Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Musical Picture

I'm in my Film Genres class.

Last week we watched Swing Time with Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers.
She's as lovely as any actress I've ever seen on screen. This week it's
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. You know, "Bless your beautiful hide".
That one. They're grossly un-p.c. by today's standards, especially Seven
Brides for Seven Brothers but they retain the original appeal. Who
doesn't love some song and dance?

We discussed for a bit the absudity of the Musical film. I'm sure the
thought has crossed your mind before. Here we have a group of people who
spontaneously burst out into choreographed song and dance. Everybody
joins, instinctively taking their queues, as naturaly as smiling back at
a grinning baby.

Sometimes they do it within a diegetic context, i.e. we see the actor
sing and dance because his character in the film is a singer or dancer.
More often, though, music rises from the ether and somebody sings for no
audience (except us) and out of nothing but love.

If anybody did this in reality, we would send them to a professional
mental health expert. They'd need a head shrinker. They'd be

I'd love to see a musical exploit this. Our main character believes
life's a musical. He sings and dances, the animals join in. The
production values reflect classic musicals; their performance is in
front of a painted backdrop, they're elaborately costumed along with
everybody else, the setting is exaggerated and overdone.

But nobody else is in on it. We cut to the reality of the situation.
He's crazy as a loon, and his backup singers and dancers are actually
puzzled onlookers. The setting is stark and unpolished, just what it
would look like anywhere off-screen

I think it could make for a pretty great satire. The audience could
simultaneously enjoy the song and dance and acknowledge the absurd
propositions that virtually all musicals present.

P.S. Dp made the astute observation that there is almost NO way Will
Ferrell didn't base Ron Burgundy on Adam Pontape from Seven Brides for
Seven Brothers. Clear as day when somebody points it out, but the
liklihood of those two films entering the same conversation for any
other reason is almost nil.

-Sent from Austin's phone.


Steve said...

SNL did a parady that was kind of the reverse of what you suggested. They took a kid from an early 20th centurey Puerto Rican gang in NY, the Jets, and had a fight scene with another gang. And when everybody else started singing and dancing to that kooky Westside Story music, the one normal kid was dumbstruck. the contrast was particularly pronounced because all of his gangmates start dancing when they're supposed to be fighting. See if you can find it on google.

pam said...

I love musicals. Hope you don't tell me that it is because I am old.

Austin said...

pam, musicals are great, no matter how old a person is.
Steve, I'm still looking for that skit, I'll let you know when I find it.

Alex said...

Enchanted did a small part of what you suggest. Robert is embarrassed and dumbfounded when Giselle starts singing. Alas, that's the only part they did. And I swear I only know the names because I looked them up on imdb to write this comment.

Angela said...

There's an episode of Scrubs where a patient has a brain tumor that makes her think everyone is singing and dancing like a musical. At the end they take out her tumor and no one is singing anymore. I almost think they want you to feel like she was better off with the brain tumor. Weird.