savaney

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  1. 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? If she had been more theatrical, then the execution wouldn't have been realistic nor honest. The emotion would be lost and the scene overall wouldn't feel as personal nor fluid. It would have been just another typical musical number. 2) Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? There is an obvious attraction between Fanny and Nicky. The more she sings, the more drawn he is to her. He is attracted to her emotion, transparence, and personality. She is attracted to his strength, stoicism, and wit. They are smitten with each other, and the way that both Streisand and Sharif, brings out the authenticity of the moment. 3) How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. As Streisand is walking away, Sharif follows her, but keeps his distance. He is in love with her, but allows her her space. There's always something that will come between them, but they want each other. She isn't sure that the relationship will work, but she certainly willing to try. I don't know about the blocking, but as from the reaction shots, she is falling in love with Sharif. However, he doesn't take her light away. She is the center of the scene, and the audience knows that. Say what you will about her persona, but 'Babs' is definitely charismatic and instantly watchable.
  2. 1) 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) Both My Fair Lady and Gaslight have central female characters that are trapped in dominating circumstances, in this case, the men in their lives. The men: Rex Harrison in 'Lady' and Charles Boyer in 'Gaslight' are clearly bullies who use their power over Eliza and Alicia. They are both women closed in in oppressive surroundings that put them way out of their comfort zone. 2) Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. This is where you could tell that Cukor was a truly an actor's director. The emotions from Hepburn are very intense. You feel her frustration and worry about what's going to happen to her. Harrison seems unfazed by what kind of future that awaits her. To him, she's nothing more than a guinea pig, and when the experiment is successful, he doesn't care afterwards. He's clearly a nonchalant jerk. Cukor gives them their moments when they need it the most, and lets them run with them. Hepburn is marvelous in the scene! 3) What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? There is a love/hate attraction between the two of them. Eliza discovers she's in love with him, but she is angry that he doesn't feel the same way. Maybe he feels something, but he refuses to his guard down. We are obviously on her side and we feel her pain and longing. However, she does assert and defend herself. For the first time, she finds her strength to say what she feels, but she doesn't get any type of reaction from Higgins. Like I said in the second answer, Higgins uses her to feel superior, and she is nothing more than a pawn to him. Cukor brings out the realism and tension in the scene, which was one of his trademarks.
  3. 1) 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 that male characters showed more emotion, meaning that they talked and moved with more feeling than they did in the past. They didn't care about vanity, or looking like handsome leading man. They became a little less rugged and outlandish; instead they became more subdued and relaxed. In this case, you could take masculinity more seriously than you could, again, in the past. 2) What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? To be honest, both The Music Man and Victor/Victoria are the only films of Preston's that I know about. However, I did notice excellent versatility from him. In 'Music', he was masculine, but not overdoing it. He was content and subtle, unlike the other male characters in the film. In 'Victor', he was flamboyant, but he also had control over it. At the time, most gay men were stereotypical, meaning that they were easily cliched and over-the-top. Preston, with his performance, showed that gay men were more than just 'limp wrists' and outrageous clothes and personalities. In both films, he was superb and magnificent. 3) 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? Like I mentioned in the second question, the only films I've seen of Preston's were Music Man and Victor. However, judging by those two films, he seemed like an actor who was perfectly comfortable with himself. He brought his own sensibilities and uniqueness to characters that benefited from his craft. Now, I just want to see everything he ever did.
  4. 1) 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 starts off as your typical musical, especially where child stars are concerned. Baby Jane and Louise are dressed up, and dolled up. They are also put on a pedestal by their mother (your typical stage mom), and made to look like the center of attention, in which Mama Rose thinks they should be. Obviously, when it comes to the new disruptions, the innocence will disappear as Louise becomes Gypsy Rose Lee, burlesque performer. This is apparent when Mama Rose pops the balloon offscreen of the girl wearing the costume. 2) 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. Right from the start, Russell commands the scene. She is loud, larger-than-life, and overly confident. Her interaction with Karl Malden shows that she can tangle with the best of them, and will not let anyone stand in her nor her childrens' way. She is bossy, but in the kind way as she clearly wants what's best for Baby Jane and Louise. She believes that they both possess talent, and she wants to do everything she can for people to realize that. 3) 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). There is a double meaning to the song. In the beginning, it sounds quite innocent as Baby Jane sings it, where she wants to entertain her audience. It is playful and nonchalant. However, as we know, the song will charge into more racy territory as the grown up Louise performs it in her burlesque show, as she starts removing her clothing. It becomes a little more dangerous and darker in this case. This is how you knew that the 60's were going to be a decade of really changing times.
