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Essay Samples > Research > History of Cinema
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History of Cinema

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This paper seeks to establish information concerning the musical genre of movies. In the movie world, there are various classifications of movies with categories like horror, romantic comedy, western, science, fiction, film noir and musicals. In this paper, we focus on the musical genre and we understand this subject by analyzing three different movies in this category. The movies that this paper will look at are Grease (with John Travolta), The Sound of Music, and one more. For the three movies, we will discuss the roots and conventions of the genre and the director. In addition, we will look at the background of each film. With the information gathered in this paper, we will be able to understand whether there have been any changes in the genre conventions over different films. Lastly, we will analyze how the changes are a reflection of the time the films were made.

Musical movies refer to the movie genre, which makes use of songs sung by the lead characters, the songs are mixed with the narrative, and it includes some dancing. In most cases the songs, presses forward the plot or build up the movie’s characters and sometimes they act as breaks in the movie storyline. The musical movie genre was an original improvement of the stage musical after the innovation of sound film technology. The major difference between the two- stage musicals and musical movies is the use of sumptuous background scenes and settings that would be impossible in theatre. Musical movies have aspects suggestive of theater, which is that performers treat their dance and song numbers as though they are in front of a live audience. In general, the watcher takes the role of the deictic audience as the actors perform their scenes looking directly into the camera. We now focus on the first musical movie Grease with John Travolta.

The movie Grease stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton as its lead characters. The movie was first showcased in June 1978 with its opening scene at the Rydell High School reunion. The Rydell theme song devolves into the T-birds naughty rendition as time goes back to the year 1959. The lead characters, Danny and Sandy, fell in love over the summers, and the plot of the movie revolves around the idea that they want to rekindle their love in high school. They got admission to the same high school, and the monumental task was how they were to rekindle their love, which had blossomed over the summer. This is a musical film about teens in love, in the 50’s. Its setting is in California, the year 1959 when the two teens fall for each other. Their love grew while they spend a lot of time at the beach, and on reporting to school, they get the shock of them being admitted to the same school - Rydell High. Danny is in a group of black- jacket where he is the leader while Sandy’s social group is the Pink ladies, a group whose symbol is wearing pink. There is a pep rally and the two groups clash. To the surprise of Sandy, Danny is not the same person she spent time over the summer and they attempt to like each other in an effort to be together.

The main casts of the movie were people way past their teen years as because when the filming of the movie was taking place most of them were in their twenties. John Travolta was twenty-three years old, and Olivia Newton was twenty-eight years old. The main soundtrack was the song “You are the one that I want” and it initially sounded awful to Randal Kleiser. The cast of the movie Grease is funny and perfect, and songs in the movie are just moving. Other songs in the movie include “Look at me, I am Sandra Dee”, “Hopelessly devoted to you,” “Summer nights,” and many others, which give the movie a musical aspect. The Grease is a Paramount movie production with an opening credit displaying the leading characters in cartoon form the ending credits show actors’ names to the side of mock-up yearbooks, and there is a Paramount logo the 1970’s at the start of the movie featuring a blue background.

The roots of the musical movie began almost immediately with thoughts ranging from utterly animated version of the movie. The generation of the movie was rapid, which was influenced by the movies “Happy days” and “American Graffiti.” In the year 1959 there was a substantial change in the American cultural history as record companies were producing more than a hundred singles every week! The movie Grease made a trivial consideration about a little musical of the Fabulous Fifties. The storyline is about America’s crossover from the 50’s to the 60’s, throwing the tradition aside and repression for the adventure and freedom. This was at a time when the cultures and styles of the disenfranchised and disengaged became overbearing symbols of the teenage independence and power. The movie Grease got its inspiration from the rule-busting success of other movies like Hair and other similar shows. The shows gave an opening to other broad way musicals like Grease in a more authentic, visceral and radical theatre that helped in revealing significant cultural truths concerning America.

Musical movies have their conventions, and it is common knowledge that it all takes place in a fantasy world where individuals get upset about things, and opt for singing rather than crying. The conventions in the movie Grease have some consistency touching on aspects of the teenage posturing, the issue of first loves, and the pain of being the new kids on the block, teenage pregnancy, jealousy, and the extent to which people can change them for the sake of love. The storyline is about real things that happen in an unreal world. Like all musical movies, the Grease movie has a background in which it got its storyline. It is the original high-school musical, which features all the unforgettable songs from the movie. The movie gets its name from the tough guy working class greasers of the time, and it sets to explore social issues in America like gang violence, and teenage pregnancy. It has several themes some of them being friendship, love, class conflict, sexual exploration during adolescence and to some level rebellion. Its initial premier was as a straight play in 1971 and later producer Maxine Fox and Ken Waissman suggested that it could work better as a musical hence the later production as a musical movie.

