In preparation for our upcoming concert, Songs of the Cinema on May 10th 2014, we are starting a blog series of the same name, which will focus on a different aspect of ‘movie music’ each week!
Movie musicals are a genre of film, and were a natural extension of theatrical musicals, when audio technology advanced to a point where musicals could be successful on screen.
Although there were a few short films that included music in the movie, but without an audio track. The first feature length film including both music and an audio track with dialogue (although admittedly the dialogue was sparse), was The Jazz Singer, released by Warner Brothers in 1927. This marked the golden age of movie musicals, spanning nearly three decades.
As movie musicals grew in popularity, it made household names of several actors, including Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, and Mickey Rooney. This era saw films like, 42nd Street, Shall We Dance, Easter Parade, and Singin’ In The Rain gain great popularity.
After the 1960’s, although there were some fantastic musicals produced, including The Sound of Music, Funny Girl, The Wizard of Oz, and West Side Story, there were also a few musical movies that did not do as well, and the studios began to produce fewer of them through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
Fortunately, there has been a resurgence recently in the popularity of musical movies, spurred on by Disney’s inclusion of music in their movies, seen in such films as Anastasia, the Prince of Egypt, and most recently, the movie Frozen.
Western film is not the only film that includes music in movies. Spanish operettas, called Zarzuelas, are very popular, and Indian cinema has an incredibly popular movie musical scene called Bollywood, that have begun to inspire Western cinema. This influence has been seen most notably in films like Moulin Rouge, and Slumdog Millionaire.
So, are you a fan of movie musicals? Tell us which one is your favourite in the comments below!