judith46

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About judith46

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    all forms of artistic expression, nature, books

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  1. AHHH! One of the most perfect moments in musical film. I tear up every time I hear her sing this, even with just audio! The reason for that is the quality of expression and inflection in her interpretation of the song. She moves from a very self-conscious, flat tone at the beginning, to a mellow, thoughtful middle, and on to a full-throated, confident end. This cabaret style singing it what Streisand does best, and I can't even imagine anyone else producing this touching moment. Streisand's performance is enhanced by the lighting, which is dark, lamp-lit. She is highlighted on her face, neck and arms, so she stands out from the dark. There is one moment when she is holding the railing that looks almost balletic in pose. Shariff is kept in shadow, turned toward her, and we follow them down the street. He seems at first amused, then silent as he is captivated by her. It's just a beautiful scene. Can you tell I'm a fan? I think a lot of the new musicals are too loud with songs that are easily forgettable (there are exceptions). We will never forget "People".
  2. As in Gaslight, Cukor uses low -lighted interiors to enhance the feeling of isolation and depression. We see the same uncertainty of self in the female characters, as they try to hang on to stability. Note how in both films, the women face away from the antagonist, not making eye contact. Loss of control is exhibited, as well as self-willing back to control. The males in both films seek to subdue both the mind and body of the female character, and to distance himself from any emotion. The emotional transitions are supported by the furnishings of the set, providing places to hold on to as she moves about turning off lights, etc.; there is a very nice divan handy when she throws herself to the floor. The aforementioned low light supports the depressive mood. There is a contrast in the very nice surroundings and her absolute despair. Cukor helps show the relationship of the characters in the way he allows Eliza the full stage as she expresses her isolation and need for recognition; she feels she has to conceal her emotion in the dark. The professor then joins her in the room, but they are shown together on the screen only when they are engaged in physical combat. When he speaks, showing his disdain of emotion, he has the screen to himself. As they seek to understand one another, they are brought together on screen, then pushed apart, together, apart.
  3. These clips are not loading very well for me today, and my only experience of Preston has been his Music Man performance. But, it seems in these two performances we have one instance of the character trying to hide his real intentions (Music Man) and the other in which he is not hiding them (Victor Victoria). I am making it a point to view some of his other performances and look forward to seeing Victor Victoria.
  4. Yes, Fantasia is perfecto! I used it as a teaching tool when I taught art, and I have the pony, the alligator, and the hippo ceramic figures. Favorite musical numbers in general: Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas, and Bella Noche from Lady and the Tramp.
  5. We see a nod back to the classic musicals in the importance of vaudeville as setting, the struggle to make a name for oneself, and the beginning of the story with childhood. I believe that this clip also foreshadows the breakdown in respect for perceived authority, the willingness to work outside the normal channels. Mamma is getting around the "fixed" outcome of the talent contest by sheer determination and daring to challenge the system. The entrance of Roz Russell as Mama here is abrupt and uncompromising. She selfishly takes center stage and upstages her own children. You can tell her ambition is not for them, but for herself! The worst of the stage mothers. The lyrics here are taken more innocently since they are sung by a child. However, the "let me entertain you" sounds more like a plea to her mother to get out of the way after that entrance.
  6. I think the fantasy ballet at the end of American in Paris is just that, a fantasy. Therefore, it can stand alone because it is "imaginary", outside of "real life". The Jerry Mulligan character is endearing because we can see his vulnerability below the gruff surface. Kelly portrays this through his facial expression as he looks hopefully on while Milo views his work, and through his body language as he folds his arms defensively and tries to look nonchalant.
  7. Just an additional note: I don't equate the qualities of the professor (eccentric, intellectual, reticent, etc. are some of the replies) as feminine qualities per se. They just aren't as alpha male.
  8. The pre-dance words and taps are like a conductor's counted bar before the downbeat; it establishes the time and rhythm used throughout the number. How DOES the professor keep his demeanor? Seeing O'Connor's mime behind him and still he keeps his countenance? I could never do it! The masculinity model here is unity, each one echoing the other in time and step. There is a friendly "banter" and competition through rhythm. It is the "buddy system" personified in music.
