CHambyClassicFilm

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  1. 1. Had Barbara Streisand performed "People" in "Funny Girl" (1968) by belting it out, it would be less emotional and it wouldn't have that significant Streisand "touch" to the song in William Wyler's film adaptation. 2. By taking another look at this iconic number, I think Barbara's characterization of Fanny Brice is trying to win the heart of Omar Sharif's characterization of Nick Arnstein of the film by being emotional while singing "People." 3. I think the pacing and blocking are perfect throughout the scene, with fluid camera movements. There are no distractions or jerky movements throughout the "People" number. Fun Fact: The Holiday Cinema (which would become a second-run twinplex) in Frederick, Maryland showcased "Funny Girl" as their premiere film for the theater's grand opening in Oct. 1969:
  2. 1. The settings of both Cukor films, "Gaslight" (1944) and "My Fair Lady" (1964) look similar, except "Gaslight" has more of a "Hitchcock-style" look to it (due in part to the black and white cinematography, as opposed to Technicolor cinematography). As both films are set in England, the difference between "Gaslight" and "My Fair Lady" is that the preceding film was set in the Victorian era, while the succeeding Cukor film was set in the Edwardian era. 2. The emphasis is focused on Audrey Hepburn's characterization of Eliza Doolittle rather than Rex Harrison's characterization of Henry Higgins, where Higgins is a shill, cold, controlling character that has tormented Eliza with his deceiving ways. This would put George Cukor's nickname as a "women's director" into play, as the focus is on Eliza instead of Henry. 3. Cukor has showcased that the two were never mutually compatible or admirable in terms of loving each other.
  3. 1. Not sure how to quite put this, but I believe that the changes in male representation for both of Preston's roles in "The Music Man" (1962) and "Victor/Victoria" (1982) would be a mix of being carefree and foolish in a way. 2. I think Robert Preston's characterizations of Professor Harold Hill in "The Music Man" (1962) and Toddy in "Victor/Victoria" (1982) would be energetic and jovial; trying to interest the attention of the supporting characters in both productions and the audience in general. 3. Besides "The Music Man" (1962) and "Victor/Victoria" (1982), I have seen Robert Preston in John Farrow's Paramount war action drama, "Wake Island" (1942) and in Blake Edwards' comedy (based off of Edwards' own battles with Paramount over the production of "Darling Lili" in 1970), "S.O.B." (1981, also with Julie Andrews) in the role of the madcap Dr. Irving Finegarten.
  4. CHambyClassicFilm

    DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #13 (From GYPSY)

