Hollywood musicals: stars, studios and spectacle

Course Dates: 01/06/20 - 03/08/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online

What is it about musicals, the genre that won’t go away? From depression-era escapism to postmodern appropriation, musicals adapted to the times. This all-singing, all-dancing course ranges from 'Broadway Melody' to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Let’s face the music & dance.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

This is a course for those who like musicals, and for those who are not sure - but want to study the genre.
Enjoy the best musical talent from the late 1920s to contemporary times. Course referees are the Coen brothers, with their referential, reverential, and satirical view of classic Hollywood. In 'Hail, Caesar!' the Coens cram callbacks to every Gene Kelly & Fred Astaire musical into a three-minute ditty about sailors out on the town and the bar stool choreography is straight out of 'Singin’ in the Rain', which itself refers back to 1927’s 'The Jazz Singer', as the first “talkie”, and 'Broadway Melody of 1929' as the first real “musical”. The musical is the genre that just won’t go away!

What will we cover?

-The development of the genre (history and influences)
-The great and iconic musicals - their characteristics - and what makes them distinctive
-Musicals were a mainstay of production throughout the studio era. What are the key musicals of each Hollywood studio?
-Diversity: musicals that connected to the times through their diversity and representation of sexual difference and ethnicity within entertainment traditions (Show Boat, Cabin in the Sky, Carmen Jones, West Side Story).
-Components of a great musical: the songs, the stars: (Fred & Ginger, Gene & Judy, Bradley & Gaga), connection to the era’s society (A Hard Days Night, Grease) or the popular music of the time (Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

-List the great musicals, recognising factors influencing their development
-Explain why certain topics, movies and stars have become central to studies of the genre.
-List the characteristics of the most popular musicals and analyse the components of the most successful films.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to anyone with an interest in cinema and film history. No prior knowledge or previous film study is necessary, just a capacity to enjoy—That’s Entertainment!

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Tutor lecture and class discussion along with links to screenings/clips and handouts for further reading/research.

This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There no other costs. The tutor will provide online materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Another course in the 'Film Studies section'. Please see the prospectus under Humanities and or the website under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Tutor Biographies
John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: HF013

Full Mon, eve, 01 Jun - 03 Aug '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Full fee: £159.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £70.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.