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Everything posted by Motorcitystacy

  1. Doris as Calamity Jane shows that women wanted to be equal to men, even back in the 19th century. We see as the wold, untamed tomboy in the first clip who wants to be one of the guys, even if she has to use her pistols to get her way. In the second clip she becomes a "gentlewoman", still wearing trousers but looking more refined. It may have to do with how women looked in the 50s with Vogue and other fashion magazines showing such sophisticated ladies. Doris has always been portrayed as a "good girl" in most of her films. i can tell why she said this was her favorite role, being allowed to act the opposite of a proper lady. She was able to prove she could be do serious roles in "Love Me or Leave Me" and later "Midnight Lace", but the public seemed to prefer her as the good girl type. Her persona doesn't seem to detract from the role, but the real Calamity Jane would never be doing those kinds of songs or dressed in a refined way. (I recall going to Laramie, Wyoming , where at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site I saw a splendid historical reenactor playing Calamity Jane)
  2. First film I saw of Judy's was, naturally, The Wizard of Oz. Her beauty and extraordinary talent won me over and basically was the first stepping stone to falling in love with classic films. Later films I saw further proved she was quite the talent with her singing style and even choreography. She was so naive and innocent in The Wizard of Oz, and continued that with Andy Hardy films. As the 40s progressed she starts to become more mature and by the 50s, very sophisticated (what was happening off screen was nothing short of tragic) In the "For Me and My Gal" clip you can tell how she is progressing as she nails the song after Gene Kelly's first attempt. (I also send this clip to anybody I know on social media who's getting married) Meet Me in St. Louis does show her storytelling ability, especially with "The Trolley Song" as she excitedly tells about the boy on the trolley as she flitters about. And, her zenith was in "A Star is Born" playing the star who rises to the top as her husband hits rock bottom...and you can tell how her life is on and off screen as she belts out "The Man That Got Away".
  3. Ah, Fred and Ginger in Top Hat. The way they dance....and the way Prof Ament describes it makes it sound like it was the first dance battle on film. 1. If there is a battle of the sexes, it occurs BEFORE the clip started. Dale is out riding when the storm breaks out and the gazebo is the only place she can take shelter. She tries to tell him she doesn't need his help but when a flash of lightning occurs she briefly clings to Jerry, stating the noise frightens her. That's when Jerry attempts to charm her with his romantic storm talk. Dale seems put off, and tries to keep a straight face when Jerry starts to sing... I think she may have rolled her eyes at one point. When he starts to dance, she joins along, and it's a fun dance off. 2. This film takes place in the present (mid 1930s) day. Our previous daily doses were period pieces from other times. No fancy period dress, and Dale is a headstrong, independent woman whom Jerry eventually wins over. Naturally, Dale's attire, at least in this clip was considered shocking. A woman wearing trousers in the 30s?? Usually only certain types of women wore pants, if you know what I mean. 3. The changes of gender roles in films were reflecting what was going on in society at the time. Women had the right to vote for over a decade at this point, and women were also entering the workforce to get by in the Depression. Women were starting to prove they were equal to men, though there were clearly men who didn't like it.
  4. Oh the love parade is on Even against all odds It'll go on forever The love parade Only matinee shows The love parade --"The Love Parade" by The Dream Academy 1. Lubitsch adds sooo much glamour and sophistication to his wicked wit. The elegantly dressed characters and the props that suggest something very risque has been going on once the garter is revealed. The French dialogue makes it confusing to anyone who does not speak French, but the tones and body language have no language barrier. Chevalier seems very nonchalant about the whole thing as he breaks the fourth wall briefly...he must be quite the playboy. We expect a duel to occur but the tables are turned when Chevalier has no reaction when the gun is shot point blank at him. We then see the joke's on him when we see there are only blanks in the gun....and get an even bigger surprise when a drawer is opened and there are additional guns inside! But the best part is when he zips up the lady's dress instead of her husband....which probably tells us what kind of a lover her husband is (wink wink)!! 2. The heated dialogue behind the door is not something you would hear in a silent film. We would need title cards to let us know what was going on. We also could not have heard the gun go off either. 3. This is the beginning of slapstick and screwball comedy in sound films. It also means many more films dealing with well to do people not having to worry about the troubles of the world. It may not sound good to us who are middle and working class, but it offers an escape so we can imagine ourselves living the good life.
