From Stage to Screen: Introducing the Production Cycle of Film Operettas



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In his seminal study of American film musical, Rick Altman also discussed Hollywood take on Viennese operetta, labelled in his monograph as „the fairy tale musical“. While identifying a distinctly European flavor to these movies, European cinemas in the 1930s also adapted various operetta productions for screen. This was the case of Czech movie industry as well, since it produced ten film versions of new stage hits throughout the decade. I argue that in contrast to Altman’s findings based on Hollywood musicals, local film operettas did not offer its audiences nostalgic and utopian undertones, but rather infused traditional stories of multiple coupling with modern twists and elements, such as new kinds of heroes consisting of aviators, agriculture engineers and businessmen. This is the case of two films I am going to analyze – Bed of Roses, made in 1934 (dir. Miroslav Cikán) and On that Green Meadow (1936, dir. Karel Lamač). Both films tried to translate the effects of theatrical spectacle onto screen, albeit differently and with varying success, as the films’ finales illustrate. The other perspective I will adopt is that of transmedia synergy since both films were made mere months after its opening night on stage. Better suited for the purposes of this chapter than the notion of adaptation, transmedia approach will allow me to trace the storyline and characters migrating between stage, screen and recording industry. In so doing I will demonstrate, why local film industry opted for new operettas of Czech origin instead of popular Viennese classic.
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