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  1. 38 points
    Yes I would agree that the clip makes the weight of the time period disappear. Most people went to movies to escape and this would have been in that same vein. I believe that it made light of the world around them and that even money was not to be taken too seriously. The reply "yes I am tryng to lose weight" when the doorman told him he gave him a 5 pound note emphasized the frivolity of the film. The fact that Miss Held flitted back and forth in her decision to meet or not meet Florence Ziegfeld and her decision being influenced by the beauty of the orchids and not even knowing who he was brings more of the lighthearted feel to this musical.
  2. 28 points
    HI Everyone. I thought it might be fun to get started with an opening topic for a discussion where anyone who would like to contribute to this topic can, even before we officially begin the course modules on Monday. So, here is a question for anyone to ponder and respond to: what musical have you found yourself watching repeatedly, and what is it about that musical that you believe makes it enticing to you for repeated viewings? Let's start there as a place to explore what musicals provide for us as individuals and as a film community. I would even open this topic to explore what musicals provide for us as a culture. So there we are. This is where I would like to start. Have a great weekend. Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament Professor, TCM Presents Mad About Musicals Endowed Chair, Telecommunications Ball State University
  3. 21 points
    On the Town, Holiday Inn, Singing in the Rain. Anything Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.
  4. 21 points
    I just realized it was exactly a year ago today that a long-time member here posted for the last time. His screen poster name was "DownGoesFrazier", but before that, he was known as "finance", and it was mostly under that name that he participated here, for years. The reason I wanted to create a thread about him was this: We regard ourselves, I think, as a community on these boards. The people who post here regularly, who contribute and respond and discuss and share opinions and jokes and ideas on this TCM message board, are part of a group. I know it's just an internet group, we don't really know one another, but it's still a kind of social community. So when someone who's been a long-term and very active member of that community suddenly just disappears from it, I think they deserve some kind of attention, or acknowledgement, or something. "finance" was a very active member here; he posted just about every single day, a lot, on a lot of threads. His style was brief- he liked to post a lot, but all of his comments were very short. He liked to make little jokes, or "zingers", and he often contributed information about a film, or , just as often, asked a question about it. I did not always enjoy or agree with his posts, sometimes I even found him a bit annoying (but maybe we could say this about us all, once in a while), but I considered him to be one of the most engaged, active members here, and as such liked him, and certainly noticed when he stopped coming here. I do not know why "finance" stopped posting here.It was very sudden; one day he was as active as ever on these boards, the next, nothing, complete silence. I believe if he could, he would still be participating here. To be honest, I think he must have died - either that, or experienced some kind of health problem that has rendered him no longer capable of posting. I just think that when someone has been as fully engaged in a community, even a digitally maintained community, as finance was, they deserve some kind of acknowledgement. Otherwise, it kind of feels like all the time and thought and interaction with others here goes for nothing. It's been a year now, so I thought this was a good time to do this. So here's to you, DGF, or "finance", as I knew you for most of the time you posted on this site. You were one of the first people I ever connected with here. You were proud of your short, pithy posts; you liked film noir, sports, and music. Your absence here has been noticed. Thanks, everyone. mw
  5. 19 points
    1. Well, straight of the bat I guess we see where the Foghorn Leghorn looney toon got some inspiration with the " I-I-I say..." There's a lot more rat-a-tat-tat to the dialogue vs. listening and responding. It's not really listening and reacting with a line type acting, but more waiting for your line and focusing on the dialogue while also keeping the mood for the scene visually. There's also some jokey puns, e.g. "do you realize you gave me 5 lbs. sir?" from the relatively larger gentleman for that period anyway surprised at how heavily he was tipped, and response "oh, yes, I'm trying to lose weight!" Or, "why is it junior? is he a little boy?" There's also the gags of how Anna Held's mirror messes with the vision of individual audience members as she puts the