Film's Musical Moments

Film's Musical Moments

Ian Conrich
Estella Tincknell
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r277z
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  • Book Info
    Film's Musical Moments
    Book Description:

    The scope of this collection is indicative of the breadth and diversity of music’s role in cinema, as is its emphasis on musical contributions to ‘non-musical’ films. It brings together chapters that are concerned with the relationship between performance, music and film and the specificity of national, historical, social, and cultural contexts.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2727-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. x-xiv)
  6. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)
    Estella Tincknell and Ian Conrich

    This book is about musical performance on film, about the use of music within film and it is about film musicals: a triple focus that articulates the complex relationship that exists between music and the cinematic text. The different ways in which musical performance and the diegetic or non-diegetic use of music overlap, intersect or operate in distinction, has been the focus for a range of academic debates and discussions since the mid 1990s. It was with these considerations in mind that we developed this collection of essays.

    The book has its origins partly in the work we undertook as...

  7. PART ONE: MUSIC, FILM, CULTURE
    • 2 JAZZ, IDEOLOGY AND THE ANIMATED CARTOON
      (pp. 17-27)
      Barry Keith Grant

      In some ways, jazz and the movies have parallel histories. Both developed around the turn of the last century on the margins of polite society – film as a novel working-class divertissement in peep shows and in vaudeville; jazz as a rough, improvised march music played by downtown New Orleans blacks. They met, as Charles Berg notes,

      in the darkened, smoke-filled chambers of Bijou Dreams during the first decade of this century. Sitting beneath cataracts of flickering images, pianists ragged and riffed through the pop and standard tunes of the day. Sometimes their efforts help underscore the drama. Mostly, however,...

    • 3 A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BIG BAND MUSICAL
      (pp. 28-41)
      James Chapman

      Cinema’s period of greatest mass popularity during the 1930s and 1940s coincided with the heyday of the big band era in the United States and Great Britain. The popularity of the dance bands rivalled even that of stars of the silver screen as dance halls and airwaves on both sides of the Atlantic resonated to the combination of swing, blues and ballads that characterised big band music. The most successful bandleaders became celebrities in their own right: Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw in the United States, and Ambrose, Geraldo, Henry Hall, Jack...

    • 4 TELEVISION, THE POP INDUSTRY AND THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL
      (pp. 42-55)
      John Mundy

      Though the enormous box-office success of 20th Century-Fox’s The Sound of Music (1965) may have suggested otherwise, by the early 1960s the era of the so-called classical integrated large budget musical was largely over. This is not to suggest, as many have, that the musical genre ceased to have significance. On he contrary, musicals that essentially replicated the revue formula characteristic of the genre’s beginnings in the late 1920s formed an important, if low budget, staple item for both the British and US film industries throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Like early revue musicals, such as William Fox’s Movietone Follies...

    • 5 THE OPERATIC IN NEW GERMAN CINEMA
      (pp. 56-68)
      Ulrike Sieglohr

      The non-commercial, government subsidised West German films of the late 1960s to the early 1980s, popularly known as the New German Cinema, gained an international reputation as exciting and stylistically eclectic, with a preoccupation with the operatic a part of their idiosyncratic approach to narration.¹ This chapter will explore the operatic within the confines of New German Cinema: its formal structures, its modes of narration and its emotional appeal. Crucially, the choice of films is related to the uses of operatic elements as part of a quest for cinematic innovation, rather than with filmed opera performances.

      The excessiveness of operatic...

  8. PART TWO: STARS, PERFORMANCE AND RECEPTION
    • 6 JACK BUCHANAN AND BRITISH MUSICAL COMEDY OF THE 1930s
      (pp. 71-83)
      Andrew Spicer

      The figure of the man-about-town, the leisured British, West End gentleman whose easy-going charm is equal to any situation, is now either nostalgically redolent of a vanished and more ‘innocent’ age, or a symbol of outmoded class privilege. Yet, historical analysis reveals the type to be both complex and highly significant as the central image of British masculine consumption and modernity from the 1880s through to the late 1930s. The focus here will be on the star Jack Buchanan, who dominated the interwar period, establishing himself as an international icon through his musical comedies on stage and screen. Buchanan’s performance...

    • 7 STAR PERSONAE AND AUTHENTICITY IN THE COUNTRY MUSIC BIOPIC
      (pp. 84-98)
      Bruce Babington

      With the decline of the classical song and dance musical in the 1960s the genre’s most persistant mode of survival has been the biopic. This survival is, however, embodied less in accounts of the lives of the performers or composers of the traditional mainstream popular music of the US musical than of stars of alternative forms, such as Rock (in films like The Buddy Holly Story, 1978, and Oliver Stone’s The Doors, 1992); Jazz (Lady Sings the Blues, 1978, and Clint Eastwood’s Bird, 1988); and Country music (three major cinematic biopics – of Hank Williams, Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964), of...

