From the Hollywood Musical to Music Video: The Grafting that Lies Beneath Contemporary Australian Musicals – Diana Sandars

Australian film theorist, Stuart Cunningham noted in 1983, that through grafting onto a Hollywood musical tradition, we have ‘Australianised’ the Hollywood musical (239). Stuart Cunningham’s concept of the Australian musical as a grafted structure persists in One Night the Moon (Rachael Perkins 2001) and Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann 2001), two of Australia’s most recent musicals. He further suggests that the musical ‘may well be the pre-eminent genre through which reconciliation is proposed'(237). Whereas Cunningham was referring to reconciliation between the commercial and cultural oppositions that have shaped Australian cinema, this notion of reconciliation can be extended to the formal and stylistic reconciliation between music video and the film musical, which dynamically structure several layers of identification within these films. In its contemporary context, the heritage of the Australian musical as a grafted structure is reflected in these films’ central reliance on the audience’s prior association with pop music songs and musicians. Consequently, international pop songs are ‘Australianised’ in Moulin Rouge and Australian indigenous artists are broadcast to a global cinematic audience in One Night the Moon. Through these layers of textual complexity, these films operate as sites for the reconciliation of alternative Australian identities shaped by national and international film and popular music discourses. Understanding this hybridic relationship is paramount to an adequate comprehension of contemporary Australian musicals. An examination of Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon both released in 2001, reveals these reconciliations in operation and how they negotiate an Australian identity in a global context, through the competing pop cultural structures of popular music genres, music video and the film musical. [1]

The production of Moulin Rouge, shot entirely on a sound stage, celebrates the spectacle of artificiality, technological and postmodern innovation. Drawing on the conventions of the backstage classical Hollywood musical, it presents a contemporary re-reading of a mythic narrative defined by Baz Luhrmann as the Orpheus myth, in which the central protagonists, Christian and Satine, are the doomed lovers. [2] Moulin Rouge‘s production values operate as the antithesis of the location shooting of One Night the Moon, which relies on the natural and historic spectacle of the Australian landscape to convey the enduring quality of its mythic narrative (Bodey, 6). [3] Based on a true story, set in 1932, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, One Night the Moon details the search for a child, Emily, who has wandered off one night following the moon. The racist and obstinate attitude of her father, Jim, lead him to refuse the help of the Aboriginal tracker, Albert, which results in Emily’s death and the breakdown of Jim’s marriage to his wife Rose. In both films the themes surrounding the destructive forces of colonisation are played out visually through the demise of the white female body, and aurally through the soundtracks.  In Moulin Rouge the contest for Satine’s affection and her attempts to resist patriarchal colonisation are mirrored in the stage show, ‘Spectacular, Spectacular’, set in British India in which issues of colonisation are displaced onto the figure of the courtesan, as a site of contested desire. Similarly, the disintegration of interracial collaboration as a consequence of white colonisation is played out in One Night the Moon over Emily’s death and the demise of Rose’s marriage and domestic sanctuary. Consequently, as well as sharing the same year of release, these recent Australian musicals both reconfigure the classical Hollywood musical’s telos and utopian ending, as the romantic tragedy of opera. [4] This structure sets these Australian musicals apart from their contemporary counterparts. [5]

Music Video vs Film Musical

Will Straw defines music video as a ‘palimpsestic text: that is, one text which is written over another'(15). This description aptly defines both the production and our consumption of contemporary Australian musicals. The grafted or palimpsestic nature of these films establishes them as multivalent texts which can be related to many other cultural texts, thereby producing multiples points of identification with the text.  However, different types of engagement with other cultural forms can influence the identifications made with the text. Both Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon engage with dominant aspects of music video and figures of the Australian music industry to create a disparate appeal to divergent Australian audiences. In opposition to Moulin Rouge‘s engagement with music video’s style to enhance its formal musical conventions, One Night the Moon uses a music video aesthetic to reconfigure these conventions.

Despite their shared formal relationships between music and image in music video and the film musical, their differing reception contexts provides a significant point of difference for the interpretation and engagement with these forms. Music videos are primarily displayed in a television context, which itself is defined by a fragmented flow, aired consecutively with other music videos, advertisements or video programmers’ announcements. Since the 1980s music videos have shaped the visual tastes and expectations of its youth markets as it aged and continues to influence contemporary youth markets (Ebben, 88). Music video has altered the music industry and the identification with its stars by intricately bonding music with visual media forms. (Ackland, n10).  The meanings derived from music videos are dependent on their formal and stylistic content, the contexts in which they are screened and the context and positioning of the viewer or fan (Stockbridge, 114).  Similar to Australian film musicals, Australian popular music and music video compete in the same broadcast space with products from the UK and US industries which have much greater budgets. (Gorman & Nakache,24). [6] The Australian film musical/ music video intertextual relay has developed out of this complex media environment.

The formal and stylistic relationship between music video and film musical defines contemporary Australian musicals from Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck in 1982 to a recent musical, Alex Proyas’ Garage Days (2002). This reflects a similar trend in the inter-relationship between Hollywood film musicals and music videos. Despite this, in his 1990 article comparing film musicals and music video, Blaine Allan states, ‘[.] the significant relations of music videos to the film musical have remained understated in the growing literature on music television.’ (2). [7] Music videos are structured by the film musical’s formal and emotive integration of music and image, where the music provides the basis for the visual image, especially the editing, for the narrative meaning and emotional identification.(9) Unlike film musicals, music video’s ‘producers presume a television viewer, a domestic rather than a public being'(8). This is the primary difference between television spectatorship and film spectatorship, whereas film attracts the audience’s gaze, television attracts the glance. (Ellis, 128 & 161-2).  As Joseph Ebben notes, ‘music videos developed their own visual language, related to but very different from mainstream film language.'(88).

