movie

Musical Movies: Why Were They Huge in the 20th Century?

Image from Pixabay

Although I was born at the end of the 20th century (1993), I still watched a lot of old movies growing up. I noticed that many of them were musicals.

There was “The Wizard of Oz”, “Singing in the Rain”, “The Sound of Music” and many, many more. Then there were the Disney classics, like “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid”. But Disney still makes their classics musicals, even if they [sadly] stopped doing 2D-animated movies after 2011.

While there are musical movies of this century, like “The Greatest Showman” and “Mamma Mia”, I am going to focus on those released in the 20th century.

Why were musicals so big? Was it because movies were new forms of entertainment in the early 1900’s. Well, those had no dialogue, except for words shown on the screen after the scenes.

But once dialogue could be heard and not explained through separate words on the screen, musical films were born.

Of course, not every movie was a musical. For example, could you imagine films like “Jaws” being a musical? Or “Friday the 13th”? I think horror and thriller movies would have looked strange with singing and dancing.

By the end of the 20th century, musical movies seemed less common. Maybe people were tired of them? Or they wanted to focus more on the stories than the singing and dancing? There are people who favor that more. Therefore, they prefer live plays over musicals. I’m the opposite, though. I find shows with singing and dancing more fun to watch as they look much harder to perform in. But that’s another topic.

Musical films seem a lot less common these days. Oh well. Just like time, trends change. I have not seen “The Greatest Showman”, but I have seen “Into the Woods”. Although I usually enjoy musicals, I will admit that “Into the Woods” wasn’t really my cup of tea.

This post may have seemed like a lot of questions asked. But it is just an observation of movies and their trends.

movie

The Words Will Speak… For “Grease” Analysis (1978 film)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

Over 40 years have passed since this movie has been released. It follows an Australian girl, Sandy, who is in love with a Brooklyn boy, Danny, and the love triangle Sandy goes through with Danny and another guy. Other characters, such as the girls who call themselves the pink ladies and the guys who call themselves the thunderbirds, play major roles as well.

The musical numbers are amazing. I love the songs, “You’re the One that I Want”, “Sandra Dee”, “Grease Lightning”, and “Summer Nights”. Recently, however, I noticed that some of the questions in “Summer Nights” are rude to ask in real life, such as “How much dough did he spend?” or “Did she put up a fight?” I guess trying to fit in, “That’s none of your business” into the lyrics would’ve been out of place and would’ve felt forced. Oh well. “Grease” isn’t a kid’s movie. So audiences will probably know the boundaries of what is okay in real life and what stays on the screen.

I liked the “Romeo & Juliet” reference right after the “Sandra Dee” number: “Wherefore art thou Sandy?”. Ha ha, Shakespeare never gets tiring.  The scenes where Danny is struggling with sports tryouts were great, as well. They made him feel real and likable.

I also didn’t expect a lot of cartoons within the movie, like what the characters watched. Sometimes, I admire the old-fashioned 2D cartoons from the mid-twentieth century more than the CG animation today, especially because 3D animation is pretty much the only kind for movies these days. This was one of those moments.

The fifties culture was very well emphasized. From the diner moments to the characters’ fashion, it really teaches you about that decade. What I didn’t appreciate, however, was when during the dance scene, all couples had to be boy and girl. I get it. This takes place in the 50’s and was filmed in the 70’s, both of when being gay, lesbian, transgender, or gender-neutral was beyond out-of-the-question. However, watching something like that in a time when homosexuality and chosen gender-identity are trying to be more acceptable (and have made progress during the past few years) can be a bit insensitive. I’m asexual and proud to call myself female both biologically and identity-wise. But I do have full empathy with homosexual people and those who see themselves as different genders than how they were identified at their births.

The ending where Danny and Sandy drive into the sky was quite interesting. Not too long ago, there was a conspiracy theory about Sandy being dead the whole duration of the movie. I don’t know if it’s true, though (I hope not). I do know that there’s a sequel to “Grease”, which I didn’t see.

I approached the movie not knowing the whole plot, even though I saw a live production of “Grease” at a local theater with camp when I was 13. But I don’t remember everything there.

I would rate “Grease” 4 out of 5 stars. Although something about the film didn’t engage me fully, I enjoyed the story and musical numbers as well as the characters.