Schlinged

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more? I think that a more theatrical treatment of the song would have taken away the vulnerability of the song and the the character. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? AS they segue from small talk about involvement Sharif is basically moved from the main part of the scene to the side and somewhat out of focus. Streisand has all the movement and emotion of the scene describing her needs/desires as she sings. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. Both Sharif and Streisand are in the scene at first then as she starts to sing the focus and most of the blocking shots are her. Sharif is mostly a prop at this stage.
  2. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) The common theme is a man manipulating and transforming a women for his own purposes, a bet or the hidden jewels. Also the use of light in both movies convey the inner conflict inside the female leads. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Light is used in the transition of emotions mostly on Hepburn's part. Harrison is at first congratulatory, then irritated and finally rational. Hepburn goes from upset over her future and then to what Harrison expects of her. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? Cukor shows that the upper-class Englishman is a cold, distant man of rational thought that has won his bet and now cares not for his experiment, much like Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy in Trading Places, returning both Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd to the streets. Hepburn has all the lighting, shifts, emotion and action.
  3. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? Males were usually required to be the alpha male as with Gene Kelly or the Beta male sidekick such as Donald O'Connor, but when Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin are actually singing then it is notably a change in the construction of what is considered masculine in musicals. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? in both clips, Preston does show that he is indeed engaging but also witty, sly and extremely athletic. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? I've seen a number of his films and even playing a rouge as in Union Pacific he is an engaging actor that does make him totally believable in any role.
  4. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? The staging of the backstage musical recalls the Andy Hardy type of films with the earlier 1920's shot of just the play on stage. With the interruptions of the stage mother Rose and the fixed auditions that the system is rigged and a rejection of the status quo.  This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Russell enters the scene as she would enter on the stage, loud, bold and brassy. She commands the audience to watch her and all eyes would be whether in a play or movie audience. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). Obviously, the way the song is sung and by who can be sly in a movie. Natalie Wood singing it can be thought as edgy, at the time. Also the difference between Baby June in costume and Wood later also change the meaning.
  5. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film? One would think that a movie about a real city would have realistic looking scenery as Paris looks, even though it's shot in Culver City. The ballet is a dream/fantasy sequence and should appear so. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Jerry seems to get along with his fellow artists on the street and only dislikes the "third year student". As with other films, the anti-intellectualism of the common man is shown here. Only when he can sell a painting does he really become more capitalistic rather than artistic.
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? O'Connor is the funny man, making fun of the professor and Kelly is the smooth alpha male of the pair. They can move in rhythm to the beat of the desk drumming and thus into the music of the song. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The professor is mainly the straight man and the old square to the hip duo of O'Connor and Kelly. He segueways into essentially a prop during the dance number. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? The professor is the old square, uptight representation of the older , outdated male. O'Connor is a young, athletic Beta male that rejects the intellectualism of the past and is immature. Kelly is the cool, hip new Alpha male that rejects the societal norms of the older male and just wants to live for today.
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? The film characterizes Calamity Jane as a "tomboy" which is a safer version of a masculine female rather than a "homosexual" which would have been outside of the communal standards of the era. Calamity does get gussied up to capture her a man which doesn't fall out of the expectations of her sexual role in 50's society. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I think light comedy was her forte. I don't really remember her as a dramatic actress. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. I think it takes away from the historical Jane, who was a prostitute and did have children out of wedlock but didn't have the rosy relationship with Wild Bill.
  8. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? For a society that was afraid of the commune, i.e. communism, this piece was all about the group and not really standing out. Past musicals had just songs with a thin plot, this musical had the song helping the story along and were integral to the plot of the film. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. The actors are dressed in the normative for the time and as one would think of the characterization of their parts. Fred, in a casual suit, Nanette in a casual dress, Jack with an ascot and belted jacket as a director and Oscar dressed in a tweed sports coat as a writer. Very stereotypical. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Oscar does the gags as the funny man, copying a Three Stooges skit with the ladder, the other three do the more complex dance moves, Nanette is a comedic vixen selling chaste sex at one point and Jack and Fred play of one another with the hats and they all come together to sell it to the audience.