In the film musical, as Jane Feuer argues, direct address and performance spectacle are organised to facilitate character identification and emotional investment in the transcendent realm of artifice constructed by the musical number.(24-27).  Feuer argues that, ‘the Hollywood musical as a genre perceives the gap [.] designated by the very distinction between performer and audience, as a form of cinematic original sin.'(3) Consequently, Feuer asserts, the musical’s narrative is marked by a process of demystification where the narrative is ‘split open’ through the first person address of the musical numbers and remystification, where the narrative action is framed from the perspective of the theatre audience member, thereby ‘naturalising’ the direct address of the performance through the film’s narrative structure.  However, most importantly, ‘the narrative gets sutured back together again for the final bow'(43-45). In music video, spectacle and the performance are structured to exacerbate this gap between music star and fan, using the convention of direct address and heightened stylistic devices to sell the performer and their music to the viewer.  These conventions are contrary to those that dominate the classical Hollywood narrative conventions that prevail with the musical’s ‘final bow’, as there is no narrative mechanism to suture this gap in music video. [8]

 In the film musical, the musical numbers are interwoven with a spoken narrative. This insertion provides the musical numbers with the additional role of exclamation points and interconnection points in the spoken narrative, where the numbers are read in terms of their location in the spoken narrative (Allan, 13). In contrast, ‘the starting point for the production of a [music] video must be the music- the song, the lyrics, the arrangement, the performance, the production, the recording’ (Allan, 4).  In writing on music video and the film musical, Sally Stockbridge has further argued that music video shares with the Hollywood film musical central elements of spectacle, performance, intertextuality and direct address. Unlike the film musical, it is the narrative of the song that provides music video with its meaning. She further qualifies this comparison, stating that, ‘these characteristics exist in varying degrees in different clips with mode of address influencing the relationship between text and viewer in significant ways.’ (111). The significant difference between the film musical and music video is the use of these elements to bridge the gap between textual immersion and distance.

The identity appropriation achieved through the grafting of music video’s key formal and stylistic elements onto Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon fundamentally shifts access and identification with the music used in these films. Moulin Rouge has been critically defined in terms of its ‘MTV’ style or ‘music video aesthetic’, a style defined as, ‘technically one of the most innovative and adventurous visual forms available on television'(Allan, 9). Baz Luhrmann’s previous engagement with music video as a cross-media product occurred with the John Paul Young, ‘Love is in The Air’ music video used to promote Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1992).  As well as featuring scenes from the film, this music video parodied the extravagant chorus lines of the Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930s and 1940s, through its ‘clumsy and somewhat parodic choreography, [.] a tongue in cheek salute to the jerky, syncopated marches of chorus line in Busby Berkeley’s musicals'(Valtwies, 45). This quirky adaptation of the central elements of the classical Hollywood musical, via the everyday intimate codes of music video, is extended to operate as a key stylistic feature of Moulin Rouge. However, Baz Luhrmann has stated that although his original intention was to structure Moulin Rouge according to a music video aesthetic, he found that he had to change the music to support his visuals. Consequently the formal relationship between sound and image complies with the dominant formal conventions established by the classical Hollywood musical where the stylistic excesses of the musical number are contained by the narrative (Bodey, 6). The opening shots in Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon highlight the different engagements with music video and Hollywood film musicals evident in these films.

Moulin Rouge‘s narrative is initiated with a high crane tracking shot that swoops down through the highly artificial streets of nineteenth century Paris, past the welcoming gesture of a Parisian into the opening doors of the Moulin Rouge and the frenzied colour saturated spectacle of the nightclub. This establishing shot invites audience identification with Moulin Rouge through the tropes of contemporary Hollywood blockbuster cinema defined by special effects and affect (King 114). This visceral and hyper-real visual style is associated with music video, where ‘[music] videos, by conditioning viewers to a looser, less reality-based image, have stretched the rules and allowed cinematographers and directors a freer hand in using that image to draw a particular emotional response’ (Ebben, 88).  Formally, however, this opening shot complies with the expectations of an establishing shot where the spectator is introduced to the diegetic realm in which the narrative is set.

The narrative of Moulin Rouge  commences through an identification with the despondent Christian, describing his journey from naiveté to the acquisition of uncomfortable social truths. Christian is introduced in tears, huddled against the wall of his room. As the opening sequence continues the image of Christian typing his story in his room opposite the Moulin Rouge, is framed by sung revelation of his thoughts layered over to the non-diegetic sound score. The emotional pinnacle of this scene is underscored by the words Christian types and sings as a musical crescendo, ‘the greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and to be loved in return’. The loss of this love through Christian’s declaration that Satine is dead explains the pathos of this opening scene whilst the typed declaration provides it with its poignancy. This scene of revelation is later reconfirmed as the emotional highpoint of the film through the corresponding musical number, ‘Le Tango De Roxanne’. [9] The emotional exile and despondency of the opening is metaphorically re-enacted through this musical companion piece. Accordingly, the realist cinematic style that defines Christian’s introduction is self-reflexively complemented in the film’s final act by the direct address and emotional weight of the ‘Le Tango De Roxanne’ musical production number. This interplay between musical number and spoken narrative, that is established from the opening of Moulin Rouge‘s narrative, does not structure the narrative of One Night the Moon.

In contrast, the establishing shot in the opening of One Night the Moon conforms to the formal and stylistic conventions of music video where the opening shot is primarily used to introduce the audience to the music artist or band. This is evident in One Night the Moon through a close up of the Australian Indie-rock artist, Paul Kelly as he begins to sing initiates the narrative. Similar to Moulin Rouge, when One Night the Moon’s narrative opens the audience is witness to a despondent dishevelled man, in this case, Jim (Paul Kelly).   He slowly gets up from the kitchen table, gets his gun, distractedly moves through his house and disappears into the landscape. These visuals are aurally informed by his singing voice accompanied by acoustic instruments, as he sings ‘I have nothing left any more, I drove all kindness from my door, I don’t know anything any more’.  This scene then fades to black and with the next shot the narrative begins to be told, similar to Moulin Rouge, through flashback.  This musical number initiates the narrative enigma to be resolved, providing a temporal and character development. Jim’s ponderous movements in this scene enact the disillusionment and despair of these lyrics. The despair and disaffection that opens the narrative of One Night the Moon, with Jim’s direct address declaration, ‘I don’t know anything anymore’, One Night the Moon‘s initial musical number, also provides the film’s narrative resolution. This number articulates that everything Jim thought he knew to be true was wrong; assumptions that cost him his marriage and the life of his child. Consequently, the narrative enigma in One Night the Moon is set up in a musical number, unlike the realist narrative structure of the classical Hollywood musical that equally defines the opening of Moulin Rouge.

One Night the Moon also differs formally from Moulin Rouge through its length and exhibition on television, the primary context of music video, rather than cinema, the exhibition site of film musicals. [10] The combination of the music style of the opening number and the television context invites an immediate identification with Jim’s character associated with the intimate position of viewer identification generated by music video. The director, Rachel Perkins, has stated that she views music videos as the contemporary form of the film musical, and that having been raised on, and loving, music videos she believed that this is a combined music and visual form with which her audience would be able to identify, unlike the film musical (Millard).  She later stated that, ‘considering a contemporary comparison to the musical is the music clip, we approached [the film] by pushing the boundaries of what you would normally do in a drama, with the style, the design, and also the camera'(Media Press Kit: Dendy Films website).

