PERFORMING ARTS

The Movie Musical!

Knopf. Nov. 2019. 656p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781101874066. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781101874073. MUSIC
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Basinger (American Cinema) takes an in-depth look at the Hollywood musical in this lively and informative study of the quintessential American film art form. There is a lot of ground to cover, and the author is the perfect guide, taking readers back to the movies’ early days and the advent of sound, the uncharted waters of early productions, the jungle that was the studio system, and beyond. A selection of gorgeous photographs, including stills and studio shots, enhances the work. This is more than a sentimental journey, however. Perceptive portraits explore the roles of movie icons and iconoclastic filmmakers in the development of the genre, and Basinger’s enthusiastic, knowledgeable text is topped off with a carefully compiled bibliography. All that is lacking is a soundtrack, but the writing is so vivid that those beloved tunes will pop into your head once you start to read.
VERDICT Movie buffs and film students alike will applaud this delightful and insightful work. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

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