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When Broadway Went to Hollywood$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199395408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199395408.001.0001

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The First Hollywood Musicals

The First Hollywood Musicals

(p.5) Chapter 1 The First Hollywood Musicals
When Broadway Went to Hollywood

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on some of the earliest Hollywood musicals. It details the stories and people behind films such as The Jazz Singer (1927), The Singing Fool (1928), The Broadway Melody (1929), The Dance of Life (1929), King of Jazz (1930), and Viennese Nights (1930). It highlights two trends paramount in the movie musical's first few years. One trend favors “performance” numbers. The other trend held the Harms group of Broadway's style setters in suspicion. They were experimental to a fault—and experience had taught Hollywood that experiments tend to fail. Another group of songwriters, the composers and lyricists of Tin Pan Alley, were much more agreeable. Their works had mass appeal, from the jaded first audience in the cultural capitals to the third audience in small towns, suspicious of any attempt to change their lives by artistic means.

Keywords:   movie musicals, Hollywood musicals, Broadway, Harms group, Tin Pan Alley, composers, lyricists

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