Will Straw further suggests that the crucial aspect of this relationship between music and image in music video is the tension between the basic demands of this form and ‘the heterogeneity of codes and visual materials held in play by that form’ (Straw, 15).. When the aesthetic form developed for the glance of television is inserted into or defines film’s form designed for the gaze, the levels of spectorial engagement and identification are fundamentally altered.  When the key elements of music video are inserted in the traditional place of the film musical’s production numbers, the  identification process that is associated with music video re-organises spectatorial engagement not only with this musical number, but with the film as a whole. Consequently, One Night the Moon‘s use of music video’s formal and stylistic elements in the place of those of the film musical’s production number, has invited reception of this film as an extended Paul Kelly music video. [11]

Replacing the Musical’s supradiegesis with Music Video

In the supradiegetic moments of the classical Hollywood musical, fantasy overwhelms the realist scape and all filmic elements become subordinate to the performance of the song. The supradiegetic level, a formal concept defined by Rick Altman, is unique to the musical film. Rick Altman defines these supradiegetic moments as,”leaving normal day-to-day causality behind, the music creates a utopian space in which all singers and dancers achieve a unity unimaginable in the now superseded world of temporal, psychological causality” (Altman: 1987, 69).

A comparison of pivotal musical numbers in both Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon reflects another layering of the grafting process of these Australian musicals onto this dominant classical Hollywood musical convention and their negotiations with those of music video. In Moulin Rouge, ‘Le Tango De Roxanne’ epitomises the competing musical, music video and pop music discourses that inform contemporary Australian musicals. The musical number spectacularises the agonising emotional spectrum primarily expressed by Christain when he discovers that Satine has forsaken him for the Duke. Conversely, One Night the Moon‘s heavy engagement with music video codes and conventions disrupts the supradiegetic conventions of the film musical, especially the musical’s unifying role of the musical number, designed to, ‘act as a means of addressing a ‘problem’, meaning a situation that demands a resolution.’ (Allan, 10). 

The aural and visual layering in ‘Le Tango De Roxanne’ in Moulin Rouge locate this number within the realm of film musical rather than music video. As Blaine Allan suggests, ‘in virtually all music video works, the soundtrack comprises a single piece of music.  Call it a song, a number, a tune, or a cut, it is almost always a complete and unified segment of music’ Phillip Brophy, ‘Cinesonics: Magnolia – the Power of Song Onscreen: Film/Digital Media/ Screen Culture.’ (Allan, 5).  Sting’s original hit song from the 1970s, Roxanne, is rescored and alternately spoken and sung in overlapping tracks.  This initial music layer constituted by a polyphony of voices is overlayed with ‘Le Tango Du Moulin Rouge’, sung by an emotionally distraught Christian, and accompanied by the Duke and the Argentinean. At their emotional height, these competing voices and melodies are momentarily interrupted by an unaccompanied sample of the lover’s song ‘Come What May’ sung by Satine to the desperate Christian in the street below. The lyrics are enhanced by the image of an ensemble of dance couples enacting the lover’s betrayal through the ritualised steps of the tango. This is the only production number in the film to be  multipley constructed both in itself and in its role as musical counterpart to the realist narrative style of the film’s opening scene. It is through this fragmented overlapping of songs and narrative spaces and reference to tragedy that the agony and depth of betrayal is felt and this musical number defies the dominant convention of music video.

The layering of three separate songs across three separate diegetic spaces accords song the primary bearer of meaning and ‘engulfs one in the fantasy terrain of its own imagined social space’ (Brophy, 2). In accordance with the conventions of the classical Hollywood musical production number, normal diegetic sound is subsumed by the dictates of the musical’s supradiegetic conventions. Rather than disrupting the emotional flow of communication created by the musical soundtrack, the diegetic sounds provide a heightened addition to the message of this sequence. The unified stomp of the dancers’ feet acts as a metaphor for the crushing of Christian’s desire, the snapping of the Duke’s jewellery box connotes the sealing of the lovers’ fate and Satine’s gasp and whimper dramatically heighten the emotional burden of this situation and the trauma of sexual violence with a succinct articulation that defies spoken dialogue. This incorporation of diegetic sounds into the fantasyscape of the supradiegesis has been noted in Fred Astaire’s performances, ‘that even the clink of ice cubes or the squirt of seltzer become accompanying percussion instruments, punctuating the offbeats of musical measures’ (Mast, 144). This film musical convention opposes that of music video where, ‘the music in a video is virtually never interrupted'(Allan, 2). The intercutting of Satine’s gasp, which occurs within the realist diegetic space, with Christian’s emotionally charged lyrical strains is consumed by the supradiegetic dictates of the musical production number. The spectacle of this musical production number layers the film’s narrative through the use of musical performance rather than interrupting it. [12]

The film musical’s narrative enigmas are established in One Night the Moon through its duets, most notably, ‘This Land Is Mine’, shared between Jim and Albert. [13] This duet explores Jim’s denial of Albert’s authority and claims to the land, by directly employing music and music video structures as a site of indigenous celebration and resistance. [14] Overwhelming the narrative conventions surrounding character and plot construction, the music video conventions of ‘This Land is Mine’, build on ‘visual codes already in play,’ (Schwichtenberg, 119) to facilitate a more immediate, contemporary address of this song. The blatant demand of the lyrics of this song and the editing that constructs these characters as mirror opposites sets this number apart from the other production numbers in the film. Consequently, this musical number exceeds the boundaries of the narrative to compellingly articulate a contemporary political demand based on the issue of indigenous land rights. As a line of farmers walk across the land searching for Emily, Jim mimes to the camera, ‘This land is mine all the way to the fence line..’ The farmers do not adhere to the performance aesthetic of Paul Kelly’s musical number. Instead their seemingly non-choreographed movements and their lack of attention to Jim or the audience, is complemented with their position at the very rear of the shot, separated from Jim in the forefront, to visually signify Jim’s separation from the realist narrative space which introduced and still governs the identification with the row of farmers.  This stylistic composition not only contravenes the dictates of ‘a unity unimaginable in the now superseded'(Rick Altman: 1987, 69) real world, it also prevents a utopian transcendence into a utopian realm. Instead, the figure of Paul Kelly appears emotionally isolated and removed from the activities of the community around him. [15]

Further adhering to the sound conventions of music video, where ‘its uniform sound quality refers back to its status as a recording that binds together the image'(Allan, 8), ‘This Land is Mine’ employs the music video convention of replacing the diegetic sound with the musical soundtrack, rather than the Hollywood musical’s rhythmical incorporation of diegetic sound into production numbers. The lack of diegetic sound, from dialogue to sounds of the bush, footsteps and breathing, contributes to the emotive effects of the musical soundtrack, as the viewer is suspended aurally in the emotive realm of music video. All aspects of the mise-en-scene in the musical are subordinate to the causal logic of the fantasy. Consequently, the insertion of Paul Kelly’s direct address performance at the aural level into a realist narrative, disrupt the supradiegetic conventions of the musical.