  9. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? Petunia starts out fearing for Joe's life as he lays in bed, but as it is cut to her pulling down her dry laundry we see Joe recovering in a wheelchair and the song goes from melancholy to happiness. Unconditional love is what it seems to be about. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? The lyrics would need to be changed a bit if she was singing about her child but I think the emotion behind the song would stay the same. Culturally, love of child, spouse and nation do have varying degrees of commitment (especially in this day and age). What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? Harry S. Truman segregated the military in 1948. Most African American were put in logistical or demeaning duties during the war. The film does show African American and not of the Step n' Fetchit characterizations that a number of films of the era depicted.
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Betty is lying in wait for Frank to come out of the locker room and chases him into the stadium. Definitely not like Bull Durham. Frank cannot escape and the movements along with the music and the lyrics of the song are quite seamless. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The segue is obvious once they leave the hallway with the locker room and move into the stadium or the "playing field".
  11. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The first film memory I have of her was in Judgement in Nuremberg. I was never a big fan of musicals. I totally believed her characterization as a women that had been ostracized by the Nazi regime for being friends and a suspected lover of a Jew. She portrayed her character with a world weary performance. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I really only knew she was an older actress and that she she did musicals. I didn't realize that she did comedy. 3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric? I've really never seen her as anything but an older actress in Andy Rooney films that I heard about but never watched. She seems to be a competent actress in what I've seen so far.
  12. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. What can be more american than the White House? The paintings of prior presidents, the flags, famous ships and all. It just screams American values. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. From speaking with a minority race (an African American butler) to another somewhat oppressed race Irish-Americans, as well as the unifying white male in power, even as a Democrat as well as a relative that was a Republican president brings out money to buy war bonds. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. I feel that the continuity of the film wouldn't have worked without the setting in the oval office. The parade, while showing the flag might not have given the biopic feel to the film.
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? That Rodgers isn't following Astaire's lead she is matching him in costume and dance. Women had only recently won the right to vote and still hadn't achieved equality (or still to this day, thanks to Ronnie Raygun and killing it) but where making inroads in society. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? Rather than large set pieces this piece focused on a smaller intimate setting rather than a large over the top piece. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? As I have stated in question number one. Women's roles i society and culture had change from their suffragette days. Also during this time, men were leaving their families to either find work or to escape from the burden's of having a family during the depression. As for the sexual aspect of the difference of the pre-Code era and post Code films. The sexuality wasn't as overt but it was still present. A woman in jodhpurs? Scandalous.
  14. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? I noticed the richly adorned room, the rapidly spoken French (with the exception of the 4th wall narrative in English) and the prop use of the gun that fired blanks. Also with the husband fumbling with the zipper or clasp as compared to Lord Alfred. The scene demonstrates that Lord Alfred is a playboy that has been through this particular scene many times. And the knowing wink to the husband does demonstrate the likable charm he processed. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. Mostly, the sound is the French dialog with door rattling and the under-loaded shot of the blank. I feel it shows the audience that it is in France and the idle rich are at play. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The breaking of the fourth wall, idle rich, cuckold husbands and roguish cads are to be expected in other films of the era.
  15. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. The interaction between Eddy and MacDonald in the canoe scene seems to be more comical interplay with her body language and his musical come on that can be tailored to any woman's name except for Maude.The bar scene is funny in her trying to copy the local gal making money but Eddy seems to recognize the "good" girl as a fish out of water even though he cavorts with the two local women. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I never seen them in anything. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? In the first clip, humor is played with the song as a line from Eddy to MacDonald. There is no physical interaction to be noted. Very chaste. In the second clip, the two ladies of questionable virtue are ignored and the hero, the more desirable man in the clip, is immediately attracted to the chaste woman ignoring the other women. Good triumphs over evil.

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