The Hollywood provides different musical compositions that somehow affected the genres of musical films and the trends of musical preferences within the society. Even with the same musical movie genre, certain marked up evolution can be noticed excelling from Singing in the Rain in 1952 and the latest Hairspray last 2007.
The trends of musicality, trends of conservatism to modernistic musical play, and the symbolisms of society present have greatly expanded in different perspectives, such as classical to pop musicale, rock to rap music, conservative fashion to less detailed professional look, etc. Much has been changed and shifted as depicted through the movies of Singing in the Rain (1952), West Side Story (1961), Godspell (1973), Fame (1980) and Hairspray (2007); hence, these movies are considered as the main focal points of the discussion.
The aim of the study is to compare and contrast each of the genre presented in all of these musical movies. Furthermore, the study considers the mutual influence that occurred between these movies and the governing trends in society during the year of its making. Discussion Hollywood Musical Progress Hollywood musicals have always incurred popular support from various classes within the society, and these movies have undeniably influenced the statements and trends present in the society.
Meanwhile, some of these movies, such as hairspray (racism), have obtained its plot from the current social issues manifesting in the society. Starting with the musical of Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain in 1952, the basic trends that can be obtained relates to the rise of showbiz careers by the protagonist (Don Lockwood portrayed by Gene Kelly) of the story, while the antagonist (Lina Lamont as Jean Hagen) sabotages the success of Lockwood’s musical career (Green and Schmidt, 1999 p. 70). The character of the movie can be inclined mainly in a 1950s setup wherein conservativism evidently exists in the characters’ portrayals (deep wordings with lesser use of slang), clothing (overly formal suits from 1950s), and the concept of the play, which somehow considers the trends of stardom in issues of musical entertainment in 1950s.
Meanwhile, the genre of West Side story (1961) has obtained similar features with the latter musicale only in terms of romanticism played in a contemporary setting; however, the overall concept has been revolutionized into a somewhat modernized issue of society, which has been gangsters and dance crazes (Green and Schmidt, 1999 p. 233). The movie portrays the evident trends occurring within the society in terms of the group deviancies, gang wars, and peer organizations that has been blended with the context of love at first site (Richard Beymer as Tony and Natalie Wood as Maria).
The movie provides the distinction on how youth moves in early relationships and seeks peer influences rather familial presence. The next movie is Godspell in 1973 can be considered in musical genre about religious and practical life issues. From the title of the movie itself, Godspell depicts the characteristics of Christian evangelism, which has occurred greatly during 1970s under the promulgations of different famous religious preachers, Benny Hinn, Don Moen, etc.
The musical of Godspell somewhat provides the theme of Christian messing forms wherein they employed less choreography, incorporated distinct teachings of Christ Jesus, and the return of the youth to church fellowships (Burridge and Gould, 2004 p. 4). On the other hand, the religious context of the film provides an enigmatic way of messaging the society about Christian orthodox and the need to unite.
Most significantly, it is during 1970s when the historical triggers of Middle East Wars, racial discriminations, industrial revolution and various conflicts within the society are all present; hence, the play utilizes religion and has shown the reverting of youth from rebellious perspective to an evangelical concept. Meanwhile, Fame in 1980 has provided a unique and a total diversion of theme from the last three socially oriented movies. Fame considers the modern movement of arts and place of youth in the society, which is a total diversion from the earlier genre of romanticism and conservativism (LoBrutto, 2002 p. 22).
This movie somehow illustrates similarities with Hairspray (2007) since this musical uses a classical setting in 1950s to 1970s but utilizes the concept of modern entertainment similarly seen in the movie Fame. The social impacts of the last two movies involve concept of “new wave”, wherein the creative and modernistic means of musical is presented with less incorporation of serious social issues, but rather focusing on personal precepts. Conclusion
Evidently, the five films presented in the discussion have shown evolution of genre from classical to modernistic or new wave categories. These involves the depiction or illustration of society’s condition, such as the first three films that based their plot in the occurring societal issues, and shifting or modification of themes, such as the ones viewed in Hairspray and Fame. The changes and shifts within Hollywood musical have always considered the trends present within the society.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 September 2016
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