7 Origin Stories Behind Classic Film Musicals

How did a book of cat poems become a hit?

The Phantom Of The Opera Movie
Warner Bros.

Film musicals have been going for years, from the introduction of sound in movies and extravagant Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire dances to the '70s classics and today with... Cats. Musicals have gone through a journey and always have a large following behind them, with the songs and stage shows winning a variety of awards, and still as classic as the day they came out.

Some film musicals came before the stage shows, whereas others have been adapted to screen after a long running West End or Broadway release, each filmmaker taking a different approach to the source material as the songwriters would have done to the books or historical events that came before.

How did we get to the classics we see now? Why did Ian Fleming decide to leave the Bond books to write Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and why did Andrew Lloyd Webber think to adapt a book of cat poems to the stage?

Here are just seven origin stories behind those classics we have all come to know and love in film form, without having to go to the theatre to enjoy them.

7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

The Phantom Of The Opera Movie
United Artists

Ian Fleming is best known for his creation of the world of James Bond, with a multitude of books that have been adapted into movies over the years. It surprised the world when the author announced that he would be writing for children in his next novel, following the adventures of the now famous flying car built by inventor Caractacus Potts. But why the U-turn?

Fleming suffered major smoking problems and he experienced a near-fatal heart attack at 52 during an interview with The Sunday Times. During his time resting, he wrote up a familiar bedtime story that was often told to his son Caspar. Thus Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car was written and released in 1964, initially in three epic volumes due to the popularity from the publication company.

The story followed Potts and his children in their adventures across the world, saving themselves from escape using the titular automobile. Soon after the release, the book was picked up for movie adaptation. Fleming died in 1964 and never saw the finished product.

Due to the large scale of the stories in the book, director Ken Hughes enlisted the help of children's story expert Roald Dahl, who was said to have completely made up the third act of the movie, including the creation of the infamous child catcher.


New Writer! Comic book movie lover, 80's films and 'nerdy' TV shows