Thief12

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About Thief12

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  1. Well, I hope I'm not disrupting anything by making a "Thank you" thread, but here it goes! First of all, I'd like to say that this is the fourth course I've taken with TCM/Ball State/Canvas. Started with the Film Noir course back in 2015, and I've been hooked since. For someone like me, who discovered the passion for cinema perhaps a bit too late in life to change careers, this is a unique moment where I can truly watch, learn, and share my love for the medium. This year's "Mad About Musicals" course presented a challenge to me, and I think I've said this several times on Twitter and maybe here, but I'm not a fan of musicals. Not because I don't like them, but perhaps for insufficient exposure. It's not a genre I actively sought out and more often than not, I didn't feel like I had to. So when I read the announcement, I took it upon myself to finally delve into something that I might otherwise wouldn't have. Truth is that I loved it. I don't have as much free time as others, but through the month, I managed to see... The Broadway Melody (1929) Hallelujah (1929) The Wizard of Oz (1939, rewatch) Cabin in the Sky (1943) Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) An American in Paris (1951) Singin' in the Rain (1952) My Fair Lady (1964) Some of those are films I probably would've never seen, particularly the early ones, but I really enjoyed all of them to varying degrees, and had a great time not only watching them, but analyzing them. I would've loved to have been more active at the forums, like I was in previous years, but this year it was hard to balance work, family life, daily chores, watching the films, and following the lectures. I really didn't manage my time that well, and spent most of the course behind, but I still enjoyed it very much. I want to thank Dr. Vanessa Ament for her interesting, well-informed and passionate lectures. You could really see her love for the genre in every discussion. I also thank our perennial professor, Dr. Richard Edwards, and our returning mentor Wes Gehring. I also welcome Gary Rydstrom to the group, and thank him for his time. Thanks to all three for sharing the screen with Dr. Ament, and for your wonderful insight. Each of you, with such different styles, really brought it home in each lecture. I can say for sure that I now look to the genre with different eyes and a more open mind. I also know that based on the clips we saw, and the discussions we had, I will definitely seek many of the musicals I couldn't watch. I know I'm curious about a lot. If there's one thing I took from the course is that, just like the characters in all these musicals can forget about their troubles for a while as they sing a song, we can also leave our troubles aside for a couple of hours as we enjoy great music, good dancing, and better characters. I know I did during this month, and many times, the musicals I saw put a smile on my face on days that I needed it. So again, thanks to Dr. Ament and Co. for all the great work. Now, some recommendations that I hope aren't taken the wrong way... First, I don't know if it's possible, but I really would've liked if the Daily Doses videos had captions. English is not my native language and, although I like to think I can hold my own with it, it's not the same when watching a clip with several people talking at once, sometimes with accents, and music in the background. Second, as much as I loved the lectures, which were very informative, detailed, thought-provoking, and passionate, I think the course really needed a gimmick. I mean, one of the things I loved from past courses was how Dr. Edwards taught us about film noir while walking through the dark corridors of a theater, or standing in the shadows of a staircase; or how he taught us about slapstick comedy while treating it as a sports event, news desk and all. It's not necessary, but I think this, of all subjects, could've benefitted from some music and singing sprinkled through the lectures. I really loved seeing that brief bit where Dr. Ament showed us about the sound recording and foley process; she also mentioned a couple of times that she was a singer, and I think it would've been great to hear her sing. I think it would've been appropriate, considering the topic. Third, I think the course really needed another week. Not sure why it was only four weeks (Noir was 9 weeks, Slapstick was 6, Hitchcock was 5) but, I think the great way Dr. Ament broke the subject down in decades, really lent itself to another week to discuss current musicals with more depth. Dr. Ament and Dr. Edwards breezed over the topic in the last podcast, but I would've loved a deeper look into the likes of Moulin Rouge, Little Shop of Horrors, the Disney films, and how these modern musicals drew from the classics. Finally, please do horror next year! ?
  2. First things first, I saw Cabin in the Sky last week and I really, really liked it. Very enjoyable and entertaining film. One of the reasons why it's so enjoyable it's because of Ethel Waters earnest performance. This scene is a testament to that since there's such a loving nature to her performance that you just have to believe that she loves Joe. And that smile? Oh boy, glowing. Loved her performance in this. Didn't really care about Lena Horne.
  3. I really didn't have much knowledge about Judy Garland's career beyond The Wizard of Oz, which was the only film I've seen of her. But I really loved how Dr. Ament put her career in perspective in terms of her impact to musicals and Hollywood as a whole. It really piqued my interest and I have plans to watch several more of her films (hopefully, Meet Me in St. Louis tonight) As for the two scenes, it's really evident what Dr. Ament says about how despite her talents, Garland never tried to upstage her partners. And considering she is partnered here with Astaire and Kelly, both of which are also icons of musicals and dance, it's so good to see the fluidity with which they both work. Both dance routines are so smooth, none of them ever misses a beat. Loved them.
