An off-screen narrator introduces the MGM symphony orchestra playing in the MGM concert hall. Eighty musicians await their conductor, Johnny Green, who takes them through Rossini's overture to "La Gazza Ladra," the thieving magpie. Sometimes we see the full orchestra, head on, from the back of the concert hall. There are also swooping tracking shots taking us to close ups of Green and soloists, there are side shots, and there is lots of zooming. The men are in white tie, the few women in black dresses. Green, a white carnation on his tuxedo, stands on a small, low platform and conducts without a score in front of him.Written by
MGM's Symphony Orchestra, led by Johnny Green, go through Rossini's overture "La Gazza Ladra", just as the title says. Once again I'm new to this series of shorts with Green but so far I'm very impressed with their quality. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio, new to the shorts format as well, is nicely used here and makes for a very pretty picture to look at as well as listen to. I'm not overly familiar with the overture here but Green does a very good job with his 80-man orchestra and makes for an entertaining 10-minutes.
Strauss Fantasy (1954)
*** (out of 4)
Oscar-nominated short from MGM has their Symphony Orchestra, led by Johnny Green, plays various waltzes composed by three members of the Strauss family. "Pizzicato Polka," "Tales from the Vienna Woods," "Vienna Life," and "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" are among the songs performed here in an edited form. I must admit that I wasn't too familiar with the Strauss family or their work but I did enjoy this brief, ten-minute concert that shows off some of their highlights.
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