    1. In terms of "backwards," the "kiddie talent show" auditions for Uncle Jocko/Herbie (Karl Malden) would be reminiscent of vaudeville performance acts of the vaudeville era. 2. I think Rosalind Russell makes a bold, yet commanding entrance for her characterization of Mama Rose in this scene for "Gypsy." Perhaps her characterization of the title role of "Auntie Mame" Dennis in Warners' 1958 film of the same name ("Auntie Mame") may have propelled her to play the role of Mama Rose in "Gypsy" in the film. 3. While I do enjoy "Gypsy" (1962), I believe that the "Let Me Entertain You" number would be too risque and creepy for a young child to sing (Suzanne Cupito/Morgan Brittany's characterization of 'Baby' June during the audition performance).
  5. 1. I think the concluding "fantasy" sequence to "An American in Paris" (1951) is beneficial to the entire film. Thinking back to what I learned in my cinema studies classes at Hood College; the audience needs to be in the "zeitgeist," or a moment of time. If we lose out on zeitgeist and escapism, then the film (or the medium) will not hold anyone's interest. The "zeitgeist" moment what makes the concluding number in "An American in Paris" (1951) unique in the film. You could say the same for key musical moments in Gene Kelly's other famous MGM musical features, including "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) and "Brigadoon" (1954). 2. After viewing "An American in Paris" (1951) from time-to-time, I don't believe Gene Kelly's character of Jerry Mulligan is unlikable at all. During the scene where he has a confrontation with Noel Neill's student character and Nina Foch's characterization of Milo, he seems to be perturbed by the student (Neill) and Milo (Foch)'s approach in the scene.
  6. 1. For the "Moses Supposes" number in "Singin' In the Rain" (1952), the lead-off/warm-up into the dance number where Gene Kelly's characterization of Don Lockwood and Donald O'Connor's characterization of Cosmo Brown is beneficial; especially O'Connor's facial mannerisms when Bobby Watson's characterization of the instructor isn't looking. 2. Compared to Kelly and O'Connor's easy and carefree attitudes, Watson's characterization of the instructor seems a little uptight and serious when it comes to their diction lessons for sound pictures, yet the instructor is blown away by Kelly and O'Connor's "Moses Supposes" singing and dance number. 3. O'Connor/Brown would have a goofy persona; Kelly/Lockwood would be the romantic love interest and Watson/Instructor would be the strict/serious instructor.
  7. 1. I'm not sure how this would fall into the continuum. I enjoy both screen productions of "Annie Get Your Gun" (MGM, 1950 with Betty Hutton) and "Calamity Jane" (Warner Bros., 1953 with Doris Day). I feel that Warners was trying to build on the success of George Sidney's MGM screen adaptation of Irving Berlin's musical, which was filmed three years before "Calamity Jane." 2. In addition to her various roles in her earlier Warners musicals ("Romance on the High Seas," "Tea for Two," "On Moonlight Bay," etc.) I think her title role of "Calamity Jane" may have helped her expand her later film appearances, including "Love Me or Leave Me" (1955) and Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956). This might also apply to her latter hit screen romantic comedies with Rock Hudson ("Pillow Talk," "Lover Come Back," "Send Me No Flowers") and James Garner ("The Thrill of It All," "Move Over Darling"). In addition to her screen roles, she also had a successful string of hit recordings on Columbia Records (CBS). 3. I don't think Doris Day's personality deterred her title role of "Calamity Jane." She was perfect for the role.
  8. 1. For the ensemble number in "The Band Wagon" (1953), instead of having leading actors, it seems that Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray and Fred Astaire are all singing as an ensemble that would stick together. It seems like they are carefree and easygoing when they are singing "That's Entertainment." 2. They are in their regular street clothes (of the early 1950s) instead of wearing elegant/fancy costumes for the number (Buchanan's smoking jacket with a purplish-light blue tone, Levant's gray suit, Fabray's cream-colored pattern dress and Astaire's black suit). 3. It seems that the interaction between Buchanan, Levant, Fabray and Astaire are playful throughout the number, with a sense of togetherness as the four are trying to make it big on the Broadway stage to appeal to any tasteful audience. Fun Fact: The song in the ensemble number, "That's Entertainment" would serve as the inspiration for the hit MGM feature film musical retrospective series trilogy (released in 1974, 1976 and 1994).
  9. For Ethel Waters' song to Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in "Cabin in the Sky" (1943), I noticed that Ethel's characterization of Petunia to Eddie's characterization of Joe ("Little Joe") in the number was that she was relieved that Joe would make it through. The same would apply in the fade-in to the outdoor sequence of the musical number; almost in a carefree manner. I'm not sure if the song would be different if Ethel's character of Petunia were singing to a child. Some of the lyrics might have been changed if there was a child in place of Eddie's character of Joe.
  10. 1. The scene/musical number where Betty Garrett's character is trying to woo/attract Frank Sinatra's character in Busby Berkeley's "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949) is almost set in a "cut-on-action" setting, with a generous mix of close-ups, medium and wide-angle shots of the two, along with the choreography and pacing with Blanche Sewell's editing techniques. 2. The opening orchestration for this number by Roger Edens would definitely be a dead give-away for Sinatra and Garrett's crooning.
  11. 1. As with many students of the TCM/Ball State classic film musicals class, the first Judy Garland feature that I recall watching at an early age was "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Not sure if it was one of the annual CBS telecasts of the film in the early 90's or if it was the MGM/UA-Turner VHS tape (the special 50th anniversary edition from 1989 with a commemorative mini-booklet) of the film that my parents purchased about a year after I was born. Another early glimpse of Garland besides "The Wizard of Oz" was the brief clips from a Public Television airing of "That's Entertainment" (1974) sometime in the early-to-mid 1990's; including her work with Mickey Rooney ("Babes in Arms," "Babes on Broadway," etc.) and several of her other notable MGM musicals ("Broadway Melody of 1938," "Meet Me in St. Louis," "The Harvey Girls," etc.). I thought she was talented. 2. From my aforementioned answer and watching more of her MGM features throughout the years (mostly through Public TV airings and Warners' DVD releases of several of her famous MGM films, since TCM was not available on my local cable system for many years), I don't think my opinion of Garland's work has changed. Though I did learn more about her triumphs and tragic ending from watching the documentary, "Judy Garland: By Myself" (which I watched on PBS' "American Masters" series back in 2004). 3. The only moment that I can think of in terms of the third question would be her performance of "The Man that Got Away" from George Cukor's re-make of "A Star is Born" (1954) for Warner Bros.
  12. 1. For the opening in Michael Curtiz's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942) in terms of promoting American values for audiences during the Second World War, this would be associated with the opening in the White House, where James Cagney's portrayal George M. Cohan walking with Clinton Rosemond's portrayal of the butler; as the two are walking up the stairs, they are portraits of past Presidents on the wall. The Oval Office set design featuring Capt. Jack Young as President Franklin D. Roosevelt (voiced by veteran voice-over artist Art Gilmore) with the model ships and the President's desk with the desk clock would also fit with this. George M. Cohan (Cagney)'s miniature American flag pin in the Oval Office scene and the Providence, Rhode Island Fourth of July parade in the flashback scene with various American flags would also be beneficial. 2. There are many aspects in boosting American morale from the opening scene in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942). One example would be Rosemond's butler character telling Cohan (Cagney) about his time with President Theodore Roosevelt and how T.R. admired Cohan's song, "You're a Grand Old Flag." Another major example would be President Franklin Roosevelt (Capt. Young/Gilmore) encouraging Cohan that he hoped that he hadn't "outgrown the habit" of carrying a flag in a parade or following a patriotic parade. One other significant point from Capt. Young/Gilmore's characterization of President Franklin Roosevelt to Cagney's George Cohan character: "So you spent your life telling other 47 states... what a great country this is." Cohan (Cagney)'s flashback narrative of the Providence Fourth of July parade would also be applicable. 3. I believe that the opening with George M. Cohan's meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt serves as an important piece/story arc for Cohan's tale. The important aspect is watching the entire film from start to finish, which is a masterpiece (to those who have not discovered Curtiz's "Yankee Doodle Dandy"). Sidebar: Art Gilmore also narrated many of Warners' live-action short subjects, including most of the studio's "Joe McDoakes" comedic short subject features.
  13. CHambyClassicFilm

    DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #4 (FROM TOP HAT)

    1. Unsure if there are any "battle of the sexes" conflicts/moments in the competitive mating dance scene from "Top Hat" (1935). All I can see is that it looks like that Ginger is not impressed by Fred's singing and/or dancing until the middle of the scene, bringing them closer together. 2. The setting for this scene in RKO's "Top Hat" (1935) is different from what was shown in MGM's "The Broadway Melody" (1929) and Warners' "42nd Street" (1933); the earlier musicals were mostly set in a "music hall"/"performance hall" setting, while Fred and Ginger in "Top Hat" are dancing under a large gazebo-style setting to shield themselves from the rain, thus giving the audience the illusion that they are dancing outside instead of dancing on a "stage"-style setting. 3. Not sure about this one. Compared to the earlier pre-code musicals, I feel that Ginger's character has a much stronger presence than what was depicted in preceding musicals.
  14. 1. I noticed that the scene from Ernst Lubitsch's "The Love Parade" (1929, with Maurice Chevalier) would have an elegant touch; in terms of the set design, characters (Chevalier's Count Renard) and wardrobe. As with many early full-length feature sound films, the opening moments to "The Love Parade" are almost in the style of a stage play. This is where Chevalier's stage and vaudeville talents come in to play. 2. Since sound-on-film technology was still new to the industry around 1929 ("The Love Parade" being a Paramount production), you can mostly hear dialogue between Chevalier and the characters; the arguments between Chevalier's character and his love interest in French, Chevalier explaining to the audience what is going on in English, the blank gunshot coming from the pistol of Chevalier's love interest when was pretending to shoot herself and the orchestral stinger when the actual husband of Chevalier's love interest takes the pistol and tries to shoot blanks at Chevalier's character. 3. I feel that this scene might be reminiscent of the apartment scenes in MGM's "The Broadway Melody" (1929), with that similar "stage play" style of direction. Not sure if this would apply, I feel that Chevalier breaking the fourth wall might have inspired George Burns to do the same "fourth wall" for his 1950-58 television series with Gracie Allen, "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show;" which may have also inspired segments of the 1982-92 BBC wartime sitcom "Allo, Allo;" where French cafe owner Rene Artois (portrayed by Gorden Kaye) breaks the fourth wall in each opening episode.
  15. 1. What I notice about Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in "Rose-Marie" (1936) is that in the first scene, I feel that Eddy's characterization of Sgt. Bruce is showing a sense of interest in MacDonald's characterization of Marie de Flor in the film, Sgt. Bruce (Eddy) is displaying confidence throughout the scene while Rose seems to be shy towards Sgt. Bruce. In the second scene, I feel that Sgt. Bruce (Eddy) is not amused by the competing singer; who tried to upstage/humiliate Rose (MacDonald). 2. In addition to "Rose-Marie," I have seen both Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in another one of the duo's MGM features, "Naughty Marietta" (1935). While their singing is still top-notch, the setting is different, where MacDonald's characterization of Marietta is running away to escape a pre-arranged marriage in France. She escapes France by finding a new love interest in colonial New Orleans, Eddy's characterization of Warrington. I have also seen Eddy in a non-MGM feature, the landmark Universal Technicolor re-make of "Phantom of the Opera" (as Anatole Garron, with Claude Rains), without MacDonald. 3. I see that Eddy is trying to attract MacDonald's character in some form, most possibly through the power of song with the standard, typical romantic/love triangle formula in feature films of that era. In terms of the Hays/Breen motion picture code, you can see that the costuming for Rose (MacDonald) and the competing bar singer are not revealing; compared to costume/wardrobe selection in pre-code musicals. Not sure if this would apply, but I believe that Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald's characterizations in "Rose Marie" might have inspired cartoonist Jay Ward to create the characters of "Dudley Do-Right" and "Nell" for his celebrated "Rocky & Bullwinkle" cartoon series.

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