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The Songs of Hollywood Hardcover – April 7, 2010
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"With its critical investigation of the connections between Broadway and Hollywood, the intertwining of music publishers and studios, as well as the marketing strategies behind hits, it's clear that this book is not only a careful investigation of musical films up to the 21st century, but also an insightful means of taking stock of film musicals in Hollywood cinema writ large, which gives rise to yet further consideration about the integration of music into the realistic medium of film." --Lied und populäre Kultur [Song and Popular Culture]
"The Songs of Hollywood is a brilliantly researched, highly entertaining cornucopia of facts, tracing and defining the evolution of the use of songs in film. It's a fascinating read, bursting with information about the great songwriters, performers, producers and directors who transformed a novelty gimmick into an art form."-Richard M. Sherman, Composer / Lyricist of Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Jungle Book.
"If you love attractive songs and movies that sing and dance, this book is a must. But be prepared to rent all the films you missed or will want to see again after reading the authors' appetizing descriptions!" --Sheldon Harnick, Lyricist
"Good reading--and great history--this book offers a fresh examination of the way songs were integrated into Hollywood movies from the silent era through the glory years of musicals. Furia and Patterson write with equal parts knowledge and enthusiasm. I thought I knew this territory pretty well, but they linger over details to create a rich context for their raw material."--Leonard Maltin
"They discuss great examples of all kinds of singing in the movies so perspicaciously that this is a book that lovers of warbling on celluloid will utterly treasure."-Booklist Starred Review
"Considerable insight. A book that can be used to advantage in serious film study or read for pure enjoyment."-California Literary Review
"The Songs of Hollywood benefits from Philip Furia's previous wok on the American popular song...The selection of key works to illustrate the main themes is done with a purpose; focused not filleted, this is a good, readable history." --Times Literary Supplement
"A good, readable history." --Times Literary Supplement
"A remarkably well constructed, comprehensive overview of the songs of Hollywood...[A] tremendously informative book." --Brad Hathaway - Theater Shelf
Top Customer Reviews
I do have issues with their descriptions of two particular films. There are two instances in which the description of the song's use is at least misleading and at worse false.Read more ›
The whole issue of layout and photos really matters when they are handled so badly. Why include about 200 photos--when they mimic the tiny size of a 35mm film frame (not clever), and with poor resolution to boot? Frustrating. Makes you want to look elsewhere for the pictures. This also makes the layout a little too cluttered. In regard to content, the authors neglect the 1930's Jolson films at Warner Brothers, such as "The Singing Kid" (with extended lyrics by Yip Harburg for "I Love To Singa" that are hysterical). They also score a zero for ignoring the early Sinatra musical films, while treading too much of the same old ground with Judy Garland at MGM. It would also help if the technical issues around the conversion to sound and 1930's recording techniques, were handled with more authority.
This is the kind of book that one buys for the permanent library, so I'd have to rate it a missed opportunity. Hope this book is reissued with better layout, more on the forgotten musicals, and a judicious selection of larger photos with crisp resolution. I'll wait for that edition.
Furia is a noted scholar of American popular song. Precisely what Laurie Patterson brings to the party is unknown.
Essentially this is a history of the Hollywood musical and particularly the people who wrote those wonderful songs, made sure they got into the movies (producers and directors), gave them a framework (directors) and character (actors). There is no question of Furia's knowledge, including backstage lore, which in turn makes this an interesting book.
It is, unfortunately, not a particularly well-written book. Furia writes like an academic. His style lacks verve and is somewhat stiff. The feeling that you are reading a textbook is never far away.
But the book is readable and, with all its information, enjoyable for anyone who likes Hollywood musicals.
A surprising omission is that the book lacks a fimography, that is a list of all the movies mentioned, dates of production, stars, songwriters and so on. Anyone who doesn't want to watch some, most or all of these films again after reading this book is probably dead and, thus, a filmography would be helpful. There is a song index.
The design of the book is, charitably stated, a total disaster.
The cover of the copy I read has a picture of Gene Kelly and Debby Reynolds on the cover. It is an iconic shot from "Singing In The Rain". But instead of the raincoats being bright yellow, they are an ugly, vile, repulsive shade of orange/brown or perhaps umber.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The trouble with film reference books is that once you uncover a glaring inaccuracy, the rest of the volume is cast into doubt. Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by K. Anderson
Just received this book and was astonished over the tiny postage-size illustrations. I have never seen anything like this before. Read morePublished on April 28, 2010 by Bob Berg