  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? Not quite, because the ballet itself is a fantasy that could never happen in reality. It is created entirely in Jerry's mind and imagination. There are scenes like this in other films of Gene Kelly, where reality takes a back seat and fantasy takes over. Such as The Broadway Melody Ballet in Singin' in the Rain, which is a prime example of a character's imagination gone wild, but in a visually creative way. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikable? When he tells off the third-year student, he actually has a point. When critiquing someone's work, there are always those people who think they know what they're taking about. This happens in the life of an artist or painter. It is an odd moment because when has Gene Kelly ever been unlikable?!
  6. 1) How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? It's quite obvious that Kelly doesn't really need lessons, but he's just playing along. However, O'Connor isn't taking the lessons seriously as he mocks the Professor behind his back. Even before the music begins, the audience is treated to O'Connor and Kelly's physical abilities and subtle rhythms before they start really dancing. There is a buildup and there is definitely a payoff. It's clear that O'Connor is the class clown and Kelly is the straight man, but as they're dancing, they both before similar and in sync where you can't tell which guy is the comic and which is the cynic. 2) Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. Bobby Watson is mincemeat all the way through as he is mocked, jerked around, and in the end, bombarded with books. It's obvious that he isn't in on the joke; he is the joke. In an odd way, he did ask for it. He seems snobby and defensive, as it is clear that he believes he is better than O'Connor and Kelly just because he's a Professor. You're glad that they get best of him, especially at the end of scene. 3) How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Kelly is the Jock; O'Connor is the Comic, and the Professor is the Silent guy. The Professor become the lesser of the three because he tries to be superior, but he is easily taken down by both Kelly and O'Connor. He tries to teach them, but his intellect doesn't stand a chance against their bigger personalities. He is also used as a prop, as they take over and dominate him and the scene. Kelly remains masculine, O'Connor remains class clown, and the Professor is lesser than he actually was.
  7. 1) As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? The way that Jane carries herself is the opposite of other female characters, as she is a little more masculine than feminine. She mostly wears pants than dresses, talks/speaks a little more salty, and even moves more majestically. She knows who she is, and doesn't care if she looks rough and not so ladylike. However, as the film goes on, she becomes more polished while still containing her tomboyishness, once she realizes that she is in love with Bill. I think this pretty bold at the time, where the more tougher women were considered 'butch'. That word has quite dated badly, and I'm glad no one really uses it anymore. 2) How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I think that she has the ability to portray many roles, that showcases her singing and dancing. Calamity Jane suggested that she can play a tough woman and still retain her femininity. Her variety, I think, has added to her overall appeal and longevity. 3) Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. No, it doesn't detract from her persona. In fact, it adds to it. She gives more and is allowed to do so, especially more than she did with the other characters she portrayed in the past. To be honest, I wasn't her biggest fan, but after viewing several of her films, she has definitely grown on me, and now I really love her. I know that she can be an acquired taste for some film fans, especially because of her overall brightness, but that is what makes her unique and accessible to many other fans. She is eternal, no matter what anyone else thinks.
  8. 1) 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? As I watched the clip, I was glad to notice the equality of all four actors (Buchanan, Levant, Fabray & Astaire), where they all had the same footing. This allowed everyone to be on the same wavelength, without trying to one up each other. They gave each other the same respect and right-away as they would want from the other person. In terms of how The Band Wagon compares to early musicals, it allows for every party to bring out their talent in pure unity, instead of trying to outdo another like in other musicals. That is pretty refreshing. 2) What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Judging by the costumes, no one wears bright colors, or stands out. They all have the same palette, which is not showy or extravagant. Although Fabray is a woman and wears a dress, she doesn't stand out. She is on equal position with the others. She is apart of the scene, and the men don't discriminate against her. They share the same compatibility and rapport. 3) What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Even when Levant leaves the scene for a moment, the other three actors dance in unity until he comes back into the picture, and then he joins them. Like I said, no one steals the scene from anyone else; they are all on equal terms. The song "That's Entertainment" also contains elements of unity, community, togetherness and equality. I think some of the lyrics suggest that when actors suffer harsh times in the film industry, there are others who come to their rescue. They pick them up, dust them off, and encourage them not to quit.
