Classics Lifer

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  1. The song needed to be sung in the fashion it was, intimate and conversational. It would have lost it’s meaning had it been more theatrical and expressive. We connect with Fanny emotionally as she draws us in, we see her heart and thoughts through the lyrics. She is center stage and he is in background yet intensely listening; she begins to touch railings and closes her eyes while facing him. These actions seem to be her directed toward him. He begins to smile as if he agrees and she has made her case. It is much more intimate than the spacing seems on camera. The blocking of the scene causes us to focus on Fanny. Nicky remains in th background, giving us the space to see her true emotion as he sees her for the first time as a lady and not a performer. He looks on as she is atop the stairs where she can be comfortable revealing her thoughts.
  2. Common themes in both Gaslight and My Fair Lady both ladies are being manipulated by the dominant male for their own interest, completely oblivious to the pain or impact it may have on the lady. Both men behaving in condescending manners at the emotional state of the lady, which they are directly responsible for. The lighting reflecting mood of the scene. Eliza is tormented by emotions, and Paula is tormented as her husband tries to convince her she is insane. Both lost their identity and become dependent on the men. Cukor allows us to connect with Eliza as the actors are supported within the scene Giving us the time to empathize with her emotionally and with he use of lighting of the set. The time of Higgin’s experiment/bet is up. He is cold and indifferent to what it means for her. Eliza is desperately trying to evoke emotion from him and angrily shows her pain. He responds coldly with chocolates and has no vested sense of his part in her fit of anger and tears, and tells her to go to bed and sleep it off as if it is only a temporary state she is found to be in.
  3. The masculine performances in musicals changes from the more alpha male role to more beta, sensitive and less aggressive than the Howard Keel type performances of the previous decade. I noticed that Robert Preston performance in both roles he is less a perfect voice and dancer, and more of the story teller. He speak sings his lines without belting out operatic songs. He captures his audience and uses his gestures as much as the expression in both performances as any of the song and dance numbers in the previous musicals. Mostly I have noticed in his other films that his method has wider use of expressions, confident mannerism, subtle presence, and his body language helping to tell his story outside of dialogue.
  4. This scene is reminiscent of the to “backstage” musicals and vaudeville. The premise and costumes reflect the earlier movies in the beginning of the musical age. It was disruptive of the Code and looks ahead to how more risqué performances will be common in the coming years, and musical genre othe will seem to meld over time. Rosalind Russell’s entrance draws all attention to herself, even taking away from her girls - mainly baby June and begins ordering musicians and lighting. She is singleminded headstrong and rolls over anyone who would interfere. She is an over the top stage mother. The song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene has the innocence from a young girl performance, but with the double meaning may lead to an underlying innuendo that would be suggestive to adults, while being virtually unknown to the child singing and entertaining the audience.
  5. 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? Yes, the stylized approach gives the contrast of Jerry Mulligan’s “real life” scenes and the fantasy ballet ending. The artistic undertones help the audience accept the setting is Paris and that he is in the art district of the city. Jerry surveys the other artists work and goes about his walk in a energetic upbeat fashion even though we are shown in the conversation with Milo he is nearly broke asking for a cigarette because doesn’t have the money for them. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I don’t agree that he is completely unlikeable in the scene as he has respectful friendly interaction with the fellow artists along his daily walk to display his paintings. We are shown he is just an average guy trying to make something of himself through his art. He is not confident when he is speaking about his art with Milo, surprised that she wants to buy two paintings and for the amount she offered. Yet his comment at the car was a bit off the cuff, making him appear a bit cocky. He is defensive with the art student as she is only there to critique his work as in a classroom or museum setting. She has a bit of a “know it all” attitude as someone that isnt’ living within the culture of Paris, but for the purpose of saying she experienced culture of Paris.
