Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Using excerpts from movie musicals etc., October 21, 2004
This review is from: Broadway: The American Musical (DVD)
About what some other reviewers said about the documentary using footage from movies: "Broadway" DOES make extensive use of clips from movie musicals. This is necessary because there is almost no film taken of stage productions that happened before the video era. It makes for a much more appealing presentation than if they had taken a purist approach and only used footage of actual stage productions. The movie clips are often identified, but often not. One example is all of that Al Jolson footage, which was from several feature films he made from the late 1920's to 1940's. Also there's a great looking clip of song pluggers in a tin pan alley office; this if from "Rapsody In Blue" a 1945 biopic about Gershwin. There are many many more examples. Excerpts from 1950's TV shows are also used extensively, in addition to The Ed Sullivan Show, there was a all star 1954 tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein, plus more from various unidentified programs.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary and think it well made, I was put off by it's focus on a limited number of key creative people and ignoring the contributions of lots of others. This is a very common practice in documentaries, as well as textbooks about history. It gives the impression that all worthwhile human endevors are the result of a few giants, rather than the result of the work and talent of many. Musical theater progress and quality was not only about Ziegfield, Joson, Merman, The Gershiwins, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc.
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