Which one of the following, if true, would most call into question the position of Bordwell described in the first tw...

on January 13, 2020


"The musical's conventions, Bordwell argues, cue viewers . to expect a different structure—alternating narrative . scenes and self-contained performances—from that of . other genres, a structure that audiences are prepared (40) for and thus accept as "realistic." ........ C does not call Bordwells arguments into question because Bordwell does not say that musicals are able to cue viewers to expect a different structure only after they had seen a musical before. In fact, just before this argument, in the first sentence of the las paragraph, Bordwell says that musicals are derived from live theatre, which the live theatre he mentions, do not necessarily have to be musicals. I went with B originally then I went with A. C first because if people only went to musicals for the musical performances, then it breaks with Bordwells conception of the classical styles as musicals following a narrative with the musical performances as self-contained interludes that may or may not add to the story. After I saw I got this wrong, I chose A because A shows that reviewers at the time may have thought of musicals as more unrealistic than realistic, breaking with Bordwell.

1 Reply

on January 21, 2020

Hello @tomgbean,

What is the basis of Bordwell's argument at the beginning of the third paragraph? Why are these musicals, with their alternating narrative scenes and self-contained performances, not an exception to the straightforward style of the classical era of filmmaking?

To put it simply, Bordwell argues that because people are accustomed to the structure of musicals, they do not perceive the non-narrative elements as unrealistic.

Therefore, someone who had never seen a musical before would have a different perception than someone who is familiar with the genre. This is why C weakens the argument. If familiarity with the musical genre makes no difference, then Bordwell's argument falls apart.