Rosepearl

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About Rosepearl

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    Female
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    American South
  • Interests
    Shroud of Turin, Film Noir, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Biblical studies including Hebrew and Greek, genealogy, crafts, classical music, music of the 20th c.: swing, British Invasion, rock'n'roll, Brit Pop, Motown, rock, punk, real country; I love to write, and particularly enjoy the actual process of moving a pen across paper
  1. From the beginning, the set is full of meaning. There are walls, fences, railings, staircases, hallways, doors, stairwells, and drab colors, all indicating the heights, depths, and barriers in the lives and stormy relationship of Fanny and Nicky. The railings must remind Nicky of prison bars, and as the scene starts, Fanny walks away from the wall where they’ve been standing. She goes to a post and spins around to face Nicky, who says he likes to feel free. It’s almost a split screen effect, with him in front of an open hallway, and Fanny right in front of stained glass doors. He has a way to escape, and she has a doorway through which she might choose to pass. She laughs and sums up their situation in a comedic way. As Fanny continues down the sidewalk, she begins to sing of their individual lifestyles – are they lucky (a word Nicky the gambler would appreciate), or happy, or childish by not admitting their need for others, specifically, each other. Fanny ascends the staircase and caresses the banister as she continues her song. She turns her gaze away from Nicky, and closes her eyes when she starts the “lovers” verse. She has a dreamy look on her face as if the rest of the song is being sung inside her own heart, admitting to herself the depth of her feelings and need for Nicky. But as she sings that lovers “are the luckiest people”, she’s facing a brick wall, another sign of their relationship. Fanny throws a quick glance Nicky’s way, and flashes a smile as she sings the line “one person, one very special person”. All the while, Nicky is watching her from the railing on which he sits in front of a sign for “New Era Optical”, as Fanny’s song envisions the relationship she wants with him. The only time Sharif really moves during this scene is when Streisand belts out the word “people” after the “hunger and thirst” line. It’s as if her voice has power to physically move him. Had she sung this song in a bolder, flashier manner, it wouldn’t have been as effective in revealing her vulnerability and emotions.
  2. What I remember about ‘Gaslight’ was the use of light and shadows to drive mad the elegant lady portrayed by Ingrid Bergman. A great use of light by Cukor in “My Fair Lady’ is when a shadow crosses Eliza’s face as she wishes she were dead. Jewels figure prominently in both films – in ‘Gaslight’ as the treasure sought by Bergman’s duplicitous husband, and, in ‘My Fair Lady’, as the sign of status Eliza wears in the role of a refined lady. Both women are involved in a relationship with a gentleman, and both are living under false realities, being used by these men in their lives. Both men are callous as they pursue their goals, with Charles Boyer in “Gaslight’ as a dangerous murderer, and Professor Higgins as someone unaware of the kind of lives people not “in society” lead. Eliza is first seen in the clip standing in a darkened corner. And as she moves toward the chair, she turns off the elegant lamp on the table, symbolic of the end of her life as a lady. Her entire mood is dark and she wants to immerse herself in the shadows, where she feels most at home. Her time with the Professor has been a trying journey into a bright, beautiful world that has now come to an abrupt end, as she sees her role with the Professor was built on a bet. During the clip, the sparkling jewels she wears are prominent until the professor pushes her to the couch, and her cloak covers them - again, symbolic of her fall from society. Even their light is put out. Hepburn is able to move from the lady to her true nature with ease, using her body movements to express herself. She is very physical throughout the scene. As she starts to cry, I can see the emotion moving up from her throat to her face. She shows real anger when throwing the shoes at Harrison, and when jumping at him with her “claws” out. Harrison maintains his gentlemanly stiff carriage throughout the clip, and has a befuddled look on his face, as he viewed Eliza as a project, oblivious to the fact she is a real person. He remains the authoritative Professor throughout the scene, scolding Eliza “the cat” (the only time he seems to show real emotion), correcting her grammar, and explaining how she can remedy this ill-tempered outburst. I love how Higgins is sure that chocolate will soothe the feelings of any “out of sorts” woman. Actually, it does help - temporarily.