Rewriting the star: Music Video Star vs Lyrics

 In Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon the intertextual relay with the musical and music video’s cultural discourses differ through their primary level of identification. In Moulin Rouge the relay is constructed through a familiarity with the international pop song soundtrack and in One Night the Moon it is constructed through a familiarity with Paul Kelly’s star persona and his musical history. [16] Consequently, Moulin Rouge reinvigorates the 1970s Hollywood musical trend of selling the film and its narrative through a ‘built-in musical recognition value that transcends the film'(Doty, 75) and One Night the Moon uses the built-in music video star recognition that transcends its narrative.  The influence of a music video programme structure is formally evoked in One Night the Moon through the dominant use of music video styled musical numbers to construct the narrative. Comparatively, the musical content of Moulin Rouge also reflects that of a music video programme as it is structured by ‘a constant flow of overseas and local music videos which is dominated by Anglo-American and Anglo-Australian music’ (Mitchell, 2).

The spectacular fantasy and escapism associated with the film musical – the key defining elements of Moulin Rouge – are reconfigured by One Night the Moon‘s engagement with the structures and context of music video.   ‘The music video not only disseminates the music; almost universally it represents and circulates the performer. [.] the music thus gains diegetic status and appears to come from the world that the video depicts’ (Allan, 4).  But the music video does more than this, it also shapes the diegesis as purely a performance space defined by the star persona of the singer as much as the narrative that is shaped by the lyrics of the song.  Will Straw suggests that in music videos, the singer or musicians are at the centre of the narrative and their song drives the narrative and the visuals(Straw, 15). Consequently, the cultural familiarity with Paul Kelly’s music video driven star persona has elicited readings of One Night the Moon as an extended Paul Kelly music video, read in terms of his other music video work, at the expense of the operatic or film musical structures [17] .  As Charles Ackland suggests:

the complete, or rather infinitely incomplete, popular music text is comprised of any source of information or practice that the individual fan or group of fans can relate to the song, such as lyrics, style (dress, hair, dance), concerts, politics, other fans etc.  These elements are read
against each other and made coterminous. (n19).

In One Night the Moon the fan familiarity associated with Paul Kelly’s music video star persona, combined with music video’s personal intimate address, imbue the themes and address of this musical with the immediate and everyday. The direct address of the music video performer invests them ‘with the knowledge of the viewers and listeners and the license to speak directly to them’ (Allan, 11).  Close ups of faces are a dominant stylistic element of music videos designed to intimately engage the spectator with the performer and the emotional intent of their song.  Fan familiarity with Paul Kelly is further rewarded with the recognition of Kaarin Fairfax, his then real life partner and their daughter Memphis, respectively playing the roles of Jim’s wife and missing child, Emily. The limitations of Paul Kelly’s acting talents encourage a reading of the film in terms of the reduced acting range required by music video, reflecting one of the primary limitations of this form, as the singing star must carry the narrative. As a result of One Night the Moon‘s intertextual relay between music video and film musical, the character of Jim exists as an extension of Paul Kelly’s rock star persona, built on the image of a working class white Australian male, especially through rock’s codes of authenticity, and belligerence [18] .

Paul Kelly’s musical persona destabilises the construction of Jim’s identity as a racist white male. The use of a music star in the role of the central protagonist evokes the social power of music video which, ‘like the number in the musical film, [.] also acts as an agent of transformation for television and the viewer’ (Allan, 7).   As icons of the film musical genre, the stars functioned not only as part of the visual coding of the narrative, but indicated its thematic value as well (Schatz, 23). In music videos, the level of identification for the spectator can be that of a fan sharing the pop star’s fantasies rather than with the performer themselves, which is the identification constructed through film. Therefore, unlike the recycling of pop and disco music that is used to construct characters in Baz Luhrmann’s musicals, One Night the Moon uses songs specifically written for the film that appeal to an emotional familiarity. The appeal is not through the lines or melodies of the songs themselves, but through the star persona of the singer and the familiarity of the conventions of the music videos associated with that star. In  One Night the Moon Paul Kelly’s star persona is informed by his support of indigenous rights marked by cross-cultural collaboration with indigenous artists, acts that are in opposition to the character of Jim. [19] This level of pop cultural familiarity undermines Jim’s character construction by creating an ironic distance through which the narrative’s ideologies can be examined.

In music videos, the singer or musicians are at the centre of the narrative and their song drives the narrative and the visuals. The use of  music video conventions in ‘This Land is Mine’ recasts the characters as music video stars speaking directly to their fans. This is in opposition to film’s conventional hermetically sealed diegetic realm where characters interact with each other and do not acknowledge the audience’s presence, thereby creating a voyeuristic audience position. Because many musical performers ‘act out small dramas or extravagant fantasies in their videos’ (Natalie, F1 &F14), youth audiences are equipped with an understanding of these conventions that they can apply when music stars perform in musical roles.  As a result, popular music stars now occupy a position that is a reconstitution of the role of the star entertainers of the classical Hollywood musical genre. [20]

Unlike the star performers of the classical Hollywood musical, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are international film stars, previously identified by their acting talents rather than their performing talents, in contrast with classical Hollywood musical performers including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Accordingly, the audience relies heavily on the structures of the musical to guide their spectorial identification when these stars sing. [21] Conversely, when Paul Kelly, an indie-rock musician with a career spanning three decades sings in One Night The Moon, the audience members familiar with his musical career can use his music-video star persona as the primary means by which to identify with the text.

