reelma

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  1. I was browsing online to find some comparisons of their styles. I can back up what you say here about Keeler and Irish step dancing. I read that this is her background, as contrasted with Powell's background in...ballet (!). Keeler is mentioned as performing in a "buck-and-wing" style. In looking this up, I've learned that what we think of as All-American tap dancing is actually an extremely complex amalgam of African, African American and European American styles that have influenced each other for centuries. That's more than I wanted to know, BUT I did wonder if there was some non-European influence on Keeler's style, though she's associated with "Irish" dancing and a super-percussive style. https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200217630/
  2. So glad to have you say this, Movie Wrangler. I felt the same way, though most of the posts I read from classmates seemed to take the position that Keeler was a "hoofer" and they much preferred Powell. I really found Keeler's style more appealing and even sensuous. She is more open and muscular in her style, while Powell is sharp, contained and controlled. I don't have a vocabulary to discuss dance, but I guess I know what I like! If Powell's background was in ballet, which we hear in today's Daily Dose, I wonder what Keeler's background was. Her style seems more natural and has a flow to it that seems more like modern dance or jazz dance. I hope someone here knows more about this.
  3. Charade has already been mentioned in this list but I wanted to go into a bit more detail about this film as homage to Hitch's work, and specifically to North by Northwest. I may have been more alert to this connection because I just watched North by Northwest and Notorious last week. 1, The presence of Cary Grant, though here he is 25 years older than Hepburn. That topic is not shied away from in the film though. 2. A scene in which a series of cabs is hijacked and the people trying to take them are pushed away by Grant. 3. Grant is fighting (he's quite the action hero in this one, though in a darker suit, not his traditional gray suit) with George Kennedy on the roof of American Express, Grant goes over the edge and Kennedy's shoes approach Grant's grasping fingers, like Martin Landau's atop Mt. Rushmore. He doesn't squash the fingers, fortunately. 4. Instead of the "wrong man," this one is the "wrong woman," though in a sense Hepburn IS the one the bad men are looking for, it's just that she doesn't know she has the goods. 5. Grant goes from room to room in the hotel by climbing out the window and inching along the ledge. A woman inside one of the rooms exclaims that another man is peeping at her from the balcony. 6. Of course the idea about the stamps is not a Hitchcock take-off but a reference to Poe's "The Purloined Letter"! Question: Is there a Hitch film with a kid shooting a water pistol? That's here too, but I can't bring a specific Hitch reference to mind. I wonder if Stanley Donen does a walk-on anywhere in Charade? Rebecca
  4. I'm most interested in characteristic #4: Slapstick is make believe. I posted earlier about whether slapstick is a "body genre" (as defined by Linda Williams). In the genres she discusses, horror, melodrama and porn, it seems like horror is the one that most attaches to this quality of slapstick--while theatrical viewing (or even viewing at home) may immerse the viewer in the horror experience and cause the viewer's body to have physical reactions (grimace, sweat, turning away), we always expect to be delivered back to reality, as in "it's only a movie" and "it's still daylight outside in the real world" or, "nope, there is no one under the bed." In other words, both slapstick and horror, in order to comfort us or at least not leave us at a pitch of awful (as in "awe-filled) excitement, use a range of devices to deliver us back to reality. The connection I'm making has some problems, but I think I remain convinced that slapstick belongs with Williams's body genres. The full-text of her essay is here for anyone who's interested: http://faculty.complit.illinois.edu//rrushing/470j/ewExternalFiles/Williams%E2%80%94Film%20Bodies.pdf R. Martin
  5. I know almost nothing about slapstick comedy and I'm eager to know more. I associate slapstick with actions experienced by or performed by physical bodies. In "L'Arroseur Arrose," the comedy is not just in the action but is in the fact that the audience members can "feel" the comedy. What makes it so funny to see someone sprayed in the face with water? Well, we enjoy the suspense when we see what is happening with the hose and we enjoy the surprise (both that of the joyous sprayer and the surprised sprayed?) of the characters, but I think that we also react (physically--our faces may grimace, our eyes widen, our mouths expand in laughter; we may react by rearing back in our seats or cringing) with and in our bodies to the physicality of the joke. We know what that sudden spray of cold water must feel like and we can, on the level of the senses, have a reaction based on our own sense-memories. It's something more than just identification with the experience. I think there must be a sensuous component to our response. I do not know if what I learn in the course will reinforce my idea about the physical nature of slapstick (both what it IS and where some of our enjoyment of it comes from) but right now I am wondering whether it should be added to the "body genres" explored by Linda Williams in her article "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre and Excess" (1991). She identifies horror, melodrama and pornography. Perhaps we can add slapstick? R. Martin

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