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Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical

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Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical

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    Available in PDF Format | Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical.pdf | English
    Steven Cohan(Author)
With their lavish costumes and sets, ebullient song and dance numbers, and iconic movie stars, the musicals that mgm produced in the 1940s seem today to epitomize camp. Yet they were originally made to appeal to broad, mainstream audiences. In this lively, nuanced, and provocative reassessment of the mgm musical, Steven Cohan argues that this seeming incongruity-between the camp value and popular appreciation of these musicals-is not as contradictory as it seems. He demonstrates that the films' extravagance and queerness were deliberate elements and keys to their popular success. In addition to examining the spectatorship of the mgm musical, Cohan investigates the genre's production and marketing, paying particular attention to the studio's employment of a largely gay workforce of artists and craftspeople. He reflects on the role of the female stars-including Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Esther Williams, and Lena Horne-and he explores the complex relationship between Gene Kelley's dancing and his masculine persona. Cohan looks at how, in the decades since the 1950s, the marketing and reception of the mgm musical have negotiated the more publicly recognized camp value attached to the films. He considers the status of Singin' in the Rain as perhaps the first film to be widely embraced as camp; the repackaging of the musicals as nostalgia and camp in the That's Entertainment! series as well as on home video and cable; and the debates about Garland's legendary gay appeal among her fans on the Internet. By establishing camp as central to the genre, Incongruous Entertainment provides a new way of looking at the musical.

"[S]hould delight film fans who feel that for too long, they too have viewed from the margins." --Jaime S. Ong, "Screening the Past""For as 'entertainment' is not exactly the word one would typically use to describe academic writing, Cohan proves to be an exception, as his scholarship, like any good musical, smoothly blends theory and fandom, camp and culture, into a fascinating, elegant composition." --Tiffany Gilbert, "Virginia Quarterly Review""What makes Cohan's arguments all the more convincing is the way he has been able to contrast the cultural knowledge, and therefore interpretations, of the historical periods in question, with the cultural productivity of later periods, which acted to re-interpret and re-invent the meaning of the MGM musical." --Evelyn Hartogh, "M/C Reviews""Steve Cohan . . . presents his readers with more insights, theory, facts, figures, and just odd common sense than could even fit on a back-lot sound stage in the old MGM studios. . . . [T]here's . . . enough here for the common reader and any queen who loves these films. . . . Cohan makes these movies more entertaining and meaningful than ever before. "Incongruous Entertainment" is smart, fun, and unique." --Michael Bronski," The Guide""Steven Cohan's "Incongruous Entertainment "brings together two fascinating subjects--camp and the musical--that are often casually linked but have never been explored as carefully and usefully as they are here."--Pamela Robertson Wojcik, author of "Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna"Steven Cohan s Incongruous Entertainment brings together two fascinating subjects camp and the musical that are often casually linked but have never been explored as carefully and usefully as they are here. Pamela Robertson Wojcik, author of Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna"Steven Cohan s scholarship is impeccable and his writing elegant and witty. He pulls together all the previous approaches to camp and uses them to explore the mgm musical and its stars from every angle I could think of and a few I would never have thought of. Alexander Doty, author of Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon"Cohan meticulously supports his argument with detailed examples while eloquently and often humorously bringing the musicals and their stars to life. Both fans and novices are invited to rethink the political import of the MGM musicals from the studio era through the present. . . . Because of Cohan's revisionist scholarship, this book is also an essential read for anyone who studies camp and musicals. --Leah Perry "Journal of Popular Culture """Steven Cohan's Incongruous Entertainment brings together two fascinating subjects--camp and the musical--that are often casually linked but have never been explored as carefully and usefully as they are here."--Pamela Robertson Wojcik, author of Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna"Steven Cohan's scholarship is impeccable and his writing elegant and witty. He pulls together all the previous approaches to camp and uses them to explore the mgm musical and its stars from every angle I could think of--and a few I would never have thought of."--Alexander Doty, author of Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon"Cohan meticulously supports his argument with detailed examples while eloquently and often humorously bringing the musicals and their stars to life. Both fans and novices are invited to rethink the political import of the MGM musicals from the studio era through the present. . . . Because of Cohan's revisionist scholarship, this book is also an essential read for anyone who studies camp and musicals."--Leah Perry "Journal of Popular Culture "

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Book details

  • PDF | 384 pages
  • Steven Cohan(Author)
  • Duke University Press (15 Nov. 2005)
  • English
  • 3
  • Gay & Lesbian
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