  5. If the first clip was in real life, they would be interrupted by those blasted blackflies (ask any Canadian). I have heard in real life, Eddy and MacDonald often feuded, yet their chemistry works perfectly in the films. 1. The way Eddy tries to court MacDonald is very old-fashioned and proper, and screams post Code. MacDonald does not seem interested in Eddy as she's on a mission for reasons not involving love. Eddy seems to be working his charms on her until he starts mentioning other names. MacDonald appears to interpret this as past lovers of Eddy's and the mood is broken. (I almost expected her to jump out of the canoe and swim to shore) In the second clip, MacDonald learns the hard way about what kind of audiences she is performing for. She is used to performing for cultured city people in opera houses and is completely out of place in a saloon. (and the songs she sings are not meant for opera divas) The brash, bawdy dame easily handles "Some of These Days", and MacDonald tries to imitate her but quickly realizes she is a GOOD GIRL, not a GOOD TIME GIRL and flees. 2. I have seen MacDonald with Maurice Chevalier in "The Merry Widow" and I find Chevalier was better than Eddy with his vivacious personality. He was more of the playboy type that MacDonald "tames". I have listened to Eddy on old time radio programs and find him too stuffy. (and cringe at his versions of "Shortnin' Bread" and selections from "Porgy and Bess") 3. Eddy is being a stereotypical Mountie, wanting to get his man (or woman, in this case). The man always does the courting and not the other way around. The Code was also eliminating any sexual references to ensure Eddy and MacDonald behaved properly. The saloon scene showed us that you may not fit in singing your way, but you must remain pure and virtuous....a lady has her reputation to think of, you know. (and if it were pre-code, perhaps some drunk would think he was at a burlesque show and yell "TAKE IT OFF!!")
  6. Sadly I have not seen this film yet. Wishing the Redford Theatre in Detroit would show more classic musicals.... But from the clip, I can tell this is loaded with escapism with the light-hearted background music during the conversation between Ziegfeld and the doorman and the light jokes, especially the one about 5 pounds. The musical number is also very playful and teasing. Beautiful girls singing and dancing always pop up in other Depression era musicals. The elaborate costumes and exquisite set designs all further contributed to the escapism of these musicals. The song would work well in a Pre-Code film...except the outfit would probably be MUCH MORE revealing. Backstage Monsieur Ziegfeld would probably be waiting for her in her dressing room...and who knows what would have happened?? Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a frilly parasol like the one Luise Rainer has in the clip.
  7. I watched Singin' in the Rain quite a bit as a kid, as Jean Hagen always cracked me up with her high pitched voice and wild demeanor. The dances between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse always captivated me. The Busby Berkeley musicals were also a delight as I always wondered how he managed to pull those complicated sequences off.
  8. In The Lodger we immediately see a screaming woman followed by a flashing marquee. Then we see the crowd around the dead body. It starts much more subtly in Frenzy with a dramatic dolly shot across the Thames to a politician giving a spirited speech to clean up the Thames when someone yells "LOOK!" and we see the corpse. No one screams in this clip (did they afterwards or are 1970's crowds more used to gore and dead bodies, or are they just plain British?). The landmark scenes are one of his touches with the panorama view of London. Another is his cameo in the crowd listening to the speech. The opening of the London Bridge sort of acts as a curtain in the theatre, starting up the film (with dramatic music to match) and getting us ready for the wild and violent ride to come. The opening scenes I have witnessed since the start of the course all have crowds of some sort. It starts off with everyday occurrences and a sense of normalcy...and then Hitch throws us a curve ball and the plot kicks into high gear involving an Everyman getting mixed up into something beyond what is normal. This one is more subtle, but also more explicit as the dead body is nude.
