‘Got to Dance my Way to Heaven’: Jessie Matthews, art deco and the British musical of the 1930s
Author: Street, Sarah
Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 2, Number 1, January 2005 , pp. 19-30(12)
Abstract:This article examines the career of British film star Jessie Matthews in the 1930s. It focuses on the musicals she appeared in, particularly those that displayed an art deco aesthetic. Street challenges William K. Everson's dismissal of the musicals as escapist entertainment by arguing that the interrelationship between Matthews's performances and the art deco sets in which they were staged provides a crucial exchange which relates very much to the 1930s in terms of their common aesthetic and concerns with consumption and consumerism. The art deco context of the films' creation and reception is linked to contemporary economic and social changes that were taking place in Britain. In her analysis Street provides close textual analyses of Evergreen (1934) and It's Love Again (1936), two key films whose sets were designed by celebrated production designer Alfred Junge. The article suggests ways in which musical performance can be analysed while taking into account the work of the set designer in creating an equally ‘performative’ register in relation to mise-en-scène.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Bristol.
Publication date: 2005-01-01
- Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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