The L Parade Essay

1337 words - 5 pages

The beginnings of the fairy tale musical began the mold to which all others would surely follow. The Love Parade, starring Jeanette MacDonald as the Queen of Sylvania and Maurice Chevalier as Count Renard, was one of the earliest films in this sub-genre of the American film musical. The Love Parade, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, is a story of a single queen who falls in love with her military attaché from Paris who is being brought back to the queen for punishment because of his sexual scandals in France. It is easy to enjoy the film without placing much thought into the purpose of the musical numbers that are so carefully positioned within the film, or into the duality of the main characters who are so carefully stacked beside one another and are balanced throughout the film. However, to those who are knowledgeable of the way musicals are constructed, the first song, sang by Count Renard, begins the foundation on which the entire musical will be built. The song, "Paris, Stay the Same," is perfectly constructed to fit within the larger film and meet the requirements of both a musical and the fairy tale sub-genre. "Paris, Stay the Same," introduces the film's viewers to the male side of the story also known as: The dual focus narrative. The viewer gets a deeper understanding of both of the lead male characters through this number. Although there are differences in the social class and position of authority between the Count, his servant, and the dog, all represent the carefree, sexually driven, masculine values that set up one side of the dual narrative. According to Rick Altman in his book, "The American Film Musical", the dual focus narrative is a main ingredient in the American musical film. The two stars of the musical film are contrasted against one other from the beginning. Each explicitly represent opposing values and different ways of life. The goal of the dual focus narrative is to bring both characters together in order to resolve these opposing forces and therefore allow the two forces to fall in love. Altman writes, "Instead of focusing all its interest on a single central character following the trajectory of her progress, the American film musical has a dual focus built around parallel stars of opposite sex and radically divergent values" (p.19). The musical numbers in a musical film are there to develop the dual focus narrative. In addition, it also balances the stars against one another. In "Paris, Stay the Same," Chevalier's character is being set up as the sexy, carefree bachelor who lives in the ultimate bachelor pad with a male servant and even a male dog who share his values and way of life in stark contrast to the Queen who values a dream lover fantasy and a life with one man. Once into the movie we realize that these two forces are opposing, and this number begins the tension.In addition to being true to the musical form, "Paris, Stay the Same." is also representative of the fairy tale form of the American film...

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