  3. First, I must say something about “A Hard Day’s Night”. I was 13 when the Beatles came out, and they dominated my teen years, and are still a big part of my world. I remember coming home from school one day to be escorted to my bedroom by mom and my brother. There on my Hi-Fi was “Meet the Beatles”. I was so excited I cried. My girlfriends and I talked more about the Beatles than about the boys we knew, and we’d argue about which Beatle was ours. George was always my favorite. I had a Beatles sweatshirt, a guitar pin with George’s picture in it, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, all their singles, all their albums, and we’d never miss their performances on TV. I was the first one into the drive-in movie in my town when “A Hard Day’s Night” premiered there. My brother and I sat on top of the projection booth, and he and the other boys had to leave because we girls could not stop screaming and crying. The radio was always on in the car, in the house, and on the ever-present pocket transistor radio that went with me everywhere. (I still have one and listen to the Oldies on it.) We sang along with every Beatles song, and even my parents knew all the words. We couldn’t wait until Friday when the Top 40 Songs were announced. My brother started learning to play guitar, and mom would sit with him and write down the lyrics of all their songs so he could sing them as he learned to play. Suddenly, there was a band in nearly every garage in our neighborhood. The British Invasion arrived like gangbusters, and we were truly Anglophiles. Every group was new and exciting, and we had to dress like them, fix our hair like theirs, and try to talk like them. There was nothing else in the world to us, but music. We weren’t interested in politics, and didn’t want it to get mixed up with our music. And the music was great – so many new sounds, great guitarists, bassists, drummers, and singers. We were spoiled by the plethora of talent and brilliant songs and sounds that filled our lives. I don’t think there will ever be another time quite like the 1960's, and if you weren’t there, it’s impossible to know how it truly felt. The Beatles and their British compatriots were the soundtrack of our lives. Yes, “A Hard Day’s Night” was in black and white, but that movie turned the world into COLOR. Now to "Gypsy" - This clip harkens back to the classical musicals as there is a stage show where the boss has his favorite cast member, who may not always be the most talented. Here there’s a stage mother to balloon girl that has aroused his interest in order to sway the competition. Louise is the overlooked newbie that will later become the star, like Ruby Keeler in “42nd Street”. There’s a set-to between the boss and stage manager/choreographer as in earlier musicals, with the latter stomping off the set. This film is more pre-code with its subject matter and costumes. As the focus moves to the world of Mama Rose and of Louise, we have two scenarios fighting each other and disrupting the opening premise of Baby June being the star. Louise steals the spotlight by not only eclipsing Baby June, but doing it by adopting and adapting her theme song. Rosalind Russell (Mama Rose) bulldozes onto the scene with the strong presence she always manifested in her previous films. She’s confident, outspoken, and unable to be cowed. She is in charge, and even the orchestra follows her directions. Russell has that snappy chatter that she displayed in movies like “His Girl Friday”. She dominates the screen, and though definitely womanly, she has an air of masculinity about her that arises from her strong personality. It’s because she can stand toe-to-toe with any man. I couldn’t, however, quit worrying about the poor puppy she used as a prop. He held my attention more than any other character.
  4. As you discussed the changes made to bring audiences back to the movies, I remembered something that happened to me in 1968, when dad took my mom, my brother, and me to the HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio, TX. We went to a movie with 3 different theaters in it to watch a new widescreen presentation. As there were only 3 seats available together, my parents sat with my baby brother, and I was seated a few rows back next to the curtained wall. As a stranger was next to me, I leaned in to the curtain so that my arm was touching it. The lights went down and the show began, and I can’t remember the exact scenario, but it was something like a train or wagon with horses headed straight towards the audience. All of a sudden, after about 5-10 minutes into the show, the curtain next to me immediately went up, making a loud whoosing noise and quickly rubbing against my arm. I shrieked with horror and nearly had a heart attack, and could hear others in the audience screaming. I thought that the building was collapsing, and looked for my family. I saw dad standing up looking for me. When I looked around, I found that the 3 theaters were actually one large theater, the movie screens were all one screen, and the person on the other side of the curtain was as scared as I was. There had been 2 curtains in the room, and all of the people seated next to them on either side were shaking, crying, or laughing hysterically. It was amazing, but I had been so startled at what happened that I couldn’t really calm down. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a good introduction to widescreen cinema. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Robert Preston movies, except for “Victor/Victoria” and “S.O.B” (he was a delightful riot in that film), and looking at his resumé on IMDB, I have seen a lot of his films in the long ago past. In “Music Man”, I admired his intensity, his physicality, and his ability to reel off such complicated lyrics. He delivered his message about the evils of the pool hall as if he were the “cue” himself, the message “the ball”, and “the pocket” the people’s minds. As in “Victor/Victoria”, Preston was very effective with his hand gestures and facial expressions, and he used his eyes (and handkerchief) with great effect, especially to coyly accent his effeminate nature as Toddy. In both films, he is playing against a large crowd of actors, and though they have their parts, it’s hard to take your eyes off of him. In the “Music Man” clip, I found myself looking back to him for his acknowledgement as the parents, to their horror, realized the truth of his “sermon”, and in “Victor/Victoria”, to see his reaction after delivering his well-honed insults. He is so convincing in his roles, that you feel like he is the character he’s portraying. It must be difficult to adjust to the screen after being on stage for so long. An actor would have to be able to adapt to the intimacy of the camera, and tone down some of his more robust actions. Preston was a master of both platforms. The “Eighteen Actors” really paid off for him.
