dweigum

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About dweigum

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  • Birthday 04/14/1956

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    Female
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    Canada
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    Movies of course, reading, photography, golf, knitting.

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  1. Daily Dose #9 The Band Wagon This number illustrates a group of friends/colleagues none of whom become more of a focus from the other. The fact that they are a foursome highlighted equally, differs somewhat from the musicals previously covered where the focus tended to be soloists or duo Fred and Ginger, Garland and Kelly. Each performer receives the same amount of attention and they are constantly synchronizing their movement to support the other in projecting the purpose of the number to advance the story. As was pointed out in the lecture video by professor Ament and Rystrom it is a good example of how the music and song are integrated into the story. In the musicals of the 30s and 40s for example, the numbers were often secondary to the actual story. They might be practicing or performing the music on stage or rehearsal. This number moved very smoothly from dialogue to music as they try to brainstorm as a team, the show they desire to produce. The costumes also support the fact that they are not performing on stage but an extention of their previous discussion. The men were in suits, Buchanan's being a bit more casual than Astaire and Levant. Nanette Fabrays dress was simple and attractive, effectively in their "street clothes". I feel the staging and choreography reflected the friendship and casual professional relationship of the characters. The only exception might be when Nanette is placed "on" Levants shoulders perhaps emphasizing theirmore personal relationship. These people are cooperating, getting along, having fun and using their talents to create something positive very much in line with the assumptions presented regarding 50s musicals on modeling community and cooperation. Its a great song with wonderful performers, that's entertainment!
  2. Cabin in the Sky, as was Hallelujah before it, was an important film in that it featured an all african american cast, but fell short of being a trend setter. These movies did not result in much change in the overall status of the african american performer in Hollywood at that time although these films were successful at the box office. Having said that it was an important beginning, but even today we still have issues regarding diversity in the movie industry. Ethel Waters performance of "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe" is a reflection of her devotion to her husband, her commitent to caring and nurturing is evident in her relationship with her husband, in much the same way she worships her god. She is supportive of him and loves him inspite of his faults. The song celebrates love, values of home and marriage. The love she was expressing was not passionate, nor sexual. As I watch and listen to her performance of this song I couldn't help but think she could have just as easily been singing to her child. If a child was substituted, it would not have been necessary to change much of the delivery.
  3. Take Me Out to the Ball Game In this Daily Dose scene we see Betty Garrett "go in for the kill" in her persuit of Frank Sinatra (well their characters at least). Each scene is choreographed to highlight her determination to win her man and also to reflect the physical attributes of the two characters. I noticed that they were equal in size and height, Sinatra was no match for her. As they moved up and down the bleachers, the forward movement periodically stopped to highlight the physical comedic action between the two principles. No way would these scenes have worked with John Wayne, for example, (imagine her trying to pick him up). At the out set the light music, change in facial expression and movement of the characters is an obvious lead in to the next musical number.
  4. The Wizard of Oz was the first movie that exposed me to the talents of Judy Garland. I was a child and enjoyed her performance even then, a female character with whom I could relate, but I suppose at the time I didn't understand it that way. It became a tradition in my family to watch the Wizard of Oz every year when it was broadcast on TV, I think around Easter. My siblings and I were invited to our friends and neighbors house to watch it in color, that dates me doesn't it? My favorite movie song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow and over the years I grew to appreciate the quality and vulnerablitly of her voice in that performance in one so young and as she continued into adulthood and more mature roles. My favorite Christmas song is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and although many times replicated no one can compare to her delivery of that song. She conveys both sadness and hopefullness in her magical performance. Not only is her dramatic range noted in the musicals A Star is Born and Meet Me in St. Louis, but also her later dramatic roles in A Child is Waiting, I Could Go On Singing and Judgement in Nuremberg. She is often seen as a tragic figure in her private life and I suppose her vulnerability is reflected in her acting. It was great to see these clips and earlier films that also showcase her skills as a comedian and dancer. She really is very funny in the clip with Fred Astaire and frankly overshadows him a bit in that one.
