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
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
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.
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements

1945 (from May 1945)
Old Mother Riley at Home * Sweethearts for Ever * Here Comes the Sun * What Do We Do Now?
1946
Under New Management * Lisbon Story * George in Civvy Street * Gaiety George * I'll Turn to You * Meet the Navy * Amateur Night * Piccadilly Incident * London Town * Spring Song * The Laughing Lady * Walking on Air
1947
When You Come Home * Life Is Nothing Without Music * The Courtneys of Curzon Street * Holiday Camp * The Hills of Donegal * Comin' thro' the Rye
1948
Nightbeat * One Night with You * Spring in Park Lane * A Song for Tomorrow * Cup-Tie Honeymoon * Holidays with Pay * The Red Shoes * Date with a Dream * Here Come the Huggetts * The Brass Monkey
1949
Vote for Huggett * Somewhere in Politics * Bless 'em All * Melody in the Dark * The Huggetts Abroad * It's a Wonderful Day * Murder at the Windmill * Maytime in Mayfair * Old Mother Riley's New Venture * Trottie True * What a Carry On! * Skimpy in the Navy * High Jinks in Society
1950
The Dancing Years * Old Mother Riley Headmistress * The Lady Craved Excitement * A Ray of Sunshine * Soho Conspiracy * Lilli Marlene
1951
Happy Go Lovely * The Tales of Hoffmann * Lady Godiva Rides Again * London Entertains
1952
Song of Paris * Sing Along with Me * Judgment Deferred * Where's Charley? * Mother Riley Meets the Vampire * Meet Me Tonight * Down Among the Z Men * Tread Softly
1953
Valley of Song * The Wedding of Lilli Marlene * The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan * The Beggar's Opera * Always a Bride * Melba * Laughing Anne * Forces' Sweetheart * The Limping Man * It's a Grand Life * Trouble in Store
1954
The Gay Dog * Harmony Lane * Lilacs in the Spring * One Good Turn
1955
As Long As They're Happy * You Lucky People! * Value for Money * Man of the Moment * Oh ... Rosalinda!! * King's Rhapsody * Gentlemen Marry Brunettes * An Alligator Named Daisy * All for Mary
1956
Fun at St Fanny's * Charley Moon * It's Great to be Young * Ramsbottom Rides Again * Invitation to the Dance * It's a Wonderful World * A Touch of the Sun * On the Twelfth Day * Stars in Your Eyes * Up in the World * Five Guineas a Week
1957
The Good Companions * Let's be Happy * The Tommy Steele Story * Rock You Sinners * After the Ball * These Dangerous Years * Davy
1958
The Golden Disc * 6.5 Special * The Duke Wore Jeans * Wonderful Things * A Cry from the Streets * The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw * tom thumb * Hello London * Life Is a Circus
1959
The Lady Is a Square * Make Mine a Million * Idol on Parade * Serious Charge * The Heart of a Man * Sweet Beat * Tommy the Toreador * Desert Mice * Follow a Star * Expresso Bongo
1960
Jazz Boat * Let's Get Married * Girls of the Latin Quarter * Climb Up the Wall * In the Nick * The Entertainer * Too Hot to Handle * Beat Girl
1961
Rag Doll * The Young Ones * The Johnny Leyton Touch
1962
Play It Cool * The Painted Smile * It's Trad, Dad! * The Road to Hong Kong * Some People * Band of Thieves * I Could Go On Singing
1963
The Cool Mikado * Summer Holiday * Just for Fun * It's All Happening * Take Me Over * A Place to Go * What a Crazy World * Live It Up * Farewell Performance * It's All Over Town
1964
A Hard Day's Night * Wonderful Life * Just for You * Swinging UK * UK Swings Again * Rhythm 'n' Greens * Mods and Rockers * Every Day's a Holiday * Ballad in Blue * Ferry Cross the Mersey * The Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown
1965
Pop Gear * Gonks Go Beat * I've Gotta Horse * Three Hats for Lisa * Be My Guest * Catch Us if You Can * Help! * Up Jumped a Swagman * Cuckoo Patrol * Dateline Diamonds
1966
Stop the World - I Want to Get Off * Secrets of a Windmill Girl * Just Like a Woman * Finders Keepers *
1967
The Mikado * Half a Sixpence * Smashing Time * Red and Blue * Two a Penny
1968
Oliver! * A Little of What You Fancy * Chitty Chitty Bang Bang * Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter * Les Bicyclettes de Belsize *
Popdown
1969
Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? * What's Good for the Goose * Oh! What a Lovely War * Goodbye Mr Chips
1970
Toomorrow * Scrooge
1972
The Boy Friend


Notes to the Text
Select Bibliography

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.

"Adrian Wright's meticulous research has unearthed some gems, and his analyses are suffused with wit, humour and affection. Melody in the Dark shines a light on some fascinating stories, and one is left with a strong desire to watch many of the films." John Altman, Emmy and Anthony Asquith Award winner, composer of over 50 movie scores.

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Title Details

368 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

30 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press