Musicals have been a popular genre since the creation of talkies in the 1920’s. They have been influenced by the early musical theatre. One of the most well known early musicals is the Wizard of Oz. It stars Judy Garland as a Kansas girl who gets transported to a magical world full of interesting characters. Over the decades the film has become an important part of popular culture.
Musicals work well as children’s films. Mary Poppins was hugely popular upon it’s release. The tale of an English nanny in Edwardian England helped to make live action Disney musicals profitable. Disney has also had success making animated musical films. These include the Lion King which features the hit Elton John track The Circle of Life.
Singin’ in the Rain is considered by many to be the best musical film ever made. It stars Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds as actors who try to put on a hit show. It’s depiction of early Hollywood has made it a beloved classic for many generations. In recent years the film has been compared to the Band Wagon. This Fred Astaire musical has similar themes and is considered by some critics to be superior.
Musicals continue to be made today. La La Land received a number of Oscar nominations upon it’s release. It focuses on modern LA and the death of classic cinema. A more upbeat modern musical is Mama Mia which features the hits of Swedish pop legends ABBA. The film is based on the best selling stage show.
Sweeney Todd mixed the format of musical films with the dark tone of horror. It tells the scary tale of a barber in London who murders his clients. It stars Johnny Depp in one of the few roles of his career where he sings on camera.