  5. 1. My dream was to travel the world, and I was fortunate enough to do so. As a child, I would check out books about foreign countries from the school library, and sit for hours pouring over all the pictures. Those books and artwork depicting grand cities and exotic places were the vision I had of the rest of the world. So when the first foreign city I visited was Paris, my mind was full of all the images that Minnelli captured in this film. The word “Paris” evokes romance, excitement, beauty, and culture, and each person sees those images in their own imagination. Imagination is personal, dreamlike, and often unrealistic. I think Minnelli’s use of this stylized approach, bathing the viewer in an ambience of striking and colorful images in a musical format, was a stroke of genius. All the characters in the film have certain conceptions of themselves – Jerry, the undiscovered Montmartre artist; Adam, the most brilliant concert pianist; Milo, the wealthy “mentor”; Henri, the beloved of the most fascinating creature; and Lise, the compliant, indebted young lady. Only after the masquerade party, when Jerry is jolted from his dream by the honking of a car horn, do the masks come off and reality sets in. Milo and Adam go on their way as the real lovers come together. 2. I found very little to like about Jerry in this scene. He didn’t like getting sized up by the 3rd yearers, yet he did a fine job of sizing up Milo, who had been sizing him up from across the street. He moved in to bum a cigarette to indicate his openness to the offer he sensed, and perhaps hoped, was coming, and he checked her out as she admired his artwork. She just happened to come up short of funds for the acquisition, so the invitation to her hotel with its attendant luxury mode of transportation, was the casting of her line in the water. Jerry bit, and had he not seen Lise, he would have stayed with this “sugar mama” until they both yearned for greener pastures. But though they acted out their parts under the veneer of commerce, they both knew the deal, so I have to like them both for their subtle honesty.
  6. 1. The professor thinks the two men are truly interested in these mouthful of words, and reels off more. This is his life’s work and it’s important to him. Gene has managed to keep a somewhat serious look on his face, while the professor continues to read. The prof doesn’t realize, until he comes face to face with Donald’s mocking expression, that he is the butt of a joke. As Donald and Gene start repeating the tongue twister, they move their heads and hands in unison with the rhythm of the words. They are in tune with each other. Thus begins the dance. 2. As the straight man, the professor is used as the object to produce reactions from Donald and Gene. As the two move to the window and adorn themselves like Moses with the draperies, Gene covers the professor with the drapes and moves him like a stiff to the desk. That is the role of a straight man – to be the stiff object that props up and propels the routine. They put him in a chair and make him watch as they “desecrate” his desk by dancing on it. This is the roost from which he rules. Then they drag him to another chair and Donald sits in his lap, and points to draw his attention to Gene’s dancing. Then Donald joins Gene in the dance, and they feign a kick in the face to the professor. They’ve moved beyond making fun of him to intimidating him. The final coup is when they sit the professor on his desk and pile everything on top of him. He has truly become an object as he’s crowned with the lampshade. 3. Gene is the alpha male, seeming more serious in the beginning, even taking the book of twisters and reading them with interest. Then when he cuts his eyes to Donald, the jokester emerges. He seems to take charge of moving the professor around, keeping him at the drapes, and though Donald keeps a smile on his face, Gene’s expression is somewhat intimidating. The professor seems very wary of him. Donald is the beta male who tries to instigate situations, but it’s up to Gene to give the go ahead. The professor is nothing more than something to toy with.
