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The Dawn of Musical Film.
on 2 September 2011
This historical documentary is outstanding.Lasting 342 minutes (2 CD's in six episodes). The production is stunning. The commentary by Julie Andrews is engaging with charming links as expected. This is more than a production review. The social aspects are well documented, rightly so, as I feel this is as much a social history as it is a stage and film history. Wars, depressions, prohibition, strikes,devastation from infections (HIV), are integral to the story with authoritive commentary from ground floor personnel.
Going through the innovative film and sound technical developments, the film explains in graphic detail the difficulties and progression encompassing vaudeville, operetta, minstrel shows allied to the impact of more modern technology. Phonographs, radio, television,picture movies need taking into account. Public and political prejudices and demands needed accommodating. The actors and production staff had to circumvent these to satisfy the public needs and produce profit for the producers. Later inflated payments to the stars were enormous driven by market forces. The earliest black and white features that are available are crucial,enhanced and monumental in reinforcing this scenario.
We now have film and first hand accounts of the problems faced by these innovators delivered in sight and narration. The American censorship, political allegations and racial issues are revealed. The top-line is that we are able to see and hear the musical heritage of Broadway and that the 'The Stars Of Broadway' came through one way or another. All of the creative seminal names are here. Great things will always prevail. Don't get me wrong, this contains the most fabulous multi-talented lead-setting music, writers, directors, producers, performers we have ever seen. Hooray For Broadway! Brings us up to modern day. Any better to come? Absolutely mesmerising and cannot be more highly recommended.