Friday, October 5, 2007

The Hills Are Dead With The Sound of Music

What makes a film a musical? What makes a film a dance film? These and other exciting questions are being shouted at me from the windows of W6A (the world's second ugliest building*, and home to our questionably illustrious department) by DCMS staff and acolytes every time I cross the car park to enter.
...Ok, maybe I have a little cabin fever, and this is the result of a slightly crazed imagination. In reality, it's only one or two people doing the shouting. So, with all the carry on, I am thinking about this a lot and believe I have come up with the definitvie answer to the second one at least. Here it is: A dance film usually contains plot that is centerd around dance, and also some actual dancing. The most important element, however is that someone dies or is already dead. Let's look at some examples:
Save The Last Dance - mother dies
Flashdance - Hannah the mentor dies
The Red Shoes - dances herself to death
Bootmen - dead mother, AND the brother dies
Billy Elliot - dead mother
All That Jazz - protagonist dies
Dancer in the Dark - single mother who basically dies (but this is Arty, so can't be expected to follow the rules exactly. It needs to be Clever and Thought Provoking)

Does this work for musicals?
Sound of Music - dead mother
West Side Story - Tony dies
Moulin Rouge - Satine dies
Wizard of Oz -TWO witches die (plus Dorothy is an orphan)
Once - dead mother
Oliver - I can't remember this very well because I saw a school production and had to block a lot of it out (no offense Koala) but I have brought in a outside expert to help me with this list and he assures me that Nancy dies.
South Pacific - someone with a dumb name dies I think we get the point

There are loads more but the list is getting boring. One final comment is that lots of Disney movies like The Lion King also follow this theme.

I think this is pretty strong evidence. The End. By Sophie

*it's pretty well documented that the world's ugliest building is the one I currently live in. I personally don't agree with this, but then, I don't have to look at it because I am inside it.


Juice Bar said...

In Dancer in the Dark, didn't she die, on the inside?

It's a dead body, Pats. Yes, sweetie, but is it Art?

Felix for Zosia said...

Well I can't exactly remember. But she goes blind, and I think has to disappear or gets arrested???? It's a bit hazy, but it is definately Art.

Amber said...

Let me recount for you. Selma lives with her son in a trailer on land owned by Bill, a policeman, and his wife. Bill finds about Selma's cache of money and steals it to pay off debts. The bank is demanding repayment and Bill is fearful he could lose his wife, house and property. In a scrap with Selma, she grabs his gun, shoots and wounds him. From the floor Bill pleads with her to shoot and finish him off—she obliges enthusiastically and he dies.
And then she is tried for her crime and is sentenced to death. Isn't that right?
I think you are onto something Zosia!

Felix for Zosia said...

Aha! I knew there was a whiff of corpse about that movie but I couldn't remember the details. I remember that she was in trouble with "da louw" and it had something to do with money... because Bill denies stealing her money and nobody else knew she had it, so they think she tried to steal from him. Is that right?

Amber said...

I@m sure it's right. We should let Von Trier know of your new theory.