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About lpetiti

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    Classic film, art, animaiton, illustration, sewing, and gaming.

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  1. I'm a little bit behind watching the musical,so my family and I are watching Beach Party right now actually. I am fascinated by it, having only seen Beach Blanket Bingo. I can also see why it would have been considered disruptive. The teenagers are still clean cut by today's standards for sure, but there is an openness to their sexuality that I believe hadn't really been seen before. The dancing they do is also way different than say, Fred and Ginger. I can't imagine that pair gyrating in the same way that Frankie and Annette do. What I can see is how someone like LB Mayer or Jack Warner would think this type of film might represent a major change in their old and glamorous Hollywood. It was certainly different...campy, "wild" (again, not necessarily by today's standards), and full of youthful energy.
  2. I also felt like there was a lot of unresolved plot in the film. There was too much focus on the unnecessary emotional affair and the plot that was more interesting, that of the circus performers, was kind of left off to the side. I adored the dancing and This is Me in particular.
  3. I adore La La Land. I think it's very much a musical for millennials. Mia's speech to Seb at the end of the film really resonates with me as a millennial... "“No, maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m one of those people that has always wanted to do it, but it’s like a pipe dream for me. You know, and then you, you said it. You change your dreams and then you grow up. Maybe I’m one of those people and I’m not supposed to. And I can go back to school and I can find something else that I’m supposed to do. ‘Cause i left to do that. And its been six years and I dont want to do it anymore." And I think if people aren't part of this generation, it's hard for them to fully understand this. I have friends who are a generation ahead of me and there are a lot of things that they don't get about this film.
  4. lpetiti

    Worst Movie Musical Ever Made!

    I think the worst musical I've ever seen is a tie between two, which I dislike for different reasons. In my "modern cinema class" (which was actually run more like an alternative cinema class) we watched Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark. That film was physically painful to watch. So uncomfortable and I believe mislabeled as a Dogma-95 film because it goes against the Dogma-95 ideals. Bijork was awful in the film and the only "shining" spot was Joel Grey's performance. The ending....totally unfulfilling. I don't mind sad endings, but this...bleck. Another more conventional musical that I disliked was Mame. I adore the Rosalind Russell version, but this...it wasn't even that Lucille Ball played Mame. I felt that the sound editing was dreadful. You could hardly hear the singing over the music! Not the point of a musical in my opinion.
  5. lpetiti

    Upcoming Releases

    I have been trying to hunt down a film every since I saw it in my alternative cinema class four years ago. Does anyone know if there are any plans to release Le Corbeau on DVD? I've seen it advertized on the Criterion Collection website, but its out of print...I'd love to find a copy (preferrably with English subtitles)
  6. lpetiti

    Any suggestions for Nazi movies?

