Tom 18 (2012)

Postać diabła w musicalu filmowym

Lidia Makuch-Laskowska

Strony: 105 - 121



The article discusses the motif of a devil in musical films. In this genre there are few films that include the figure of a devil, which can be explained by the ludic function of a musical. Strictly codified conventions of the genre — plots and types of protagonists — leave no space in the musical world for philosophical or moral reflections that are bound to appear each time the devil is introduced on the screen. The article describes various ways of characterizing a devil in eight musicals that represent different periods in the genre’s history. The following films are analysed: Madam Satan Cecile B. DeMille’s, Cabin in the Sky and The Band Wagon Vincente Minnelli’s, Damn Yankees! George Abbott and Stanley Donen’s, Phantom of the Paradise Brian De Palma’s, Forbidden Zone Richard Elfman’s, Staying Alive Sylvester Stallone’s and Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny Liam Lynch’s. The focus in on how the physical, earthly figure of a devil is presented. The Satan is frequently anthropomorphous: a handsome and intriguing man in an elegant suit. In the aforementioned films the devil can as well be a doppelgänger of the leading characters or a part of their personality. The article also mentions cultural motifs associated with the devil — psychomachia, devil’s pact and woman as instrumentum diaboli. Musical is one of the key genres invented in American film. From the beginning its main aim was to entertain the audience. Musical has always been the place of everlasting happiness, where the protagonists would sooner or later resolve all difficulties. The genre glorifies the American system, celebrates the national tradition and nostalgically refers to the history of the United States. That is why the devil might be excluded from acting in the musical world.