ElaineK

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  1. Petunia is Joe's wife, she is a housewife and as Joe recovers from his illness, that brought him to the brink of death, she carries on with her work. Petunia has a strong relationship with Joe who does not speak but responds positively to Petunia's song. The third individual by Joe's bed is an angel unseen to Petunia. He looks on kindly and disappears. Obviously Petunia has a strong relationship with God who has sent her heavenly assistance. The song could as easily be addressed to a child as to a husband. Her delivery is loving but not in such a manner that would be inappropriate for a child. WWII is the event that brings racial discrimination to national attention. Black soldiers served, and, if need be, died for their country, but discriminatory practices continued after the war, as they had after the Civil War and WWI. The movies depicted African Americans as real people in Cabin in the Sky and in Stormy Weather and could not easily revert to pre-war subservient buffoon portrayals (i.e Mantan Moreland or Eddie Anderson in Topper Returns), even as the necessity of national unity and effort declined with the end of the war.
  2. The course is short and your coverage of 40's musicals is necessarily limited, however, the absence of some of the most important musical performers of the decade is inexcusable. Where is at least a mention of these important people: Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Rita Hayworth, Bing Crosby?
  3. The direction emphasizes the difference in physical size and behavior between the characters. The result is not pleasant. Garrett's posture and aggressive movements overwhelm the smaller, milder Sinatra, who cannot shake her off. Sinatra takes up the song with his answer to Garrett's demands, but the nature of their interaction does not change. There are six or seven sections to this musical number, and each follows directly on the previous with a quick cut between them. The music and the action are continuous, with the performers seen in full figure, half figure or close up. The editing maintains the continuity of their interaction until he slides, unwillingly, into her arms.
  4. I saw The Wizard of Oz as a child. I had read most of the Oz books and was excited by the film. I really liked the film, but Garland's "Dorothy" differed from "Dorothy" in the book, and I was disappointed. I have seen the film many times and have lost the disappointment. Judy Garland was (probably) even better than Ginger Rogers as a partner for Fred Astaire. Astaire did not require any assistance from Garland to hold his own on screen. The clip demonstrates the difference in their dancing styles; Astaire, even as a tramp, is the most elegant figure in the movies. I have always like The Pirate. Judy has a fun song, "Mack the Black Macoco", on which she cuts loose with her admiration of the joys of being carried away by the fearsome pirate.
  5. ElaineK

