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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 Past as Prologue

The Past as Prologue

(p.395) 17 The Past as Prologue
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

With 1934 and the newly enforced Motion Picture Production Code, the musical left behind its older, more haphazard identity for a streamlined, often trivial future. Films such as Wonder Bar and Murder at the Vanities demonstrated the frankness no longer to be possible under the Code, while Shirley Temple became a symbol of a cleaned-up family-oriented genre. Opera resurged with Grace Moore and One Night of Love, while the Astaire/Rogers Gay Divorcee showed that stylishness could defeat censorship, even as much of the early enterprising spirit was now fading away.

Keywords:   Production Code, Joseph Breen, Jolson, Busby Berkeley, censorship, Shirley Temple, Depression, Lubitsch, Fred Astaire, Gay Divorcee

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