  7. Doris Day has been a part of my life since childhood. We always went to see her movies, and watched her TV show as well. There were two songs she sang which were often sung around the house by my Mom and me – “Que Sera, Sera” and “Secret Love’, both of which won Oscars for Best Original Song. If I fell down, skinned my knee, or had a bad day, Mom would sing “Que Sera, Sera” to me while she held me close to her. I’d hear her in the kitchen singing it while she prepared our meals. I would sing “Secret Love” while dreaming about Steve McQueen. My brother has always had a huge crush on Doris, and said she had that certain something. I’ve always viewed Doris Day like I have Ginger Rogers. Both are very feminine, but strong and tough at their core. Doris was well suited to the role of Calamity Jane. Her athleticism made her believable as Calamity. There is a big personality inside her that fills the screen. All of her characters that I remember seeing can be soft and sweet, but you know she won’t take any guff off anyone. Like Ginger, she stands up for herself, and refuses to be pushed around. That’s why her bright and sunny persona works in this film. Its origin is from knowing who she is and what she’s capable of doing. She’s confident and willing to put herself out there. Even as she later starred in the romantic comedies, she was very feminine, but tough when necessary. Her voice is magnificent with its dark, husky, and sexy undertones, and it has a quality that I can only describe as resonating in my chest. And she and Marilyn Monroe glowed on the screen with a palpable radiance. Whoever did the lighting for these women, knew what they were doing. They always appeared ethereal, with a beauty that seemed fascinatingly magical, and almost too good to be true. But, as stated in the Lecture Notes, women weren’t threatened by Monroe. I think this could be said about Doris as well. As my brother put it, these two women wouldn’t hurt you. They both have a vulnerability that allows you like them, and in Marilyn’s case, makes you want to protect her. Marilyn’s beauty was one that the camera made love to, and to me, only she and James Dean had that relationship with the photographic lens.
  8. In the opening scene, the others rush to help Jeffrey up from the floor, and as he gets to his feet, he starts pitching his big idea for Tony’s comeback. The Martons are very interested, and they and Jeffrey walk Tony, the once “king” of song and dance men, to the throne where they will continue the pitch. The song is perfect for this routine as it works very much like a conversation. Each of the actors is listening to the others’ ideas, and responds with their lyric in a very natural and animated way. You can see their excitement grow as Tony actually begins to show interest in the prospect of a comeback, even adding his own ideas to the mix. The music is the loudest as Tony, Lily, and Jeffrey exuberantly dance in front of the “Quiet” sign in the background. As the clip continues, we see the “birth” of a new show, with the actors beaming with pride over their “child”. The acrobatic scene is a reflection of the new show they are building, as they each have a part to play in the formation and in the show itself. I’m a huge Oscar Levant fan and this was his last film. I loved his acerbic wit, and enjoyed watching him “break away” from the human pyramid as he sang the lyric “that’s entertainment”. He starts the ladder bit by saying “look what I can do”, and he ends up on the other end saying “still me”. He continues this streak by being the phantom who lights Jeffrey’s cigarette. The group’s idea for a show is so good that they celebrate their happiness by breaking out into comedic silent film routines. As to costumes, Tony is the most formally dressed in a dark suit, as befits his previous glory days. The writing team, the Martons, are smartly, but more casually dressed in neutral colors, with Lily being very feminine. In fact, the rectangle designs on her skirt remind me of sheets of paper. And Jeffrey, who came up with the new idea, is more relaxed in attire with his cravat and light blue belted jacket. The only other pop of color in the clothing is the red flower in Lily’s belt. The final dance scene in this clip shows Fred Astaire’s professionalism. As they approach the steps, everyone glances down at one time or another to see where they are, particularly Oscar Levant. But not Fred. He knows the floor he’s dancing on and it’s imprinted in his mind and feet. He doesn’t need to look to acclimate himself.
