KWiniarski

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  1. 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? Things are definitely changing. In the past there was either the alpha male or the sidekick beta. Now it seems like things are becoming more true to life. There aren't just two types of men. The mold is being broken. You also have rebellious Elvis and then Preston's character in Victor/Victoria, where he's more complex. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He's brilliant in both. These clips really show his versatility as a actor. Even though he's trying to cheat people in The Music Man, he still has this honesty about him..a genuine quality underneath. The same can be said for Victor/Victoria. He has this confidence about him and you can't help but like him. 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 I haven't seen him in anything else, but now I'm more curious to!
  2. 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? I don't think so. The contrast between the real world and the fantasy makes complete sense. It also makes the fantasy really pop when we get to that point. If the ballet was muted and more realistic, it wouldn't make sense as a fantasy. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? The way he dismisses the college girl is pretty funny actually. He's kind of snotty, but she's pretty smug to begin with, so I don't like her anyway. That's why I like that he is so dismissive of her and her ideas. He also starts the scene with being really friendly to the other artists on the street, which shows that he takes an interest in them and already knows them. He begins the scene likable, where the student does not.
  3. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Before they start dancing, they are already starting to bob and draw out words, somewhere between speaking and singing. It helps lead us smoothly into the song and dance, so that we don't question that's where it was going all along. The moves before and during the song match really well with their personalities. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The straight man is a great tactic that I never really thought about before. He acts to make the whole scene even funnier because his facial expressions show us what the audience could be thinking--look at these crazy dancing guys, what is even happening right now? Haha. He's also honestly good as a prop for them to manipulate and move around. He gives them someone to play to. He is their audience. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? The straight man is the proper one. He is wearing a suit and represents a professional and proper person. Gene and Donald are both just super fun. While they pretty much dance the same steps, Gene is always the masculine man {with the muscles} while Donald is the comedic one and much leaner. They play really well off each other and each showcase how spectacularly talented they are.
  4. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? I think she is almost in her own category (maybe with Betty Hutton's Annie, but I haven't seen that one. I don't find her as pleasant to watch as Doris Day just from the clips I've seen her in from Annie Get Your Gun). Calamity is a complex character, which I love.. she's definitely not a one dimensional woman like so many other characters at the time (like the naive blonde and streetwise brunette of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). She grows throughout the film. She is more gruff to begin with and very much prideful in being able to shoot and do her job. I don't think her evolution to bring in a bit of femininity is to "please her man" I think it's within her and falling in love with him brings it out a bit more, but she doesn't lose who she is. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I haven't really seen much of what she did before this film, but I have seen some of the stuff she did after. This movie shows her comedic abilities, even though I think they're a bit underutilized in her later movies. She is great with physical comedy here, but also in her line delivery. I love her the most in Calamity Jane because it's a unique role for her. Her other movies don't really seem to show everything that she can do. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. I think it definitely adds to the character. Also, she's not just sunny, she displays other emotions, especially frustration.. with Bill, the other men in town and being accepted. Her energy and optimism show through really well and acts to further show the complexity of the character.
  5. 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? The four characters each get a turn singing alone at the beginning, but then sing together for majority of the remainder of the song. This sets them up as equals and they play together in different gags, such as Astaire catching the handkerchief or the lighting of the cigarette. Most of the early musicals feature just one or two people singing and usually the main focus is only on one of them. The early musicals also really showcase the talents of those in the numbers. In this number, the dancing and singing are relatively simple {except the part that Levant steps out for}. There doesn't need to be a huge range of talent to get through either of those things for the most part, so even if you're not a strong singer or dancer like Oscar Levant, it doesn't matter in the scope of this number. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Their outfits are more like everyday clothing instead of fancy costumes. They are wearing the normal attire for their characters with Astaire and Levant in suits, Buchanan in nice pants and more of a casual/robe-like top and Fabray in a cute, but still simple, skirt and shirt. None of them are wearing anything fancy or flashy that makes them stand out from the others. This helps show them as a single unit. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? They are all very playful together. It's really fun to watch. Levant is more of the comic and does more of the gag work in the number, while the others are stronger dancers. The personalities of their characters really shine through their facial expressions and how they react to each other.
  6. First of all, I adore these two together and love that Betty is the aggressor. I think they are cute and it works really well with Frank's character both in this movie and On the Town. He is the shy one both compared to Betty and to Gene Kelly. This is true of Gene and Frank in Anchors Aweigh also.. they are played as opposites. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. This scene is awesome for that. The camera work follows them really well and I love how it switches when she backs him up against the wall. It highlights her hand before she knocks. The wider shot that pans up as she chases him up the bleachers is also great. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The music increasing in intensity as she chases him outside lets us know a song is coming.
