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date: 27 January 2020

Film musicallocked

  • Richard Traubner
  • , revised by Thomas L. Gayda
  •  and John Snelson


A film that includes musical numbers (songs, ensembles, dances) that are usually integrated (though not always closely) with the plot. A film musical is commonly a film version of a Musical originally written for the theatre, or a work of the same type written for the screen, often by songwriters who established their reputations in the theatre. Although the film musical reflects the history of the stage musical, it has evolved its own distinctive settings and subjects, such as the rock-and-roll extravaganza and the backstage view of theatre life. ‘Musical film’ is also used of any film with occasional songs or other musical numbers. The distinction between such a film and a film musical is sometimes difficult to draw: many films of the interwar period had two or three songs as a matter of course and others that were not advertised as musicals might contain as much music as films that were. Westerns, mysteries and cartoons, for example, often include musical numbers but are not film musicals, and the full-length animated films made from the 1940s onwards by Walt Disney, though cast in the same format as the film musical, are not usually referred to as such. The same confusion does not arise with ...

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