spotlight back onto them, but these two competing producers embrace the spotlight. I do think this is brighter than life existed at the time because it's not played realistically, but at the same time I don't think the thematic content is too downplayed. For instance, the competition part of the story is obvious as are other things, even if they're portrayed in a light kind of way. 2. I think I'm expecting more jokes. The acting also seems broader, Held in particular seems a bit looney tune with her performance and voice--'I can say and sing the english words, but please read these to me!' (Not that that's a bad thing necessarily.) I'm also expecting since this is a genre that naturally lends itself towards performers acting as performers, and showbiz doing showbiz, that we'll get a number of behind the scenes type stories or elements to stories than I originally thought. I'd seen SINGIN' IN THE RAIN awhile back, but this clip makes me realize how much making the industry the text, bringing out the backstage politics, and being a bit meta was already out there for musicals stretching into the 30s. 3. I'm going to guess that pre-code rather than sending a note backstage to Held, and given the heavy eye contact from Florence Ziegfeld, he'd have been backstage himself with those orchids. And he'd have expressed those thoughts to her rather than them being read, which perhaps we'd have gotten a peppy le pew type scene backstage as he went to woo Held. Perhaps Held's "come and play with me" courting of everything would've been even more explicit, but I don't know...that's pretty straightforward in what she says, and doesn't seem dialed down really. Who would miss that subtext? But, on the other hand, I guess she might've been dressed down more for that number, or acted less surprised backstage (the 2nd though is less clear since I haven't seen this movie and maybe her seeming a tad ditzy is supposed to be a character trait.) It's also possible that pre-code the other (I'm guessing) competing manager, would've noticed Ziegfeld earlier in the performance as opposed to near the curtain call ending, and the competitive jealousy/sexual rivalry between them would've been played more up.
  6. 18 points
    I do agree that this certainly takes away the seriousness of the time period. Miss Held didn't really have any idea who had sent her the flowers. She was just overwhelmed with the idea that someone would send them to her. I believe if this film had been pre-code, she would have been dressed in a more scanty costume for her performance. Instead, she was covered from head to toe in a long dress, bonnet, and a parasol.
  7. 18 points
    I've been a lifelong film student and my first love was the musical. My parents took me to see That's Entertainment! when I was 8 and from that point on, I couldn't get enough. I think the reason that musicals speak to me is the joy of putting music in all situations. Life would seem less dreary sometimes if it had a beautiful orchestral soundtrack. Most musicls are positive and have happy endings. Everything is resolved and everyone is happy at the end. Real life doesn't provide that so it's a nice escape. I never tire of Fred Astaire. I will revisit any of his films. He is so smooth. I love Judy Garland's vulnerability. She can tear your heart out with her eyes and her voice. I'm not sure I can narrow down any one, or even ten musicals that I come back to. Certainly, The Band Wagon (1953), The Pirate (1948), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Good News (1947), Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), and Guys and Dolls (1955) I love them all.
  8. 18 points
    It just so happens that Victor/Victoria happens to be one of my favorite musicals! I’ve seen it so many times, I can act it out! LOL!
  9. 17 points
    I love anything with Fred Astaire. Whenever TCM shows his movie I’m there watching! I love his dancing!
  10. 17 points
    From yesteryear to modern films, I never seem to grow tired of viewing some titles repeatedly. I grew up watching great musicals such as Gypsy, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Calamity Jane, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Meet Me in St. Louis, Mame and countless others. I should be embarrassed for the number of times i have sat down and viewed The Sound of Music or The Music Man, but with every passing year my fondness for these titles seems to grow.
  11. 15 points
    The brighter perspective and the element of escapism is definitely captured in not only the light heartedness of the dialogue and song but also in the opulence and lavishness of the stage costume and the back drop of the dressing room. I expect that orchids would not only have been extremely exotic and outside the realm of the average rural movie goer during the Depression but the sumptuousness of all the crystal and bouquets in the dressing room would have been a visual treat and a glimpse in to a world were flowers cost 1000s of francs and dreams do come true.
