American Film Musical Themes and Forms
"The musical has been called 'the most popular form of entertainment in the world.' This work examines the subjects, themes, and contemporary relevance of Hollywood musicals through their long popularity, placing each show in historical and political context and analyzing it in detail.A chapter is devoted to how Golddiggers of 1933 (1933) and Stand Up and Cheer (1934) deal with the economic crises of the Depressions. Another addresses race issues by examining the prevalence of blackface minstrelsy in the 1930s and 1940s, looking at productions like Swing Time (1936) and Dixie (1943). Rock and roll culture, which started in the 1950s and threatened America with teenage sex and rebellion, is addressed through such hits as Girl Crazy (1943), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), and Grease (1978).The work also explores dance as a signifier of character, the geography of musicals (such as New York or 'the South', fantasy settings, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and the musical biopic (mentioning biographies of such figures as Ziegfeld, Cohan, Rogers and Hart, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern). A later chapter discusses intertextuality in such shows as Singin’ in the Rain (1952), which refers to many earlier musicals; Kiss Me Kate (1953) which refers to Taming of the Shrew; and All That Jazz (1970) which refers to the life and work of Bob Fosse. The work concludes with an examination of the continuing popularity of the musical with such hits as Moulin Rouge (2001) and Chicago (2002)."
A Fine Romance: Hollywood & Broadway
"For everyone who loves movie musicals, for everyone who loves Broadway musicals, this entertaining illuminating book provides insights on exactly what happens when stage meets screen. Do sparks fly—or do they fizzle? Are there fireworks—or waterworks? Each show, each movie, has its own history, its own juicy stories, its own dark side, its own ironic twists. Spectacular photographs—many published here for the first time—let theater buffs and movie lovers alike witness these intricate, intriguing sagas. Why was Gypsy a smash on stage and not nearly as successful on screen? Why did it take twenty-seven years for Chicago to travel from Broadway to Hollywood? All the answers, all the pictures, all the razzle dazzle that is show business make the marriage of movies and stage musicals truly A Fine Romance."
The Great Movie Musicals: A Viewer's Guide to 168 Films That Really Sing
"Beginning with The Jazz Singer in 1927 and ending with Sweeney Todd in 2007, this comprehensive critical history examines the greatest movie musicals of all time. Organized alphabetically, 168 films are analyzed on the basis of importance, entertainment value and musical presentation. Included are Broadway adaptations (West Side Story), screen originals (The Wizard of Oz), all-star revues (The King of Jazz), musical biopics (The Glenn Miller Story), dance pictures (Fame) and animated features (Aladdin). Each entry contains full cast and production credits, a list of awards, background information, and a synopsis incorporating the musical numbers in order of appearance."
Hollywood Musicals Nominated for Best Picture
"Popular culture writer Vogel describes all 39 Hollywood musicals nominated for Best Picture in detailed chapters on why each film was nominated, stage and literary influences that guided the productions, and the films' influences on succeeding films. Detailed plot descriptions are provided, along with facts about actors and actresses, direction, choreography, orchestration, and historical background of the stories. Each chapter contains one b&w film still."
Singing a New Tune: The Rebirth of the Modern Film Musical, from Evita to De-lovely and Beyond
"Responding to the recent popularity of film musicals, Muir presents a survey of the genre for the general reader. He incorporates interviews with directors and screenwriters such as Sir Alan Parker, Todd Haynes, John Cameron Mitchell, Keith Gordon, Todd Graff, Craig Pearce, and Jay Cocks. Following an overview of the film musical from the 1920s to the 1990s, Muir discusses 14 film musicals from 1996 to 2004, along with musicals on TV. The book includes color stills, and appendices contain general trends in the genre and credits for the films discussed."