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We Can Be Who We Are: Movie Musicals from the '70s (hardback) Hardcover – July 28, 2015
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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The obvious films are here, like Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, even Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What is truly marvelous is that a lot of films -- and TV specials -- that are usually tossed aside or barely acknowledged in most film books are included, like Pufnstuf, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Journey Back to Oz, Raggedy Ann & Andy and Sherman Brothers musicals like Charlotte's Web, The Magic of Lassie, Snoopy Come Home, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are discussed with a respect and importance rarely if ever given to them.
Gambin also considers TV specials as valid musicals of the '70s and why not? He reviews several Rankin/Bass classics like Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and The Easter Bunny is Comin' To Town, plus TV versions of Broadway shows like Applause and It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman!. You'll even find the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special and Hanna-Barbera's KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park!
Gambin often puts the subtexts and messages of the films under a microscope, much as a college professor would in a film class. It's his book and his valid opinion, but some might be taken aback by some of the things he interprets. The book covers material from A to Z and from G-rated to X-rated, so the reader will be exposed to very mature subject matter and politically incorrect verbiage inherent in films that are of their time.
I would have given this book four stars because there are quite a few misspellings and grammatical issues. The interviews are presented unedited, which means that repetitions and extraneous phrases are intact. That's great from an historic point of view, but it makes the reading somewhat tedious and is not a favor to the interview subjects (from my experience, they don't mind a little gentle editing). It would have also been helpful if the table of contents included the titles of the films covered. However, the interviews are pure gold and the overall book is so thorough on so many points that it still gets five stars.
(This review was based on a copy of the book provided for review.)
Do yourself a favour & buy this book.