  7. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? Of course, it has to be The Wizard of Oz for me too. It's hard to remember exact impressions because I was a little girl, but her voice was amazing. She always had this voice so much bigger and richer than you would think it'd be. Her wanting to be a part of the farm and how she tried to stress the importance of her problems to her aunt and uncle is very relatable for a kid. The flying monkeys were also terrifying for a kid haha. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I know a lot about her and have researched her extensively for a finished, but yet unpublished, book. I've seen these movies and many others, so it doesn't change my view, but for people that have only seen Oz, I can see how it would! She is hilarious and grew so much as an actress as she got older. She had a huge range of talents, not just her singing, which is phenomenal. She could learn dance steps like no one's business and her comedic timing was impeccable. 3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric? So many.. the first thing I thought of was the song, "Mack the Black" from The Pirate. Such a great clip! She's funny, spunky and tells a story. That whole movie, she does so well, especially considering how rough her life was at the time. Summer Stock is also great. "Get Happy" and "Friendly Star" are not only great songs, but they further the story and "Friendly Star" tells you that she's interested in Gene Kelly's character and not so sure about her current fiance. The dance she and Kelly do at the barn dance is also great for showing how talented of a dancer she was. She can match him so well! It's so fun to watch!
  8. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. There are portraits of presidents as he's walking up the stairs to see FDR in the beginning. Then, when it switches to the past, there are American flags everywhere. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. They talk at the beginning about it being a great country and how Cohan was always telling people how great it was. Cohan says he was, "always carrying a flag." FDR says, "You carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open." Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. By starting with the scene with the president, it helps us have an interest in who this man was. He must have done something important with his life to gain this kind of honor. It inspires us to want to watch more of the movie to find out why. It gives additional detail about this man. If we started with the parade scene, you would have no idea really what was going on.
  9. I would love to have cable and TCM, but it's too expensive for me right now. I know when I looked into before, I had to go up at least one tier to even get the channel as it wasn't available with the basic package. A few of these movies are available online to watch for free, but I wonder about these sites and the playback isn't always the best. The site I found Born to Dance on keeps freezing and the one I found The Broadway Melody on is just kind of irritating.. ha. Luckily, I have both Top Hat and The Wizard of Oz anyway, so I just rewatched my own copies. I'm sad about missing out on all the others that are being shown on TCM this week though.
  10. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? As it begins, she walks away from him, trying to show him that she's not impressed with his singing and is attempting to resist him or convince him that she's not interested. Had it not been raining, maybe she'd have walked away entirely. The dance battle is brilliant. I don't see it as her following him or him in control. I see it as her rising to meet the challenge of his steps. She shows she's just as good as he is by duplicating the steps perfectly. It actually reminds me of the barn dance scene from Summer Stock where Gene Kelly and Judy Garland essentially do the same thing, except Fred and Ginger do most of the steps together instead of one after the other. She shows him how strong of a dancer she is also. Ginger's attitude when she gets up to follow him also seems like she's mimicking and almost making fun of him. She has this look on her face. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? I feel like Ginger's character is stronger in a way. She's more independent and this dance shows her as an equal. She also doesn't need a man to take care of her. She has an established job. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? I think that because of the Depression, women were now starting to work a bit more and needed to help build security for their families. Ginger is definitely her own woman. The worries in society were overwhelming at the time and people saw musicals as an escape. The fact that Ginger's character is secure and doesn't need to worry about those problems is something that people would have been able to escape into.
  11. For me, I agree with more of what people have already said. I thought that Eleanor Powell was definitely smoother and more graceful of a dancer, but Ruby Keeler was a bit more powerful in her steps. I found Keeler more interesting to watch even though she didn't move around as much. I enjoyed watching her hit steps hard while Powell was just kind of flitting about. There was a grace to Powell, but I didn't like it as much. Probably makes sense for me because I really enjoy watching Ann Miller, who was also very powerful in her steps.
  12. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? The addition of the garter not belonging to the woman that he's currently with shows that he has more than one woman that he's fooling around with. He also has a fancy place which shows his wealth. By the husband coming in, it shows that not only does this man have multiple women, but he sleeps with married ones. At the end, him needing to report to the queen further demonstrates his importance though I didn't catch the extent of what that importance was. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. The gun going off twice, but not actually shooting anyone was interesting. It shows that it perhaps has blanks in it? Just for her to fake it, I guess. Their argument at the beginning that we only hear was also intriguing and made me want to know more about their relationship. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The use of the suggestion of sex without needing to be direct about it I think will be in other musicals as well. The use of wealth as an escape for the audience will also continue to be a theme.
  13. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first clip, they're definitely flirting, but trying to give the other a hard time at the same time. Her with her other suitor and him with using the same song for every girl. They like each other, but are a bit apprehensive at the same time. In the second clip, the attraction is still obvious with him trying to give her sympathetic smiles and her being embarrassed about her performance. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them I know I recognize both of the names, but haven't actually seen them act before. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? The man is the persuer and the woman is the one to win, but she still makes it difficult for him.
  14. I really enjoyed seeing this clip of these two again. I think MGM kept Judy because she was a cute kid with a huge range in her voice. It was obvious that she would be good for musicals and she still looked like a kid so they would be able to use her that way. Even at a young age, it was obvious that Deanna was going to look like a leading lady, but she wasn't as good of a singer, in my opinion. Judy was gorgeous as she grew up too, but at this age, she would make a great addition to Mickey Rooney's movies. She fit the style of MGM.
  15. I've really tried to like Funny Face since I love both Fred and Audrey, but I really don't either. I agree about Daddy Long Legs. It has a weird story to me. I also really don't care for West Side Story.. again mostly the storyline. I want a happy ending to my musicals.

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