  12. 15 points
    It's a great question. It is something that we have been looking into. The biggest issue is that the courses do thrive and sustain themselves on the interactions among the students. As my team has designed the courses at Ball State, the Canvas material matters, but we value the legion of film fans who come together as a student community even more - we get tens of thousands of tweets, thousands of message board posts, hundreds of notes on the Padlet bulletin board, we share live tweeting, we come together around Shindig events - so the courses have been designed, like a film festival, around the presence of many students. That is part of the key that I think makes these courses so special and memorable. That said, we are aware that many of you want access to the materials of the older courses - that is something that we are looking into. Thanks for your interest in these courses! And hope Best, Richard Edwards Instructor, TCM Presents Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015), TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick Comedy (2016) and TCM Presents the Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017) Ball State University
  13. 15 points
    I think the main four musicals that I always come back to are Cover Girl, On An Island With You, Singin' in the Rain, and High Society, though there are many, many others! I'm trying to think of a theme that connects the four and one that would explain why I keep watching them again and again, and I think it's because they're all visually appealing, are beautifully shot in Technicolor, have talented stars and inspirational songs that help lift my spirits, and have a steady romance that I always end up rooting for. I think you could say that about most musicals, though! 😊
  14. 14 points
    Hi Everyone! As we start the course, I will be posting a forum for you to post your responses to the Daily Dose of Delight, which will be available every Monday through Thursday. Here is the first one for Monday. Recall that you watched a clip from The Great Ziegfeld. As you watched it, we were discussing the early beginnings of the movie musical in the historical context. With that in mind, look at the three questions below, as I listed them below the clip on Canvas, and post your thoughts. I look forward to reading your responses/ Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? 2. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? 3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. Vanessa Theme Ament, Ph.D. Endowed Chair, Telecommunications Ball State University
  15. 14 points
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  16. 14 points
    1. The clip starts with Ziegfeld essentially giving money away, showing that he has enough money to not have to care that he is giving it away, and then continues to show what I assume was a relatively wealthy audience. It is safe to assume that during the Depression that was not the norm for most people, so by displaying a lifestyle not available to many it paints a brighter view of life. 2. Other Depression era musicals most likely follow the lives and problems of people who are well off or who are not worrying about work of money, similar to how some of the most popular shows of the 80's surrounded the lives of the wealthy. 3. Had the film been made precode, the relationship between Ziegfeld and Florence would have been more blatantly displayed, rather than being more of an implication. They also might have felt free to display some of the more risque parts of the real story, such as the fact that they had a common law marriage. It may also have impacted the sort of language generally used throughout the film.
  17. 14 points
    Like many others - I enjoy a variety of musicals (Sound of Music, Oklahoma, West Side Story, 1776). But I can NEVER turn away from Fred and Ginger - no matter how many times I've seen them. My favorite dance sequence is the first one in Swing Time. So amazing - much of it in one long take! And the way they fly over the little "fence" around the dance floor as if they're floating - lifts my heart! And Fred singing "The Way You Look Tonight" from the same film - so sweet! And I love Fred and Eleanor Powell's "Begin the Beguine" number in The Broadway Melody of 1940. The way her skirt keeps whirling around her after they've finished the dance is pure magic. And I can never get enough of the Nicholas Brothers "Jumpin' Jive" number in Stormy Weather. Grace and athleticism! Finally NO ONE sings "Over the Rainbow" better than Judy did in The Wizard of Oz! --Lydia
  18. 14 points
    Some of my favorite musicals include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Camelot, Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz and Funny Girl. Out of those listed, Funny Girl has to be my favorite for many reasons, but mostly due to Barbra Streisand's extraordinary performance. She commands the film as her own and gives every moment on screen her all, resulting in arguably one of the greatest musicals of all time. She is the greatest star! Color is another factor that comes into play with the films I listed. I agree with annsblyth that technicolor adds to the appeal of many musicals, it definintely is an element in all of my favorites. It helps create the fascinating world on screen that we can escape into if only for a could of hours. Black & White musicals can be just as appealing if the music is right and other visual elements are used. Shows like Cabin in the Sky, Showboat, or any Busby Berkeley film may lack color, but they contain the heart and soul of the musical, the music, and in some cases visually stunning numbers as well.
