Musical Film Genre Essay

Musical stars such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were among the most popular and highly respected personalities in Hollywood during the classical era; the Fred and Ginger pairing was particularly successful, resulting in a number of classic films, such as Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), and Shall We Dance (1937).Many dramatic actors gladly participated in musicals as a way to break away from their typecasting.

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The Love Parade (Paramount 1929) starred Maurice Chevalier and newcomer Jeanette Mac Donald, written by Broadway veteran Guy Bolton.

Warner Brothers produced the first screen operetta, The Desert Song in 1929.

Hollywood released more than 100 musical films in 1930, but only 14 in 1931.

By late 1930, audiences had been oversaturated with musicals and studios were forced to cut the music from films that were then being released.

For example, Life of the Party (1930) was originally produced as an all-color, all-talking musical comedy.

Musical Film Genre Essay

Before it was released, however, the songs were cut out.Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the earliest Disney animated feature film, was a musical which won an honorary Oscar for Walt Disney at the 11th Academy Awards.Musical short films were made by Lee de Forest in 1923–24.In a sense, the viewer becomes the diegetic audience, as the performer looks directly into the camera and performs to it.The 1930s through the early 1950s are considered to be the golden age of the musical film, when the genre's popularity was at its highest in the Western world.Typically, the biggest difference between film and stage musicals is the use of lavish background scenery and locations that would be impractical in a theater.Musical films characteristically contain elements reminiscent of theater; performers often treat their song and dance numbers as if a live audience were watching.Suddenly, the market became flooded with musicals, revues, and operettas.The following all-color musicals were produced in 19 alone: The Show of Shows (1929), Sally (1929), The Vagabond King (1930), Follow Thru (1930), Bright Lights (1930), Golden Dawn (1930), Hold Everything (1930), The Rogue Song (1930), Song of the Flame (1930), Song of the West (1930), Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1930), Under a Texas Moon (1930), Bride of the Regiment (1930), Whoopee!In films such as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Berkeley choreographed a number of films in his unique style.Berkeley's numbers typically begin on a stage but gradually transcend the limitations of theatrical space: his ingenious routines, involving human bodies forming patterns like a kaleidoscope, could never fit onto a real stage and the intended perspective is viewing from straight above.

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