  6. The pre-dance movements of Kelly and OConnor are rhythmic, fluid and synchronized. They begin repeating the tongue twisters rhythmically, drumming on the table, and step in rhythm together while playing off each other. It all plays directly into the transition to the musical number. As the straight man he becomes the contrast to the scene and further on in he scene becomes a prop. He remains straight faced and stiff through the entire dance scene from bending back on his desk to seated while given the “lesson” from Kelly and OConnor. And even as they trash his classroom, he remains the straight man. The professor plays the academic nerdy even “prissy” role. He is serious, and appears to be the weaker of the three. He is silly able to be manipulated and ridiculed, while used as the comedy relief for them. OConnor is the sidekick who is a goof off, class clown and disrupter who leads Kelly into participating in his playful mocking and disruption. He has the appearance of the weaker one as most sidekicks usually are cast. Kelly is the leading man strong and masculine, who isn’t completely sold on the whole vocal coach plan for the talkie transition, and as such he is easily able to join in the “fun”. As the scene progresses, he becomes the strong representative of Alpha male and OConnor becomes the less dominant male.
  7. We saw Doris Day as Calamity Jane depicted very independent, masculine - wearing pants, “one of the boys”, riding the horse like a man, yet still the men felt they could laugh at her, and didn’t take her serious as a woman. This is very different than the representation of women in the 1950’s. Later she began to transform and appeared more feminine, but remains true to herself. To get her man, she had to soften the edges. Doris Day’s roles in the 1950s were carefree, upbeat and wholesome. She perfectly portrayed the tomboy, sweetheart of the romantic comedies, fit perfectly in a musical, and showed versatility in the serious roles later. Her bright and sunny persona added to the role of Calamity Jane. It added to the fun for the audience watching as the musical was meant to. The role wouldn’t have worked without it. She brought an enjoyment to the story apart from the tomboy gets her man in the end.
  8. They are equally important as an ensemble. The costumes were everyday suits and dress, nothing stood out or was extreme and decorative or “flashy”. No one is the star or focus of the scene. The scene showcased each of their talents.
  9. 1. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? The song is meant to be a prayer, and no matter what she is doing she is dedicated and committed to her husband, whether it is chores or caring for him at his bedside, praying for his recovery. Her relationship is devotion to him 100%. 2. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? The song would have been sung for a child in a different manner but the lyric would need to be changed as it was sung from the perspective of a wife for her husband. The relief of the them being okay would be the same for any loved one. This song is meant for the love of a woman for her man. 3. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era?. There were discrimination issues at the time of this film, however Hollywood was able to show a black cast and story line being able to hold it’s own apart from the stereotypes of the day. There were black Americans serving in during the war and contributed to the effort and the entertainment of the culture shines through in this film and was very timely for the period.
  10. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The Wizard of Oz was the first Judy Garland film I ever watched, as a child. I adored her, she was believable as Dorothy. I loved every song and every moment of the film. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? After viewing both clips I have a greater appreciation for her dancing. Judy was able to capture the attention from her partners in both scenes, naturally complementing them, yet able to make it appear effortless while keeping up both of with them. 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? A Star is Born was perfectly matched to her talent and when she sang The Man that Got Away, it was easy to feel the emotion of the song. Her performance showcased her storytelling ability at it’s best.
  11. 1. 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. We see the past presidents portraits as Cohan ascends the stairway, the flags - down to the one on Cohan’s lapel. There are pictures of ships & nautical items around the office, possibly that could are representative of the past victories the country had. The intimate meeting with the president is complete patriotism and nationalism that would be a setting to boost the morale of the movie audience. 2. 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. At the beginning of the clip, the WH butler begins telling Cohan how he wanted to see him again - how 37 years ago Teddy Roosevelt got him in to see his performance... “you was singin’ and dancin’ all about the grand ol’ flag.” Cohan answers “it was a good old song in it’s day” and the butler answers, “yes sir it was, and it’s just as good today as it ever was.” Cohan and FDR discuss his portrayal of the president in his new show and what the press has said, Cohan mentions being nervous, and in this we’re shown he is like an average man and meeting the president, giving the audience the idea it could be them. As they talked FDR mentioned remembering Cohan and his family, the Four Cohans, during the time he was attending school near Boston. Cohan says, "I was a pretty cocky kid back in those days, a pretty cocky kid, a real Yankee Doodle Dandy...always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." FDR: “I hope you haven’t out grown that habit.” Cohan: “not a chance.” FDR: “that’s one thing I’ve always admired about you Irish Americans - you carry your love of country like a flag right out in the open, a great quality." Cohan, "I inherited that, got that from my father, he ran away to the Civil War when he was 13, the proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts." FDR: “You’ve spent your life telling the other 47 sates what a great country it is... We are taken into his story, a parade, patriotic music playing and flags waving as soldiers go marching by. 3. 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. The story had to open at the end to draw the audience in and show why Cohan was a true patriot and the key role he played in providing patriotic songs and support to the country in the past. The audience needs to appreciate his life and why as it applies to the time period. It reinforces the need for patriotism with what the country was facing in WWII, at the time of their meeting.
