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Musicals as a Genre

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Uncle Stevie
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Location: Bloomfield, New Jersey - USA

Re: Musicals as a Genre

Postby Uncle Stevie » May 1st, 2010, 1:37 am

I love this thread. I sometimes get bored with the iconic musical movie. Oklahoma, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, and countless others are musicals to me. The continuous break from the plot to stage a music and dance number can be distracting. On the other hand many of those styled movies had the best composed music. Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific, West Side Story and the likes were magnificent creations.

But even Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly mostly savored the plots, with some exceptions. Deanna Durbin never made a musical. Her movies were stories with songs. My opinion is that when the entire cast breaks into song and dance it becomes a musical. Even Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powel made mostly storied movies with musical numbers but not musicals. The Genre in the record store will be "Musical" but it may not be. I love both styles but favor the singing star sings a song over the full cast song and dance.

Speaking of 1930s I find too much concentration on stupid comedy numbers with comedians like Joe E Brown or Leon Errol. They are usually too long and should have been cut or shortened in the movie. I enjoy the created main plots and comedy becomes an unnecessary fill in.

Another point is the background cast in the movies. I love it when the stars start to sing in a public place that people stop and look at them and eventually applaud when they finish. I do not like it when the crowd around ignores the singing like it never happened. It needs to be real. I love Deanna Durbin movies for just that reason. Everyone participates in hearing the song and applauds.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"

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mrsl
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Re: Musicals as a Genre

Postby mrsl » May 1st, 2010, 1:32 pm

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I love this thread too, but when you say Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell never made musicals where the song filled in the dialog I have to interject again. Jane Powell in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers is singing about her hopes and dreams about her marriage wile picking clover instead of 'talking' it during the ride in the wagon. In fact, later she angrily scolds Howard Keel for letting her go on and on about the two of them "like a fool". During that beautiful ballet of the men only, singing about how they miss their girls instead of talking the words. Every song in that movie fills a dialog purpose, including 'Goin' Courtin'. and the girls in the attic dreaming and singing about the guys who live there. The same pretty much goes for Kathryn Grayson in Showboat. Except for the obvious Champions' show numbers, and Kathryn's New Years Eve song, most of the others were dialog replacements. Ava's 'Can't Help Lovin' that Man of Mine', is explaining why she stays (or goes), with Bob Sterling, depending on the circumstances of the moment. In 'Make Believe' they are pretending they haven't fallen in love at first sight. I have a barrel full of these contrasts including My Fair Lady, South Pacific, and several others.

We touched briefly on the TV Cinderella by R&H, and even that has songs that replace dialog. I know I'm getting tiresome by now, so I'll break off, but if you think about what I've said, you may end up agreeing with me about what a true musical is.
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Anne


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Uncle Stevie
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Re: Musicals as a Genre

Postby Uncle Stevie » May 1st, 2010, 7:12 pm

I agree with you about 7 for 7. It is absolutely a "musical". My definition would include the entire cast. If all on the scene burst into song and dance it is a musical. If only the stars perform then it is a movie with music. There are some exceptions and certainly some on the border. High School Musical and Hello Dolly, are musicals but Singing In The Rain and Top Hat are movies with music to me. Even though they have many big production numbers it is contained and revolves around a plot while limited to the stars and their troupe if they are performing on the stage in the movie. Just as a murder movie is not non stop murder or a romantic comedy is not non stop kissing. A musical is almost non stop singing and dancing. This is my personal categorization.
Uncle Stevie


"Great Marriages Are Made In Heaven,
So Is Thunder and Lightning"


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