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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand: The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand – Episode 3 of 3 (BBC Four Sunday 3 December 2023)

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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand

The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand: The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand – Episode 3 of 3 airs Sunday 3 December 2023 on BBC Four.

What is this episode about

In this, the last episode, host Neil Brand wonders how the musical film has weathered the test of time.

Gritty dramas set in urban environments replaced feel-good romances as the most popular films in the 1970s. Still, two renowned filmmakers who had previously only made these types of films dabbled in musicals at this very moment. Both One from the Heart by Francis Ford Coppola and New York, New York by Martin Scorsese were glitzy, highly stylized tributes to the golden era of the musical. They both fell flat with today’s viewers.

Instead of attempting to mimic the old classic formula, the musical would find its contemporary voice by being unconventional and maverick, as Neil Brand learns when he meets Mel Brooks, the man behind the unforgettable Springtime for Hitler. Additionally, he crosses paths with Jeremy Deller, a Turner Prize–winning artist who contends that the finest film of all time is Ken Russell’s adaptation of Tommy, the rock opera by The Who.

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Another school of popular films, including American Graffiti and, most notably, Grease, emerged as a result of this acknowledgment of pop culture’s significance and a hankering for the seemingly carefree 1950s. According to ex-teen star David Essex, who starred in 1974’s That’ll Be the Day, it even made it to the UK.

With the massive success of films like Car Wash, whose score was composed by the legendary Motown composer Norman Whitfield, the movie musical also began to reflect a world that was becoming more multicultural in the 1970s. Neil has a meeting with Michael Schultz, the film’s director, in Los Angeles to talk about how the studio revitalised soul and disco music.

When we look at the current state of the movie musical, we see that it has been just as successful as before. This is true both in India, where Bollywood has taken over Hindi cinema, and in Hollywood, where hits like La La Land and The Greatest Showman have proven that the genre is still formidable.

Episode 3

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When can we see the episode

The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand: The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand – Episode 3 of 3 airs Sunday 3 December 2023 at 12:45am on BBC Four

Featured Image Credit: BBC Four


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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