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Dangerous RhythmWhy Movie Musicals Matter$
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Richard Barrios

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199973842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199973842.001.0001

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I Get the Neck of the Chicken

I Get the Neck of the Chicken

(p.156) Chapter 8 I Get the Neck of the Chicken
Dangerous Rhythm

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a survey of aesthetic calamities and egregious achievements in musical cinema. From Lucille Ball in Mame to the sleaziness of a Showgirls, a musical can go wrong in many different ways. There can be smash hits of poor quality (Blue Skies, with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), cosmic errors (the racist operetta Golden Dawn and the hideous remake of Lost Horizon), and the complete wrongheadedness of a Paint Your Wagon or Man of La Mancha. Some disasters can worthy and honorable, like Porgy and Bess, while others—like Joan Crawford in Torch Song—are merely the purest camp. Either way, the worst of musical cinema provides worthy signposts and lessons for where filmmakers should not dare to tread.

Keywords:   musical film failures, Paint Your Wagon, Mame, Porgy and Bess, Yolanda and the Thief, Blue Skies, Joan Crawford

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