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Composers in the MoviesStudies in Musical Biography$
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John C. Tibbetts

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106749

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106749.001.0001

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The New Tin Pan Alley

The New Tin Pan Alley

Hollywood Looks at American Popular Songwriters

(p.102) 3 The New Tin Pan Alley
Composers in the Movies

John C. Tibbetts

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Yankee Doodle Dandy, the Warner Bros. movie about George M. Cohan's life. It is but one of dozens of Hollywood biopics purporting to tell the story of the great American popular songwriters, from Stephen Foster to the tunesmiths of Tin Pan Alley and the Broadway musical show. Filmmakers, sometimes assisted by the composers themselves, could recast them into any desired shape and construct a weave of fact and fiction, sacrificing biographical detail to the glory of the music itself. From the 1930s to the late 1950s, these pictures came in a flood, boasting big budgets, glossy production values, lots of music, and major stars. If the prestige of the classical pantheon had been and continued to be a factor in its marketability, the allure of the Tin Pan Alley composers—success and money—was even more potent.

Keywords:   Yankee Doodle Dandy, Warner Bros. movie, George M. Cohan, Hollywood biopics, Stephen Foster

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