Musical Film Genre Essay

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

Before it was released, however, the songs were cut out.

They spared no expense and photographed a large percentage of the film in Technicolor.

This was followed by the first all-color, all-talking musical feature which was entitled On with the Show (1929).

The public had quickly come to associate color with musicals and thus the decline in their popularity also resulted in a decline in color productions.

The taste in musicals revived again in 1933 when director Busby Berkeley began to enhance the traditional dance number with ideas drawn from the drill precision he had experienced as a soldier during World War I.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.The Jazz Singer, released in 1927 by Warner Brothers, was the first to include an audio track including non-diegetic music and diegetic music, but it had only a short sequence of spoken dialogue.This feature-length film was also a musical, featuring Al Jolson singing "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face", "Toot, Toot, Tootsie", "Blue Skies", and "My Mammy".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.Advertised by MGM as the first "All-Talking, All-Singing, All-Dancing" feature film, it was a hit and won the Academy Award for Best Picture for 1929.There was a rush by the studios to hire talent from the stage to star in lavishly filmed versions of Broadway hits.The most popular film of 1929 was the second all-color, all-talking feature which was entitled Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929).This film broke all box office records and remained the highest-grossing film ever produced until 1939.

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