Musicals: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Let’s change gears here into something a little different, and a lot of fun! Musicals. Who doesn’t like a good musical? And before you roll your eyes and think we’re only going to talk about Disney, there’s a lot more to musicals then animated characters singing to woodland creatures. Musicals have been around since the dawn of theatre - and like many of our genres, started on the stage. But what actually makes a musical? In this genre, we define a musical as a film where the songs are sung by the cast, and are a part of the plot narrative. There can even be dancing!

I’m sure many of you have at least heard of a few film musicals, even if you may not have seen them. As with other genres, we can differentiate the film musicals into
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Rock musicals (sometimes called jukebox musicals) have become more and more popular in the last few decades, but one could argue that The Rocky Horror Picture Show, originally premiering in 1975, was the first rock musical. Thought it originally flopped, it became a cult hit in the early 1980s, and has since seen several revivals on stage. Mamma Mia (2008), based on the songs of ABBA, and Across the Universe (2007), based on The Beatles, are other examples of excellent rock musicals.

You can’t have any type of film list without including romance, especially when it comes to musicals. Many musicals have romance at their core, including cross-overs from other sub-genres, such as Mamma Mia. Phantom of the Opera, though a darker sort of musical that borders on obsessive love, and Grease are prime examples - though Grease 2 was a flop.

Musicals also sometimes take on social issues. West Side Story (1961), though an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, shows gang wars and the damage they can cause. Evita (1996) highlights the short life of Eva Peron, First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to her death in 1952, and how she influenced the people of Argentina. Hair (1979) focuses on the Vietnam War, how unlikely friendships are forged, and how the war affected
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The premiere date was actually specifically set for October 6, 1927, which coincided with Yom Kippur. Why is that important? Well, much of the movie is based around the Jewish holiday! The film is based on the play A Day of Atonement, written by Samson Raphaelson.

The Jazz Singer has the standard musical score of other silent movies, but interspersed within are six songs actually sung by Al Jolson, who plays Jakie Rabinowitz, the Cantor’s son, as well as. Several of those clips also include audible dialogue between Jolson and his costars. Due to the inclusion of the songs, the film is considered the very first film musical! How neat is that? You’ll learn a bit later on about how this film essentially signalled the end of the silent film era. It has been reported that when the film premiered, and the dialogue and singing were first heard, the audience in attendance went wild, clapping and

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