B. Schmidt

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  1. The common theme of "being forced to act like someone she's not" is found, not only in MY FAIR LADY but also in Gypsy. Both of the Girls/women are living under the influence of 'dictators', Eliza with Higgins and Gypsy with Mama Rose. Eliza was changed into someone who was out of her element. She wasn't fit to live in an elite society and she couldn't go back to being who she was after seeing and experiencing a better way of life. The action of turning off the light indicates an end to her 'charade'. Her downcast eyes and the wringing of her hands express her despair and worry. She is not who the "red cape" would show her to be: bold and confident in her own skin. Gypsy quietly excepted everything her mother did and said. She was seen as the daughter with no talent, dressed in boy's clothes and never felt worthy. Her sister was always dressed well and treated like a princess, always in the spotlight because she was, in fact, the bread winner for the family. She was needed. In this scene Eliza is dressed for high society; a beautiful dress, overstated jewelry and even a tiara fit for a queen. She should feel regal, not dejected. Just as Gypsy, putting on the blue dress to go off to do something she doesn't want to do, looks in the mirror and begins to see who she is, pretty. The realization of what's on the outside isn't always what's on the inside. The relationship between Eliza and Higgins seems more of a guardian to his ward as he never really raises his voice or shouts at her. He never shows compassion either. His pat on her shoulder and his offer of chocolates to appease her indicates a more platonic relationship, not one of a suitor who would take her in his arms and sooth her.
  2. O'Conner and Kelly's pre-dance movements are in time with the tongue twister they are reciting. The rhythm of the "twister" gives the dance its rhythm and energy. Bobby Watson, the professor, seems to be used as a stage prop in this number; the curtain over his face, being pushed around to the chair, ignored as if not even in the room, having a chair placed on top of him along with books, a blanket, a lamp, a shade, a waste basket and a sign from his wall. Perhaps this was a statement about how they felt about his training. The professor comes across as a "powder puff", not lifting a finger as he is being tormented. Donald O'Conner's slight build makes him right for the buddy type, not highly muscular even though he is a tremendous dancer, full of energy and precision. Gene Kelly is more muscular in build and exudes a more dominant and powerful form on screen; he is the one standing on the chair before the dance starts and pulls the professor back, covering him with the drape. He's in charge of the whole ruckus, with the poor professor to meekly look on to the "destruction of his office.
  3. I believe the movie tells the story about a regular guy going through his day-to-day life and the motions of living and trying to become a legitimate painter. As he does this, his love for Caron is growing. Through her support he becomes better. The story builds to the end where she turns away form him and he fantasizes about how life might be with her and the ballet begins-a fantasy that becomes real at the end. Jerry Mulligan seems to be an honest person at this point, amiable with those he sees on the street until the 3rd year student comes along and criticizes his paintings, unsolicited. He mentions not knowing the worth of his paintings and even asks his patron, " Are you sure you know what you're doing?" when she buys his paintings
  4. Looking back there was the use of many people on stage in all sorts of costumes, in various colors, the use of assorted camera angles-here, following Russell's entrance down the aisle and up on the stage in wide shots and in close ups. Bringing in the vaudeville theme to show acts just starting out, was a classical subject matter. Looking ahead, Russell's character alone is filled with disruption-how she stops the performers, the orchestra, bullies the director and manager of the show, and tells the lighting director how it should be done. Russell's demeanor is one of confidence and authority. her carriage is **** and forceful, showing a take-charge attitude. She looks to be comfortable in her skin and performs as such. She speaks from the stage like she has heard many directors before, perhaps in performances she has done. Her use of facial expression to put over her disgust with the manager underlines her character. She felt so comfortable on stage she even did a little soft shoe for a second. As the song, "Let me Entertain You" is done by 2 young kids, I don't find anything edgy, however, the use of "do some kicks and tricks", might lead to something a little less innocent, as we know in the later part of the movie. As a disruption, the film may have been pointed at a younger audience as the movie deals with more adult subject matter-burlesque and what that entails. This wasn't a "feel good" musical as it is filled with Mama Rose's brash character and her control of all that she can control including her daughters' lives.
  5. Looking back especially to the 40's and 50's, men portrayed strong masculinity, wanting to be in charge or to take charge. They were men's men so to speak-the suave, debonair, lady's man like Fred Astaire and the rough and tumble character of Nelson Eddy in the 30's, then the strong, viral types like Gene Kelly and James Cagney in the 40's to Howard Keel, Gene Kelly and Gordon McRae in the 50's. In the clips, Robert Preston brings a more sensitive side to the "role " of man. Not rough and tumble, but mindful of others. Not focused on the ladies, but focused on living life in a more gentle way, allowing others to take charge. He doesn't have the physique of a muscle man, but uses hand gestures and facial expressions to get his point across. His character plants doubt and fear in the minds of the town's people by his words, not by what he does. In the same way, he plants the image of a "gay man" in the minds of the people in Victor/Victoria. He shows a gentleness and softer side of man. He doesn't "belt out" a song or muscle through a dance number I haven't seen his movies, but searched and found a couple of scenes he was in. He seems very genuine in whatever role he plays. It would seem he studies the character in depth, then askes himself, if he was that person, how would he act or respond to whatever situation he encountered, being mindful of who the other characters are and, perhaps, what they are thinking or feeling.

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