  9. The scene is directed to show that Petunia has two loves – the Lord and Joe. As soon as Joe cries out, Petunia runs to his bedside and says a prayer of thanks. Her faith is so strong that she knows that Lily should get the reverend, not the doctor. Joe’s love gives her life purpose, and she’s happy even in the hardest of times as long as she knows he loves her. Ethel Waters looks beatific when she sings to Joe, and her radiant smile lights up her whole face. I felt part of the laundry scene, remembering all the times we hung our freshly washed clothes on the line during my childhood, me standing on a chair to do so. After a couple of hours, we’d go outside and run our hands across the clothes to feel if they were dry, just like Petunia did. The sheets would be warmed by the sun, and I’d hug them as I unpinned them from the line. A very happy Petunia enjoyed washing and drying the clothes, because it meant her Joe was alive. She took his shirt off the line and wrapped its arms around her neck, hugging it close to her. It smelled like Joe, and all things Joe were a delight to her. I still have clothing my late parents wore, and I, from time to time, hug them close to me to feel their presence. In many ways, I could see Petunia responding the same way had Joe been her child instead of her husband. She thrived on taking care of him, and basically mothered Joe. In both the bed and laundry scenes, Petunia affectionately taps her fingers on Joe’s face, as a parent would a child. While outside, she notices Joe has been in the sun too long, and pushes his wheelchair back into the shade. She loves Joe unconditionally and, though she’d prefer he change his lifestyle, she sticks with him through thick and thin. She puts Joe first as a parent does their child, and loves them no matter what they do. I loved Ethel Waters in “The Member of the Wedding”. I wanted to be one of the children who climbed up into her lap as she held them and sang. If you can, try to see the TV show ‘Route 66’ and its episode entitled “Goodnight Sweet Blues”. Ethel plays a dying jazz singer whose last wish is to get her old band back together. It is a wonderful show, and she is magnificent in it.
  10. Dennis exits the Players’ Locker Room, tossing the baseball up and catching it, and Shirley, as the “opposing team”, is waiting for the game to begin. As she chases Dennis out into the bleachers, she sings the phrase “play ball with me”. He looks at the ball and tosses it to her, and the game begins. But he starts running away as he realizes the nature of the game they’re playing. But Shirley has the upper hand and traps him against the wall in the stairwell, having sung the line about his future being inescapable. She continues the baseball theme by telling him not to wait for the next season. Then he runs up the bleachers and grabs the wall behind the nosebleed seats, and as fate would have it, he’s nearest to the white flag – the sign of surrender. When Shirley jumps onto Frank’s lap, he asks if he can even put up a fuss, but the song barely allows him a vocal. The sign they stop in front of has subtle meanings. Shirley doesn’t want to be treated like a brother, but as “pards”, and the sign shows at one point, the word “mark” over “Bros.”, and at another, “trade” over “mild”, with the word “mild” right behind Shirley’s dominating handshake with Dennis. He needs to trade any idea of a brotherly relationship for the inevitable fate for which he’s been marked. As they move from the sign, is it a coincidence that the knotholes behind them look like a constellation of stars, as zodiac is a continual song theme? Then the scene ends in front of a sign about sprucing up your home, echoing “towels marked his and hers”, as the baseball theme continues with Shirley catching Dennis as he “slides into home”. I sure hope Betty Garrett didn’t hurt herself picking up and catching Frank, even if he only weighed about 119 lbs.
  11. 1. “The Wizard of Oz” was the first film I saw with Judy Garland. I watched it every year when it was an annual TV event. It was a very special and much anticipated day. I always wanted ruby slippers like Dorothy’s, and wondered how she felt in them. I remember how much my family loved “Over the Rainbow”, and I was amazed at the voice that came out of that young girl, and the emotion she was able to evoke still gives me chills. (If you get a chance, listen to Gene Vincent’s wonderful rendition of that song.) I thought Judy was so pretty when they fixed her up at the Oz Beauty Parlor. Her hair looked so luxurious and her eyes were riveting. I also wondered if those flying monkeys, which gave me nightmares, scared Judy while filming. 2. It was so nice to see Judy so vivacious, happy, and healthy looking in these clips, with a real sense of humor and joy in what she was doing. I remember seeing the newspaper photos and film clips of her in her last years, so thin and haggard looking. Did the studios or their doctors know the dangers of the uppers and downers they were feeding their stars? If so, did they care? They gave lifelong addictions to so many people who suffered physical and mental illnesses, and in some cases death itself, from this practice. I remember being shocked at one photo of Judy that showed her legs as thin as toothpicks and her face as looking someone twice her age. I remember one concert of hers that was shown last year on getTV (they also showed “The Judy Garland Show”) in which Judy seemed too frail to perform. But somewhere deep inside her, she pulled up every bit of emotion and strength she had, and gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes and the audience to their feet. To me, it seems like Judy was a young girl, then a young spunky lady, and then an old woman, who wasn’t really old. Drugs, money woes, failed relationships, and the burden of too much talent sucked the life out of her. She burned too bright. 3. In “I Could Go on Singing”, Judy played a singer, and when she sang the title song, she gave it her all and became the song. Judy would connect with the person or persons to whom she was singing, and you felt like she was entrusting you with her deepest thoughts. She made singing a very personal experience for the viewer, using her hands and body to express herself. She would engage you with her eyes and inject a sense of wry humor into her songs, like it was a private joke between you and her. It was like she was having a meaningful conversation with you.