    Buddy Ebsen

    Yankee Doodle Dandy is one of those film that I like and dislike simultaneously. I like it: for the rare opportunity to see James Cagney singing and dancing his heart out for Walter Huston who was great all the time in all kinds of roles, for Cohan's fun songs. I dislike it for the sappy and just-too-cute dialogue, i.e. "My wife never missed a curtain in her life." The fawning over Cohan is excessive, and Cagney plays him as too nice all the time.
  6. Ruby Keeler seems less graceful than Eleanor Powell, Keeler is rather clunky and heavy-footed compared to Powell. Every movement of Keeler, arms, body, legs, feet is rather lumbering in comparison to Powell who is smooth and elegant. Powell is also more balletic, moving smoothly across the floor gracefully swinging her arms and legs. On the other hand, Keeler is cute and smiles in a friendly, happy manner; whereas Powell fixes a smile and does not change expression throughout her dance, she could be an elegant robot for all the personality she projects. The story and production of Top Hat are a more intimate, less stagey than the plot and production of earlier musicals. The presence of Astaire automatically produces a more elegant, breezy and fun loving atmosphere. Rogers is more assertive and self assured and she expects to be treated as an equal.
  7. That Alfred is a womanizer is clear from the moment he opens the door and declares that his current lover is jealous. Everything about the scene reinforces this conclusion. She is holding a garter, not hers, as she proves by lifting her skirts. This exchange also reinforces the deduction that Alfred and the woman have just finished making love, for which she would have removed her stockings and the garters. Her small gun is another familiar object to Alfred, the jealous (and with good reason) women frequently threaten him or themselves; he has a collection of these guns that he has confiscated. The second door important in this scene is rattled by the arriving husband, whose angry voice is heard outside. He is handled by her pretend suicide, and the couple leave with the cuckolded husband being severely chastised, as if he did something untoward. Before they leave, Alfred has to hook up her dress, again reinforcing the idea of his playboy ways. Few musicals after the code would have featured a character as libertine as Alfred. Playboys of the more chaste sort would presumably be acceptable.
  8. In these clips, Jeanette is out of her element in the wilds of rural Canada, but Eddy, playing a Mountie, is quite comfortable in this setting. Obviously, he enjoys pursuing women, but doing so with relatively innocent song and talk, and not much else. Eddy is the bolder character, he expresses his admiration for Jeanette freely and openly. She is reticent to respond to him, except to admire his voice. Their screen characters seem to reflect their actual personalities. Sex as expressed by mingling of the big voices is definitely a safe method of stimulating an audience. The ending of Rose Marie must have been impressive in the theater, an enormous close-up of a kiss. Eddy's feet are on the floor.
  9. By the mid thirties the public was very tired of realistic. People were still dealing with the effects of the Depression and did not have to go to the movies to get realism. Why was it easy to enact and enforce the Code? The public wanted light and optimistic, going easy on the sarcasm, sexiness and related themes went with this outlook. If this film had been made pre-code, all the characters would have behaved differently. Anna Held would probably have commented on the handsomeness of the men and their amount of interest in her. She would have had fewer ruffles around the bodice that would have been lower. Ziegfeld would have had a more svelte coat and an top hat, worn rakishly. He would have spoken more slowly and pointedly and looked with more interest. Frank Morgan would have been completely different in character, more serious, even slightly sad, more gentlemanly, lacking all the silly mannerisms and facial expressions. The pre-code Frank Morgan can be seen in the musical comedy (tragicomedy) Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933); also the non-musical, The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933)
  10. British Films with Hitchcock themes. This is a list of older British films that seem to fit the topic. The 39 Steps (1959) remake with Kenneth More The Long Memory (1953) John Mills as a wrongly accused man out to get his revenge Desperate Moment (1953) a double chase film, Dirk Bogarde is a fugitive hunted by the police and hunting for the guilty parties October Man (1947) John Mills, who has a memory problem, may have killed the young woman murdered in the square Crooks Tour (1941) Caldecott and Charters and spies Night Train to Munich (1940) suspenseful early Carol Reed, with Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Caldicott and Charters. Harrison impersonates a Nazi officer while trying to rescue Lockwood's father.
  11. Films Inspired by Hitchcock Psycho II, III, IV Anthony Perkins carried on his Norman Bates 1983 - 1990 Pretty Poison (1968) Anthony Perkins is nuts, but not the killer High Anxiety (1977) Mel Brooks does Hitchcock, for those who can stand Mel Brooks Mirage (1965) Gregory Peck intrigue and amnesia Arabesque (1966) Charade (1963) Cary Grant Rafifi (1955) caper movies Topkapi (1964)
  12. Hitchcock's opening scenes often take place in open air gatherings of people unrelated to the plot of the picture. As with Frenzy, The Lodger opens among people gathered along the Thames, The Man Who Knew too Much opens on a crowd at a ski resort, The Lady Vanishes opens in a crowded inn. The persons or events important in the film may innocuously move through or may intrude startlingly on the crowd. In Frenzy and the Lodger, the event intrudes, in the other two films and in several others, for example The 39 Steps and Strangers on a Train, the important characters enter unobtrusively. The characters in Frenzy have a much calmer response, "Look!", to the dead body than the screaming woman in The Lodger. The tepid response may be due to he citizens of London having had considerably more experience with death by 1974 than they had in 1928, or maybe Hitchcock himself had dealt with murder so frequently by 1974 that he was rather blasé about it.
  13. Birds are the central topic of this scene, their sounds are heard outside and inside the store. The birds make so much noise that Tippy Hedron notices that a lot of them are flying over downtown. There are a lot of birds inside the store, their noises are bright and cheerful. Tippi Hedron is buying a myna bird, why she wants one is unknown. From her inane conversation with Rod Taylor we learn that she does not know much about the birds in the store. He may know more about the birds than she does but, seemingly, not much. For romantic comedy, this is a very dull beginning. We do not even see a pair of love birds.
  14. Marnie opens on the back of the character as she walks toward her room. We do not see her face until she washes the black dye out of her hair and tosses her, now blond, hair back to reveal her face. She is putting new clothes into the pink suitcase and tossing the old clothes into the black suitcase. Judging by a dark and rather frumpy looking dress, the black-haired persona was less attractive than the blond. She is changing her name too. She tosses packages of money into the pink suitcase. The black suitcase is left behind in a locker at the train station. The blond has substituted for the black-haired persona, who, presumably associated with the theft of the packages of money, is abandoned. We conclude that the woman is a thief who attempts to elude detection by utilizing multiple personas. Since the woman is hiding her identity behind a false, and anonymous, persona, perhaps Hitchcock wants to show the audience that it's really him.
  15. The important events in the life of Marion Crane occur on this December day, and these events occur in small, private spaces with the men in her life. The opening camera movement is typical Hitchcock as the crane shot moves over a space and closer and closer to the object of interest. In this case the camera approaches and goes through a window into a crummy hotel room where a Marion and her lover are having a tryst. Marion is a lower middle class working girl who does not have enough money to marry. The second look at Marion is through a small opening into her room at the Bates Motel through which Norman looks at her. This is another crummy room where her "lover" is a sexual psychopath with a knife. The murder is accompanied by the shrieking of the violins. A hopeful, but unsatisfactory life, is ended suddenly and brutally.

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