  9. We know Marnie is very experienced in a life of crime based on her multiple Social Security cards and dyeing her hair to change her appearance. She also appears to have expensive tastes based on the clothing and lingerie she tosses into her luggage along with the large sums of money. The score is repetitive, probably referring to her repeated crimes committed then gets dramatic as we see Marnie rise up from the sink like a siren out of the ocean. Hitch breaks the fourth wall for his cameo and seems to ogle Marnie as she is quite attractive. He seems to know something is up with her and invites us to watch. It could also refer to his relationship with Hedren; she said of Hitch "He was too possessive and too demanding. I cannot be possessed by anyone. But, then, that's my own hangup". Hedren also said of Hitch: "Everyone–I mean everyone–knew he was obsessed with me. He always wanted a glass of wine or champagne, with me alone, at the end of the day. He was really isolating me from everyone".[
  10. Indeed it is more of a romantic comedy at first when Melanie goes into the pet shop to get her mynah bird. She is put off at first when Mitch thinks she is the salesgirl but decides to play along with him. When he learns she knows little about birds, we start to see she is a playful challenge for him and that she likes to get what she wants. (Mitch does have a Cary Grant personality, wanting to be the dominant one but sees he is meeting his match in Melanie) The sea gulls do dominate the first part of the scene and sound small at first until Melanie looks up at the sky and sees how many there are and then their cries seem to increase in volume. Foreshadowing, for sure! And is it just me, or do the sounds of the birds increase in volume when Melanie heads to the bird department of the pet shop, like they are reacting to her arrival? Hitchcock's cameo seems to sense he knows trouble is afoot and he and his dogs are leaving quickly. (one of them even looks up at the sky and seems to want to run instead of walk)
  11. With the first slashing notes of Herrmann's score and the racing lines of Saul Bass' title design we know that this is not going to be any ordinary movie--especially when the film's title and Hitchcock's name suddenly shift abruptly in different directions. The opening score is meant to keep us on edge. The notes of the time, date and place give it a film noir feel (recently Eddie Muller mentioned on Twitter that he considers Psycho film noir!) like we are experiencing a crime that took place and how it all began. We enter the hotel room similar to entering Uncle Charlie's boarding room in Shadow of a Doubt or Jeffries' apartment in Rear Window; we are voyeurs whether we want to be or not. It is definitely a boundary pushing scene with Marion and Sam in states of undress after being intimate. This is the next level from the suggestive talk between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest. We know Marion is a good girl who enjoys being bad spending time with Sam when she should be doing something else. We wonder what is going to happen next, especially in the last line of the clip which foreshadows her fate. "This is the last time..."
  12. Ever since discovering vintage glamour I have always tried to mimic the sophistication of yesteryear. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint simply ooze sophistication in this scene. Both were known for unique roles and Hitch knew what he was doing when he selected these two for North by Northwest. Cary Grant was known for charming women, and Eva looks like she's thoroughly enjoying herself in this scene. The matchbook seems to be a tool of seduction. This was indeed an era when a gentleman would always light a lady's cigarette. The way Eva takes Roger's hand and pulls it towards her to light her cigarette and then blow out the match shows she has a way of getting what she wants and may pose a bit of a challenge to him later. We only hear hints of music in the background, along with sounds of the train and the diner car, allowing us to focus on the conversation between the two.
  13. We see a very tight close-up of Kim Novak's face. There is fear in her eyes, like she has seen something disturbing. What has she seen that will affect what will happen in the film? The Lissajous figures hypnotize us, giving us a feeling of being transported to another time and place. The eye is the most powerful. It is said the eye is the window to the soul, and we will be seeing two very disturbed souls in this film. The spinning Lissajous indicate that in the title sequence. The two set each other off perfectly. with the tempo matching the movement of the spinning images. If it were a comedy, we'd probably hear something peppy an playful. P:S: And remember, Scottie will like you better if you are a blonde. Conform.
