Book Review: Musicals in Film: A Guide to the Genre

Valerie Mittenberg


“You ain’t heard nothing yet!” (43) exclaimed Al Jolson before belting out “Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye” in The Jazz Singer, the 1927 film considered to be the first movie musical. Over the next century, the movie musical has continued to enthrall audiences with new performance and production styles. The long list of movies in which characters sing is matched only by the lavish number of books that have been published about the topic, the majority of which were written for Hollywood musical buffs. These books typically include movie stills, plot synopses, score credits, and fascinating anecdotes. Clive Hirschhorn’s 1981 comprehensive chronicle, The Hollywood Musical (Crown, 1981), is a successful example of this formula.

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