BeckyZ

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About BeckyZ

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  1. What I like about 1776 is how it shows the frustrations and compromises that had to be made to agree on the Declaration of Independence. John Adams balancing his passion for breaking with England and his passion for his wife is portrayed quite well. This musical gives human faces to historical figures. I would assume that seeing Hamilton, the play that has taken Broadway by storm, would also not be on your bucket list as it is about the same time period.
  2. Like everyone else my first Judy Garland film was Wizard of Oz. What’s interesting g to me is that although I’ve seen this movie many times, it wasn’t until this class that I really considered it a musical! I’m not sure why that is, since there is singing and dancing in it! After watching the clips and listening to the podcast, I really noticed the joy that Judy Garland brought to her performances. She is fully involved with each scene and her singing and acting seem believable because it appears so effortless, as if she is not acting at all. Another thing I notice$ is how she captures the focus of the audience, no matter who her co-star is. Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were legendary dancers even at this point in their careers yet the eye is repeatedly drawn to Judy!
  3. The opening scenes in Yankee Doodle Dandy set a patriotic tone by having George M. Cohan, a successful actor know for patriotism, being escorted in to see the President in the White House.As he ascends the stairs he passes large portraits of previous presidents, a subtle reminder of the country’s history. The fact that the butler stays late to be there when Mr. Cohan arrives gives the feeling that all Americans are important, and that it crosses class lines. They talk together as equals, just as Cohan and Roosevelt do. The idea that “all men are created equal”as established by the founding fathers is represented in this short scene. The dialogue makes constant reference to patriotism, whether it is Cohan and the President talking amiably about who the “better Presidents” was, or references to the melting pot that makes up the United States. Cohan referring to himself as a real “Yankee Doodle Dandy” from the time he was quite young is another. The opening scene would not be as effective if it had begun with the parade. By starting with an older George M. Cohan and reflecting back, it allows the the audience to see that patriotism had been a part of Cohan’s whole life. It was a nice connection to have the reflection begin with a parade and have the end of the movie show the older Cohan join the parade with soldiers who were heading off to war. The opening of the movie in the White House also demonstrated how everyone had a part to play in the war effort, not just those young men who were fighting the enemy.
  4. As to the battle of the sexes, Ginger Rogers holds her own in their “duel” withou speaking a word. She not only answers his dance challenge, but initiates her own where he must answer. At one point they appear to be ballroom dancing without touching- no one necessarily leading. This is different from the movies we have seen up to this point because they aren’t “in a show”.The singing and dancing move the plot, not just complement it. Women were moving outside their roles as housewives and joining the workforce, working side by side with men in order to help feed their families during the Depression. Top Hat puts the characters on a more even footing. The movie did do its job of distracting viewers with the huge, opulent sets, beautiful clothes and perfect manners.
  5. The use of close-ups of the gun, the garter and the drawer, along with Chevalier’s facial expressions in reaction to things going on in the storyline actually gave me a feeling of watching a silent movie that had sound added. This could also be due to the fact that the majority if the dialogue was in French, so I was looking for visual cues to understand what is going on. The music is noticeable as well, which is also a silent film staple. i would expect the element of the likeable but obviously “bad boy” role to be found in other depression era films. As with other films discussed, the fact that these are wealthy people in rather opulent homes is another depression era standard idea.
  6. 1. There is a definite attraction between the two characters, with Eddy’s character being much more open about this attraction and McDonald’s character trying to act disinterested but failing to do so. Her reaction when he admits to using tIs song with any girl with a 3 syllable name gives her away. 2.i have to nay seen brief clips of these two actors, and they are always singing. 3. Relationships of this era seem stereotypical. Men could play around until they fall in love and then they stay true. Women were either good or bad-and it was the good girl who got the man.
  7. If I had to limit my choices it would probably be “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Oklahoma” and “White Christmas”. When I watch these today I usually have my tablet nearby, looking the movie up on Imbd, reading the trivia and looking for the “goofs” they list. Since I’ve watched them so often I also find myself keying in on the m8 or characters, chorus members or back row dancers. The level of talent is amazing!
  8. This clip definitely gives a brighter perspective of life than might be expected. The theater is filled with well dressed ladies and gentlemen, something probably not common during the Depression. The large bouquet of orchids was also quite ostentatious and would have been a frivolous waste of money. The fact that she sings “come and play with me” gives the feeling of having no cares, definitely not the reality of the time. It gives the audience a chance to escape the reality of their lives for a bit. The theme of two well off gentlemen vying for attention of a beautiful lady is a theme I would expect to be repeated in other Depression era musicals. I would also anticipate that women would be employed in musicals of this time, not only as minor domestic characters, but in major roles. If this had been made in the pre-code era, I would expect to see a lot more flesh in the dressing room scene. Also, as the main character was supposed to be a French actress who was all the rage, I think she would have had much more revealing costumes. Held sings “come play with me” which could have been quite bawdy rather than the more innocent rendition she gives.
  9. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love musicals! Growing up outside Dayton, Ohio, we were blessed to have summer stock theater productions every year. My family would see at least 2 productions each summer. I can remember babysitting in the late 1960s/early 1970s when musicals were fairly standard late night entertainment on TV- couldn’t wait to put the kids to bed! Some of my favorites are Oklahoma, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Pippin, White Christmas, Guys and Dolls and of course Singin’ In the Rain. I teach high school English and greet each class with a rendition of “Good Mornin” on a daily basis! School’s out and I’m looking forward to spending the next month as a student in this class!

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