The Hollywood Musical Essay by The Research Group

The Hollywood Musical
A brief history of the genre.
# 24219 | 1,350 words | 3 sources | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 13, 2003 in Film (History of)


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Description:

Brief history of the genre. Conventions of early musicals (1939s, 40s, 50s); influence of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. Issues of form and content. Musical conventions. Techniques that shaped the narrative. Sound & image unification. Fantasy elements. Examples of film "Singin' In the Rain," the film noir miniseries "The Singing Detective" and "Pennies From Heaven."

From the Paper:

"The Hollywood musical was long a staple of the film industry, at least from the beginning of the sound era to the early 1970s, and the form continues to reappear from time to time. It has fallen into disfavor in recent years because it is viewed as artificial and unrealistic, given that orchestras play where there are no orchestras and people break into song in lieu of dialogue when the mood strikes them. Filmmakers always accepted the conventions and made use of them, but with Bob Fosse's film version of Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972), the trend in filmmaking turned away from the conventions of the musical in the belief that audiences would no longer accept them. Cabaret presented all of its musical numbers in a naturalistic way so that they took place as they would in life--on stage, for instance, or as part of a public rally. People no longer broke..."

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