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Song, Genre, and Transatlantic Dialogue in Gosford Park


Hidden in plain sight, the five songs in the middle of, Gosford Park (2001) prepare the audience for the untangling of sordid relationships and the resolution of a murder mystery at the end of the film. This article presents a detailed analysis of the film's central musical sequence using video captures, reception history, transcriptions, and other approaches from music history and film studies. As is shown, the close relationship between music and image reflects the fascination of US audiences with British-themed films and the equally complicated appeal of Hollywood films to British audiences. Additionally, the songs provide a surfeit of narrative information crucial to the resolution of the multiple story lines. Lastly, the songs complicate and expand the work's seemingly straightforward murder-mystery genre to include such incompatible models as the British heritage film, Hollywood musicals, melodramas, and the double feature. Informing this musical sequence, and the entire film, is a complex, reciprocal transatlantic exchange founded on mutually inaccurate, yet often irresistible, myths of history and identity.

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Martin A. Hipsky Anglophil(m)ia: Why does America Watch Merchant-Ivory Movies?Journal of Popular Film & Television 22/3 (Fall 1994): 98107.

Morris B. Holbrook Ambi-Diegetic Music in the Movies: The Crosby Duets in High Society.” Consumption Markets & Culture 8/2 (2005): 153–82.

Morris B. Holbrook Ambi-Diegetic Music in Films as a Product Design and Placement Strategy: The Sweet Smell of Success.” Marketing Theory 4/3 (2004): 171–85.

Morris B. Holbrook A Book-Review Essay on the Role of Ambi-Diegetic Film Music in the Product Design of Hollywood Movies: Macromarketing in La-La-Land.” Consumption Markets & Culture 6/3 (September 2003): 207–30.

Steven Z. Levine Structure of Sound and Image in The Rules of the Game.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 7/3 (Summer 1982): 211–24.

Robynn J. Stilwell Sense & Sensibility: Form, Genre, and Function in the Film Score.” Acta Musicologica 72/2 (2000): 190240.

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Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-music
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