Soundies: A Musical History Hosted by Michael Feinstein



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541.85 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
12 hr 58 min
P/S 2 / 11
1004.4 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
12 hr 58 min
P/S 7 / 23

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by boblipton7 / 10

A Good Introduction To The Subject

Fans of American popular culture in the 1940s are at least peripherally aware of the soundies. They were video jukeboxes, produced by Mills Novelty and available in bars and similar venues. For a dime, the audience got eight three-minute musical shorts projected on a ground-glass screen.

Mills issued a new set every week for six years. If you do the math, you'll come up with more than 2400 songs with images, often of the musicians, often of dancers. Some of the performers, like Doris Day and Nat King Cole, became major stars. Many remained in obscurity. Michael Feinstein presents the usual talking heads and surviving performers to talk about this industry, and offers major clips of many of the original soundies, ranging from current stars like Fats Waller to future stars like Dorothy Dandridge.

The result is a good 75-minute documentary that gives a good grounding in the subject.

Reviewed by planktonrules8 / 10

A nice little documentary about a long lost and forgotten art form

While most today would think that music videos started with the advent of MTV in the early 1980s, they actually were much older. In the late 1930s, a form of television, of sorts, was created...and by 1940 the Soundies were born. What were the 'Soundies'? Well, they were music videos that were played on a jukebox-like machine which was installed in various businesses, such as bars, pool halls or where ever they wanted them. So what did you get with the Soundie system? Well, eight music videos played on a loop...and the videos were cycled out every week. The system worked well and from 1940-47 they were ubiquitous. This documentary, hosted by Michael Feinstein, discusses the history of them and shows many clips from these videos. Well worth seeing and an important, if not forgotten, part of our history. Overall, very well made though it seems, at times, the documentary was a tad padded.

Reviewed by tavm10 / 10

Soundies: A Musical History is highly recommend for film and music fans

Singer Michael Feinstein hosts this special about Soundies, three-minute film shorts of the popular songs during the '40s that were played in video jukeboxes called the Panorams. We start with what is called the best of the best: Duke Ellington's "Hot Chocolate" which has various gymnastic-style dances of the Jitterbug. Formed by the Mills Publishing Company in 1940, these music videos of the day takes us through the various big band sounds of Jimmy Dorsey, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, and The King Cole Trio featuring Nat King Cole. Since World War II began soon after, many of the films also showcase the patriotic nature of many of the tunes like "You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith". We also see the earliest film debuts of Doris Day, Yvonne De Carlo, Walter Liberace (best known by only his last name),Mel Blanc (hilarious as a drunk in a Spike Jones Soundie),Dorothy Dandridge (sexy in a jungle outfit),and Cyd Charisse. Wonderful recollections by Kay Starr and Les Paul along with commentary by Wynton Marsalis, Leonard Maltin, Hugh Hefner, and Joe Franklin add to the nostalgic flavor of the whole enterprise. Negative stereotyping involving African-American musicians of the day are also addressed here. Worth seeking out on DVD or PBS for anyone with an interest in musical film history.

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