Musical films characteristically contain elements reminiscent of theater; performers often treat their song and dance numbers as if there is a live audience watching. In a sense, the viewer becomes the deictic audience, as the performer looks directly into the camera and performs to it.The musical film is the genre associated with the transition from silent film to sound film. The concept of "talking pictures" had been considered a risky investment by the major Hollywood studios until the Warner Bros. studio took the leap and produced The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson. Jolson's singing in the picture forever changed the medium of film, and it jolted Hollywood into the era of sound. As Hollywood adapted to sound films, musical films were an important part of Hollywood's movie output.

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