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Greatest Classical Musical Characters: 5 Roles That Live On Through Big Screen

By    |   Thursday, 23 April 2015 12:10 PM

Movies have married the sounds of music to the flicker of film to create classic musical roles that come to life on the big screen.

Here are five characters who make it a pleasure to face the music:

1. Maria from "The Sound of Music" - The story of flighty Maria, the dour Captain von Trapp and the seven singing children didn't really happen quite the way it did in the movie. Buy Julie Andrews's performance as what Time called "the film's flibbertigibbet" is among a few of our favorite things.

Vote Now: Who Is Your Favorite Actor of All Time?

2. Eliza from "My Fair Lady" - In the hands of Audrey Hepburn, Shaw's pliable little flower-selling mouse becomes a woman who holds on to her own identity even as a man tries to make her over in his own image. The movie's satirical approach to male chauvanism helped the movie withstand a bit of feminist criticism.

"The movie itself isn't misogynistic – it's about misogyny," wrote Charlotte Alter in Time Magazine.

3. Professor Harold Hill from "The Music Man"
- Robert Preston's rendition of the con man who steals the heart of the local librarian and unwittingly goes legit as he brings the big band to River City is one of the most memorable musical roles.

"This part has been something of a turning point for me," Preston told The New York Times in 1959 of the part he played on stage and screen. Up until then, he'd played the bad guy or the buffoon and, as he said, "... it's a great feeling to be a character that the audience takes to its heart."

4. Don Lockwood from "Singin' in the Rain" - Don who? Admit it: You don't remember the character's name, but you remember that it's Gene Kelly singing and dancing on a rainswept city sidewalk in this story about Hollywood's transition from silent movies to talkies.

Of the movie, the fan website Picture Show Man gushed, "Hollywood's greatest musical." The site quoted composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, who called the musical's title song "a reaffirmation of life."

5. Tevye from "Fiddler on the Roof" - Chaim Topol has literally grown into the role he's played on stage and screen, that of Anatevka's sad dairyman. The actor was so young when he played Tevye in the 1971 movie that, according to the Los Angeles Times, gray hairs had to be "borrowed" from the director to age him.

By 2009, he knew, like Tevye, what it was to give away his daughters into marriage — and poured that into the thousands of times he has brought Teyve to the stage, as he did in 2009 at age 73 in London when he played the role for a final time.

Vote Now: Which of These Actors Stands the Test of Time?

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Movies have married the sounds of music to the flicker of film to create classic musical roles that come to life on the big screen.
classical musical characters, musicals, roles
Thursday, 23 April 2015 12:10 PM
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