Road-Show The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s by Matthew Kennedy is not just a great entertaining book, it's not just a book for all lovers of the genre, but it's so funny, plenty of anecdotes, intriguing facts that you won't never put down this book until its end, trust me.
Thanks to a real love for the topic since he was little, Matthew Kennedy created a jewel and masterpiece of its genre, plenty of informations but at the same time keeping the book funny, entertaining, and readers attentive and curious.
Road-Show will let us live the germination and behind the scenes of great musicals like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Doctor Dolittle, Funny Girl, and many more so vividly that it will seem to be back in the 1960s and part of a set.
While I was reading this book I thought that with this book it would be great to create a great script, imagining someone back in the past living most of the incredible adventures experienced by producers, actors, actresses, studios during that years. It would be wonderful.
The description of problems experienced by the production of Doctor Dolittle with animals so funny that it seemed to watch a Danny DeVito movie while I was reading the chapter. A set without peace and with a problem after another without any possibility of positive solution.
It happened this world and the other in fact on that set. There were also serious health problems for important members of production, considering the heavy level of stress lived and accumulated because of animals and discussion between the various production's members.
Production at first didn't consider something: that making Dolittle meant to have around a lot of animals.
No one knew how they could cope with animals.
A goat ate a script, animals felt the desires of making poo and pee wherever they go, weather was horrible, people started to think that animals are not tender, but real pesters!
Production did all its best for promoting this movie, implementing with a lot of merchandising.
Discussions on set, poisoned atmosphere, people suffered a lot for the realization of a musical who, at first, in their mind had to be a great novelty for the Hollywood's musical panorama and a great novelty.
In a picture displayed in the book Larry Bricusse the composer of songs of Dolittle smiles at an apparently relaxed Rex Harrison. Their relationship on set terribly tense.
Other realities people were searching for other winning musicals.
After the big success of Mary Poppins Walt Disney launched the company in another similar product this time unsuccessful: The Happiest Millionaire.
Walt Disney was sick at that time. He died for lung cancer and wasn't on set as he did for Mary Poppins dying before to seeing the movie on screen.
Another great voice was borning: the one of Barbra Streisand. Everyone close to her in a musical disappeared thanks to her peculiar, wonderful and powerful voice.
We will discover that Julie Andrews's relationship with reporters were conflictuals, without forgetting love or hates on sets, problems, desires, expectations.
Why this genre is in stand-by at the moment in Hollywood?
According to Matthew Kennedy the result must be read in the 1960s. Studios tried all their best for creating beautiful musicals, sometimes losing million of dollars.
Musicals are still living although it's not anymore a genre that Hollywood would want to use massively.
There is to say that the powerful connection between fiction and society can't be avoided. For example Doctor Dolittle was considered a racist movie and no one thought at this aspect, because people electrified. The 60s were a beauty and exciting age of changes and hopes.
Maybe musicals will be back again when men will re-start to dream imagining a better future.
Highly recommended to everyone!!!
I thank so much for this beautiful, sunny, entertaining book Oxford University Press.
Anna Maria Polidori