Classical Hollywood Musical [DEADLINE: 1 June 2014]

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Film & History Conference 2014 / Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
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CFP: The Classical Hollywood Musical
An area of multiple panels for the 2014 Film & History Conference:
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
October 29-November 2, 2014
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club
Madison, WI (USA)

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014

AREA: The Classical Hollywood Musical

In 1996, Rick Altman counted "1,500 or so musical films" under Hollywood's belt. Although it's now 2014, that number probably hasn't shifted much. After all, the adult-oriented, feature-length American film musical and musical film (i.e., those which include a great deal of diegetic music) have, for the most part, faded into cinema history. For instance, in the last 15 years, only about 10 film musicals and 3 musical films have succeeded financially and, in a few cases, critically. This was not the case, of course, during Hollywood's Golden Age—when the film musical (as well as the studio system) was at its peak.

So what led to the demise of this once-popular genre? Moreover, is the film musical dead, or just on hiatus? Why do audiences still turn to the classical film musical today (e.g., when a newly restored, digital version of Singin in the Rain was re-released last year, theatres across the country sold out)?

This area invites abstracts that consider the classical Hollywood film musical. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • classical musical stars/icons
  • theatre-to-film adaptations
  • roadshow musicals
  • technology and the film musical (e.g., Technicolor, dubbing, lip-syncing, animation)
  • costume/makeup
  • choreography and the performing body
  • soundtracks and selling the film musical
  • representations of gender and race
  • queer(ing) musicals
  • the Freed Unit
  • musical auteurs (Busby Berkeley, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen)
  • the demise/death of the genre
  • TCM and its musical output (e.g., Classical Musicals from the Dream Factory, TCM Greatest Classic Films: Astaire and Rogers, etc.)
  • the classical film musical and modern-day fandom
  • collecting classical musical memorabilia

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see:

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:

Kelli Marshall