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Contemporary Musical Film

Edited by Kevin J. Donnelly, Beth Carroll

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A reassessment of the film musical post-2000

Since the turn of the millennium, films such as Chicago (2002) and Phantom of the Opera (2004) have reinvigorated the popularity of the screen musical. This edited collection, bringing together a number of international scholars, looks closely at the range and scope of contemporary film musicals, from stage adaptations like Mamma Mia! (2008) and Les Miserables (2012), to less conventional works that elide the genre, like Team America: World Police (2004) and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (2003/04). Looking at the varying aesthetic function of soundtrack and lyric in films like Disney’s wildly popular Frozen (2013) and the Fast and the Furious franchise, or the self-reflexive commentary of the ‘post-millennial rock musical’, this wide-ranging collection breaks new ground in its study of this multifaceted genre.

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Reimagining the Contemporary Musical in the Twenty First Century; K. J. Donnelly and Beth Carroll

Part One: Original Musicals

  • Aesthetic Absurdities in Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris; Craig Hatch
  • Film and the Twilight of Rock (Rock is Dead and Film killed It) Nails in Rock’s Coffin: Post-Millennial Rock Musicals; K. J. Donnelly
  • Team America: World Police: Duplicitous Voices of the Socio-Political Spy Musical; Jack Curtis Dubowsky
  • The Anti-Musical or Generic Affinity: Is there anything left to say?; Beth Carroll
  • ‘Is this real enough for you?’: Lyrical articulation of The Beatles’ songs in Across the Universe; Stephanie Fremaux
  • ‘Love Is an Open Door’: Revising and Repeating Disney’s Musical Tropes in Frozen; Ryan Bunch

Part Two: Stage to Screen

  1. Star quality? Song, celebrity, and the jukebox musical in Mamma Mia!; Catherine Haworth
  2. Beyond the Barricade: Adapting Les Misérables for the Cinema; Ian Sapiro

Part Three: Musicals By Another Name

  • O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? The Coen Brothers and the musical genre contamination; Stefano Baschiera
  • Racing in the Beat: Music in the Fast & Furious Franchise; Todd Decker
  • Kill Bill to the Beat: Exploring Quentin Tarantino as a musical filmmaker; Geena Brown

About the Author

K. J. Donnelly is a Reader in Film Studies at the University of Southampton. He is the author of Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks (2015), Occult Aesthetics: Sound and Image Synchronization (2012), British Film Music and Film Musicals (2007), The Spectre of Sound (2005) and Pop Music in British Cinema (2001); as well as editing five books concerning music and different forms of audiovisual media.

Beth Carroll is a Lecturer in Film at the University of Southampton. Her research interests include space, musicals, music, gestalt theory, haptics, disgust and video games. She has recently published a chapter on the Pet Shop Boys in Today’s Sounds for Yesterday’s Films: Making Music for Silent Cinema (2016). Her monograph, Feeling Film: A Spatial Approach (2016), explores a spatial methodology for the reading of films.

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