Chanchadas and Intermediality: On the Musical Numbers of Aviso aos navegantes (Watson Macedo, 1950)
Flávia Cesarino Costa and John Gibbs
Abstract: This audiovisual essay investigates the intermedial nature of Brazilian film comedies produced during the 1940s and 50s by exploring the musical numbers of Aviso aos navegantes (Calling All Sailors, Watson Macedo, 1950).
Brazilian cinema of this period is a privileged arena of different media strategies. Its “mixed” style is informed by Hollywood cinema but also by the domestic influence of radio, Carnival, and by the local forms of comic staging of the teatro de revista (the Brazilian equivalent of music hall or vaudeville). Of particular interest in this regard are the chanchadas, a body of films made between the mid-1930s and the early 1960s, that presented musical performances intertwined with comic situations, slender narrative lines and strong connections with the world of Carnival. Our aim is to show how the relationships between the different forms of cultural production in 1950s Brazil can be identified in a specific chanchada, opening a dialogue between musical performances on stage, over the radio, at Carnival and on screen.