Identity, narrative, and entertainment: the first fifty years of American film musicals.
The American film musical is both a genre in itself and a hybrid form that re-presents work first seen in theatres. The interaction of media, the cultural and economic place of film musicals, the interaction of narrative and fantasy, and the representation of American stereotypes, politics, and culture will be explored with reference to a core repertory listed below, and supplemental films ranging from Shirley Temple to Rent.
NB. – This module is timetabled differently from other projects – you must ensure you are able to attend all teaching sessions before choosing it.
SPRING TERM 2014, Teaching sessions:
MONDAYS, 11:15 to 12:45 and 2 to 3:30: 13, 20, 27 Jan; 3, 17, 24 Feb; 3 Mar.
THURSDAYS, 9:15 to 12:45: 16, 23, 30 Jan; 6 Feb; 20 and 27 Feb will be devoted to tutorials.
Showings of Core repertoire (not compulsory): SUNDAYS, 4:00 to 10:00 (approximately) in the Rymer Auditiorium. These will be preceded by a short lecture [20–30 minutes]. A general discussion—no more than a half-hour—will follow each film. There will be a break for dinner on evenings when there are double features.
Knowledge of the core repertoire is required – if you do not attend the showing on Sunday afternoon you must ensure that you familiarise yourself with that material for the Monday teaching session which follows.
An essay of 5,000 words or, by agreement, an equivalent alternative (such as an illustrated lecture or audio-visual presentation of 45 minutes, or a website or creative project of similar scope).
In addition to the core repertoire listed above, students should be familiar with Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Show Boat, Yankee Doodle Dandy and other classics.
The standard texts are Rick Altman: The American Film Musical and Jane Feuer: The Hollywood Musical. Students are advised to be familiar with these before the start of the module. Secondary texts will be drawn from works like Rick Altman, Genre: The Musical: A Reader; Bruce Babington and Peter William Evans, Blue Skies and Silver Linings: Aspects of the Hollywood Musical; Steven Cohan, Hollywood Musicals, the Film Reader; Bill Marshall and Robynn Stilwell, Musicals: Hollywood and Beyond; and John Mundy, Popular Music on Screen: from the Hollywood Musical to Music Video.
On completion of the taught part of the module, all students should:
First years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-A10
Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B10
Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C10