'Burn me up this time fellas!': when movies represent the recording studio

Peter Doyle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Since 1950, sound recording studios have become a recurring setting in the narrative fiction feature film. This essay historically situates the early appearance of the studio interior as movie set, using Keightley and Gracyk's notion of record consciousness'. The article traces the shifting visual semiotics of the studio interior through four phases: the 1950s era post-war technophilic (and implicitly authoritarian) ideal, which gives way to a pop' 1960s mode in which the studio is a site of residual and inconsequential power only, which in turn gives way to a series 1970s and 1980s era representations in which the studio is re-invested with coercive power. More recently in the retro-themed biopic, the studio becomes nostalgic refuge. The essay then turns to the nearly always present disjunctures between soundtrack and visuals that attend the studio scene, and in particular the points of transition between sync sound and imported' sound, between failed take and breakout' take, suggesting that these transitions, or rhymes' might function as a cinematic way of phenomenologically representing immersive, boundary-dissolving moments of musical experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-912
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


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