The musical mode : rock and Hollywood cinema
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This project seeks to determine the extent to which rock music brought an end to the Hollywood film genre of the musical. It stresses the importance of rock and post-1960s popular music scholarship to film studies and vice-versa. Both objects of popular music inquiry remain relatively unexamined within film studies. But while the value of film studies to popular music scholarship has been much more widely acknowledged, much more work remains in these areas. Therefore, this project will look at the workings of rock ideology and how it impacted the development of the Hollywood musical. It will also examine recording technology and the ways in which it transformed both the film and music industries. The second half of this project is an extended analysis of how Hollywood films of the post-rock era (1970 onward) have reflected these changes. It theorizes that it was not so much the musical that “died” in this era as it was a particular kind of musical number – the Spontaneous Outburst of Song. The later chapters use the concept of mode as opposed to genre to examine how the pleasures offered by the musical of the classical Hollywood era remain available albeit in different guises and genres. Furthermore, these pleasures are capable of fostering the kinds of communities, if not utopias, that some scholars claim have died along with the classical Hollywood era.