The performer that persisted as a key feature of the Hollywood musical until the 1970s is displaced into the realm of music video. [22]   In One Night the Moon this shift is reinvested in the film musical location that requires a familiarity with the music video context for its identification. The employment of an Australian music star and reference to his music videos prioritises Paul Kelly’s music video star persona over the operatic and film musical structures, limiting Jim’s character complexity to Kelly’s star persona.  As David Jobling has suggested, ‘having a skilled actor in the major role of the father would have brought the over all tension and complexity of the situation up considerably, however Kelly does a reasonable job and sings well’ (Jobling). As a result of these appeals to a music video literate audience, the musical numbers in One Night the Moon are coded through music video’s popular consumption on the everyday domestic level of television, in contrast to the supradiegetically coded musical numbers in Moulin Rouge, which address the hermetically sealed narrative fantasy.

(Inter)national music

Similar to One Night the Moon, Moulin Rouge exists as a hybrid music video and film musical in its style and structure combined with classical opera in its romantic tragedy narrative. However, the grafting process that structures the formal and stylistic elements of Moulin Rouge extends to the lyrics of its internationally familiar pop songs. The songs that epitomise the yearnings of a western youth culture are reshaped to embody an ‘Australianised’ identity, as a primary constituent element of the grafting process of ‘Australianising’ the Hollywood musical. Through their choice of an international selection of pop songs, the Australian born and raised writers of Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, convey the depth of their own personal association with these songs, as well as that of Moulin Rouge’s intended national and international audience.

Simon Frith has argued that ‘no country in the world is unaffected by the way in which the twentieth-century mass media [.] have created a universal pop aesthetic'(Firth, 2). Australian musicals reflect this mediation of identity through a universal popular music aesthetic. When interviewed in 1993, indigenous music artist and co-composer of One Night the Moon‘s soundtrack, Kev Carmody highlighted the ‘Eurocentric bias’ of the Australian music industry, noting that Australia’s developing indigenous and local music industry was critically judged in terms of international music industries(Johnson, 44).  The heavy use of international pop songs to construct a blockbuster Australian musical, suggests the neo-colonising presence of international pop music in Australian contemporary popular culture. However, when incorporated into Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon, internationally recognisable pop songs are  re-coded through the use of high theatricality, camp, and parody so that the music operates as a site of a rebellious Australian identity. [23]

When the lines of the Madonna song, ‘Like a Virgin’, or Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, are spoken, Australian audiences are able to personally identify with the song, because these songs and the accompanying music videos were number one hits on Australian pop music charts. [24] The sounds that form Moulin Rouge’s soundtrack are predominantly taken from ‘the 1970s, a period which is looked upon affectionately as being an unsophisticated, stylistically awkward, ‘daggy’ era'(Valtwies, 42). The use of these songs as a site of satire or parody represents an Australian cinematic grafting or adaptation of both these songs and their film musical location creating a site of resistance to the international colonising of Australian film and music industries. Accordingly, the songs featured in One Night the Moon and Moulin Rouge create complex processes of character and narrative identification that exceed the diegetic realms of these films, and communicate directly with the audience at the intimate and familiar level of pop music fan.

Simon Frith suggests that,  ‘the experience of pop music is an experience of placing – in responding to a song, we are drawn, haphazardly, into affective and emotional alliances with the performers, with the performer’s other fans.'(Frith quoted in Acland ,8). One Night the Moon cultivates this emotional alliance between performer and audience by using an original soundtrack. The minimal use of dialogue in One Night the Moon, one of narrative cinema’s primary elements, alters the synergy of filmic elements, requiring a greater reliance on the visual elements and musical soundtrack. Subjectivity is mediated through the lyric, timbre and melody of the ballad, and equal access is ensured through a response to these elements, unlike the spoken dialogue of realist narratives. Characters are provided with narrative access and representation through duets as a means of overcoming the inequality of power relationships constructed through spoken dialogue and explored in their narrative.

In Moulin Rouge, the lyrics of the pop songs operate as spoken dialogue for narrative and character development. This self-reflexivity undermines both the authenticity of the characters and the originality of their emotions. The songs’ original music artists are visually and aurally absent, and are evoked only through memory and prior association when the lines of the pop songs are identified by the audience. The Hollywood musical style production numbers and framing of the songs instead reinscribe the emotional alliance with these songs with queerness, excess, quirkiness, theatricality and camp. These characteristics are locatable as dominant aesthetics of contemporary Australian musicals, associated with Australian cinema and evident in Baz Luhrman’s previous musical, Strictly Ballroom (1992)(Rayner).  An Australian aesthetic and parodic stance are thereby grafted onto international pop songs.

In music video, the visual elements have been found to have a direct impact on the meaning construed from the music (Sun, &  Lull, 123).  In Moulin Rouge‘s ‘Like A Virgin’ the visuals are subordinate to the music – reflecting the basic formal structure of music video and the production numbers in the Hollywood musical. This convention re-configures an understanding of and identification with the controversial Madonna song, ‘Like a Virgin’ as its is re-aligned with a filmic ‘quirky’ or ‘dagginess’ associated with Australian cinema. The supradiegetic use of this song through the intercutting between this number and the narrative events unfolding for Christian and Satine constricts the song’s original lyrical intent to that of the film’s alternative parodic queer agenda. The use of this song coupled with the intercutting editing of the couples queer the lyrics of this song as they the describe relationship enacted between Ziedler and the Duke. The lines of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ are spoken by Ziedler as explanatory dialogue and repeated lasciviously by the Duke.  The initial pleasure for the audience is in the recognition of these spoken words as belonging to the very popular Madonna song.  In the context of Moulin Rouge, the lyrics when spoken with such a high camp theatricality initially become a site of parody. 

As the sequence continues with synchronised dancing waiters, the similarly tuxedo clad Ziedler and Duke sing and dance to each other, filling the central role traditionally occupied by the heterosexual couple of the classical Hollywood musical. [25] In the classical Hollywood musical, ‘the duet is the musical’s centre of gravity, its method of summarising in a single scene the film’s entire structure. Because it has such power, however, the duet is reserved for moments of maximum tension or maximum exaltations'(Altman: 1987, 37). The joyous movements of the Duke and Ziedler and their excited expressions embody the lustful yearning sentiments of the song’ s lyrics ‘when you hold me and your heartbeats next to mine’.  The number concludes with their embrace and Ziedler wearing a tablecloth on his head like a veil. The excess and performativity of much of Moulin Rouge’s narrative align the film with a certain queerness, which is grafted onto these internationally recognisable songs. This imbues both the characters and the song with the excess and quirkiness heavily associated with an Australian filmic identity (Rayner).