  14. Just about everything we need to know about L.B. Jeffries is in just a few short minutes. It is the viewer's vantage point, as we have become voyeurs, whether we want to or not. We see it is a brand new day with the neighbors all preparing for their day; the couple sleeping outside, Miss Torso getting dressed (GASP! Topless with her back turned to the camera!) and doing leg stretches while getting ready, a cat prowling around. Another reason we know it's hot is from sweat on Jeff's forehead followed by a glance at the thermometer. The writing on Jeff's cast; the busted camera; the first image of a crashing car is probably how he ended up breaking his leg. We see he is quite the accomplished photographer. We also see a negative image of a girl and then the finished image of a model; is this how he sees women? We become voyeurs helplessly; Hitch has us sucked in and we cannot get out....or do we want to get out after what we see? The fact that Hitch built a tenement apartment complex is miraculous enough to make Rear Window his most cinematic, down to the birds flying around the buildings.
  15. Professor Edwards, if you're reading this, these questions are deja vu from the Film Noir class two years ago as this film was also brought up in that class. Anyway, the criss-cross motif is definitely noticeable in the first few minutes with the railroad tracks, the style of dress Guy and Bruno wear, even the blinds on the train behind Guy give a criss cross look. The way the characters walk is noticeable, as if they are preparing for a duel, walking one way in the station, then walking up to the table in the club car and the first move is made when their shoes touch. Indeed Bruno is loud and flamboyant (closeted homosexual, perhaps???) and Guy is preppy and conservative. The music sounds playful then has a bawdy tone as Bruno exits his cab. It's a little lighter when Guy exits his cab. It gets more and more dramatic, like we are expecting a major confrontation. Will they collide in the station? But the collision is more subtle in the club car when their shoes touch. Oh, and the line "I don't talk much; you go ahead and read." Famous last words spoken on every train and plane.
  16. Indeed this is one of his best films. The opening closeup of hungover Alicia shows us she likes to have a good time but has to pay for the consequences the next day. Devlin in shadow looks menacing to us via a Dutch angle and then disorients us as he approaches Alicia and the camera spins around. He appears even more menacing in a close up (but Cary Grant has always seemed a misogynist to me; he always likes to patronize and put women down) Alicia also doesn't care about looking good, with her rat hair piece falling off and hair disheveled, but as she gets up and brushes her hair out, she starts to realize the odds she must face in a potential job. Bergman and Grant indeed make a wonderful pairing, especially later in the film doing the infamous five minute long kissing scene; they too fit together perfectly with the chemistry between their characters.
  17. We get plenty of info about the couple in the opening shots with massive amounts of dirty dishes and everything in disarray. They must have had an epic fight as he is sleeping on the couch and she has the whole bed to herself...and she tosses and turns quite a bit---perhaps waiting for him to make a move before she does and admit he's at fault? The music is playful as it often is in screwball comedies as the camera goes across the room. We only start to learn more details via the maid and housekeeper; indeed there has been a row. I only partially agree with the second statement; we do learn info about the characters via the messy room and where each half of the couple is sleeping. But there is no intrigue, no crowds, no tinderbox waiting to explode. It moves at a more leisurely pace than other Hitchcock films. The two appear to hit it off perfectly; Lombard was truly a queen of screwball comedies (and a very glamorous one at that) and Montgomery makes a perfect straight man. I haven't seen this film, but via publicity photos and the clip I just saw, this is going to be quite the romp.
