Melody in the Dark
Title Details

368 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

30 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Melody in the Dark

British Musical Films, 1946–1972

by Adrian Wright

  • Description
  • Author
A comprehensive reassessment of British musical films 1946-1972 including King's Rhapsody, Beat Girl, The Tommy Steele Story, Rock You Sinners, The Golden Disc, and Oliver!
Acting as a sequel to Adrian Wright's Cheer Up! British Musical Films, 1929-1945 (Boydell, 2020), Melody in the Dark offers the first major reassessment of the British musical film from the end of Second World War up to the beginning of the 1970s. In the immediate post-war world, British studios sought to reflect fast-changing social attitudes as they struggled to create inventive diversions in an effort to rival American competition. Hollywood stars Errol Flynn, Vera-Ellen, Jayne Mansfield and Judy Garland were among those brought in to provide Hollywood glamour.

Embedded in the British consciousness, the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan were represented in three productions. Studios occasionally attempted adaptations of British stage musicals, among them King's Rhapsody and Expresso Bongo, and sexploitation movies turned musical via Secrets of a Windmill Girl and Beat Girl. It was left to minor studios to acknowledge the impact of rock'n'roll on social change in three early films, The Tommy Steele Story, Rock You Sinners and the iconic The Golden Disc. Through the sixties, British cinema seemed intent on flooding the market with entertainments promoting pop singers and rock groups such as Cliff Richard, Billy Fury and The Beatles. Towards the end of the period, it aspired to more grandiose projects such as Oliver! and Oh! What a Lovely War.

ADRIAN WRIGHT is a performer, novelist and writer. His previous books with Boydell include A Tanner's Worth of Tune: Rediscovering the Post-War British Musical (2010), West End Broadway: The Golden Age of the American Musical in London (2012) and Must Close Saturday: The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop (2017). He has previously written on the subject of film music in his biography of William Alwyn, The Innumerable Dance (2008), and his fiction includes the Francis and Gordon Jones Mysteries series: The Voice of Doom, The Coming Day and Forget Me Not.

Hardcover

9781783277490

March 2023

£30.00 / $39.95

Available to pre-order from December 2022

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9781800108509

March 2023

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9781800108516

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Title Details

368 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

30 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press