10 April 2013

5 Great Movies That Started As Theatre

Mask at the Lion King Museum.

The recent success of Les Miserables has many movie goers clamoring for more big screen drama that started in the theatre. Les Miserables raked in the awards and pushed the limit of ticket sales at the box office. This kind of critical acclaim is actually fairly common for theatre turned into film. Plays that do make it to the big screen often do so because of their success on the stage. There are thousands upon thousands of films that are based on plays and often, the audience is unaware of the fact. The following critically acclaimed movies all draw their inspiration from the stage. Success in this transition coupled with good ticket sales contribute to making these films classics which everyone must see.

Dark Love
The Phantom of the Opera grossed a total of $845 million dollars during its run on broadway since its opening in 1986. The stage production was originally based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux. Since its success, many different versions have been made. The original film debuted in 1915, and it is still considered an important part of film cinema history. Film versions of the story have been continuously in production up until today. The most recent release was in 2004, starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine. Joel Schumacher directed the picture.

Inspired By Nature

The Lion King is the only film to exceed the Phantom of the Opera in gross ticket sales. It is still running today, taking in roughly over a million dollars a week. It is staying on top of the most popular Broadway shows by selling more tickets than both Wicked and The Book of Mormon. The popularity of the stage production is due to the music, detailed stage scenery, and elaborate costuming. The play is yet to be made into a live-action film. However, Disney's animated version became an instant classic. Both children and adults fall in love with the story of redemption and homecoming in a world that offers little reward to those too timid to take their rightful place in society. It is a story of self acceptance that warms the heart.

The Story of a Prodigy

For those that are not interested in musicals that have undergone miraculous transformations, there is Amadeus. Although the film centers around the life of Mozart, it is essentially a biographical pick. The film was based on Alexander Pushkin's play Mozart i Salieri. At the award ceremonies, Amadeus won Best Picture and 40 other awards in addition to its 53 nominations. Released in 1984, this movie is ranked 53rd on the the 100 greatest films over the last 100 years list established by the American Film Institute. Tom Hulce gives an amazing performance as Mozart that is sure to move audiences of all ages and persuasions.

Unpublished Genius

Few people are aware that Casablanca is actually based on a stage production. The unpublished play, entitled Everyone Comes to Rick's, was written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. At the time that the script was turned into a film, the expectations of its success were minimal. However, it has become one the greatest films ever to hit the big screen. It enjoys iconic status among directors, and they consistently pay homage with references and allusions in their own films. It has never been remade. Casablanca also played a large part in solidifying greatness for actor Humphrey Bogart.

Everyone Loves A Good Cabaret

Chicago provides an interesting example because the stage musical is actually based on a film produced in 1927. The stage production was then put back onto film again in 2002. The story is likely to have stood the test of time because of the themes on which it focuses. Murder, celebrity intrigue, and corruption drive the plot as characters build upon their actions with musical grace. The recent film had a long list of top actors on the bill including John C. Reilly, Richard Gere, and Rene Zellweger.

Featured image:

License: Creative Commons image source 

About Today's Guest Writer:
Carl Black is a drama teacher and director at his local theatre. Carl enjoys writing informative pieces about theatre and how it influences mainstream culture. He was also happy to share his input for the Best Online Liberal Arts Colleges for those who want to pursue a career in liberal arts.

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