John Wiley & Sons Free and Easy? Cover Free and Easy examines the evolution of how the film musical genre has come to be defined: what gets.. Product #: 978-1-4051-9496-9 Regular price: $72.80 $72.80 In Stock

Free and Easy?

A Defining History of the American Film Musical Genre

Griffin, Sean

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1. Edition July 2017
376 Pages, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9496-9
John Wiley & Sons

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Free and Easy examines the evolution of how the film musical genre has come to be defined: what gets counted as a musical, why, and who gets to make that decision. Surveying centuries of music history from the music and dance of Native Americans to contemporary music performance in streaming media, including the growth of American musical theater, music publishing, and the music recording industry, Free and Easy examines how social factors helped invent and shape the musical, and the genre's ongoing balance between celebrating individual freedom and reaffirming the joys of community. Expanding beyond the glory days of MGM and the classical Hollywood musical or the blockbuster Broadway adaptation to sound experiments, short subjects and cartoons, foreign-language films, "race movies," documentaries, and contemporary independent cinema, this history questions exactly how "free and easy" it is to determine what is and what is not a musical.

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Overture: Musical Traditions before Cinema 11

2 You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: The Sound Revolution 35

3 Face the Music and Dance: The Depression 67

4 Singing a Song of Freedom: World War II 97

5 There's Beauty Everywhere: MGM and the Freed Unit 125

6 Something's Gotta Give: The Postwar Musical 147

7 Bustin' Out All Over: The Rise of the Musical Blockbuster 175

8 In a Minor Key: The B Musical and Beyond 197

9 The Sound of Money: Musicals in the 1960s 225

10 Whistling in the Dark: A Genre in Crisis 251

11 Can't Stop the Music: Musicals and the New Hollywood 279

12 Just Like Scheherezade: Reviving the Musical Film Genre 307

Index 335