Krushing

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more? I don't think it would have been as personal if she had belted it out. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? He continually watches her, but she looks away occasionally looking back at him. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. She stands by herself in most of it, she is always in the front and is the focus.
  2. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) I haven't seen Gaslight. I like the use of light and shadow here. It reminds me of the use of light and shadow in Meet Me in St. Louis. In St. Louis, Judy used the lights as a way to woo the neighbor by helping her turn off the lights. As each light was turned off, she was hoping he would be "turned on" enough to kiss her. In My Fair Lady, the use of shadows and light show that Eliza is torn between who she really is and who she is made up to be. When she breaks down and cries, it is in the light. As if to say, we are shedding light on who this character really is. Both pictures really show how light can be used effectively. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. I like that he has a wide angle on the camera, so they they can move about with the camera still being focused on the characters. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? Higgins is trying to comfort her, while she is realizing that it was all for show and not really the way her life is. He is trying to be her voice of reason, while she deals with her reality. She has been exposed to the high society crowd and has learned all of these things, but when she goes back to her "world" it will be different and I think she has realized it. She will miss what could have been.
  3. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? I think it would be the representation of gay characters in movies and Tv. It used to be such a taboo topic, but I think now it is more widely accepted. At least more than it used to be. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He is a wonderful singer and he works the crowd. He not only walks into the crowd but engages them. Tattling on the kids by telling the parents what to look out for and then calling the guy out in the other clip. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? I have never seen any movies with him in it, but now I want to.
  4. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? It looks back by having bright colors, and they are auditioning for a show. The audition gets interrupted by Mama Rose. She takes over. The producer and director are not really sure what to do. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. You can tell Mama Rose gets her way. She is a strong character who is virtually pushing her daughters to the front of the pack. She even pushes the little balloon girl with her wand. She commands the stage! I think it might be afraid of her. LOL Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). A little girl is singing it but it seems like a song for an adult. Not a child. The staging is difficult for me because there are so many people and so much going on, it is hard to focus on it. Especially when Mama starts speaking over everyone.
  5. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film? I am not sure. The OCD in me says yes it should be consistent. But on the other hand, it might be a good change up. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I think the fact that he is all business but doesn't want his work to be criticized by someone unqualified.
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? They are very animated while they are talking before they start dancing. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. He starts off as their teacher, then becomes a prop that they move, then the audience to their dancing. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? The teacher is very prim and proper whereas the two guys are cutting up and having fun. All three are well dressed but Kelly and O'Connor are more casual type dress.
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? I think this character breaks out of the mold of the typical 1950's woman. In the first scene, we see her braving the wilds of the territory protecting the stage from all who seek to take it over. She climbs over the top of the carriage and then climbs down and back up. She is dirty and her outfit is a typical male costume. She is clearly in charge, which is a switch. I believe it is done to show that women are emerging as leaders and not just a pretty face, but so much more. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I feel like it allowed her to be more flexible in her roles. She is wonderful in every movie I have ever seen. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. I think it adds to it. She is tough, but sweet and caring.
  8. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? They are inclusive of each other saying that together they make a great team. One by themselves is not necessarily a show, but together they can tell all kinds of stories. They are really telling a story in song, whereas, earlier musicals had a story and a song, but really two separate things. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Two of the men are in suits, and one is more casual jacket, the woman is dressed in what I would call a day dress. It's not super fancy, but still beautiful. They are all color coordinated. Not exactly matching but it is easy on the eyes. Gray and blue with pops of red. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? They are a team but when they are crossing their legs, they try to vy for the front, but they don't get upset. It makes it funny.
  9. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? She is relieved that he is alive. Now that she sees that he will be ok, she can go about the business of the house. Washing sheets is a daily task that could have been put off while waiting to see if he was ok. I think this tells us that he is her happiness, she doesn't need anything else. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I could see this being sung to a baby. The song is not really about romantic love, but love in general. I could see her singing this about her baby. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? I am not sure how to answer this question since I have not seen the movie all the way through yet. In the clip, I think it shows that families no matter what color have the similar themes, life, health, love, and family.
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. At the high point of the song, the actors are at the high point of the stadium. I love that they use shadows to mimic the chase that they are doing. I also love that Betty is doing the chasing. Usually, it's the other way around. I also think that when she lifts him, it is a symbol that women are just as strong as men but in different ways. I would have chased Frank too! LOL It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The music builds and then when they sing, it is low and very few instruments are being played. Letting us know that the music is important, but get ready, they are going to sing.
  11. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? My first Judy Garland film is of course The Wizard of Oz. It is really difficult for me to see her as another character because she played that one to perfection. We watched this movie as a family every year when it came on tv even though we already been to the theater to see it. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I see her as growing both in age and in talent. I see Liza Minnelli in the first clip. I never really thought they looked so much alike but when she lifted her hat in the first clip it was easy to see. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience’s imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric? To me when I think of older Judy I think of two things. One is Meet me in St Louis the other is her singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. She is fantastic when she is singing and dancing or just simply singing while sitting on a chair. She is great.
  12. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. There are flags, bunting, military parades and the the theater that dad is performing is is the Colony Theater. This speaks to the 13 colonies and how Americans stuck together to get through the Revolutionary War and Civil War. We can get through this too. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. I think the speech between the President and George talks about how great this country is and it’s people. The parade shows people happily waving the flag not in defeat but in happiness. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. At first, I thought it might not make much difference but now I think it could have brought this scene down a bit. At a military parade, it could remind everyone that their loved ones were fighting in a war. Starting in the Office reminds them what we as Americans were fighting for.
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I can see the battle of the sexes in this clip even though he takes the lead. She matches him step for step. To me, it was like her saying oh yeah I can do that too. Big deal. She is very unimpressed by his show. Even though he is seeming to lead, she is making him escalate the dance to impress her. So maybe she is the winner. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? The other musicals seem to have a large cast of extras. This scene is just two people. It is more personal. They are extraordinary dancers. It makes me wonder how long they rehearsed together to get that good. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? I think women had to take on a larger role after World War II. Many of the men were at war. The women had to take over and run their households. Many started working outside the home to earn money so their families could eat. I think the movies realized that women were more than just the vixen and started giving them roles that portrayed that.
  14. I am not an expert on tap dancing, but the one for 42nd Street just seemed more elaborate. Costumes, extras, and panels that turned into a building with them at the top. Wow! It also sounded like the taps were more pronounced in the first, but I heard tapping when she was spinning so it seemed a bit off.
  15. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? We know that he is a playboy. The lady had both of her garters yet, there was an extra from another of his loves. He has a play gun. Then we find there are many guns. They are obviously fake and that he has pulled that scam before. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. I noticed the music and the gun pop more than anything. The music definitely got faster as the drama increased. The gun was a single pop like a toy more so than a real weapon. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? I thought it might be like a screwball comedy more so than a musical. Even though there was drama is was just a joke played on the husband and the audience too. The music sounded as if it was pre-recorded and added later.

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