  5. The opening of Yanke Doodle Dandy present an almost reverent homage to patriotism in the portrayal of the meeting with FDR. The walk to the office, flags along to way and his conversation with the butler that referenced Cohen's love of country. The soft lighting as they walk to the seat of democracy in a way felt like he was approaching an alter. Cohen says "Im a little nervous" as he shakes the hand of the president. The flash back to the boisterous parade was effective in switching the tone from quieter introspection to the story we are about to be told of the bigger than life story of George M. Cohen. The American values that are alluded to in the conversation with FDR include family, love of country, the heritage of the "Irish Americans" who arrived in America to follow their dreams. The biography begins with his father who obviously was a strong influence as he followed him into the entertainment field. As a dual citizen of Canada and the US (I have lived in Canada for over 40 years) it has been interesting being able to look at the US from the outside as well as the inside. To say that this opening scene is bittersweet is an understatement given the current political climate. Analysing movies of the past in the context of the political, social, and economics of the times adds a depth this course that makes it all the more interesting. It also allows reflection on how far we have come in some respects and how much more we need to learn.
  6. Another great clip for the Daily Dose! Fred and Ginger at their best showing off their command of dance and an excellent vehicle for the "battle of the sexes". Here we see Fred Astaire quite smitten and Ginger measuring him up. They are equal partners in this dance. Gender neutral costumes to level the playing field as they demonstrate their skill at the dance and also the nuances of their blossoming relationship. The big difference I see in this movie compared to the other depression era movies I've watched thus far is the role of the woman as an equal partner rather than the typical themes of the woman being the shrinking violet or at least having to pretend to be. In this case I would even say she has the upper hand. I havent seen the whole movie, looking forward to it tonight, so I am basing my comment on this short clip. Ginger Rogers in the The Golddiggers of 1933 and Broadway Melody also played women who were able to look after themselves. The Depression era was such a challenging time for families struggling to survive, put food on the table. These movies through song and dance attempted to provide an escape and the suggestion that better times were around the corner. Movies did attempt to showcase qualities in both male and female characters that demonstrated perseverence, humor, and ingenuity.
  7. I found this clip very entertaining "with a subtle blend of sexy humor and sly wit". The scene establishes the main character as an affluent, charming, player with questionable morals but in a light-hearted way. The garter, pistol, relationship with a married woman, in a different movie would have ended in tragedy. Lubitsch literally takes all the elements of what usually ends very badly into an opportunity, presumably, at a chance for true love/happy ending. Prior to sound technology the gunshot would not have been heard only imagined. When the angry husband fires the gun, we hear the shot, and nothing happens, unlike when his wife went to the floor. At that point we assume blank gun, wife OK too, but certainly the sound of the gun added intensity/surprise to the scene. If you can begin a movie with infidelity and violence and construct a light hearted comedy musical, you can do anything including light hearted themes for the depression era.
  8. Daily Dose # 2 Their interaction in the first clip conveniently in the canoe provides little opportunity for physical contact. They are facing away from each other, he is paddling. Their attraction to each other is evident in their conversation and dialogue and facial expressions. The classical tone to the music actually belies the natural, casual elements to their growing relationship. In the first clip he appears more interested in the relationship and I agree the chemistry is evident and they both acted so naturally. I wasn't expecting that, having not seen a Nelson and Eddy movie before, I had some reservations which are obviously unfounded. In the second clip, it is obvious that Rosemarie finds herself in an uncomfortable environment thus emphasizing the “good girl persona” also she is dressed conservatively important for the Hollywood film code. She is a riot trying to mimic the other “experienced” saloon singer. When she sees the Mountie it is evident she cares about what he thinks of her, she appears embarrassed. He projects concern rather than judgment.
