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Cheer Up! Reviews

Cheer Up!  by Adrian Wright

Cheer Up! - British Musical Films, 1929-1945

Adrian Wright

Score pending

1 review

Category: Music, Non-fiction
Imprint: The Boydell Press
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Publication date: 1 Apr 2020
ISBN: 9781783274994

The first book to deal exclusively with the British musical film from the very beginning of talking pictures in the late 1920s through the Depression of the 1930s up to the end of World War II.

4 stars out of 5
Max Décharné
16 May 2020

"Adrian Wright’s excellent book is devoted to an area of British film history that has sometimes been loftily dismissed or simply fallen through the cracks,"

In a time of pandemic, reading a book entitled Cheer Up! about films which were themselves produced during the Depression and then the second world war is oddly uplifting. Wright’s deep knowledge of and obvious affection for his subject does not blind him to the shortcomings of some of what was on offer, and one of the chief pleasures here is his deadpan dismissal of those found wanting: the duo Flotsam and Jetsam (‘it’s like a Masonic evening with songs’); the romantic leading man Barry MacKay (‘his movement to music isn’t dancing — more like semaphore’); or the teenage Hughie Green doing impressions (‘a more grisly encounter with the incipient host of television’s Opportunity Knocks is difficult to imagine’). Above all, a solid measure of his success is that he consistently makes you want to see the films themselves. If you do search for them, don’t miss the remarkable exploding goat at the finale of the 1940 Arthur Askey picture Band Wagon. Eat your heart out, Top Gun.