole color palette to La La Land was influenced by that film. I mean…
And let me talk about that “Lovely Night” number in La La Land. Gosling’s and Stone’s entire dance sequence in that film brings to mind the dancing of the iconic duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
They come to mind even more during the star scene inside Griffith Observatory (and this, I think, is mainly due to Gosling’s character being a bit more dressed up. He’s dressed more Fred Astaire and less Gene Kelly).
(Also, totally not sorry about the number of videos I used in this post. I NEEDED THE VISUALS.)
La La Land is simply a movie musical love letter in the best way.