Feuer- The Self-reflective Musical and the Myth of Entertainment

  • Art musical: idea of early-musical films having a need for verisimilitude, where the numbers are done in the context of a show. Making it a self-referential form
  • From 49-53, The Barkleys of Broadway, Singin In The Rain, and The Band Wagon contrast between performances that fail to please audiences and performances that do.
  • Musicality isn't limited to onstage numbers, they create a myth that musical entertainment permeates ordinary life.
  • Art musicals are similar to myths, in that they both seek to mediate contradictions in the nature of popular entertainment.
  • By showing the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood, the movie demystifies the production of entertainment.
  • The myth of spontaneity: the musical's spontaneous emergence of a joyous and responsive attitude towards life. A spontaneity of creating the imaginary world of the magical performance (ex. make 'em laugh). Demystification is countered by the reassertion of the spontaneous evolution of musical films.
  • The myth of integration: The self-reflexive musical asserts the integrative effect of musical performance. Successful performances are intimately bound up with success in love, with the integration of the individual into a community or a group, and even with the merger of high art with popular art. Attempting to overcome the divide of the elite making the film and the mass public viewing it.
  • The myth of the audience: successful performances are sensitive to the needs of the audience, and give the audience a sense of participation, as well attached to the production of the entertainment.
  • While setting up an association between success and lack of audience manipulation, the musicals themselves exert continuous control over the responses of their audiences.
  • Self-reflective musicals mediate a contradiction between live performances in the theater and the frozen form of cinema by implying the MGM musical is theater.
  • The myth of integration and audience suggest the MGM musical is a folk art,

Uses reflexivity to perpetuate rather than to deconstruct the codes of the genre.

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