An acknowledgement of the role of Australian music artists in Australia’s internationally informed music industry is further evident in Moulin Rouge through the diegetic performances of homegrown stars, Kylie Minogue and Christine Anu. The appearance of these stars operates as a direct appeal to Australian audiences and an informed international audience, a wink in an internationally defined songscape. In contrast with these fleeting sites of privileged recognition in Moulin Rouge for an audience aware of the Australian music industry, One Night the Moon‘s appeal to the familiarity of the performer imbues the film with specific local narrative implications. The adaptation of international pop songs in Moulin Rouge is reflected by the adaptation of mainstream rock in One Night the Moon to convey uniquely Australian identities within a global arena. Whereas Moulin Rouge grafts an Australian identity onto international pop songs, One Night the Moon clearly reclaims ‘world music’ artists, Kev Carmody and Ruby Hunter as Australian.  World music evolved as a music category in the late 1980s to categorise music that integrated rock with indigenous musics. [26] The grafting of Australian indigenous musical instruments and styles onto mainstream rock layers the adapted nature of Australian musicals through one of its fundamental elements, its music. [27]

The grafting of a pre-established contemporary filmic Australian identity defined by a ‘quirkiness’ and excess onto internationally recognisable pop songs in a national film musical context is used as a site of resistance or intervention into the neo-colonising power of the international film and music industry.  By reshaping these songs according to identifiable Australian discourses, an Australian identity is asserted in a global arena. Therefore, rather than simply Moulin Rouge’s ‘knowing nod’ to the audience, One Night the Moon constructs a comprehensive narrative layer for the locally informed audience. The grafting process that has defined Australian musicals incorporates these two strategies, one of re-articulation, and the other of dissemination, to convey musically-constructed Australian identities through international and national markets.


Australian film theorist, Stuart Cunningham argued that the Australian musical has ‘grafted’ itself onto the classical Hollywood musical. This grafting process not only persists in two of Australia’s most contemporary musicals, Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon, but is extended through a formal and stylistic hybridity with the Hollywood musical, opera, Australian and international popular music and music video. The intertextual relays created through this grafting process inscribe these films as multivalent texts, defined by the inherent contradictions shaped by their differing cultural resonances. Accordingly, the principles of collaboration that underline the film musical are reconfigured in these films so that stylistically, formally and thematically, in the place of harmony, these musicals ultimately promote the experience of being overwhelmed. The opposing pop and indie-rock music genres that define the diegetic realms of these films emphasise antithetical filmic constructions of globalised and localised Australian identities. Each film’s separate negotiations with these influences produce cinematic Australian identities alternatively configured by global and local popular music discourses. The competing textual forms that define these musicals are layered over the classical Hollywood musical’s original style and form to produce heterogenous contemporary Australian identities.  The underlying influence of music video on the production numbers of these Australian musicals inscribes these films as sites of contested meanings for Australian cinematic and musical identities.

Works Cited

Acland, Charles, ‘Look What They’re Doing on TV!: Towards an Appreciation of the Complexity of Music Video.’ Wide Angle, 1,.2,1988, 4-14. 7 n19.

Allan, Blaine, ‘Musical Cinema, Music Video, Music Television,’ Film Quarterly.  XLIII, 3, Spring 1990. 2-14.

Altman, Rick, ‘A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre,’ Film Genre Reader, Ed.  Barry Keith Grant. Austin Texas: Texas UP 1986. 34-35.

—————-, The American Film Musical. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1987.

Barry, Kerri-Lee, 10 January 2004.

Bodey, Michael, ‘Making a Song and Dance,’ The Daily Telegraph ‘Weekend. Sydney, Saturday 2 December, 2000.

Cunningham, Stuart, ‘Hollywood Genres, Australian Movies.’ (1983) Reprinted in, An Australian Film Reader. Eds. Albert Moran and Tom O’Regan. Sydney: Currency Press,1985. 235-241.

Doty, Alexander. ‘Music Sells Movies: (Re) New (ed) Conservatism in Film Marketing,’ Wide Angle, 10, 2, 1988, 70-79.

E-Film Critic,

 Ebben, Joseph, ‘Music Video Cinematography: A New Film Grammar.’ American Cinematographer. LXXIII, 2. February 1992. 88.

Ellis, John, Visible Fictions: Cinema: Television: Video. London: Routledge, 1982, 1992.

Feuer, Jane, ‘Spectators and Spectacle.’ The Hollywood Musical. Bloomington Illinios: Indiana UP, 1982.

World Music, Politics and Social Change. Ed. Simon Firth, Manchester: Manchester UP, 1989. 2.

Goodwin, Andrew, Dancing in The Distraction Factory: Music, Television and Popular Culture. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1992.

Goodwin, Andrew  Gore, Jeff,  ‘World Beat and the Cultural Imperialism Debate.’ Sounding Off! Music as Subversion, Resistance, Revolution. Eds. R. Sakolsky & F. Ho, Brooklyn; Autonomedia, 1995.

Gorman, Rachael, & Nakache, Arielle, ‘Star Moves: Choreography, Choreographers and Australian Music Video.’ Perfect Beat. 1,3, July 1993. 23-37.

Hayward, Philip, ‘Safe Exotic and Somewhere Else: Yothu Yindi, Treaty and the Mediation of Aboriginality,’ Perfect Beat. 1, 2, Jan 1993. 33-42.

Howe, Andrew, 10 January 2004.

Jobling, David, Dendy Films Review, 16.01.2004.

Johnson, Rob, ‘Looking Out: An Interview with Kev Carmody’ Perfect Beat v.1, n.2, Jan 1993. 43-47.44.

King, Geoff,  ‘Spectacle, Narrative, and the Spectacular Hollywood Blockbuster,’ Movie Blockbuster, Ed. Julian Stringer, London & New York: Routledge, 2003. 114-127.

Mast, Gerard, Can’t Help Singin’: White The American Musical on Stage and Screen. Woodstock New York: The Overlook Press, 1987.

Millard, Kathryn, ‘Interview with Rachel Perkins’, Nov 2001. 10 January 2003.

Mitchell, Tony, ‘World Music, Indigenous Music and Music Television in Australia,’ Perfect Beat. 1, 1, July 1992, 1-17.

Natalie, R., ‘Singing a Different Tune.’ Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2001: F1 &F14.

