March 2, 2008

From Governess to Butcher

Posted in Film, music tagged , , at 4:33 pm by Katelyn

Moulin RougeSince the topic of movies was raised earlier this week, I thought I would touch on the phenomenon and resurgence of the movie musical that began (in my opinion) back in 2001 with Moulin Rouge.

Growing up, musicals were always our genre of choice. It probably helped that my parents are both music teachers, but there was also much more of a selection of musicals from which to choose. The last great era of producing movie musicals was probably in the 1960s with films such as West Side Story and The Sound of Music and it could maybe be considered to have continued into 1978 with Grease. But most would agree that great musicals ended there. People stopped understanding the need to break into spontaneous song and dance in every scene and they moved toward reality.

After a 20ish year hiatus, suddenly within the last 5 – 8 years big name stars have taken an interest in showing off their hidden singing and dancing skills in films like Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Dream Girls, The Producers, and most recently Sweeney Todd.

So was it the novelty of the musicals themselves or the celebrities that drew the attention of a general public with no previous knowledge (or experience with) musicals? Then again, does it matter? They’re back! Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Jamie Foxx, or Johnny Depp may have attracted the audience initially, but they would not have received the great reviews and box office numbers without the stories and stellar music of great Sweeney Toddwriters and composers.

My personal list of great newer movie musicals:

Chicago (2002), Dream Girls (2006), The Producers (2005), Hairspray (2007), Walk the Line (2005)

Newer movie musicals I need to see:

Ray (2004), Across the Universe (2007), Sweeney Todd (2007), Phantom of the Opera (2004)

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1 Comment »

  1. Michael Henreckson said,

    The musical resurgence is an interesting phenomenon. Personally I don’t much care for most musicals, because I always find myself waiting for the song to be over so we can get back to the real story. Maybe that’s the reason why Chicago is the only one of the modern musicals I’ve watched. I have to admit that it was visually intriguing and creative, but I don’t think it converted me to a lover of musicals.


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