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Musical in Hollywood

When did music cinema establish?

Encouraged by the success of her early music films, Warner Bros, it turned to producing them using an early version of Technicolor. She also followed a strict policy of talent selection.

One of them, choreographer Busby Berkeley, revolutionized the genre in the 1930s, giving it a cinematic language that took it away from the theater. Considered one of the fathers of the musical, he left works such as 42nd Street.

Ruby Keeler – Forty-Second Street (1933)

This is a song composed by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. It belongs to the soundtrack of the film 42nd Street, in which it was sung by Dick Powell, and sung and danced by Ruby Keeler.


42nd Street was directed by Lloyd Bacon during the Great Depression period in 1933. The choreography was supervised by Busby Berkeley and was based on the novel of the same name, written by Bradford Ropes. Considered one of the best musicals of all time, the film was nominated for an Oscar for best film and best sound. In 1998 it was included in the National Film Registry for preservation at the U.S. Library of Congress.

What did the rest of companies do?

Following Warner's footsteps, RKO Pictures elevates the couple formed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to stardom. With music by Gershwin or Berlin, he produces a series of films that make a place for him in the history of cinema.

20th Century Fox produces lazy musicals with beautiful actresses like Carmen Miranda and in Republic his owner, Herbert Yates, tries to make his wife, Vera Ralston, a star. Universal and United Artists play little of the genre.

Fred Astaire – No Strings (I’m Fancy Free) (1935)

Song written by Irving Berlin who was in charge of the soundtrack for the film Top Hat. Directed by Mark Sandrich, it starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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Irving Berlin was born in Tyumen (Russia) into a Jewish family that emigrated to the United States to escape the Tsar's anti-Semitism. Given the economic hardship in which he grew up, he never got to read music beyond an elementary level. However, he was one of the most prolific and famous musicians on Broadway. He composed about three thousand songs, many of which left an indelible mark on American music and culture. In addition, he produced seventeen films and twenty-one Broadway shows.

What company was remarkable?

At Goldwym Mayer Metro, producer Arthur Reed is the first to see the potential of the genre. In addition to stars, he has choreographers and directors. He brings in Vicente Minelli from Broadway.

Great successes of the Metro were On the Town (One Day in New York, 1949) and Singin' in the Rain (1952), both directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Also noteworthy was An American in Paris, directed by Vicente Minelli in 1951.

Gene Kelly – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Song with music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed. Although it was published in 1929, it is known for the 1959 film version, sung by Kelly.

Gene Kelly was born in a poor neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother got him interested in the world of dance from a very young age. During the economic depression of 1929, he set up a dance academy to help his family get by. He later travelled to New York where he achieved great success on Broadway starring in the musical Pal Joey (1940).  It was there that he met a dancer from the chorus called Stanley Donen with whom he would form a tandem that would create spectacular musical comedies.