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Searle Kochberg leads an engaging talk, spotlighting composer Jerome Kern’s screen output, some of it less known than his stage work.
Jerome Kern started writing songs and incidental music for Broadway and West End productions before the First World War. By the late 1920s his many successes had been crowned by the innovative ‘book’ musical, Show Boat (1927), and it was not long after that he was invited to work in Hollywood.
But composing for the screen is different to working for the stage. For Jerome Kern - used as he was to being at the centre of the development, rehearsal, try-outs, revisions etc of any project - just being commissioned to provide a fixed number of songs, after which the production team took over, was always going to be a compromise. Nevertheless, despite this, Kern produced an amazing array of songs in the 1930s and 1940s for the screen, quite the equal of his stage work.
Searle will remind and perhaps introduce you to Kern’s screen output, some of it less known than his stage work. YouTube clips of Astaire & Rogers, Irene Dunne, Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Deanna Durbin, Van Johnson, Jeanne Crain and Linda Darnell will illustrate the talk.
Searle is a filmmaker and writer on cinema and other performing arts. He has just completed a practice-based PhD at the University of Portsmouth in co-creative documentary practice. This work builds on previous research projects, Rainbow Jews and Ritual Reconstructed. His short films have included Leaving the Table (2007) and L'Esprit de l'Escalier (2010) and a mixed animation/live action docudrama on Leon Trotsky entitled Dream Life of Debris.