Probyn, Fiona, &  Simpson, Catherine,  ‘This Land is Mine/ This Land is Me’ (1):

Reconciling Harmonies in One Night the Moon, Sensesofcinema February 2002. 10 January 2004.

Rayner, Jonathan, ‘New Glamour, New Gothic: Australian Films in the 1990s’, Contemporary Australian Cinema: An Introduction, (Manchester University Press: Manchester & New York, 2000.

Rogin, Michael, Black Face, White Noise, Berkeley, L.A. London: California UP, 1996.

Roth, Mark, ‘Some Warners Musicals and the Spirit of the New Deal,’ in Altman Ed Genre: The Musical. London, Boston & Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.42-46.

Schatz, Thomas, Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and The Studio System. New York: McGraw-Hill 1981.

Schultz, Jacques, ‘Categories of Song,’ Journal of Popular Film and Television. 8, 1, 1980, 15-25.

Schwichtenberg, Cathy,  ‘Music Video: The Popular Pleasures of Visual Music.’ Popular Music and Communication. Ed. James Lull,  Second Edition, Newbury Park California: Sage Publications, 1992.

Spencer, Meagan,  ABC Online Film Reviews 

Straw, Will,  ‘Popular Music and Postmodernism in the 1980s,” Sound and Vision: The Music Video Reader. Eds. Simon Frith, Andrew Goodwin and Lawrence Grossberg, London and New York: Routledge,1993. 3-24.

Stockbridge, Sally,  ‘Music Video: Questions of Performance, Pleasure and Address.’ Continuum, 1, 2, 1988.110-121.

Sun, P.  & Lull, J.  ‘The Adolescent Audience for Music Videos and Why They Watch’, Journal Of Communication. 36, 1986, 115-125.

Urban Cinefile 10 January 2004.

Valtwies, John,  ‘Success is in the Air: The Soundtrack, Music and Marketing of Strictly Ballroom.’ Perfect Beat 1. 3 July 1993. 38-49.45.

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[1] An earlier version of this paper was presented at the AHCCA “What Lies Beneath” post-graduate conference, University of Melbourne, 06 November 2003.  This article will limit its argument to an examination of the competiting formal and stylistic engagements with music video in Moulin Rouge and One Night the Moon. Consequently, this article will  focus on Paul Kelly’s performance in One Night the Moon.  For a further discussion of the musical performances in One Night the Moon see Fiona Probyn and Catherine Simpson, “This Land is Mine/ This Land is Me” (1):Reconciling Harmonies in One Night the Moon, Sensesofcinema February 2002. Accessed 10 October 2003.

[2] For a further discussion of the backstage musical see Mark Roth “Some Warners Musicals and the Spirit of the New Deal,” Genre: The musical. Ed. Rick Altman (Routledge & Kegan Paul,1981).42-46.

[3] The budgets and financial sources for these films also reflect a marked difference between these films.  Moulin Rouge was “made by Australians with American money”, for international mainstream release. Michael Bodey, ‘Making a Song and Dance,’ The Daily Telegraph ‘Weekend. Sydney, Saturday 2 December, 2000. 6.  In contrast, One Night the Moon was financed by a new Australian Government funding initiative, mdTV (Music Drama Television)  and was initially  intended for television release but gained cinematic release. Fiona A. Villella, “Interview with Rachel Perkins by Kathryn Millard,” Sensesofcinema, February 2002. contents/ 01/17/moon _interview_perkins.html.

[4] By the mid 1930s the musical’s conventions were organised around a utopian social construction premised on the unison of the heterosexual couple, so that the music was associated with pleasure rather than the tragedy of melodrama or operettas. Mark Roth “Some Warners Musicals and the Spirit of the New Deal,” Genre: The musical. Ed. Rick Altman, (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981).42-46, and Rick Altman  “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre” Film Genre Reader, Ed. in Barry Keith Grant, (Texas UP, 1986), 34-35, and Rogin, Michael Black Face, White Noise (California UP, 1996).167.

[5] Contemporary Australian musicals include Starstruck (Gillian Armstrong, 1982), Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann 1992), Adventures of Pricilla Queen Of The Desert (Stephan Elliott 1994), Bootmen (Dein Perry 2000), and Garage Days (Alex Proyas 2002). All of these films adhere to the classical Hollywood musical’s telos  and narrative closure facilitated by an utopian ending.

[6] Music videos have been primarily displayed on Australian television through the music video programme, Rage since the late 1980s Rage is broadcast  from approximately midnight to 11am on Friday and Saturdays and is formatted to display music videos back to back in themed segments defined by a guest programmer or a specifically chosen theme for that episode.

[7] Blaine Allan attributes this neglect to “the institutional gaps between studies in the cinema and studies in television,” ‘Musical Cinema, Music Video, Music Television,’ Film Quarterly.  XLIII, 3, Spring 1990. 2-14. 3. which may partially account for the continued low level of research in this area.

[8] Blaine Allan further argues that, “the music video has an integrity as an expressive form [.] but it has consistently grown in importance as a form of advertising for the recorded music industry, devoted to selling songs and performances in their reproducible, physical form.” ‘Musical Cinema, Music Video, Music Television,’ Film Quarterly.  XLIII, 3, Spring 1990. 2-14.5.

[9] The tango is defined as a dance of exile and passionate excess, as explored  in Sally Potter’s film, Tango (1997).

[10] One Night the Moon is 55mins in length and was made for television and initially screened on the ABC in January 2003.  However, it premiered with an independent cinematic release in October 2001. This crossover between production for television and cinematic exhibition adds another element of cross-media hybridity to this film.

[11] This has lead Film Reviewer Kerri-Lee Barry to define One Night the Moon as,  “I’d say it’s much more like a [.] really long film clip!” 10 January 2004 and the EFC critic to state, “since the film essentially amounts to one long video clip, Kelly is right at home in front of the camera.” review.php?movie=5590&reviewer=193.  10 January 2004.

[12] This is unlike Chicago (Rob Marshall 2002), based on the stage production by Bob Fosse, which uses the stage-like proscenium spaces of the supradiegetic musical numbers to fragment the realist narrative space.  This use of musical numbers as an intrusion rather than a complement to the realistic narrative is a style evident in Bob Fosse’s work, especially  All  That Jazz (1972)  and Dennis Potter’s television musicals, Pennies from Heaven (1978), Lipstick on my Collar (1998) and The Singing Detective (1986).

