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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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“You Were Meant for Me”

“You Were Meant for Me”

(p.59) 3 “You Were Meant for Me”
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

The Broadway Melody, produced by MGM, is the first true musical film. Unlike other films preceding (and following it), it was constructed with meticulous care directed toward both the technology and the audience. The film's huge success can be seen as the watershed that established sound film as viable entertainment, instead of a Jolson-style showcase or stunt. The film's use of early two-color Technicolor was extremely influential, as was its use of a newly-written musical score by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Its central performance, by Bessie Love, was vital in forging new paths for vocal acting on the screen. While its backstage story spawned scores of imitators, it would retain a powerful hold on its audiences' affections.

Keywords:   Broadway Melody, MGM, Irving Thalberg, Arthur Freed, sound-on-film, playback recording, Technicolor, Bessie Love, Anita Page, Academy Award

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