The movie musical has been a much loved genre since motion pictures found a voice and learned to sing. Throughout the decades, audiences thrilled to the glamour of the musicals of Busby Berkley and were emotionally invested in stories about Austrian nuns and the King of Siam with the musicals from Rodgers and Hammerstein. With the advent of Rock ’n Roll, Heavy Metal, R&B, Motown, Punk Rock, and Disco entering the public consciousness, musicals started to sing a very different tune.
Into the 1970s, the movie musical became a daring, dangerous, and divinely decedent cinema experience. Lee Gambin’s We Can Be Who We Are: Movie Musicals from the 1970s explores this explosive energy and diversity. From the quirky sophistication of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever and the dark unnerving genius of Cabaret to the sweet sentimentality of Charlotte’s Web, Gambin’s book offers insightful film criticism while exhaustively covering the decade.
Some of the films Gambin examines include Phantom of the Paradise, Grease, The Wiz, Rock’n’Roll High School, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, All That Jazz, Godspell, Hair, The Rose, Saturday Night Fever, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Pete’s Dragon, Tommy, Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park, and many, many more.
The book also features incredible brand new interviews from dozens of extremely talented artists who made these movies possible: director John Carpenter discussing his biopic Elvis; Lesley Ann Warren giving fascinating insight into the made for TV production It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman; auteur filmmaker Norman Jewison delivering two very different musicals with Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar. This book is loaded with numerous production stories and candid insights into how these films were made and received. Gambin’s book also features loads of wonderful photos, many of which have never before been seen including wonderfully candid behind the scenes stills!