  9. Daily Dose #1 Mad About Musicals Yes I do think the movie was depicting a much brighter look at life given the political and social issues of the time. As movies often do, life is portrayed to allow the viewer to escape from the realities of their daily lives, one might argue more often so in the movie musicals of this era. Later on of course movie musicals took on much darker themes like West Side Story and Cabaret. I think with the success of a musical such as this one at the time, others would continue the same uplifting, comedic themes with an emphasis on entertainment rather than realism or enlightenment. Musicals such as this one offered an escape from the real challenges faced during the depression era. If this movie had been filmed pre-code, with different motivation and priorities first the costumes; less flowers and more cleavage would have been allowed. The song choice and style of performance would have been more provocative than flirtatious. Despite the many qualities and skills of Louise Ranier perhaps a different actress would have been chosen for the role with emphasis on less demure presentation. Mr. Ziegfeld may have been presented as more cutthroat character after all he is trying to sway the popular performer from a rival.
  10. This course has opened m eyes to many things I have neglected related to the movies I enjoy and or admire. I love watching movies old and new but only lately have I explored more closely the elements and or collaborators that make the movies a success or failure. So the basis for my answer or discussion is purely a deeper look at my favorite movie last year, Arrival. I suppose you would characterize it as science fiction but it was so much more. A character study, a suspence thriller that used an innovative approach to the sci fi genre that I think would have intrigued Alfred Hitchcock. The movie was intelligent and even combined humor and tragedy very effectively. It presented a new concept related to communication, time and the way in which we react to strangers and used the element of surprise and emotion to captivate our attention. Denis Villeneuve director, Joe Walker, editor, screenplay Eric Heisserer and music Johann Johannsson all created a work of art as far as I.m concerned. I think it would have been interesting to see how this team along with Hitchcock might have explored new territory in the art of film.
  11. Jodie Foster's Flight Plan actually had similar plot points to The Lady Vanishes, in this case her daughter vanishes. It even borrowed the scene where MIss Froy uses her finger and condensation on the train window to write her name. The same effect is use in Flight Plan,difference being the action takes place on a plane and not the train.
  12. I am thinking of another movie that may have had some Hitchcock influence. "Dont Look Now" was directed by Nicholas Roeg and involved a couple grieving the death of their child. It starred Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Some of the scenes occurred in a church and the setting itself was Venice. So you have a mystery/suspence feel, the travelogue aspect, and it was adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier. There were scenes that appeared surreal and I remember there were lots of flashbacks and innovative use of light and sound. Checking out google it was released in 1973. I saw it on Netflix a couple of years ago.
  13. Still of thte Night a Robert Benton film starring Roy Scheider and Meryl Steep in 1982 had a very Hitchcockesque feel to it. Murder, a bit of voyeurism, obsession and some "dream sequences" and in this case the "wrong woman" theme. A psychological thriller somewhat reminiscent of Marnie. I don't think it was well received when released but I remember really liking the film, both stars being in their prime.
  14. Hello: My question is for Mr. Phillipe and Professor Edwards. Alfred Hitchcock has said that german expressionism was a great influence, if not the greatest inflence on his work. Which one of his movies best exemplifies the influence of german expressionism? Thank you!
  15. 1. I actually found the trailer at the end of the Lecture Notes today resembled the opening to the Lodger than did the opening of Frenzy. Frenzy could have been a substitute title for The Lodger. The panic, frantic pace, silent scream, police movement, and all of that happenng under the darkness of night bears no resemblance to the opening of the actual film Frenzy. We are treated to a beautiful aerial view of the Thames as though we are traveling along the river and entering the city through the Tower Bridge. I feel as though Hitchcock was happy to be back in London and wanted to share this with the audience. The music by Ron Goodwin sounded like a entry march to the city, majestic, I was fully expecting that the first person we would see might be the Queen. The eventual scene of the body floating down the Thames was also different in that it was nude and the crowd reaction was much more tempered than in The Lodger. Also all filmed in broad daylight. 2. The Hitchcock Touch was evident in his whole approach to this opening, the juxaposition of the welcome to my city and the nude body floating down the river, the impressive dolly shot beginning with the glories of the city and ending with the dead body in the river. The politician's reference to cleaning up the river and ending polution, then the image of the body - some very dark humor perhaps. 3. A common pattern/strategy employed by Hitchcock and seen in this opening is to throw the audience off guard. He creates a sense of calm as he shows us this beautiful city, a city like our own perhaps then reveals the evil that lurks even in the most benign places. Making the revelation all the more distrubing. The cinematography is lovely, the long dolly shot then the close up of the crowd, body etc the care that is taken in every frame are also typical patterns found in a Hitchcock film.

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