Heather Redfern

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About Heather Redfern

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  • Birthday 03/27/1975

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    Female
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    Philadelphia, PA
  1. Performing the song in this way, instead of belting it out with big arm movements, makes Fanny appear more vulnerable, more relatable to the audience. We all need people in our lives. The more subtle performance puts the emphasis on the meaning of the lyrics. It also makes for a powerful connection between the characters. He stares longingly at her while she is pouring her heart out with the song. The use of very little light also adds to the emotion of the scene- it is just the two of them, alone- the rest of the world has all bit stopped.
  2. In previous musicals, male leads were often athletic or having an occupation that made them brave (soldier, sailor, etc). In both of these clips, Preston is neither, yet he commands both audiences through his use of words and gestures. In the Music Man, he preyed on the fears of the townspeople- talking in a preachy manner, using terms and animated gestures to scare the locals into giving him what he wants. In Victor Victoria, he uses gestures and language to command the audience’s attention.
  3. Heather Redfern

    DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #13 (From GYPSY)

    This Gypsy scene is like it’s predecessor classical musicals in that it is about putting on a show and the goings on behind the scenes. However, the grittier colors are more in tune with the themes of disruptive musicals that will come later in the decade. Russell has a big entrance into the scene, commanding the screen. This is much the same way she would in a live theater production- thus demonstrating her training. When a child sings “Let Me Entertain You” you might think of an innocent school production or dance recital. When an adult sings those same words, depends upon the emphasis, the song can become raunchy.
  4. Jerry is brash with the young woman because he has dealt with the type and has no time for the criticism of a young student trying to show what she knows. One might feel for her because Jerry dismissed her without giving her a chance to speak- in his eyes, she knew nothing and he had no time for it. One might picture her running off in tears. When the older woman appraloaches him and gives it to him just as good as he can dish it out, Jerry is put in his place. And he seems to like it. The second interaction makes him less of a curmudgeon.
  5. Kelly and O’Connor are in sync in their dialogue and movements before and while dancing. There’s a rhythm to their speaking that moves perfectly into the song and dance. They play off of each other in the pre-dance and then during the dance. The professor is an egghead- he does not have a sense of humor and is not as masculine as Kelly and O’Connor. They completely take over the lesson and make fun of him and the tongue twisters he teaches them. They make him sit down and watch how they do it. The professor’s character is the stereotypical “intellectual cannot be athletic or strong” man. He’s stiff and does not know how to be fun. Kelly’s character is athletic, handsome, strong- the type any woman would want. O'Connor is between the two- more appealing than the soft professor, but not as desirable as Kelly’s handsome actor. He balances the extremes between the others’ masculinity.
  6. In the 50s, women were depicted as more feminine- as they had been before WWII. This feminine side of Calamity Jane is seen in the second clip. Even though she is wearing pants, she is also wearing make-up and her hair is done. The song is slower and the language is proper- not colloquial like the first song. As in earlier musicals, it appears as though a woman needs to be made up and proper to attract a man. In the opening sequence, it appears as though the men tolerate Jane’s Tom Boyishness, but do not readily accept her as “one of the guys”- they push her away from the bar and laugh when she falls.
  7. This is a classic ensemble. All members get along and can pick up the line where the last person let off. They know all the bits and everyone is an equal, regardless of gender. The clothing isn’t showy- just suits and a dress, again nothing to make one person stand out more than the others. Also, flashy costumes are for the performance- this is behind the scenes. On an unrelated side note, this song always makes me smile- we sang a couple of the other versus at the end of my dance recitals every year.
  8. Both the bedside and the laundry scenes show the woman’s devotion to her husband and family- her husband is alive and everything is going to be okay. While she thinks she might not have been able to go on if her husband had died, her faith in God and her strong community (she sends Butterfly McQueen’s character to tell others Joe is alive), she would have made it. Having her husband with her outside makes even doing a chore like the laundry ok- because he is still with her. The song would have to change if she were singing to a child- the love a spouse has for her spouse is different than the love a parent has for a child. Spouses are partners that take on the world together- parents are protectors of their children. The film shows that families, that the relationship between husbands and wives, can be the same no matter the race. Petunia is devoted to her husband and her famiily, she is religious, she runs the house just like any other woman. Families of all races had men go and fight in WWII, come home and face same issues returning to society. Minnelli was trying to show there was no reason to think people were inferior (in talent, with the actors and with family issues, with the characters) just because they were not white.
