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Big Debate; what makes a film a musical

(27 Posts)
KatyMac Sat 08-Nov-14 22:08:56

We have been talking about what makes a film a musical

Is Sister Act (film) a musical or Pitch Perfect? The Commitments is, but how about Dirty Dancing (film) or Flashdance?

I say it's when the actors sing, the counter argument is that it's a musical if the music comes from no-where

CityDweller Sat 08-Nov-14 22:15:31

It's when the actors sing but not as part of the story (almost as if the singing bits aren't acknowledged by the story/actors). So Committments isn't a musical. But Singin in the Rain is. Flashdance isn't a musical either.

CityDweller Sat 08-Nov-14 22:16:19

Sister Act is. Dirty Dancing isn't. I don't know Perfect Pitch.

KatoPotato Sat 08-Nov-14 22:19:16

Does the singing drive narrative? Then it's a musical. I'd argue sister act, because yet the music is important to the plot, you could replace any of the songs and not affect the story arc?

KatyMac Sat 08-Nov-14 22:19:55

Surely the singing in Sister Act is acknowledged? Like in the Committments?

KatoPotato Sat 08-Nov-14 22:21:08

Yes it's acknowledged because it's about singing nuns. They could sing any song and still not affect what's happening?

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 08-Nov-14 22:25:54

Sister Act the film is not a musical. The songs are sung only in the context of the nuns practising & rehearsing for a competition.

The stage show Sister Act is a musical because the songs are part of the dialogue. The characters sing about their feelings, situation etc.

KatyMac Sat 08-Nov-14 22:28:10

So Pitch Perfect, Commitments & Sister Act aren't (is that right) even tho' Sister Act & Commitments are now West End Musicals

What about Sunshine on Leith - that is?

KatyMac Sat 08-Nov-14 22:29:11

So Glee is then? (I know it's not a film, but....)

CityDweller Sat 08-Nov-14 22:29:48

Ok I haven't actually seen Sister Act, was just presuming it was a musical!
Sunshine on Leith is a musical.

CityDweller Sat 08-Nov-14 22:30:36

Glee is a musical (tv series)

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 08-Nov-14 22:30:53

I've not seen The Commitments but Sister Act the stage musical is very very different to the film.

KatoPotato Sat 08-Nov-14 22:33:01

They've been adapted into musicals, which involved creating songs that drive the plot and characters.

Never seen sunshine on leith. Does anyone sing their direct feelings to another character and get a response?

Like when Jean Valjean sings 'who am I?' We learn all about his past, his feelings and his motivations' without this song we'd have no other way of knowing about his character. If he'd sang 'Doo wah diddy' you could fast forward it and still follow the plot?

Whitershadeofpale Sat 08-Nov-14 22:35:24

What about 8 mile? The music is part of the plot but does help drive the narrative.

I think if Caberet is a musical then so is 8 mile. I wouldn't say sister act is a musical.

KatyMac Sat 08-Nov-14 22:52:16

I don't know 8 mile

CityDweller Sat 08-Nov-14 23:00:20

Do they acknowledge the singing in 8 Mile? I haven't seen it for years, but I think they do (isn't it about rap battles?). If so, not a musical.

In a film musical the song numbers almost 'pause' the progress of the plot whilst giving us information about how the characters are feeling or behaving. And (usually) the characters don't acknowledge they're singing.

Redcoats Sat 08-Nov-14 23:03:15

I've only seen 8 Mile once, so might be wrong, but he only Raps when he's performing or rehearsing. Similar to the Commitments in that respect.
Compare to Simething like Grease. None of the songs are 'performances'. They're telling the story. The characters even sing by themselves.

Whitershadeofpale Sun 09-Nov-14 10:03:30

Yes the songs are acknowledged so in that respect I'd say not a musical but they do reveal more of the characters background. I think on these parameters then Caberet and The Commitments can't be musicals either.

Vitalstatistix Sun 09-Nov-14 10:09:03

imo a musical is where they burst into song apropos of nothing. You're talking, then suddenly you're singing.

So sister act would not be a musical, but a film about people singing, which includes scenes of them singing.

but mary poppins is a musical because they are walking down the street and suddenly burst into song and sing to each other as though that is a perfectly normal thing to do. They also dance. Nobody ever thinks it is weird to just start singing to someone. Or that they also know the words. Nobody ever wonders where the music comes from.

Best musical ever! ...

KatyMac Sun 09-Nov-14 12:22:54

That's really tricky especially when you add in the films that become west end musicals

Thanks everyone - I am getting there

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 09-Nov-14 16:40:39

But in Cabaret as well as the songs sung as part of the cabaret there are songs that are sung between the characters.

KatyMac Sun 09-Nov-14 18:50:23

How about Moulin Rouge? That is a musical right?

I can't remember when I last watched Cabaret

KatoPotato Sun 09-Nov-14 22:15:53

Don't Euan and Nicole declare their dying love for each other by song? Then it's a musical!

juneybean Sun 09-Nov-14 22:18:25

I'd say moulin rouge is a musical as they use song as speech.

I wouldn't say glee is a musical as the songs are part of glee club rather than being used as speech

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 09-Nov-14 22:18:29

Its when, if it happened in RL you would turn to your friend and say "what the fuck? They just sung to each other"????

So Commitments and Sister Act, no, as thesinging is acknowledged/ in context

West Side Story, yes

Annie, yes

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