  12. 1. I didn’t find as much battle of the sexes but more a complimentary dance scene. Rogers definitely showed more equality with Astaire in this dance. 2. Rogers is a woman on her own when she meets Astaire, and is seen more independent than the other films. She is seen in a strong female role here, and the presentation of the dances & songs feel more part of the story, freer flowing through the film than the others this week. 3. Women were taking on more roles usually for men in the culture at this period of time, and Hollywood began to portray those situations more than in the earlier films of the era. As women became more independent and self sufficient the roles reversed possibly more in screwball comedies, as a way to sway opinion and make it more acceptable, but maybe also for a bit humor and tongue in cheek.
  13. We hear the lovers arguing as the scene begins before entering. There is the play on sexuality throughout the scene. We are aware without seeing the bedroom there is cheating going on, and Maurice Chevalier speaking to the audience as he is the only one who can see them. He states to us “she’s jealous” and “her husband”, with humor, translating for us. She is married and jealous of him cheating, the garter in his hand, her garters she reveals lifting her dress that suggests it isn’t’t hers. There is no surprise about the gun, and the number of them in the drawer adds comedy. Maurice appears to know it was blank shot and shows no concern nor shock as her husband rushes to her after hearing the shot. Maurice being the playboy can handle the difficult zipper, the husband can’t. The sound of the arguing behind the door, the husband banging on the door, the crowds gathering outside add to the scene effectiveness. The humor and carefree lives of the upperclass and wealthy, poking fun at high society are perfect escapes for the depression era. The costumes and music add to the fun of the movie goers experience.
  14. The first scene MacDonald represents a “good girl” - she keeps her back to him, makes no eye contact while Eddy is “an honorable man” and we are to draw that conclusion being he is a Mountie. He is trying to be romantic and his flirtation seems unrequited, yet she has interest in him and since he can’t see her facial expressions he continues to try. The second scene MacDonald is very much out of her element and extremely uncomfortable in the saloon. The “bad” girl or salon entertainer puts her in the position of being even more awkward than when she tries to sing for the patrons. Eddy makes eye contact when he arrives and as he sits to enjoy female company in the saloon he notices MacDonald seems humiliated, and when she leaves abruptly in embarrassment he leaves to check on her - typical man rescuing the damsel in distress (very much the view of female/male relationships during the period of Hollywood code). I do not recall any other movies with these actors, although I am sure I probably have being a classic movie/musical fan. In movies of this era, the romantic relationships were portrayed as chasted, wholesome, and restrained. The norms supported under the Hollywood Code were that the females were to be shown as modest, virginal, maidenly, and innocent. While the males were completely at liberty to be flirtatious, and seduce, and free to be the naughty or a bad boy.
  15. 1) I do agree that the clip has brighter perspective than life was at the time for the movie going audience. Ziegfeld displayed wealth and not at all worried about extravagance, from to the tip for the attendant, or the flowers for Held in her dressing room. The audience at the theater performance appears to be wealthy, dressed in elegant gowns, suits, jewelry etc. 2) An optimistic, hopeful, fun and lighthearted theme would be expected in other depression era films from viewing this clip. The approach of life being happy and carefree with frivolity and extravagant lavish spending. 3) Precode I would have expected the costume to be more risqué, the song would have probably been a little more provocative and a little less playful in lyric. She would have been more overt with regard flowers and their meaning from a man she didn’t know but was intrigued by the gesture.

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