  4. 1. The whole scene is designed to evoke a certain respect towards America and the US Presidency. From the elegance and reverence of the butler towards Cohan but also to his job, to the paintings and portraits on the stairwell. The whole Cohan demeanor, and how the President is portrayed as a respectful yet approachable person. The whole conversation with the butler about "singing and dancing about the grand old flag" to the conversation with the President about "always carrying a flag" and how he inherited that from his father. 2. Quotes to boost the morale? "It was a good old song in its day. Yes, sir, it was... and it's just as good today as it ever was." "I was a pretty cocky kid those days. Pretty cocky kid. A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one. I hope you haven't outgrown the habit. Not a chance." And so on, the President praising Irish immigrants, Cohan telling about his father going to war when he was still a kid. 3. I think the opening lets us put in perspective who Cohan ended up becoming, even before we meet him. I think it kinda helps since his character in the first act is a bit insufferable.
  5. 1. I don't think I've seen anything about Lubitsch, but the things that are mentioned in the DD really jump to attention. The closeups of the gun, the garter, and other things. The way the camera and the direction moves to different sides of the room as opposed to the more stagey-like directions we saw in other films makes everything more real. As for the character, one can see that he is playful, sly, and clever. It's the kind of character that draws the attention. I'd really like to see more of him. 2. The distance of the sound as they talk from outside to inside of the room, as well as how the people are screaming outside as they jiggle the door handle. Finally, the sound of the shots are well used, particularly the last one cause it comes right after the music stops abruptly. 3. Again, we have wealthy people, big houses, pretty women, love triangles, etc. Also, the topic we discussed before about how serious things (infidelity, murder) are treated quite lightly.
  6. 1. Although I haven't seen this film, I think that both scenes are an example of how the tables turn between the characters. In the first scene, Bruce is very confident in his courtship and singing, while Marie either mocks him or doesn't pay much attention. In the second scene, it is Marie the one who's being ignored by the audience and upstaged by the other dancer, and she just can't take it. Bruce's expression is one of genuine preoccupation and pity of her. 2. N/A, cause I haven't seen them at all. 3. Well, first Bruce's courtship attempt is charming, but distant. He sees himself as competition fighting for the girl, if I remember correctly. However, in the second scene, he arrives at the saloon with two women. The expectations of men and women are completely different. As for the norms post-code, perhaps the dances and the clothing would be different (compare with Chick's dance in Hallelujah). Maybe the dialogue would've been a bit more charged. As for the video lecture, I saw Hallelujah last night and, although I had some issues with the way the plot unfolds, I can appreciate King Vidor's intention to showcase African-American culture. Also, the fact that most of the actors were not experienced makes the end result more impressive. I also found it interesting that both this film and Broadway Melody touched on similar topics, but from completely different angles. Here we also have a man that finds himself smitten by another woman, despite being committed to another. Another thing is that I found the musical numbers here way more lively and entertaining than the ones on Broadway Melody. There are certainly some issues, but I enjoyed it more.
  7. Arriving extremely late to this, but whatever... 1. I agree with the DD statement. The whole clip shows a whole "universe" devoid of the hardships of the times. Expensive shows, elegant dresses, huge flowers, valets and maids... like Dr. Ament said in the lecture, the film is probably appealing to the needs or wants of the audience, perhaps trying to help them reflect themselves in this "false" world of richness. In addition, although I haven't seen the film, it is said that the rivalry between the producers is more playful than cutthroat, whereas in true life, given the conditions of the era, I suppose they wouldn't be as friendly about it. 2. I suppose that the themes that are present in most other musicals of the times. Big shows, nice clothes, singing ladies, wealthy men, triangles, "unrequited" love. 3. Considering what I've seen in pre-code musicals like The Broadway Melody, and others that were mentioned, I'm sure that Anna would've been dressed more scantily. Also, the dressing room scene would've involved dressing/undressing of some sort. Finally, perhaps some clever, "spicy" joke would've been inserted during the conversation with the valet. If I were to add something it would be that I loved Rainer's musical performance. Very natural and charming; that chuckle in her voice completely sells the song. Also, I don't know if we're meant to discuss the video lectures here as well, but since I didn't find any other topic about it, here it is... having seen The Broadway Melody a couple of days ago, I can say it was certainly an interesting, although awkward film. As discussed by our teachers, the gender politics of the film are a mess, from the way our "leading man" behaves to how the women are treated. Plus, I can say that the musical numbers weren't that memorable. But I don't regret watching it. It was more of an educating experience.
