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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 March of Time

The March of Time

(p.313) 14 The March of Time
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

Numerous factors accounted for the precipitous decline in musicals starting in mid-1930. The stock market crash and the Pathé studio fire in 1929 were dire omens, and the overabundance of backstage films and unsuitability of filmed revues and operettas played a prominent role. Songs were cut from a number of (former) musicals such as The Life of the Party, while some major projects were aborted shortly before shooting. Most calamitous was MGM's The March of Time, a lavish and shapeless revue that was tinkered with incessantly and finally abandoned, a symbol of the hubris and miscalculation of the era.

Keywords:   stock market crash, Depression, oversaturation, Pathé fire, audience, failure, re-editing, MGM, March of Time

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