  18. Indeed this is one of Hitchcock's best. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time when it played at the Redford Theatre in Detroit about a year or two ago. (They always show at least one or two Hitchcock films per year, via requests of the theatre patrons) We know something is up with Uncle Charlie in the beginning, when on what appears to be a beautiful day with kids playing in the street he is holed up in his room, lying on the bed. Large sums of money are strewn everywhere and he is smoking a cigar while laying down (and smoking in bed is very dangerous, btw). His well dressed suit shows us he must be successful, but probably not doing honest work. It is indeed like the opening to The Killers, except the scene is in broad daylight. Burt Lancaster's Swede lies on a bed waiting for the inevitable, and Uncle Charlie does the same. Both also spoke in a monotone voice, like they didn't care about anything. When the landlady pulls down the shade, it truly does feel like a film noir with Uncle Charlie in the darkness, and it is then he goes into a rage smashing a glass. He then gets up, grabs his money, puts out his cigar and casually walks out, ready to confront whomever is watching him. The music is cheerful at first when we see the kids playing, then it quickly shifts to a dark, foreboding mood as we zoom in on Uncle Charlie's boarding house and into his room. It gets more and more intense as he leaves the boarding house and strolls past the two men, who pretend not to notice him at first but then start to follow. We know Uncle Charlie must be an evil person or has done something evil based on the music.
  19. Rebecca is a very intense psychological gothic horror piece. In openings to the previous Daily Doses we see lots of bustling activity. Here we see the iron gates of an estate and creep through them along a winding path towards a mysterious manor. All looks well, with a light shining, but then we see the manor is in ruins. What could have happened to make it such a terrible place? Yet our narrator sounds confident like she has gotten over what has happened and is not afraid to tell her story. The expressionist mood of the "floating" camera is what grabbed my attention. This was followed by Maxim standing a bit too close to the cliff and has us wondering if he is going to jump---and then the girl played by Joan Fontaine shouts for him to stop. The close ups of his face and feet gave us the sense of doom that was ultimately thwarted. Manderley as a character excites us. I used to work in a historic home, and big historic mansions and manors leave people in awe--what kind of people live there, what happened years ago that has left this gorgeous yet imposing place in ruins? The flashback lets us know what twists and turns the story takes, just like the winding road to Manderley. I have seen this before and it is a VERY intense film. The part that always bugged me is that we don't know the second Mrs. de Winter's first name. It drove me mad, why did he never ask her what her first name was?????
  20. The opening scene appears cheerful with passengers waiting at a hotel. The amusing folk music adds to the atmosphere as we see a lady approach a desk where the clerk is talking a phone. Despite his chatter he smiles and acknowledges her at the desk before she leaves. The attitude changes when the burly boisterous men with luggage enter as the cuckoo clock sounds, symbolizing chaos breaking out. Caldicott and Chambers are annoyed at the foreign languages spoken by the clerk, especially when he speaks in English last. (could be the British empire effect) They are also annoyed when the clerk avoids them and heads over to the glamorous Iris and her companions (he clearly has a soft spot for beautiful women, especially Americans). Their dialogue shows us that they are going to be the comedy relief of the film. The camera pans over the entire lobby to show a large group of people, waiting for something, but what? We only find out when the clerk makes his announcement in multiple languages. The clerk leads Iris and her companions past everybody to show they have priority over everyone else in the film and that Iris will be one of the principal characters in the story.
  21. Indeed I agree with all of the quotes mentioned. The Hitchcock touch we see here is an opening scene in a large public area; this time in a British music hall. The mysterious patron is not seen until before the curtain opens. He is among ordinary working-class Brits (and seemingly out of place in a suit and from Canada as we later learn). Eventually his innocent night of fun will take a dangerous turn very soon.... Hannay is indeed innocent; he is simply out for a good time and enjoying himself even among the bawdy and heckling locals. We only see the first three items on the list in this scene; the next one happens after this scene and sets the plot in motion.