  9. In this film, Day's character is outside the accepted female norm; she is allowed to show both sides of her nature. The active, more aggressive side is dominant early in the film, then she tries to adopt the more passive role, in which she fails. Finally, she seems to resolve the conflict by allowing one side to temper the other, thus becoming more balanced. This contrasts to some of earlier work, like Tea For Two, My Dream is Yours, etc. in which she is cast in the more traditional feminine role. Her later work evolves into smart, feisty, but feminine women who are up against a male-dominated world, as in her films with Rock Hudson. Day's interpretation of Calamity Jane is wonderful! She shows an optimistic, brassy, and undefeated character. The clip of "secret Love" is one my favorites. She strides purposefully and confidently, leading the very flashy-looking horse through the land that she is a part of. Terrific! ( I believe I have read that she took the horse home with her after the filming).
  10. The characters in the Band Wagon work as a unit, rather than as a star with supporting cast. We see that in the way they solicitously pick Astaire up off the floor, and how their hand and finger extensions all echo and support the others in the group. They stay together as a tight unit as they dance, even if individual moves are different. They listen attentively to each other. Their costumes seem to have unity in the semi-formality of dress, yet there are two patterned outfits and two plain-colored, and they are positioned in a balanced way, either together or every-other slot. Astaire is given the classy pinstripe as a subtle distinction. This is different from earlier musicals that featured a star out front with all others playing "second fiddle" roles. There is a friendlier tone to the group, rather than competitive.
  11. The scene shows the intensity of the relationship between the couple as she goes from frantic at the beginning to more tenderness, forgiveness, and thankfulness toward the end. She goes about her daily chores, but her mind is always on her man. If this were a parent/child relationship she would probably not leave the bedside and would exhibit more protectiveness, worry. This movie captures more of real life people of color rather than racial stereotypes. As the war went on, and more black Americans were sent "over there", films had to do a little catch-up culturally. For the first time, people of diverse backgrounds could identify with each other.
  12. Battle of the sexes evident in Top Hat include, of course, the competition between the pair. Besides that, we have a female character who is not simpering and waiting for the male to act, but being a strong person in her own right. We see the push-pull interaction of two confident people who are getting to know one another; they each try out an action and wait to see if it is accepted by the other. This film also allows Rogers to wear pants, so we can really zero in on her dance steps without being distracted by all that chiffon! The film differs from earlier Depression era fare in more believable characters and musical scenes that are naturally integrated into the story. The changing gender roles in society as the country geared up for war forced Hollywood to take note. Women were leaving their kitchens for the factories and were raising families on their own as men left for the military. Indeed, women were following them into the military as well.
  13. Lubitsch touches include attention to detail of the accessories: cane, hankies, etc. and the photos of the dressing table. The dialogue makes use of asides to the audience, dark humor in the situation, and sexy undertones. The husband thinks he is killing his wife's lover only to discover the gun doesn't work. I liked the drawer full of guns for all occasions, and the gigolo having to zip the dress because the bumbling husband couldn't do it! In the sound department, I notice a few important sounds such as gunshot, steps, etc., but was really most aware of the silence between scenes. I think films and television of today overdo the sound, distracting from the story, and the silence here felt welcome and let you process what you saw. The themes of Depression era films are apparent: lavish surroundings, escapades of the well-to-do, and a humorous put down of their morals and trivial pursuits. The audience could feel superior and enjoy the escape.
  14. There is interaction in the tension shown in the banter in the first clip; she likes him but doesn't wish to show it. He needles her about her love interest and that sets up the song, "Rose Marie". In the second clip, he perceives her as a "good" girl and rushes to her aid. My perception of Eddy and MacDonald was rather negative when I was a young girl. They seemed from a time that many of us no longer wanted to embrace. From a mature perspective, though, I find them charming and very natural in their films. The music is beautiful! The male/female relationship is always above board, and the virtuous girl triumphs over the "loose" one. We see that in the coaching of MacDonald's character to sing a song in a more lively manner after being ignored by the male crowd. Eddy's character is quick to rush to her aid.
  15. The clip shows a bright perspective by: the generosity of the tip in such a deprived economy, the playful song, the frilly dress, the jocular rivalry between the men, and the abundance of flowers. If the play had been pre-code, no doubt we would see a more vampy version of the song "come play with me". A look back at the Mae West films will fill you in on that! As for future themes, I suppose the use of friendly rivalries, romantic flirtation?

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