[13] Another significant duet, “Unfinished Business” is shared between Rose and Albert. Fiona Probyn and Catherine Simpson note that “The title of the song, “Unfinished business”, represents the unfinished business of locating her daughter’s body, the unfinished business of apologies over the exclusion of the black tracker from the search and the ‘unfinished business’ which the Reconciliation movement continues to draw attention to.” “This Land is Mine/ This Land is Me” (1):Reconciling Harmonies in One Night the Moon, Sensesofcinema February 2002. contents/01/19/this_land.html 10 January 2004.

[14] Citing Marcus Breen’s observations of Aboriginal music forms in the 1980s, Philip Hayward notes that “”Young Aborigines, buoyed by the 1979 visit of Bob Marley, began to see music as a form of black celebration and resistance’ (160)”” ‘Safe Exotic and Somewhere Else: Yothu Yindi, Treaty and the Mediation of Aboriginality,’ Perfect Beat. 1, 2, Jan 1993. 33-42. 36. Additionally, Dendy Films’ Reviewer David Jobling comments, “The tragic irony of the Mother singing about the moon calling dreamers to ‘come for a ride’ is not lost, nor is the direct relation between this story set in the past and today’s climate of racial unrest in Australia.  10 January 2004

[15] While this formal structure is evident in the musical, defined by Jacques Schultz as the ‘introspective performance’, I would argue that music video’s significant use of this structure and One Night the Moon’s use of a music video star as its central protagonist predominantly encourages the reading of this number as  music video derived. For further information on the introspective performance, see J. Schultz, “Categories of Song,” Journal of Popular Film and Television, 8, 1, 1980. 15-25. 15. The stylistic structure, where the lead vocalist  is framed by a long tracking shot as they perform in the forefront of the shot  in a direct address style whilst extras  pass the performer or move around in the background according to realist narrative conventions, oblivious to the performance of the vocalist,  was previously employed in the music video for Massive Attack’s song, “Unfinished Sympathy”, 1995 and later pastiched in The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, 1998.  Although both of these music videos were set in contemporary inner city locations, their juxtaposition of narrative styles is replicated by “This Land is Mine”.

[16] The thematic preoccupation with Operatic tragedy shared by both films has additionally resulted in a reading of these films, especially One Night the Moon that promotes a reading of an operatic influence over that of music video. David Jopling defines it as “A tragic, operatic story”. http://members.ozemail. ~qstage/ontm.html. The EFC critic declared, ” One Night the Moon, however, is described by its creators as an “opera-film”, a term which refers to a dramatic feature in which the musical interludes actually drive the narrative.”,  Meagan Spencer, defines it as “a poetic hybrid of opera and music video,” /triplej/review/film/s423326.html.  Urban Cinefile defines One Night the Moon  as “blending elements of opera and cinema in a striking and gripping drama,” 10 January 2004.

[17] Film Reviewer, Kerri-Lee Barry has stated, “I’d say it’s much more like a [.] really long film clip!” message/blackarts/ film/s926724.html. 10 January 2004.

[18] Paul Kelly’s rock musician persona has been constructed around his image as a politically and culturally aware working class white Australian male, supportive of indigenous music and issues. The accompanying music video for “To Her Door” is structured as a short film featuring Kaaren Fairfax as the beleaguered wife. The protagonists of this song represent a contemporary construction of Jim and Rose’s characters and a music video basis for One Night the Moon.

[19] Paul Kelly’s association with indigenous artists and his political activism surrounding indigenous issues gained mainstream awareness through his co-writing of the Yothu Yindi’s Treaty!, in 1988.  This song blends traditional indigenous instruments with western instruments and rhythms to articulate the demand for the government of the day to fulfil its promise of a treaty drawn up between indigenous Australians and the white colonists.  For a further discussion of this song see Phillip  Haywood, ‘Safe Exotic and Somewhere Else: Yothu Yindi, Treaty and the Mediation of Aboriginality,’ Perfect Beat. 1, 2, Jan 1993. 33-42.

[20] Andrew Goodwin further explores this paradigm in Dancing in The Distraction Factory: Music, Television and Popular Culture, explaining that pop songs are themselves small self-contained stories that lend themselves to filmic dramatisation and fantasy, and that when a pop singer tells a first-person narrative, he or she is simultaneously both the character in the song and the storyteller. The despair and disaffection that open the narrative of One Night The Moon, with Jim’s direct address declaration, “I don’t know anything anymore”, invite an intimate immediate identification with his character that transcends the hermetic closure of the narrative and encourages an application of his sentiments to contemporary Australian indigenous issues and cultural beliefs. (Minnesota UP, 1992, 102, 75).

[21] Similar to the marketing campaign employed by Saturday Night Fever (John Badham 1977), Moulin Rouge benefited from weeks of saturation publicity through cuts from its soundtrack and promotional clips featured on television, radio, cinemas, music stores and in dance clubs Doty, Alexander. ‘Music Sells Movies: (Re) New (ed) Conservatism in Film Marketing,’ Wide Angle, 10, 2, 1988, 70-79. 72.

[22] Blaine Allen cites the performer as the key feature of the Hollywood musical. ‘Musical Cinema, Music Video, Music Television,’ Film Quarterly.  XLIII, 3, Spring 1990. 2-14. 8.

[23] Sally Stockbridge has argued that ‘rock and pop music have, since the fifties, been the signifiers and carriers of rebellion.”  “Music Video: Questions of Performance, Pleasure and Address.” Continuum, 1, 2, 1988.110-121. 120.

[24] Australian Billboard Charts 1981,1978.

[25] The tuxedo or top hat, tails and walking cane  iconically evoke Fred Astaire.  My thanks to Fincina Hopgood for pointing this out.

[26] Peter Dunbar-Hall cites Andrew Goodwin, and Jeff Gore,  ‘World Beat and the Cultural Imperialism Debate.’ Sounding Off! Music as Subversion, Resistance, Revolution, Eds.  R. Sakolsky  and F. Ho, (Autonomedia, 1995) in his article. “Site as Song-Song as Site: Constructions of Meaning in an Aboriginal Rock Song.” Perfect Beat 3, 3, July 1993. 58-76. 69.

[27] Tony Mitchell notes that Kev Carmody and Ruby Hunter’s overall impact on the Australian music market has been limited .” World Music, Indigenous Music and Music Television in Australia,’ Perfect Beat. 1, 1, July 1992, 1-17.