  12. 1. The American flag was everywhere – on Cagney’s lapel, in the parade and in the hands of the people watching it, and in the Oval Office of the White House. The valet, who made a point of being at the White House on his day off, mentioned that his previous employer, Teddy Roosevelt, got him a seat in the balcony to watch Mr. Cohan sing the song he wrote: “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, and the song was just as good as it ever was. I noticed that the police headed the parade of troops and the viewers were proudly waving their flags for the whole procession. How things have changed. I remember that the National Anthem was played prior to every movie in the theaters. In the late 1960’s, my family and I went to a matinee, and we all stood and put our hands on our hearts as the National Anthem was played, There were about 20 other people in the theater, and none of them stood. That’s when I noticed a real change. 2. President Roosevelt told Mr. Cohan about seeing the Four Cohans when he was younger, and stated “that’s one thing I’ve always admired about you Irish Americans, you carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It’s a great quality.” Cohan answers that “I got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was 13. Proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts.” 3. I think the White House opening set the tone for the picture. It was the culmination of the events of the past, and how the love of country was so important, especially in perilous times. It revealed the start of George M. and his life growing up, and what it meant to him. The 4th of July parade took place in 1878, the year of the first telephone exchange (New Haven, CT); the Senate proposing female suffrage; the silver dollar becoming legal US tender; the Lincoln County War (Billy the Kid and the cowboys) being waged; Edison patenting the gramophone (first phonograph); Jack Johnson, who went to prison (he was pardoned on May 24, 2018 by Pres. Trump), becoming the first black heavy weight; the first attempt at motion pictures, using 12 cameras each taking one picture, to see if a horse’s 4 feet were off the ground at the same time; Yellow Fever killing over 13,000 in the Mississippi Valley; the Remington 2 typewriter with the first shift key, enabling the ability to type upper and lowercase letters; the occurance of the Long Depression from 1873 – 1879, which hit Europe and N. America the hardest, even dragging on until 1886; and as we see in the film clip, Cohan Sr. leaving the show abruptly to check on the upcoming birth of his child, George M. Cohan, who would be born on July 3rd, 1878. But he assured the manager his wife would return soon so as not to miss a show. Comment: After traveling to Communist China and becoming close to several people there, being friends in Miami with Cuban exiles from Castro’s government, and knowing through my visit to Spain and England, and my brother’s stay in England under their socialist states, I appreciate with the deepest gratitude that I live in America, a democracy where we have freedom not known by many in this world. We have become hardened to our great blessings, which we take for granted, and the disdain shown for our Constitution, our National Anthem, our flag, our troops, our police, and firefighters, all those who put their lives, health, and sanity on the line daily to protect and defend us, is to me, a time for sadness. Belief in God was in the home, the churches, and in public conversation, and are things better now with Him sidelined from our schools and the public square? If America is so bad, why are so many people from other countries putting themselves in great danger to come here? I for one stand for the National Anthem, gladly support and thank our military and law enforcement, and feel truly blessed to live in the best nation in the world.
  13. 1. In the clip, Ginger is dressed for horse riding and appears more masculine in appearance. When the thunder first claps, she jumps and grabs Fred, but steps away and tries to be stoic. The next thunderbolt will jar her, but she hopes he hasn’t noticed this as a weakness in her. The third clap brings no reaction from her. When they dance, it becomes a competition. When she puts her hands in her pockets imitating Fred, she looks to be comfortable and strong. And she can do every step that Fred executes, so it a dance of equals. In the film, Ginger is a very strong, dominant, and authoritative force in her world. Her wealth and position allow her to be so, but she would be strong if things were otherwise. When she believes Fred to be the husband of her friend, she arranges a way to avoid any complications. She’s very direct in communicating the situation, and though the wife finds it amusing, Ginger still tries to avoid causing hurt. She will manage her own life. 2. This film is about relationships not set in a stage show, but still confined to a certain setting – a hotel, in this case. There is still the screwball mix up over who’s who, and the fact that one of the characters is trying to avoid a sticky situation. But here, no one is aware of the real situation, unlike Anita Page in “The Broadway Melody”. Both Ginger and Anita use another man as a focus of their attentions to allow their true love to remain in their proper relationship. There is more elegance in this film, and certainly more clothing on the female characters. 3. Instead of competing with other women on the dance floor, as in backstage films, the female lead competes with the male. But this is a dance of courtship, not employment. The butler was smarter than the main characters, as in the previous films, but here he resolves the entire dilemma. In this film, there was no sense of the depression being present.