  8. I agree about the lecture delivery and also the conversation videos. One of the things I've enjoyed in these three Canvas courses I've taken with Dr. Edwards is how cleverly he has adjusted the delivery according to the topic. It shows a very deliberate and meticulous approach to the course. For example, "mysterious" conversations from dark rooms for #NoirSummer, "loud", sports-like commentary for #SlapstickFall, and finally, a more serious, biopic/documentary like for #Hitchcock50. As a teacher/professor myself, I can attest to how tough it is not to fall in a routine when offering courses at a regular basis. So this has been a really interesting approach for each course, and I commend Dr. Edwards for the effort he has put in it. Plus this variety spices things up for those of us that have taken them all.
  9. I saw it about a week or two ago and I enjoyed it as well. Very funny and well acted all around.
  10. I was about to mention those books. I read a lot of those when I was in junior high. Pretty solid, if I remember correctly. And BTW, I think those books are yet another example of Hitchcock's genius marketing strategy. Even though I, as a kid, had never seen a Hitchcock film, I knew who he was because of the TV show and this books.
  11. I've been vouching for one on horror films, starting with Nosferatu and Caligari and the sorts, going through the Universal monsters, and all the way through the 80s slashers and so on.
  12. If I were to summarize what I got from this course, I would say that I learned to appreciate and respect Hitchcock, not only for his films and craftsmanship, but for the impact he had in filmmaking and movies in general. If I were to expand, I would do it in three points, most of which have been expressed more ellegantly by Dr. Edwards and Wes Gehring: 1. Hitchcock's ability to balance between being an "artist" and an "entertainer". Like Dr. Edwards and Wes Gehring said repeatedly, it is amazing how well Hitchcock juggled both aspects of his career. Despite the fact that many artists nowadays seem to favor one side over the other, Hitchcock shows that both sides don't have to be mutually exclusive. His films are full of mass appeal, while also being excellent works of art and outstanding achievements in filmmaking. 2. Hitchcock's work ethic and how prolific he was. Hitchcock really worked hard. In a time where many filmmakers seem to take forever to make a film, one has to give kudos to this man, who through all his career kept an unbelievable work pace, releasing an average of 2, sometimes 3 films per year; finishing with 54 films through a 50+ year career. I love that he just went at it. And if a film didn't work, he just went on with the next one, never stopping. 3. Hitchcock's ability to innovate and experiment. Hitchcock wasn't afraid of change. Another of the things that Dr. Edwards and Wes Gehring emphasized was precisely how Hitchcock stood at the front of the pack, in terms of the filmmaking business. When other artists struggled with the silent/sound transition, he just went on and reshaped a film (Blackmail) from silent to sound; when he felt like he had hit a dead end in Britain, he packed his things and moved to Hollywood; when new technologies surfaced, he wasn't afraid of experimenting with them: from VistaVision to color, or 3D; when television seemed to threaten cinemas, he just went and made a TV show. It's amazing the ability he had to adapt to changes and use them to his advantage. I think those are the three things I've learned to respect most of Hitchcock, and are things that I can only hope to instill in my personal and professional life. I'd like to thank Dr. Edwards for yet another terrific course. I started with you on the #NoirSummer course, and I can say that your insight, intelligence, and more importantly, your accesible delivery and approachable attitude have given me greater appreciation for this art I love, films. Just sign me in for the next one, doesn't matter what it is about! Also, thanks to Wes Gehring for his excellent contributions to the lectures. Watching you and listening to you might be enough to make someone enroll in your classes. Your endless knowledge and stories were a perfect accompaniment to Dr. Edwards. Obviously, thanks to the people behind: Ball State, Canvas, and TCM, for putting up this efforts. And finally, thanks to everyone who contributed here and on Twitter. Like Dr. Edwards says repeatedly, the social aspect of the course, is perhaps the best part. To read so many insights from so many people all around the world is amazing. I wish I could've contributed more to the forums or the live-tweets, but as it is, I always enjoyed reading the things this amazing community brought forward. Thanks!
  13. Love this quote that Dr. Edwards brought from Hitch's Lifetime Achievement Award: "I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville..." Reading up about Alma's collaboration with Hitchcock makes me wonder, she had already earned her reputation as a scriptwriter and assistant director before meeting Hitchcock... What would've been of her career, if she had continued working on her own? Why did she choose to focus on her "silent" collaboration with Hitchcock instead? Was there space for a woman in Hollywood to be successful as a screenwriter, director, etc.?
  14. I'm not stressed, so there's no need to "lighten up". Just trying to engage in a discussion about the film. Cheers.
  15. I haven't read all the replies here, but I don't think I've read any "wrath-filled" post from Vertigo fans Anyway, I'm a Vertigo fan, it is my favorite Hitchcock, but I don't think it is the best film out there and I don't think it is "perfect". So I might be an exception to your "rather large sampling", or it might just be not ALL Vertigo fans are "obsessed", "wrath-filled", or "zealous"

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