  9. 1) 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? I noticed how sensitively and lively the way Minnelli directed it, because you really get the passion that Petunia has for Joe. There is the matter of her looking up at the sky, which symbolizes the appreciation of God bringing Joe back to her. It also shows the passage of time, as Petunia is cheerfully tending to the laundry while still be able to take care of Joe as he recovers. The song, beautifully sung by the great Ethel Waters, shows the power of love between two people, and the relationship between Petunia and Joe. No matter what happens, or what life throws at them, they'll still be by each other's side. 2) How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I don't think the tone or feeling would change, but obviously it would be centered on a different kind of love, that of paternal love, rather than romantic. Some of the lyrics would have to change, especially because of the meaning behind them. The love of a woman for her child should always be completely different than the love of her husband, otherwise it would be really creepy. 3) 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 do find it refreshing that for once black people weren't playing maids or butlers; they had much more importance than they had in films from the 30's. They portrayed central characters and the stories were about them, their lives (romantic and familial), and the struggles they faced in everyday surroundings. They weren't just be seen, they were also being heard. Their lives were finally being considered, which is very mainly similar to the lives of White Americans.
  10. 1) Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. It's quite obvious that Betty Garrett dominates the scene, and Frank Sinatra is complete putty. The camera follows their every move, step, gesture, and action. Sinatra tries to get away, but Garrett continues to peruse him. The entire set is like a carnivorous character because you get the sense that it is rooting for Garrett to get Sinatra, and that he is trapped in a situation that he definitely wants to get of. He tries to use any means of getting away, especially with sliding down a rail. However, Garrett beats him to it, and he lands right in her lap. It may not seem like a complex setup, but then you start to see how technical it really is. 2) It's interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? As soon as Sinatra comes out of the room and runs into Garrett, you know a song is coming. She tries to do everything she can to block his exit. You also know that she is going to say her peace, no matter what he tries to do. She is obviously a strong woman, not taking no for answer, but on her own terms. She loves a challenge, and telling by the end of the clip, she obviously wins. Sinatra doesn't stand a chance. It happens so seamlessly and effortlessly. Before a number starts, an action/movement happens. After another number is over, another action takes place.
  11. 1) What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? The first film I saw of Garland's was probably The Wizard of Oz, which most people see, especially when they're young. At first, I didn't have any impression because I was so young when I first saw it. However, seeing it again and again in my teens, twenties, and now in my thirties, I think that she is the only one would can portray Dorothy. No one else comes close to her. She gave that iconic character innocence, but also strength. She is obviously one of the top reasons why the film remains a Cinema classic. 2) How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? Honestly, I don't view her differently because seeing her films, clips and otherwise, have already established that she remains one of the greatest stars in film history. Her talent should never be overestimated nor understated. When I see her in classic film, my appreciation of her grows more and more after each viewing. 3) 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? I obviously have to look back at A Star is Born, which was her career comeback, and a marvelous one at that. When she sung 'The Man That Got Away', it was like time stood still. She put just the right emotion and heart into it. As with the other songs in the film, she put her soul into them. The film was kind of biographical because of the personal struggles she endured throughout her life. Whenever she was onscreen, you couldn't take your eyes off of her, even when James Mason was on. Of course, she didn't steal the film from him; she gave him equal opportunity to startle the audience. The fact she was so generous to her co-stars is one of the many reasons why she continues to endure, even after her untimely death.
  12. 1) 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. Of course, there is patriotism oozes out of every pore. There are soldiers marching in unison, and there are flags anywhere. This symbolized the American way, where people came together for the cause. There also the dialogue in which FDR is amazed at the amount of respect that Cohan and his family have for the country. Before that, there was the moment where he is walking up the stairs with the butler and their are pictures of famous men in history on each side. You get the sense that the you're looking at country at its proudest. 2) 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. As I stated in my previous answer, patriotism and morale is the most important aspect of the scene, where every bit is dedicated to America and its values. This is definitely showcased as FDR says to Cohan: "that's one thing I like about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open"... And Cohan says: "I inherited it, from my father, he ran away to the Civil War when he was thirteen; proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts." You can see that both FDR and Cohan are on the same wavelength, especially where their love of the country is concern. 3) 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. The tone would been very different, meaning that it would have started on a more somber, serious note. This is why flashbacks are essential; they tell story of how a character started out and then came to be. This means that it would explain how George, as a child, grew up to be interested in the important events of wartime and how he wanted to use his talents to join in the cause. I love the way it starts because you get to see how patriotically satisfied George became and that he was then willing to talk to the President about his upbringing/life, career, and what America meant to him. If it opened differently, it would have center on his father, Cohan Sr, which would have been interesting, but this is Cohan Jr. story, and it is his to tell.
