The book starts by placing the musical film and its audience into an overall historical/social context, setting forth the prime importance of the first musicals. It proposes the ways to reclaim these films from years of cultural/historical neglect through historical data as well as the use of reception theory to view the films within their proper context. The parameters of the book — time lines, genres, premises — are all established, as is the book's distinctive tone and style. The main vantage points are threefold: (1) Background and history; (2) A viewer's changing perceptions; (3) These works' precarious relationship with their audience.
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