Sarah Last

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  1. I just wanted to say how much I really enjoyed this course. I loved the lecture discussions with Dr. Edwards and Gary Rydstrom and I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Ament's stories.
  2. The best thing I learned from this class was learning to look at movie musicals critically rather than just watching them.
  3. 1. If Streisand had sung "People" in a more theatrical manner, the song would have sounded exaggerated and would not have matched her character's emotions. 2. The beginning of the song starts out as Nicky and Fanny having small talk and flirting with each other. As the song progresses, Fanny begins to let her guard down and allows herself to be vulnerable around Nicky. 3. The scene is shot primarily with close ups of Streisand, allowing the audience to see how Streisand expresses herself through the song. The scene also has the camera alternate between Streisand and Sharif to show each of their reactions.
  4. I have the songs "Fugue for Tinhorns" and "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat!" from Guys and Dolls stuck in my head.
  5. My favorite quotes are from The Wizard of Oz: "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!" "It's a twister! It's a twister!" "There's no place like home." "I'm melting, melting!"
  6. 1. Gaslight and My Fair Lady both show examples of women who are controlled by men. In Gaslight, the husband is trying to make his wife crazy so that he can steal his wife's money. In My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins turns Eliza from a poor flower girl into a society woman. Higgins has control over Eliza by having the money to feed, clothe, and shelter her and not bothering to teach her anything about how to be self-sufficient. 2. Eliza is shown in close-up when she is crying over realizing that she is probably going to end up working as a flower vendor again and have to live on the streets. Higgins is shown as angry that Eliza is ungrateful for everything he has done for her and disinterested about Eliza's future. 3. I notice that Eliza and Professor Higgin's relationship is based more on need than love. Eliza needs everything that Higgins provides for her such as food, clothing, and a roof over her head. Higgins needs Eliza to look and behave a certain way to win a bet.
  7. 1. Men in movie musicals of the 1960s and beyond were not required to dress formally in every scene and played characters with more human qualities than just playing a character such as the alpha male in the 1950s. 2. In The Music Man, Robert Preston puts all of his emotion into performing the song "Trouble in River City." Preston shows a certain level of emotion in Victor/Victoria, but uses more humor in his performance. 3. A movie I saw with Robert Preston that was not a musical was S.O.B. This was another movie in which Preston worked with Julie Andrews. The movie is about a director who decides to take his failed movie, and make it more risque in hope of making the film a success and revitalizing his film career. Preston played the director's personal doctor with the same relaxed sense of humor he used in Victor/Victoria.
  8. 1. The scene looks backwards to classical musicals because it shows the idea of the young actress trying to make it big in musical theater. The scene looks forwards to the disruptions that will be seen in the movie musicals of the 1960s by showing Mama Rose as her daughters' manager instead of as a homemaker. 2. Rosalind Russell's entrance was just as perfect in this movie as it was in Auntie Mame. She did an absolutely fantastic job playing Mama Rose. I have yet to see another actress who can even remotely hold a candle to Rosalind Russell in the same role. 3. The song in this scene has a more innocent tone and different background music than the same song used later when Natalie Wood sings it as Gypsy Rose Lee.
  9. 1. An American in Paris has such a stylized approach because it was the director's vision and a lot of the people going to see the movie may not have ever seen Paris in person. Also, since the movie is a musical and not a drama, it helps for the movie to have a certain level of fantasy to it. 2. Jerry Mulligan isn't trying to be unlikeable, he is just very frustrated with being an unpaid artist. He also does not like to get art criticism from people who only have a sophomoric understanding of what constitutes art.
  10. 1. The pre-dance movements act as a musical opening to the song, allowing the song to flow smoothly. 2. The professor is very serious and very uptight. He wants everything done his own way. 3. The professor is the straight man, Don is the serious man who has no problem showing a certain level of emotion, and Cosmo is the clown. Each character has differing levels of masculinity. The professor tries to be the most masculine by wearing a suit and behaving in a serious manner, but his inability to keep Cosmo and Don under control and being reduced to a prop makes him the least masculine person in the scene. Don is the alpha male and proves that he can be both serious and funny at the same time. Cosmo is the beta male, he is fairly masculine, but he does not take himself seriously enough to worry about his masculinity.
  11. 1. I think Calamity Jane challenges gender norms to a certain extent by dressing in shirts and pants and trying to be one of the guys, but she is primarily portrayed as being very delicate and feminine. In the first scene, Calamity Jane is dragged from a gambling table and is kept from drinking at the bar. The second scene shows Calamity Jane singing a love song. Even though she is dressed as a tomboy, she is shown holding a flower and swooning while singing the song. 2. I think Doris Day developed immensely as an actress, especially after this musical. Doris Day went on to make movies such as The Man Who Knew Too Much and Midnight Lace, both of which are film classics and major starring roles for Doris Day. The Man Who Knew Too Much is also credited with giving Doris Day one of her most popular songs, Que Sera, Sera. 3. I think Doris Day's persona adds to the movie by making it more cheerful and optimistic. Since the movie was made as a post World War II film, it helped for the movie to be more upbeat as a way to boost the spirits of moviegoers.
  12. 1. I notice the actors all work together as one on the song as opposed to having the song done by one person or with a group of people where one person was doing a majority of the singing. 2. The characters are all wearing regular clothes instead of ornate costumes. This is so the audience keeps its focus on the action within the scene instead of what one or more of the actors is wearing. 3. Each character has a unique personality, but still manage to work together.
  13. 1. The scene is directed to emphasize Petunia's devotion to her husband and her vow to love him "in sickness and in health." 2. If the song was about a woman singing to her child, the song would have a more maternal tone and a different instrumental background. The cultural meaning would not change because both instances would be examples of Petunia's capacity to love selflessly. 3. I think this is one of the most incredibly well done musical films. The fact that Ethel Waters did not get cast in Hallelujah is wonderful because she would not have gotten as much of a chance to show off her talent in that movie as opposed to Cabin in the Sky. I also love Lena Horne's performance in this film and still think it is ridiculous that she was not cast in Showboat. Cabin in the Sky was important during this time because it was a movie made for African Americans at the request of African Americans. This was a very different situation from the movie Hallelujah, which was made just for the sake of African Americans having their own movie musical. During the time Cabin in the Sky was made, one of the major issues of African Americans during World War II was the segregation of the military. African Americans were expected to risk their lives fighting racism in Europe, while dealing with racism in America. It would not be until 1948, when the armed forces were finally desegregated by Harry Truman.
  14. 1. The scene is designed like a tango, with each shot showing a particular dance move. There are also a lot of closeups in this scene, allowing the audience in on the relationship between the two characters. 2. The instrumental music in the background slowly builds up to the point where the song begins, allowing the actors enough time to get into their positions for the performance.
  15. 1. The first Judy Garland film I recall watching is the Wizard of Oz. I thought she was the best actress in the entire movie. 2. I now see Judy Garland as a serious performer and not just someone who could sing and dance. 3. One film that comes to mind is A Star is Born. This was probably one of Judy Garland's most serious film roles next to her performance in Judgment at Nuremberg. A Star is Born gave Garland the chance to prove that she could take on more dramatic and grown up film roles instead of just playing the young woman trying to become a celebrity or the young woman finding love for the first time.

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