The Migration of Musical Film, The Migration of Musical Film, 0813568641, 0-8135-6864-1, 978-0-8135-6864-5, 9780813568645, , , The Migration of Musical Film, 081356865X, 0-8135-6865-X, 978-0-8135-6865-2, 9780813568652, , , The Migration of Musical Film, 0813568668, 0-8135-6866-8, 978-0-8135-6866-9, 9780813568669, , , The Migration of Musical Film, 0813574277, 0-8135-7427-7, 978-0-8135-7427-1, 9780813574271,
The Migration of Musical Film

From Ethnic Margins to American Mainstream
Desirée J. Garcia (Author)
208 pages, 20 photographs, 6 x 9
Paper, August 2014 $27.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, August 2014 $85.00   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, August 2014 $27.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, August 2014 $27.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Subject Area:
Film, Media Studies, and Communications, American Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies


 Movie musicals are among the most quintessentially American art forms, often celebrating mobility, self-expression, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. But like America itself, the Hollywood musical draws from many distinct ethnic traditions. In this illuminating new study, Desirée J. Garcia examines the lesser-known folk musicals from early African American, Yiddish, and Mexican filmmakers, revealing how these were essential ingredients in the melting pot of the Hollywood musical.

The Migration of Musical Film shows how the folk musical was rooted in the challenges faced by immigrants and migrants who had to adapt to new environments, balancing American individualism with family values and cultural traditions.  Uncovering fresh material from film industry archives, Garcia considers how folk musicals were initially marginal productions, designed to appeal to specific minority audiences, and yet introduced themes that were gradually assimilated into the Hollywood mainstream.

No other book offers a comparative historical study of the folk musical, from the first sound films in the 1920s to the genre’s resurgence in the 1970s and 1980s. Using an illustrative rather than comprehensive approach, Garcia focuses on significant moments in the sub-genre and rarely studied films such as Allá en el Rancho Grande along with familiar favorites that drew inspiration from earlier folk musicals—everything from The Wizard of Oz to Zoot Suit. If you think of movie musicals simply as escapist mainstream entertainment, The Migration of Musical Film is sure to leave you singing a different tune.


"As well-written as it is original, The Migration of Musical Film is, quite simply, the best book on film musicals I have read."
—Journal of American Ethnic History

"Garcia’s thought-provoking book encompasses a film tradition of the folk musical that includes well-known mainstream films such as The Wizard of Oz and Meet Me in St. Louis, even as it puts those films in rich and fruitful conversation with many less-known Jewish, African American, and Hispanic films. Along the way, Garcia makes a compelling argument for the influence, heretofore unacknowledged, of these ethnic traditions on mainstream Hollywood. Highly recommended."

"Flowing smoothly between theoretical concepts, historical research, and textual analysis, The Migration of Musical Film explores how various minority populations helped found the folk musical...a stunning and needed contribution to the scholarly conversation."
—Sean Griffin, author of America on Film

"Desirée Garcia’s illuminating insight in this engrossing book is seeing Hollywood musicals not in isolation, but in cultural dialogue with ethnic filmmaking—Black 'race movies,' Yiddish cinema, and Mexican films."
—Charles Ramírez Berg, The University of Texas at Austin

Author / Editor Bio

 DESIRÉE J. GARCIA is an assistant professor in the Program in Film and Media Studies at Arizona State University. Formerly a producer for the PBS documentary series American Experience, she has published numerous articles and book chapters on film spectatorship and the American musical.


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