    • 8 STARDOM, RECEPTION AND THE ABBA ‘MUSICAL’
      (pp. 99-112)
      Jonathan Rayner

      Two notable Australian feature films of the 1990s – Muriel’s Wedding (1994) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) – foreground the music of ABBA in self-conscious ways, connecting the films’ narratives with the group’s popularity. In particular, ABBA’s significance to Australian popular culture is encapsulated in the feature film that centres on their tour of Australia in the 1970s: ABBA The Movie (1977). The reappraisal of the band and its renewed fashionable status in ironic or parodic terms in the 1990s may have distracted attention from the distinctly self-reflexive nature of the 1977 film. In ABBA...

  9. PART THREE: THE POST-CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL
    • 9 MUSICAL PERFORMANCE AND THE CULT FILM EXPERIENCE
      (pp. 115-131)
      Ian Conrich

      The cult film is generally seen as a development of postwar cinema, and includes a range of texts that can be used as sites for nostalgia, cultural allegiance and amplified pleasures, and which tend to be associated with camp, low culture, subversion, excess, the unexpected, the absurd, the eccentric, the extreme or the forbidden. Cult films effectively create communities of avid audiences who respond in ways that carry personal meaning yet are familiar and ritualistic. Most commonly, the film becomes a celebration of a pleasure gained from revisiting and re-experiencing a known text. And sometimes the viewing experience leads to...

    • 10 THE SOUNDTRACK MOVIE, NOSTALGIA AND CONSUMPTION
      (pp. 132-145)
      Estella Tincknell

      This chapter explores the music soundtrack as a central element in contemporary popular films. It argues that the classical film musical’s use of diegetic musical performance to express dramatic developments or emotional intensity has been effectively replaced by a ‘postmodern’ model of the film score in which a pre-recorded soundtrack is foregrounded, a soundtrack which may also be ironised through parody and distanciation. In exploring the relationship between music, performance and affect the discussion will focus on three important films made in the 1990s, Forrest Gump (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994) and Boogie Nights (1998), all of which deploy popular music...

    • 11 YOUTH, EXCESS AND THE MUSICAL MOMENT
      (pp. 146-157)
      Scott Henderson

      The 1999 film, 10 Things I Hate About You, opens with a sweeping panorama of a Seattle setting, while on the soundtrack The Barenaked Ladies’ song, ‘One Week’, is heard emanating seemingly from a non-diegetic source. This assumption is soon corrected as a car full of teenage girls pulls up to a stop sign; they are all bopping their heads in time to the tune, which is now identified as coming from the car’s stereo. However, this sound is quickly drowned out and replaced by Joan Jett’s rendition of ‘Bad Reputation’, which blasts from the car stereo of Kat Stratford...

    • 12 MUSIC, FILM AND POST-STONEWALL GAY IDENTITY
      (pp. 158-168)
      Gregory Woods and Tim Franks

      In the days when ‘musical’ was a code word for male homosexuality – ‘Is he musical?’, ‘Mmm, very !’ – a man’s relationship with music could be as revealing and compromising as the biomechanics of his sexual acts. Not only to have certain tastes, but to have ‘taste’ at all, could be construed as a suspiciously unmanly condition. Moreover, almost from the moment when the post-Stonewall gay identity was invented in the late 1960s it has been partially defined – even if ironically – in terms of a relationship with musical cinema. The drag queens, hustlers and other gay riff-raff...

  10. PART FOUR: BEYOND HOLLYWOOD
    • 13 EARLY DANISH MUSICAL COMEDIES, 1931–9
      (pp. 171-182)
      Niels Hartvigson

      Seventy-seven Danish sound films were produced between 1931 and 1939 and of these over fifty were musical comedies deploying a content that is both romantic and populist. This chapter focuses on how the relationship between musical numbers, story-lines and themes created three specific sub-genres that dealt differently with the ideals of romantic love and political populism: ‘collective musical comedies’, ‘character musical comedies’ and ‘romantic musical comedies’. Before turning to the films, an understanding of their political and social context is therefore necessary.

      The depression affected Denmark badly, with 1933 being the worst year. Yet, this was a time of political...

    • 14 FILM MUSICALS IN THE GDR
      (pp. 183-194)
      Andrea Rinke

      This chapter will focus on two musicals directed by two East German filmmakers who specialised in entertainment films – Gottfried Kolditz’s Revue um Mitternacht (Midnight Revue, 1962) and Joachim Hasler’s Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer, 1968) – both of which were domestic box office hits.¹ Situating my examples in the historical and generic context of East German cinema, I will investigate the reasons for the scarcity of musicals in GDR film production and explore the explanations for their ‘acceptability’ to the film authorities and their popularity with contemporary audiences.

      The nationalised DEFA (Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft) was East Germany’s only film company. As...

    • 15 MUSIC IN THE BOLLYWOOD FILM
      (pp. 195-208)
      Heather Tyrrell and Rajinder Dudrah

      Prioritised in Indian cultural life, music occupies a similarly central role in its popular cinema industry, both stylistically within film texts, and during the production process. To understand how and why music is so central to Indian film, this chapter considers its presence in ‘Bollywood’, as popular Hindi cinema is known.² The relationship between music and film will be explored through a case-study, the film Hum Aapke Hain Koun . . . ! (Who am I to You . . . !, 1994), one of the most significant blockbusters of contemporary Bollywood cinema, and a production that played a major...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 209-217)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 218-226)