  19. 14 points
    Nanette Fabray has died at the age of 97. "Nanette Fabray (born Ruby Bernadette Nanette Fabares; October 27, 1920 – February 22, 2018) was an American actress, singer and dancer. She began her career performing in vaudeville as a child and became a musical theatre actress during the 1940s and 1950s, winning a Tony Award in 1949 for her performance in Love Life. In the mid-1950s, she served as Sid Caesar's comedic partner on Caesar's Hour, for which she won three Emmy Awards, as well as co-starring with Fred Astaire in the film musical The Band Wagon. From 1979 to 1984, she appeared as Grandma Katherine Romano on the TV series One Day at a Time. Fabray overcame a significant hearing impairment and has been a long-time advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing. Her honors representing the handicapped include the President's Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanette_Fabray
  20. 14 points
    It must be the rarely seen version entitled Really All Quiet on the Western Front.
  21. 13 points
    1. I believe that it does. In the clip Ziegfeld throws money around like its nothing. He buys terribly expensive flowers and hands the doorman 5 pounds and then jokes about it. The doorman also appears to have the money to go to the theater, as he talks of seeing the French actress, which I assume means he's seen the show. The actress also speaks of having a choice between the two men, meaning she isn't at all worried about money or position, she's free to see what all of her options are, instead of stuck doing what she knows with make her money and make ends meet. 2. One of the themes I saw was people having choices and the freedom to make the choices without much consideration beyond how they’re feeling. They aren't seemingly worried about the future. They don’t seem terribly concerned about money as well, it’s thrown around several times in the short clip. 3. Since the motion picture code was a moral guideline, you don’t see any skin from the woman in this clip. In The Broadway Musical a lot of the clips are women in bras, naked in the bathtub, etc. In this film, she gets off stage and the only piece of clothing that is removed is her hat. Pre-code era she’d probably have stripped down more. Also, she'd probably have been dressed differently on stage, at least less than the fancy, full length, totally covering dress she was wearing in the clip.
  22. 13 points
    I have always had a yearly tradition of watching 1776 on the 4th of July. I have always considered 1776 one of the best musicals for learning about American History. The movie is absolutely perfect and so are the actors and the music.
  23. 13 points
    Am I alone in finding posters bellyaching about TCM hosts boring? There seems to be a thread of this nature at least once a week. Enough already! In any event, Muller's enthusiasm for his subject is because he loves noirs, and he does his own writing. In some cases he will crib a lot of his own notes from write ups he's done in the past about a film and use them on the air. At least, he did that with The Breaking Point. I assume the Garfield film is not the only time he's done that. Nothing wrong with that, especially since most viewers will not have read his previous write ups on films, and what he previously wrote was worth repeating. Ben M. has to introduce ALL kinds of film genre, some of which he may not care for (unlike Muller, who picks his own films). I don't know how much of his intros he writes. Aside from that Ben has a laid back, at times puckish, delivery, and he's effective if you enjoy that type of style. You don't like it? Avoid his two minute commentary and just watch the film. Different strokes for different folks, and all that sort of thing.
  24. 12 points
    Last night before A HOLE IN THE HEAD, Ben gave a wonderfully touching tribute to the late Connie Sawyer who co-starred in the film. When Connie did her intro last September as a Guest Programmer she was, in fact, 104. She died at 105 on January 21st. (Her last birthday was Nov. 27th which I was lucky enough to attend.) Thanks Ben. Connie would have LOVED it!!!! Also - Please give what you can to the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Thanks!! https://www.mptf.com/ Yancey
  25. 11 points
    1. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) Snow White is not my favorite Disney princess (or character, for that matter) by far, but I appreciate the history behind the production of this movie, and the fact that it was Walt Disney's first feature length film. It is interesting to see how the animation style depends on the type of movie that is being produced. This is a princess movie, so the animation is somewhat softer (except for the scary forest scenes), and uses lighter colors than "Dumbo" (1941). "Dumbo" is primarily set in a circus, so a lot of primary colors are used (red, blue, yellow, etc.) It's interesting to see how the type of movie matches the overall color scheme and/or animation style. Apparently, Walt Disney wrote up a strict contract for Adriana Caselotti (the voice of Snow White), in which it stated that she was not allowed to voice or sing for any other major characters due to the fact that she was recognizable (this mainly had to do with preserving the magic and keeping that character integrity intact). In order to do the "Old Hag" voice, actress Lucille La Verne (who also voiced the Evil Queen in her more tame state) simply took out her teeth! 😋

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