The director of the musical movie Grease was Randal Kleiser, and he based the movie on the music of Warren Casey and Jim Jacob by the same name. The music was about two high school lovers, and the soundtrack emerged as the second best selling album of the year in the US. The director uses several materials to come up with a presentation of a stereotype, a deformed perversion of thought in an increasingly complicated times – the 70’s, creating the idea that the 50’s were simpler times in America. Kleiser makes a delightful transformation of the character Sandy at the end of the film, which he gets inspiration from issues of popularity, relationships, and dating in high school. As the director of the movie, Kleiser makes it clear that the movie is a fantasy piece, a fairy story told in poodle skirts and leather jackets by having the King and Queen fly off in a souped up flying car. This is the fantasy representation of Kenickie’s Greased Lightning from the Greased Lightning musical sequence. The music in the movie the Grease is still perfect, the dancing is brilliant and energy and the pace are intact, making the movie a legend musical film. The characters sing like angels making every viewer want to sing along, and this is the idea of musical movies. We now focus on the second musical movie – “The sounds of music”.

The Sound of Music is a magnificent musical movie of all times, and it has all the makings of a formidable musical movie. These include memorable songs as sound tracks, lush background locations, an experienced production team, a talented cast, and the preceding momentum of a popular stage musical. In addition, the movie has a wholesome over-romantic story with historic villains, sympathetic heroes and wide family appeal. The Sounds of Music is a musical movie based on a true tale of the Trapp Family Singers. The lead character is Julie Andrews who stars as a young nun in the Austrian convent and constantly skips her morning prayers but instead goes to the hills to sing. The singing is of the song, which is the lead song of the movie, and which makes the movie musical. Mother superior wants Maria to learn things about the real world before she takes her vows and to learn these she sends Maria off to be the governess for kids of the widowed Captain Von Trapp. The new boss of Maria is aloof and cold and his children are not blameless either. Maria manages to get her way with the children especially with the oldest daughter as she opens up to Maria that she in love with a teenage messenger boy called Rolf. The tale goes on with Maria falling in love with the Captain, getting married, and settling in their marriage.

The movie has its roots and conventions before the seismic of the late 1960s and 1970s. The origin of the movie is the book "The Tale of the Trapp Relatives Singers" by Maria Von Trapp. The movie has several popular songs including “My favorite Things”, “Sixteen going seventeen”, “The lonely Goatherd,” and the “Title song.” These songs make the movie a musical and many of the listed songs have become standards. The setting of the movie is in Salzburg, Austria: Bavaria in Southern and at the 20th Century Fox studios in California. The Sound of music is from the era when civil rights, the Great society, the space program, and the Vietnam conflict were dominant on the American headlines. An old-fashioned and lustrous movie lacks the grainy realism and requests for social consciousness that dominated other movies of the mid 1960s.

Originally, the movie was to be directed by William Wyler who looked for locations and put more ideas to the script. The conventions of the movie are from a true story, which touches on the civil rights conflicts present at the time. The main themes of the movie, which are love, conflict, marriages, and power, are evident in the movie and the characters bring these issues out in the movie. There is the aspect of family in the movie with viewers being reminded of the significance of the family and the universality of music. The movie manages to correspond to the most levels of the social structure and does not withdraw from the bourgeois opportunism of Max Detweiler and the impresario. The movie gets its conventions from the ancient times and gives the viewers an Austria that the Second Republic would not desire but for its attention on the anti-Nazi Austrian. The Sound of Music represents the conservative American Cold War notions of the 1960s.

The director of the movie the Sounds of Music is Robert Wise. This was in support with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Eleanor Parker. The director arranged to screen some of the footage from Mary Poppins at the Disney studios in an attempt to evaluate Julie Andrews’s potential as a musical screen star. Robert Wise is a Hollywood veteran who worked his way to the position of the director from the level of sounds effects and editing departments at RKO in the 1930’s and 1940’s. These achievements came in the year 1950s and 1960s, and he received an award for several movies including the Sound of Music. The movie is a veritable musical movie in the ancient times and most people still consider it as a great movie. It is a movie that has received acclamations from audiences across the world for several years as it turned out to be the triumph of 20th Century Fox Studios.