    If you want to see an interesting film, and can find a copy of it, I recommend Le Corbeau. It was a film made in Vichy France about poison pen letters. It's not necessarily about Nazis themselves, but really gives insight into the type of climate Nazi controlled Europe was in at the time.
  7. I think Marilyn is definitely underrated as an actress, but I didn't always think so. When I first saw her films, I think I had only see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which I loved) and The Seven Year Itch (which I loathe). My two best friends at the time gifted me with a large collection of her movies. It wasn't everything, but it came pretty close. So I started watching them in order. It was fascinating to see her growth and going from bit part in films like All About Eve and O. Henry's House to starring. I think she was underutlized because, even if you dislike the type of characters she ends up playing, like Sugar and Lorelai Lee, the ability she has to act can't be denied. I teach high school students, and many of them like Marilyn for her beauty...I always encourage them to check out her acting as well.
  8. I was an animation major in college and we were required to take two courses in animation history (I also minored in film, specifically film history, so I ended up taking way more film history courses). I think that idea would be very interesting and certainly a departure from normal TCM programming. Disney was definitely the leading American animation studio, because it was pretty much the only game in town for a long time. If you're interested in seeing older non-Disney stuff, definitely look at Lotte Reiniger's The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the first feature-length animated movie. Very beautiful! It would be interesting to not only look at American animation, but also foreign.
  9. I definitely agree with that. I remember seeing an interview with Alan Menken (I think it was on the Aladdin DVD release). He mentions that he attended a high school musical production and was blown away by how much these guys could really sing. When he asked them about it, they said it was because they grew up on things like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. Often times that is the only exposure to musical kids have nowadways, although I would also credit the popularity of Broadway shows like Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton for a resurgence in popularity of the musical. In fact, and this is slightly off topic, I remember when the video lecture focused on 1776, and they discussed how odd the subject matter might have been for audiences at the time, I was struck by the omission of any mention of Hamilton, which definitely has some similarities to 1776. Mentioning animated musicals was definitely good food for thought. I just thought it was more of a taste that a foodie would have, rather than an appetizer, and certainly not the whole meal. We definitely should talk about where musicals are going, and animation is a part of that. As much as I think Frozen has been overpopulaized, I consider that to be the beginning of a departure for Disney musicals, because I believe that the composers who wrote that were the ones who wrote The Book of Mormon (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Moana was also a departure because of Lin Manuel Miranda's work...in some instances it definitely didn't sound like a traditional musical.
  10. I always felt the Jewish wedding was to showcase Julie Andrews singing, nothing more.
  11. And honestly, I wouldn't even count today's as much of a mention. It was merely a list. I felt like we could have gone into some great depth about the impact animation has had on the musical. Some others on this forum have mentioned Yellow Submarine for instance. And how can we only mention a list of the Animation Renaissance films and the impact they have on musicals without also mentioning the contributions of the creators? Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are largely responsible for helping revitalize not only Disney animation but also the musical in general. I realize that there is so much content and decades of material to cover, but I wish that there would have been more than just a list.
  12. Disappointing to hear that there's been no book, but thanks for the resources!
  13. Completing today's Daily Dose has made me fascinated with Robert Preston. I'd love to learn more about him...more than just an article or imdb page. Does anyone know of any titles of biographies that might still be available that I could explore? A generic search on Amazon hasn't really given any results. I remember I had the same problem with Claude Rains and it wasn't until I had a specific book title that I was able to find Claude Rains: An Actor's Voice. I'm wondering if that'll be the same case with Preston? Anyway, any help would be awesome! I've enjoyed the course!
  14. In The Music Man clip, Preston exudes emotion, but because of the con man nature of Professor Hill, he almost over plays the emotion. I'm reminded of the way that Gloria Swanson portrayed a silent film star when she did Sunset Blvd. There has to be a bit of "overacting" in these types of roles in order for them to be believable. That's not to say that he's a bad actor. I think intentionally hamming up the song makes it all the more effective. In Victor/Victoria, Preston uses the same type of enthusiasm for his acting, but not in a way that's as in your face. There is a softer side to Preston as Toddy. It's not necessarily effeminate in a way audiences might expect a gay man to be portrayed at that time. Rather, it just shows more emotion. Actually, maybe that's a way musicals came to be more disruptive starting in the 60s...men were allowed to show their emotions more. It wasn't just about being a one dimensional con man or "Queen"...each of these characters has a depth that would not have been possible prior to the 60s. I can see the dedication that Preston has to his craft. In fact, seeing these two clips makes me want to study his acting more moving forward, which I'm excited about. Both Professor Hill and Toddy show the ability their characters have to weave a spell. In The Music Man, Hill is weaving a spell on the people of the town so he may con them. In Victor Victoria, no such con is taking place, but Toddy provides an elegant story about his Paris. The character's experiences were the experiences of a so far under represented group and so the spell he weaves is almost comfortable (if that is the right word). Whatever it is, he is very charming. In addition, his characters weave a spell for their audiences, so by extension we as the movie audience are caught up in the same spell. Every inch of Preston's movements in both of these characters shows he wants to get into the mindset of these characters. He embodies these two very different characters and above all is very charming.
  15. This is one of my favorite musicals. It's really interesting that this is considered some what disruptive at the time, because I feel like it's still very much a traditional musical. It's a backstage musical, but I think it may be considered disruptive because rather than presenting this as a glamorous profession, we see the seedier side of show business (or as seedy as you can get in 1960s Hollywood). We see the decline of show business, and the rise of burlesque theaters. I absolutely love this line from the curator's note: "What starts out as innocence in vaudeville becomes the goal of the male gaze in burlesque". It reminds me of the double entendre in the lyrics that is constantly happening in "Let Me Entertain You." The fact that Mama Rose chooses this as Gypsy's debut number when she goes into burlesque becomes somewhat creepy. So, in that sense, the fact that we are pulling back the curtain when show business is collapsing in vaudeville, as well as the portrayal of the stage mother from hell who pressures her daughter into stripping makes this a disruptive musical. Rosalind Russell plays Mama perfectly. In fact, I was so used to seeing her in the role that the first time I heard Ms. Merman in the role it was very jarring. I have always felt there is a subtly to Russell's performance. She is still in your face, but it isn't as loud or brash as Ms. Merman. Don't get me wrong, I adore Ms. Merman's performance as Mama. It's uniquely hers. But what I admire about Russell's portrayal is that her rendition of Mama is very much made her own. It's more along the lines of Sylvia Fowler...neurotic, pushy, always assumes she's right, and not as loud or brash as Ms. Merman. It works for her. We are swept into a whirlwind of Russel's performance. I just went back and watched Natalie Wood perform "Let Me Entertain You". It's amazing how Sondheim can take such simple lyrics and make them equally a children's song and burlesque song. I can't explain it, but it works for some reason. Perhaps Mama was right, all it needs is a change of tempo. Of course, the environment and performance of the lyrics greatly helps. Watching Natalie strip, taking off her outer layer of clothing as she says "make you smile" does play into the male gaze. It plays so well, that I'm always surprised to see a few females in the audience of her performances. My final note on this film involves the way Natalie seems to have really studied the real Gypsy's movements. I've always heard that Gypsy came onto the set and coached her. It definitely shows. There is so much sexiness, more sexiness than what I think would be shown if the film was made today. That actually brings up an interesting idea...how much more different would this film be if it were made in 2018? I myself have always preferred the "tease" in "striptease", but I wonder if that would be the way this scene would be approached today?

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