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Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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"Barrios knows this material inside out, which allows him to step back to make often inspired observations." -- New York Times Book Review
"[Barrios] writes about his subject authoritatively ...and always directly. He does so with an absence of heavy theorizing and an abundance of strong opinions. Part of what makes Dangerous Rhythm enjoyable to read is its idiomatic prose." --Wall Street Journal
"[A] hugely readable, authoritative meditation on the Hollywood musical." -- Philadelphia Inquirer
"Simultaneously a rigorous dissection of and a valentine to the movie musical." -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Few people can discuss early-talkie musicals and television's Glee with equal authority. Richard Barrios sees it all as part of a continuum, which is what makes his wide-ranging book so relevant. His sense of humor and lively prose style transform a scholarly treatise into a highly enjoyable reading experience." --Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian.
"Barrios knows his stuff, and musical film aficionados are well advised to get a hold of Dangerous Rhythm. He combines vast knowledge of the subject with tangy writing, resulting in a hard-to-put-down read." --Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s
About the Author
Richard Barrios worked in the music and film industries before turning to film history with the award-winning A Song in the Dark. He lectures extensively and appears frequently on television and in film and DVD documentaries. Born in the swamps of south Louisiana and a longtime resident of New York City, he now lives in bucolic suburban Philadelphia
Top Customer Reviews
While I certainly must praise Mr. Barrios' thoroughness in covering his subject, I really appreciate his ability to share his enthusiasm with the reader. Even the footnotes have a level of zest which demonstrates that "Dangerous Rhythm" is no mere book of scholarly observation but a good, solid and entertaining work that can be read and reread with pleasure. There are going to be many films that I will now watch in a whole new light.
The book and the chapter titles all come from song titles or lyrics sung in a movie musical which is an example of how Barrios infuses a quirky viewpoint into this series of essays. He also provides informative footnotes that add interest without slowing the reader with extraneous information. Each chapter is a different lens on movie musicals with focus on a specific aspect such as animated musicals or musicals on television; the reader is not compelled to read the chapters in sequence, but is free to skip to what interests them.
Dangerous Rhythm reads easily and has appropriate and interesting illustrations. Barrios writes well for the general reader, providing a list of his sources but not documenting enough to be considered as a serious scholarly tome. He has his own lists of movie musicals he like and dislikes. As is often the case in these types of books, he does miss certain musicals. How important that is depends upon your love for that musical.
In the end, Dangerous Rhythm provides provides plenty of fodder for discussions. Read it, and start yours!
Dangerous Rhythm begins with the first movie musicals in the 1920s. From that time onward, studios have been trying to chase critical and financial movie musical success. Barrios’ multi-layered approach touches on so many topics. He talks about composers, lyricists, writers, and choreographers. He discusses music and songs, and how songs cut from one film might pop up somewhere else. He mentions the many directors, producers and the big studios which created musicals, as well as the money that was needed for this genre. He contrasts the direct and sometimes complex relationship between Broadway and Hollywood. He lists stars whose vocal skills were made for the silver screen (think Julie Andrews) and those who were not (think Lucille Ball in Mame). Barrios shares tales about musical trends, flash-in-the-pans, and fickle audiences. Viewers loved Esther Williams and her aquatic productions, until they didn’t love her anymore. He talks about the history of race and sexuality in musicals, as well as musicals as cartoons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fine look at the movie musical and how they have both evolved and devolved, with specific looks at such classics as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, THE BAND WAGON, MY FAIR LADY, THE SOUND... Read morePublished 16 months ago by J. D. Heise
Generally speaking, this is a very interesting, very informative book. Other reviewers here have blasted it for one reason or another. Read morePublished 23 months ago by G. Schneider
Perfect birthday/holiday gift for a theater and movie buff. It was wonderful reminising with the old well-remembered songs. It also sent me off to iTunes to download a few too!Published 23 months ago by Retired2009
This is very well written ... with stories behind the history. Most movie lovers would pick up something they didn't already know about musicals and business of movies. Read morePublished on July 22, 2014 by fergusontx
Love the subject, just it wasn't a dull read...
I love the content as much as I've loved musicals since I was a kid in the 1950s. I still remember being the only 12 year old in an almost vacant theater watching Funny Face, then... Read morePublished on July 9, 2014 by Paul E. Hemmer