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A Song in the DarkThe Birth of the Musical Film$
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Richard Barrios

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377347

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377347.001.0001

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The Cuckoos

The Cuckoos

(p.253) 11 The Cuckoos
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

Comedy was the most established of all silent-film genres, and as it began to find new bearings in a time of sound, it frequently took on musical trappings. The Marx Bros. led the way, followed by a strange assortment of silent comedians (Buster Keaton), blackface performers (“The Two Black Crows” and radio's Amos ‘n’ Andy), and stage stars such as Charlotte Greenwood. The marriage between music and comedy was frequently uneasy, although in random moments a performer such as Beatrice Lillie, in Are You There?, could demonstrate the possibilities.

Keywords:   comedy, Marx Brothers, blackface, Buster Keaton, Beatrice Lillie

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