Gerard Alessandrini: The 11 WORST Stage-to-Screen Transfers


Here, listed from really bad to flat-out terrible, are what I believe are 11 of the worst transfers of stage musicals to the movie screen:
11. Man of La Mancha
10. A Little Night Music
9. Paint Your Wagon
8. Annie
7. Mamma Mia!
6. Rent
5. Mame
4. Half a Sixpence

And here are the three absolute worst:

3. A Chorus Line—If there was ever a movie that proved “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” it’s this one of A Chorus Line. The stage show was of course perfection. All they had to do was expertly photograph it in 70mm exactly as it was choreographed and directed by Michael Bennett, and it couldn’t have failed. It has perfect unity of time and place, a great score, and they didn’t even need any stars! Even if it looked like a filmed stage show and its commercial appeal turned out to be limited it still would have grossed at least twice as much as this Richard Atten-BORING director’s version. And at least they would have had a perfect record of one of Broadway’s greatest triumphs. Instead they tampered with most every element in order to make it more “filmic,” but all that did was make it look more stage-bound and cheap. So what did they end up with? A costly and embarrassing flop, and one of the worst movie musicals ever made. Like the Hello Dolly! debacle discussed below, this great Broadway milestone deserved more respect and a better film.


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