  9. In order to build upon Betty Garrett chasing after Frank Sinatra, the scene needs plenty of room. It starts in tight quarters, in the area outside the clubhouse, out to the field and then into the stands. The music is building as she is waiting outside the clubhouse door and he starts to run. The song is coming soon. You know that she being in that area, where women wouldn’t my have been in that era, she is going to be the aggressor in the scene and have the lead in the song to move the story.
  10. Judy Garland is absolutely my favorite actress of all time (pair her with Gene Kelly and I am in heaven). I became enchanted from the first time I saw her, watching the Wizard of Oz as a very young child- her voice, her beauty, she was sweet. The clips from For Me and My Gal and Easter Parade demonstrate that she was more than the innocent teenager with the big voice- she was a triple threat. She could sing, act and hold her own dancing with Kelly and Astaire. And she was funny- she conveyed her comedic talents not only with the delivery of the song lyrics, but also with her facial expressions and body language. These clips also demonstrate that she was very much the leading lady- she didn’t let someone like a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly overshadow her- she was their equal. One of my very favorite movies is Summer Stock. Judy really sells it as the older, responsible sister, left to take care of the family farm, become engaged to the guy everyone expects her to marry while her younger sister runs off to break into show business. But when her sister’s troupe comes back to put on their show at the barn, as much as Judy protests, she lets them stay and even takes the starring role when her sister abandonea the group. When Judy performs Get Happy, you know she wants another life- off of the farm, with Gene Kelly. She was meant to be a performer, too.
  11. You can’t get much more patriotic than walking the stairs in the White House, surrounded by portraits of the presidents, talking to the butler, who mentions how Teddy Roosevelt used to sing “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. Then cut to sitting with the current president, with George talking about his family’s history of patriotism, starting with his father running away to join the Civil War. George M. Cohan is not an opportunistic patriot, taking advantage of the current public sentiment- through this scene, his patriotism is inherited, from his family and his Irish-American roots (as FDR says). That really appeals to the audience- the flag waving is heartfelt, not fake. FDR says that Cohan “spent his left telling the other 47 states what a great country this is” and that Irish-Americans “carry your love of country like a flag right out in the open”. To the audience, Cohan is depicted as authentic, he genuinely loves and supports his country. That’s a person and a feeling they can get behind. Starting the movie with the meeting with FDR paints a bigger picture of Cohan’s patriotism- not only is he a “Yankee Doodle Dandy” due to his birthdate (which was really July 3, not the 4th), but he comes from a long line of patriots who love their country. The dialogue between FDR and Cohan sets that family history- FDR saw them on stage, as did Teddy. The family was beloved by the public over the course of many decades. To start with the parade scene, you wouldn’t have the family history to gain an understanding of the impact they have had on society.
  12. Unlike other films, the woman is not a “damsel in distress”. She wears pants, can keep up with the dancing of the male counterpart and isn’t falling for his romance cliches (caught in the rain, he will keep her dry, etc). When he is “wooing” her, her facial expressions imply that she is bored with his act. During the Great Dpression, women needed to find ways to support themselves and their families- they were becoming more independent than before. Ginger Rogers’ character demonstrates this societal shift.
  13. From the start, you know the Count is a playboy- the garter that doesn’t belong to the woman, the collection of guns in the drawer, the fact that he can zip a difficult zipper with ease, when the woman’s husband is not able. He’s most likely usually adept in unzipping a difficult zipper. He is not unfamiliar with being in this predictament and has used his charm to get out of trouble in the past. For me, the accents and language made it difficult to understand what the actors were saying. Like in silent films, I relied on the actions of the actors and the music to understand the story being presented. The opulent setting, formal dress, even the concept of being a playboy are in line with the escapist themes of Depression-era films. The public can make fun of the wealthy, take a break from the struggle of trying to get by in their daily lives.
  14. The interaction between characters in the boat scene is what could be deemed a “proper” courtship. He obviously wants to take things further with her, but is respectful and does not make any physical advances. In a pre-code world, with the two of them alone on a boat on a moonlit night, they might have been all over each other—or a little more forward in their advances. The saloon scene perpetuates the idea of “loose women” not being worthy of a man’s attention. The saloon girls were all over the Mountie, but he rebuked their advances and ran after the “good girl.
  15. I could watch Gene Kelly on a loop 24/7, especially “Summer Stock”. Gene dancing on a newspaper is terrific. And Judy’s “Get Happy” routine is iconic. “The Harvey Girls” is another favorite- I love Angela Lansbury’s sass. And “In The Good Old Summertime” is a favorite for Christmastime. I love the cameo by little Liza Minnelli at the end.

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