Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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  1. Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

    Finian's Rainbow

    I think I overstated. The production was problematic, the reviews were mixed, and as a road show, it was not received well, as it was considered overly long. It has been considered better over time than at the time. 1968 was a terrible year in American times, and this film did not comport with the times in any way. Coppola did not get along with Astaire, fired Hermes Pan, and as usual, insisted part of the production be done on his property, which was not easy for the studio to deal with, let alone the aging Astaire. Coppola wanted realism for a film that is fantastical. Additionally, the themes were challenging in a horribly painful year. So, while it may have made its money, it is in retrospect that we appreciate the film. At the time, musicals were not as much in favor, and road shows were not a successful endeavor in general, as Professor Edwards explained in the podcast. I hope this clarifies.
  2. Did anyone notice that Fred Astaire borrows some of the choreography from Royal Wedding's revolving room dance for his "When the Idle Poor" dance in the storage area? It is almost identical. If you recorded this, take a look around 1:34 and marvel at how he adapted it for this short interlude. Fascinating.
  3. Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

    A course on the great Westerns?

    I agree. I would love to teach a class about westerns; one of my favorite genres.
  4. Thank you so much Dr. Ament for a wonderful course!  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about musicals and I am truly mad for them now!!  It was a wonderful beginning to the summer.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  5. Today's forum is about the song "People" from the film Funny Girl. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.
  6. Today's Daily Dose of Delight regards George Cukor as director of My Fair Lady. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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) Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?
  7. Today's forum is on Robert Preston and two roles he has played. If you recall, you saw clips from The Music Man and Victor Victoria. Please post your comments here. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? 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? Return to top
  8. I am not sure what you call a traditional musical.  I always thought of the Hollywood Musical to be an original and not a Broadway adaption, as Gypsy is.   The introduction of Mama Rose sets up her character - bossy boots.  She is a scheming stage mom who will do anything to get what SHE wants.  You can also see that Luise is shy and not suited for the stage. Russell was a great actress but I wish Merman reprised her great stage performance in this film.  She would have done her own singing.  I feel cheated when the singing is dubbed.  I saw Merman in Gypsy when she took the show on a national tour at the Schubert in Chicago. When she made her entrance, the show stopped for the audience applause.  It was the first musical I had seen and that was in 1961-62.  I was only 9-10 and my mother’s friends and family were shocked that she took me.   Thank you Mom for giving me live theater at a young age.  I still enjoy it. 

     

    The lyrics are always sanitized for the big screen.  Compare the stage and film lyrics of  “I’m Always True In My Fashion” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate.  The stage lyrics are almost naughty and R-rated compares to the vanilla lyrics in the film. 

  9. Today's Daily Dose forum is from the musical Gypsy (1962). This is where you may post your comments. Recall that the clip refers to the opening scene, and discusses Sondheim and Russell. Please reflect upon these topics below. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? 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. 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).
  10. This forum is for discussion around the Daily Dose of Delight regarding An American in Paris. Recall that Minnelli's direction was discussed and his background was given as information that leads to his approach to directing; particularly his gift for mise-en-scène. With this in mind, please respond to the following prompts. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 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? What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?
  11. This forum is to discuss Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelley as they perform in "Moses Supposes" from Singin' in the Rain. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?
  12. Hi,

    what specific films are we to watch this week?

    peace,

    Heidi

  13. This forum is for Daily Dose of Delight #10, regarding the two clips from Calamity Jane, featuring the performance choices of Doris Day. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own). As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.
  14. Welcome back everybody. Here is the forum for Daily Dose of Delight # 9. It is for The Band Wagon. Recall that you watched the number "That's Entertainment." The emphasis is on community and the ensemble in the musical number and the movie musical in general. Please post your comments in this forum. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song?
  15. Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

    DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #8 (From CABIN IN THE SKY)

    This was his first film. Pretty impressive.

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