The musicarello (plural:musicarelli) is a film subgenre developed in Italy and characterized by the presence in main roles of young singers, already famous among their peers, sided by some comical actors.
The genre began in the fifties, and had its peak of production in the sixties; according to film critic Stefano Della Casa the name "musicarello" is a reference to the successful Carosello. The film who started the genre is considered to be I ragazzi del Juke-Box by Lucio Fulci. At the base of the musicarello is a hit song, or a song intended in the hopes of the producers to become a hit, that usually gives the title to the film itself and sometimes has its lyrics depicting a part of the plot. Differently from musical films, this subgenre has an evident age-characterization: while musical films have had until that time an audience that was generally undifferentiated for tastes and ages, musicarello is explicitly directed to a public of young people and usually has in its plot a vague polemic against conformism and bourgeois attitudes. The genre was referred as a curious mix between fotoromanzi, traditional comedy, hit songs and tentative references to tensions between generations. The key figures in this genre were directors Piero Vivarelli and Ettore Maria Fizzarotti, and actors-singers Gianni Morandi, Little Tony, Rita Pavone and Caterina Caselli.
With the arrival of the 1968 student protests the genre started to decline, because the generational revolt became explicitly political and at the same time there was no longer a music equally directed to the whole youth-audience. For some time the couple formed by Al Bano and Romina Power still maintained success, but their films (like their songs) were a return to the traditional melody and to the musical films of the previous decades.
- S. Della Casa, P. Manera, I musicarelli, in "Cineforum", 1991, 310
- Lino Aulenti. Storia del cinema italiano. libreriauniversitaria, 2011. ISBN 886292108X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- Lino Micciché. Storia del cinema italiano: 1960. Bianco & nero, 2001. ISBN 8831778412.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Simone Arcagni, Dopo Carosello: il musical cinematografico italiano, Falsopiano, 2006. ISBN 888978203X.
- Renato Venturelli, Nessuno ci può giudicare: il lungo viaggio del cinema musicale italiano, Fahrenheit 451, 1998. ISBN 8886095309.
- Steve Della Casa, Paolo Manera, Il professor Matusa e i suoi hippies. Cinema e musica in Italia negli anni Sessanta, Bonanno, 2011. ISBN 8877967706.
- Daniele Magni, Cuori matti - Dizionario dei musicarelli anni '60, Bloodbuster Edizioni, 2012. ISBN 9788890208775.
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