  14. 1. By far, my favorite part of the clip was Alfred’s nonchalant tossing of the gun into the drawer full of pistols. Does he supply these to his conquests, or suggest the ploy? Are the husbands so dense that this common ruse, probably shared among the wives, goes under the radar? When the husband ‘shoots’ Alfred and watches him pat his chest to locate the wound, I love the cut to the wife staring at her husband, whom she can’t believe is such a dullard. The husband seems nonplussed when his wife has to have Alfred, who is more familiar with her than is he, zip up her dress. He seems more concerned with her coat than with their intimacy. The scene is so effective that only Alfred’s asides to the audience are necessary to understand what’s afoot. 2. The tone and volume of the voices while in the bedroom, and the wife’s scream, let you know the intensity of the situation, at least on her part. Alfred is amused and much accustomed to this kind of scene. The gunshot takes a dramatic turn. until you’re in on the joke. When Alfred opens the patio door to the sound of many voices, I wondered if it was just the night sounds of the street. But when he quickly closes it, I think he realizes he might be the subject of the cacophony. He’s been here before and must expect the Sylvanian visitor to shortly arrive. 3. I expect the common themes to be affairs with intimate but not blatant gestures, jealous husbands, wealthy and/or titled lovers, and the most obvious to me, the display of ladies’ legs and various underthings.
  15. 1. As you stated, Jeannette MacDonald was a much better actress than Eddy was an actor, but the dress of a Canadian Mountie would be somewhat inhibiting. In the 1st clip, there were many emotions moving across MacDonald’s face as Eddy sang, and she was quite expressive with her hands. It was obvious she wasn’t thinking of him, but heard the voice of her Italian tenor. Only when she became aware that Eddy was flirting with her, that “Rose Marie” changed from just a song to a moonlight serenade. Her whole demeanor towards him melted, and she was able to convey this with her expressions and face-to-face engagement. Eddy’s most natural reaction was when they began to banter about using different girls’ names in the song, particularly when he spoke of Maude. In the 2nd clip, I really felt for MacDonald. My brother was a professional musician and I attended many gigs. I remember a few where the band and the audience were definitely out of sync. I could relate to Jeannette’s discomfort and frustration, as an audience in such a scene can go from oblivious to rowdy to outright hostile, especially when alcohol is present. MacDonald would just want this whole thing to be over, especially when Eddy sits with the dolls. Knowing someone in an audience usually makes the performer more nervous. MacDonald is adorable when she tries to perform like the swingin’, singin’ doll. As she makes her exit, she and Eddy look at each other, and she is embarrassed. Eddy just keeps the same look on his face as he watches her exit and leaves to follow her. 2. I have never really watched an Eddy/MacDonald film. The few scenes I did see seemed stiff and stilted to me. I much prefer the Busby Berkeley films with their snappy dialogue. These film clips opened my eyes to the many dimensions of Jeannette MacDonald, and her incredible beauty. I will definitely catch their films in the future. I love classic opera, but the light form of it is not to my taste. 3. There are decent women and not so decent women, and the male roles can move between the two without much condemnation, because they always fall for the decent women in the end. There is mostly flirtation with facial expressions and banter sprinkled with much innuendo. I’ve noticed that these 1930s and ‘40s films I watched as a child and adolescent were much like the Biblical parables in that there were layers of meaning. As a child, I wasn’t even aware of the sexual undertones in these films, but as an adult they were obvious. I know people might prefer the very realistic films of today, but I find that the movies that had to insinuate violent and sexual themes activated my imagination much more. Seeing shadows on a wall conveying a violent act was more disturbing to me than seeing the actual violence itself. It allowed me to personalize the scene. And I am a romantic and would rather keep the bedroom private. In fact, there is very little romance in film today. Right off the bat, they're down to the nitty-gritty.

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