1984-a-thon: Purple Rain (1984)

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By the 1980s, the movie musical was… well, far beyond the time of transition. Since their heyday in the ’30s and ’40s, musicals had become limited to just a handful of movies per year, without a lot to choose from—Disney films for kids, pop hits designed to sell soundtracks, the occasional prestigious musical dramas, and the cheesy movies that seemed to capture everything cringeworthy of their era. For the studios financing the films, musicals were, to put it mildly, anything but a sure thing. That’s partly what makes Purple Rain such an interesting moment in film history—though it’s easy to see its significance 25 years after the fact, Purple Rain is still a weird, weird movie.

Book Review: Cinematic Canines

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Dogs have been significant players in motion picture industry right from the beginning, and their important contributions are highlighted in Adrienne L. McLean’s collection, Cinematic Canines: Dogs and Their Work in the Fiction Filmpublished by the Rutgers University Press. The book is a compilation of essays from various authors that cover a range of canine performances, from stars like Asta, Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie, to the anonymous dogs who served as little more than extras, but who were nevertheless, and importantly, present in the frame alongside humans.

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