  13. 1) What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I that there really isn't any 'battle of the sexes', there is more of an equality. Ginger doesn't try to one-up Fred, she's on his level, but on her own terms. She matches him in style, effort, and physicality. She's neither above, or below him. And I love that bit at the end where they both shake hands. That was a sign that he sees a formidable partner, one that he can mesh quite well with. 2) How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? I believe for the first time, you were able to see a strong woman doing things on her own. She didn't need to rescued by a man, or anyone else, like other female characters in other musicals. Also, the dance musicals are performed more intimately, where they is only two people in the scene. This is great because the audience is able to invest more into both people without the interruptions of other characters. It also helps that the sets are more comfortable and realistic, which helps the environment that both Ginger and Fred are in. This allows them to dance more freely and flow easily. 3) 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? The women were more independent and strong. They came in on their own, and went out the same way. They could actually carry dance numbers by themselves. Female characters became just vital in musicals and other films as the male characters. They didn't sit there and let the men have all the fun and credit. they came in and took over, being just as amazing as dancers and singers as the men. In a way, feminism really started here.
  14. 1) 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)? I instantly noticed the subtle erotic aspect of the scene, especially with the woman lifting up her dress to show the garters on her legs. Lubitsch was always very creative of sneaking in the sex without showing it. There is minimal dialogue at the beginning, allowing for the action to play out in real time. There is also the matter of the gun, and in a sly moment, Alfred helps the woman's husband to examine it, after he just caught her with him. Probably the most humorous is the bit with the zipper; the husband isn't able to zip up the dress, but Alfred does it immediately. I also love the moment where Alfred opens up the drawer and there's other guns inside. You know that he has dealt with the situation many times before. He actually smirks about it, like this is a game to him. 2) 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. Like I said in my first answer, most of the scene takes place without music. The music only comes in when the husband sees his wife shoot herself, setting it up to be a tragedy. But, when both Alfred and the husband discover that the gun has blanks, then the music goes away, letting the sound take over to show the satire of the situation. When it comes to sly dialogue, there is the matter of Alfred trying to deny any scandalous behavior, despite the fact that he is still holding one of the woman's garters. 3) What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? Obviously the theme is the nonchalance of the wealthy, where they don't have a care in the world, despite what was happening during that era. They think that because of their money and indulgence, they can do whatever they want and not worry about the repercussions. This did happen in many screwball/slapstick comedies where the rich behaved badly, and the less fortunate would come in and help them see the error of their ways. During the Depression, it would quite obvious that wealthy people were being parodied, which was quite refreshing to the audience.
  15. 1) What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first clip, there is an obvious flirtation between Bruce and Marie, although Bruce is more upfront with than Marie. It is clear that she starts to be fascinated by his serenading her but she remains unyielding and unimpressed. There is a close up of MacDonald as she becomes a little moved by it, which is one of the first clues that she is slowly warming up to him. In the second clip, there are glances between them, but that's it. She is really embarrassed that he is there, and that he saw her at a failed attempt to win over the audience. He does feel sympathy for her, and he does want to do something about it, but he keeps at bay because he may not want to scare her or scare her off. 2) If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. Nelson Eddy is a little familiar to me, but I have never seen any of films, but judging by his baritone voice, he looked and seemed like he was a popular actor/singer with handsome features and talent. I've only seen Jeanette MacDonald in one film, SAN FRANCISCO (1936). I do remember that she did overdo the melodrama a little too much, but then she won me over near the end with a rousing song to lift up everyone's spirit after the earthquake that took place in the second half of that film. 3) What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? During that time, male/female relationships were a 'look but don't touch' scenario. There could be chemistry and romantic feelings, but that was as far as they could go. In terms of the Code, men and women could kiss, but for a specific amount of time. Also, the men were usually the pursuers, with or without success; the women were polite, virginal, and non-flirtatious. There was a playful innocence taking place at that time, even if it was sometimes too much or too little

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