The last musical movie we will now focus on is Singin’ in the Rain. It is an American comedy musical movie film, which stars Donald O’Connor, Gene Kelly, and Debbie Reynolds. It provides a comic depiction of Hollywood and its changes from silent films to talkies. Singin’ in the Rain has its origin from the ideas of MGM producer Arthur Freed and all the songs in the movie have music by Brown and lyrics by Freed. The production of the movie includes a famous dance routine in which the lead character Gene Kelly sings the lead song while twirling an umbrella. The producers of the movie created a scene of rain with a mixture of water and milk. The making of the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” is directly for the film purposes and was not a broad way adaptation.

The plot of the film is co-directed by Stanley Donen and the lead character of the movie Gene Kelly. The movie is full of excellent songs, wonderful dances, story and casting. This movie is another illustration of the organic assimilated musical in which the tale’s characters naturally articulate their feelings in the middle of their lives. In this movie, songs and dancing replace the conversations especially in times of high spirits or passionate romance. The plot is an autobiography of Hollywood at the beginning of the talkies. The tale is about a dashing, self-satisfied, but romantic silent movie star and swashbuckling matinee idol. He tolerates his uninspiring superficial leading woman as the show links them romantically to increase their popularity. The leading woman is convinced that there is love between them but the male character thinks otherwise. The general overview of the movie is that the silent film characters and singers are trying to make the change to talkies when one of them fails to sing well, but no one has the will to tell her.

The director of the movie Singin’ in the Rain is Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. From his childhood, Stanley Donen was attending dance classes on Broadway at 17 years old and with the help of producer Arthur Freed, he got the opportunity to direct the movie. He was born in the year 1924 in Columbia, South Carolina. In the movie, Gene Kelly was also a director who worked alongside Stanley Donen. He is described as a creative director whose input is indispensable in Hollywood. Singin’ in the Rain is also one of his famous works as a director in M-G-M and was at the same time a lead character in the movie.

Most musical movies rely on the stage musicals, and Singin’ in the Rain is an example of the opposite of this ideology. The setting of this movie requires a lot of input from the characters, the choreographer, the stage crew and the architect. The conventions and roots of the movie Singin’ in the Rain are the transformation of the movie making from the dialogue based movies to silent movies. This ideology gave birth to the production and creation of the movie, and the silent scenes were emphasized by the use of dance and music. The directors included a number of the legendary music in the movie that saw the communication and the expression of the actors. The idea of the producers of the movie was to express the themes of love and relationships in the non-verbal ways, which are dancing and singing.

Have the genre conventions changed over different films? Genres conventions refer to anything, which that set of theories, have in common, and this can be in relation to any stories. For instance, in the above discussion, we have analyzed the genre of musical movies, which has similarity, in the areas of events, roles, settings and values that describe the certain genres. The genre conventions have not changed as evidenced in the above musical movies. The setting of most musical movies is the same and so are the values, roles and events. The above movies are similar in several contexts starting with the values of the movies. There is the common theme of love in all musical movies, and so is the aspect of music. The actors play the role of singers expressing this theme of love through song, which is the principal character of musical movies. The root of most musical films is still the same as it incorporates music in its production. As much as times and events have changed the settings of musical movies are still the same. It is evident from the above analysis that genre conventions has not changed over different films. Different movies still use the original conventions and hence the same movies fall in the same category.

How much of this is due to a reflection of the time the films were made? A small percentage of the changes in the movie is due to the difference in the times in which the production of the movies took place. These changes are because of the greater innovations in the technology field, which has seen the emergence of better tools for production. In the ancient times, the apparatus for production were not advanced, and this made it even harder to come up with some events or roles. Through the years, there have been significant innovations making it possible to have even the most complex of scenes and roles. Despite these technological advancements, the conventions of musical movies have not changed that much as the movie producers and directors still employ the same set of theories in making these movies. In conclusion, the genre of musical movies is a fascinating branch of movies, which makes use of the art of singing and music. This genre has seen the emergence of some creative and legendary movies, which have been a way passing messages and information to viewers of different ages and from different parts of the world. The musical films have been in use from the ancient times and still attract viewership in all parts of the world because of the musical aspect of it.

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