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From That's Entertainment! to That's Entertainment? globalization and the consumption of the Hollywood musical in Germany and Austria

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The media world today is dominated by multinational media operations, most of them with headquarters in the United States of America. How does the fact that most decisions regarding the advertising and preparation of products for the international market are made in the United States and not in the respective target countries influence the overseas reception of the film musical one of the most American of movie genres? The essay approaches this question by looking at the way Hollywood musicals have been and still are offered for consumption in the German-speaking film market, which originally had almost no acquaintance with the aesthetics and stars of the dream factory's All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing! movies. Through examples taken from several decades of dubbing, subtitling and cutting film musicals, the article analyses how the attempts of US film distributors to raise their profile and increase their market share have drastically changed the meaning of certain film musicals and affected the reception by both the general public and film experts of the genre and some of its stars, such as Judy Garland and Doris Day. Despite the opportunity to present original as well as uncut or extended versions the advent of the DVD has done nothing to change German and Austrian (mis)conceptions of the Hollywood musical as US film companies still tend to treat foreign audiences as a mere extension of the home market.

Keywords: German-language musical market; US media corporations; US movie musical; dubbing; subtitling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Regent's American College London.

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • Studies in Musical Theatre is a refereed journal which considers areas of live performance that use vocal and instrumental music in conjunction with theatrical performance as a principal part of their expressive language.
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