The Fabulous Dorseys

Is this the reference point for The Fabulous Baker Boys?

The Fabulous Dorseys (UA, Alfred E. Green) is a standard musical biopic, though the genre seems odd in its narrative organization; like Perils of Pauline, it doesn't seem to follow a tight three-act development, or at the very least the plot points are spaced differently.

Another insight I've gained from this project is the importance of the sentimental drama in 40s cinema. Take the opening of the film, with a scrapbook segue-ed into an Americana portrait of the young Dorseys' upbringing.

I'm amazed at how overlooked this genre is, its formal dimensions and its ideological resonance. A nostalgia for cinema's early years appears here, too, with a silent movie house scene:

I will have to add the sentimental drama as a research item to my docket of projects. Perhaps I'm too eager to find the interesting in the banal, but the repetition of motifs makes me wonder what drove postwar nostalgia, particularly since other mass media, even other film genres, are usually characterized by their confident, forward looking nature.


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