  22. I have seen both versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and the first one is my favorite of the two. Much more action in the first; the later was mainly to show off Doris Day's singing abilities, I think. The characters and how they interact with each other in the first scene are essential to the plot, which is action packed. How Peter Lorre's character glances at the skier and his brief interaction shows us something is up. The father seems to be amused by his daughter's antics and her "I REGRET NOTHING!" attitude regarding the skier's fall. Peter Lorre just laughs off the accident, showing an easygoing personality at first, although his facial expression changes when he sees the skier's face. He has two sides, one pleasant but it changes to pure evil later in the film. In all three films, we saw crowds. Pleasure Garden had primarily gentlemen enjoying scantily-clad chorus girls. The Lodger had crowds curious about the macabre scene of a recent murder and reacting to a hysterical witness. Nothing to be happily excited about. In Man Who Knew Too Much, the crowd is eagerly anticipating the danger and excitement of ski jumping. They are in awe at first, then gasp in horror as the skier crashes trying to avoid the dog and the girl.
  23. I have seen "Blackmail" in the silent version only, so this is completely new and I can truthfully say I saw this with fresh eyes. We hear the gossipy customer talking non-stop about the murder until Alice shuts the door of the phone booth and is alone with her thoughts. The gossip won't shut up about the murder and it takes its toll on poor Alice. Indeed the multiple use of the word "knife" is perfectly blended into Alice's inner thoughts culminating with "KNIFE!" which made me jump as well as other viewers. In the silent version, dramatic music is used in the knife scene instead. This works just as well, and is one of the reasons we don't see it as much in cinema today. That, along with voice-overs of the person's inner thoughts is another reason. I have seen the silent version twice, with the Alloy Orchestra for one, and Chicago pianist David Drazin for the other. Both had very moody and dramatic music for this film. (and Detroit Film Theatre curator Elliott Wilhelm prefers the silent version) Another Hitchcock touch is zooming in on certain words on printed material to further stress what is going on with the protagonist. When Alice sees the area in the phonebook marked "POLICE" it causes her to freak out.
  24. I have NOT seen this silent film before, so this will be based on the clip only. I did like the quote "the visual and the sound should be counterpointed" from today's video and it works with this clip (even though there is no sound) I am feeling doom and uncertainty with Roddy and Tim as they slowly approach the stern headmaster. We know we've done something wrong and we don't know why we have been summoned. The same also applies when the girl approaches. She looks visibly upset and we don't know how she will react to them. Will she physically or verbally attack them? We seem to anticipate her striking somehow. The limited number of intertitles also adds to the tension as only those good at lip reading would be able to know what they are saying. Hitchcock added the tracking shot to give us a foreboding feeling as if we are in just as much trouble as Roddy and Tim are. It further adds suspense and would have the squeamish biting their fingernails off. The themes of damsels in distress (chorus girl with overzealous gent in The Pleasure Garden and wannabe chorus girl getting pickpocketed, girl murdered and hysterical woman witnessing it in The Lodger and the wife in The Ring trying to be friendly to her husband's rival) are what I saw primarily in the first films. Disappointed that there was no music soundtrack. Like I have said in previous posts, the score drives the film for me (and no silent film is truly silent except in this case).
  25. Don'cha know that boxing and dames don't mix? Oops, sorry, was thinking of film noir. Strange things can happen at parties, and the montage of the drunken dancers and the hypnotic scenes of the piano and record mixed with the sped up piano music show Jack's conflict and the realization his wife is being led astray by Bob. The fact that we see this in a mirror from Jack's perspective shows there are two sides to every person. The wife sees her husband in the mirror and the same thing as before. As his trainer is talking to him, we can assume Jack is not listening to a word the trainer is seeing and only sees his wife with Bob via the superimposition of his wife next to the trainer. And it's when he envisions his wife kissing Bob is when he loses it. (and the drunken girls would probably yell "PARTY POOPER!" at him) The fact that this occurs in two separate rooms away from each other foreshadows what's going to happen in the main event. Fighters are usually kept at a distance until they meet in the ring. The debauchery of the party (20's style) and the thoughts racing through our hero's mind will come to a head. At the end, of the clip with the trainer reminding Jack that the other guy's a champion and he's not---yet--we see a hint of optimism in Jack's eyes. I should also mention that I saw this film a few years ago at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts with the great silent film pianist David Drazin accompanying the film.

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