..". a model of genre criticism and probably the best overall analysis of the film musical to date." Journal of Popular Films and Television
"The American Film Musical is a truly admirable book which is well worth making a song and dance about. It will immediately assume biblical authority for all who are seriously interested in the dream-factory's most lavish fantasies, and it may even come to stand as a landmark in our understanding of Hollywood as a whole.... Altman's book is thorough, well informed and warmly good-humored. It has brought the study of musical films out of the dark ages." Times Literary Supplement
..". an important addition to both literature and film collections.... a landmark study." Library Journal
"Altman's important study of the American film musical combines genre theory with film criticism and history.... Recommended... " Choice
The American Film Musical is at once the most advanced statement on genre theory and the most complete treatment of the American musical. Altman's unique interweaving of theory, history, and criticism represents an original and challenging contribution to film studies. Illustrated with over 200 frame enlargements and production stills.
"The American Film Musical is a truly admirable book which is well worth making a song and dance about. It will immediately assume biblical authority for all who are seriously interested in the dream-factory's most lavish fantasies, and it may even come to stand as a landmark in our understanding of Hollywood as a whole. . . . Altman's book is thorough, well informed and warmly good-humored. It has brought the study of musical films out of the dark ages. . . ."
-- Times Literary Supplement
CONTENTS. PREFACEI. An Introduction to the Theory of Genre Analysis, General Discourse on Meaning. The Role of Generic Formations in Meaning Production. The Role of the Critic. Toward Objective Evaluation of Subjective Criticism. Establishing a Corpus. The American Film Musical as Dual-Focus NarrativeIII. The Structure of the American Film Musical. The film process through a series of paired segments matching the male and female leads. Each separate part of the film recapitulates the films overall duality. The basic sexual duality overlays a secondary dichotomy. The marriage which resolves the primary (sexual) dichotomy also mediates between the two terms of the secondary (thematic) opposition IV. The Style of the American Film Musical. Audio Dissolve. Video Dissolve. Personality Dissolve.V. The Problem of Genre History.Problems with Current Terminology.Towards a New Terminology.Defining the Corpus.Reformulating Genre Histor.The History of the American Film Musical: A New Approach. VI. The Fairy Tale Musical. Prehistory. Sex as Sex. Sex as Battle. Sex as Adventure. VII. The Show Musical. The Sources of Show Musical Semantics.Backstage: The Syntax of Illusion. Taking it Out of the Theater.Saving the Dying Myth: Reflexivity as Reinforcement. VIII. The Folk Musical. Elements of the Folk Musical. Building a Folk Syntax. A Folk Art in the Age of Mass Media. IX. Genre and Culture. The Fundamental Characteristics of Genre Film.Symbolic Spectatorship.Work and Entertainment.The Musicals Operational Role.The Practice of Music in the Age of Electronic Reproduction. Conclusion. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES. NOTES. YEARLY TABLE OF MUSICALS BY SUBGENRE.INDEX.