The migration of musical film

From ethnic margins to American mainstream

Desirée J. Garcia

Research output: Book/ReportBook

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Movie musicals are among the most quintessentially American art forms, often celebrating mobility, self-expression, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. But like America itself, the Hollywood musical draws from many distinct ethnic traditions. In this illuminating new study, Desirée J. Garcia examines the lesser-known folk musicals from early African American, Yiddish, and Mexican filmmakers, revealing how these were essential ingredients in the melting pot of the Hollywood musical. The Migration of Musical Film shows how the folk musical was rooted in the challenges faced by immigrants and migrants who had to adapt to new environments, balancing American individualism with family values and cultural traditions. Uncovering fresh material from film industry archives, Garcia considers how folk musicals were initially marginal productions, designed to appeal to specific minority audiences, and yet introduced themes that were gradually assimilated into the Hollywood mainstream. No other book offers a comparative historical study of the folk musical, from the first sound films in the 1920s to the genre’s resurgence in the 1970s and 1980s. Using an illustrative rather than comprehensive approach, Garcia focuses on significant moments in the sub-genre and rarely studied films such as Allá en el Rancho Grande along with familiar favorites that drew inspiration from earlier folk musicals—everything from The Wizard of Oz to Zoot Suit. If you think of movie musicals simply as escapist mainstream entertainment, The Migration of Musical Film is sure to leave you singing a different tune.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherRutgers University
Number of pages260
ISBN (Print)9780813568669, 9780813568652
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Fingerprint

Folk
Hollywood
Movies
Pot
Minorities
Individualism
African Americans
Subgenre
1970s
Entertainment
Filmmaker
1920s
Melting
Art Form
Film Sound
Cultural Tradition
Migrants
Film Industry
Yiddish
1980s

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

The migration of musical film : From ethnic margins to American mainstream. / Garcia, Desirée J.

Rutgers University, 2014. 260 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Garcia, Desirée J. / The migration of musical film : From ethnic margins to American mainstream. Rutgers University, 2014. 260 p.
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