chapter  6
4 Pages

The formation of other genres in musical cinema.

The musical comedy was without doubt the leading genre in the Soviet pre-war cinema, yet the' song film' was not its only representative. In the early' 40s, film director Ivanovsky, in cooperation with Rappaport and composer Kabalevsky, made an attempt to widen the limits of the' song' film and to extend the range of its musical application. Their first film, entitled A Musical Story (1940), was noteworthy for the fact that the leading man was Sergei Lemeshev, a young but already well-known opera singer. A Musical Story belonged to the number of pictures in which' stars' of the variety and opera stage were engaged, and it was a favourite not only with cinema-goers but also with cinema workers. True, the rather late development of this genre in the USSR often resulted in its being second-rate also in its artistic material, and in its elaboration, casting and means of expression, differed but little from its Hollywood prototypes. Of course, there was a lot of music in it. A considerable part of it was connected with Lemeshev's performance of arias from the classical opera repertoire, selected for the film by Astradantsev. As a result, the original music composed by Kabalevsky played rather a humble, shadow role, appearing practically only in the scene of the hero's explanation scene with his fiancee.