dwking31

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  1. 1. Preston plays Harold Hill and Toddy as more of the common man. It was rare in earlier musicals for the male lead to be a common man-frequently they were stars, gamblers or other special types. Here we have a salesman and a garden variety nightclub singer, both of whom were played in an understated fashion. 2. In both clips, Preston moves about with ease. There is a natural flow to his movements. Even when he ducks the punch in the clip from Victor/Victoria, he does it fluidly. 3. I have only seen him in two non-musicals: Reap the Wild Wind and The Last Starfighter. He is not the star of either movie. However, that amazing voice never goes unnoticed.
  2. I have always viewed this film as a fantasy of sorts, a deliberately stylized version of what Americans viewed as the Parisian way of life in the post WWII era. I suspect that the ballet sequence at the end of this film inspired the "Broadway Melody" fantasy sequence in Singing In The Rain the following year with Kelly and Cyd Charisse. Gene Kelly had a certain charm, or charisma if you will, that made his characters likeable, no matter how much the writers tried to make them otherwise. If you think Jerry Mulligan acts unlikeable in this clip, try him as E.K. Hornbeck (a fictionalized H.L. Mencken) in Inherit The Wind. No matter what, that charm always works.
  3. 1. The pre-dance movements are asynchronous, as Kelly remains rather stationary while O'Connor moves around, first to the professor's side, then behind him. Kelly plays is straight while O'Connor is a smart aleck (which is the role I play in real life). All of this leads to the dance sequence, which is so very synchronous that at times, you are seeing four arms and four legs moving together as a unit. 2. At first the professor thinks he's part of the action. He seems to preen a little as O'Connor and Kelly pretend to take the elocution lesson seriously. As they untie his tie and begin to dance and lead him around, the professor looks a little worried. Finally he looks defeated, before the lampshade covers his head. 3. The elocutionist is a stereotypical representation of the 1950s professor. In one word, an egghead. Kelly is a leading man, playing a leading man with all of the characteristics that accompany a leading man. O'Connor is in between. A smart aleck, class clown type, who keeps himself important by making others laugh.
  4. 1. As the country moved past the need for strong women in the WWII era (think Rosie the Riveter), women's roles became softer and sweeter-except for Doris Day in Calamity Jane. Although the character evolves in the film from the tomboy to a strong but more feminine woman, as evidenced in the two clips, we still see Doris day as the equal to any man character. 2. In my opinion,much of Doris Day's career consisted of light but entertaining comedies, like Lullaby of Broadway which preceeded Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk, which followed years later. The one exception, where she played drama and played it brilliantly, was Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. That and Calamity Jane were her best roles. 3. I'm not sure that anyone other than the bright, sunny Doris Day could have played Calamity Jane as well or as endearingly.
  5. 1. As others have said, the scene was very fluid, remarkably so because I suspect that Astaire had to restrain himself to keep his dancing in line with the others. I did notice that in the brief part where the dancing got more complicated, Levant went off screen, then came back to add his comedic routines to the action. 2. Astaire and Buchanan were in various shades of blue; Levant and Fabray were in gray. Nothing was glitzy or glamorous. 3. What came to mind was the way they moved together like a unit and also finished each others lines in the song.
  6. 1. The focus in the first part of the scene is on Petunia's face, which is highly expressive. It conveys a deep love for her husband, in spite of all his foibles. The dark background allows the viewer to focus on that face, without distraction. There are some minor sidelights-the one that caught my attention was where Little Joe rubs Petunia's hand as she's singing, signifying that he appreciates her love and shares it. When we move to the laundry scene, the song remains the same, Little Joe is watching in appreciation again, but the background is light. The whole scene projects the ideal that Petunia loves Little Joe in darkness and light. 2. I'm of the opinion that the scene would have been completely different if a child was involved. There was a palpable lightness in Petunia's singing, which I don't believe would have been present. A mother's love is a whole different and much deeper kind of love. 3. The 40s were not exactly prime-time for African-Americans, so having a movie that cast a positive viewpoint of African-Americans was an important start. The film also left us with the impression that life was the same for all races and ethnicities, a bold concept for its time.
  7. 1. I didn't think the scene was a dance number per se, but the combination of choreography, directing and editing was flat out amazing. Each move was carefully planned, perfectly executed and superbly filmed. One example (out of many) was when Sinatra was backed into a wall, allowing Garrett to capture him while conveniently having a wooden rail behind Sinatra so she could knock on it in sync with the lyric of the song. 2. Not much of a segue into the song here, in my opinion. As an aside, when I saw Garrett chasing Sinatra, I was reminded of the Looney Toons scenes when Pepe LePew would chase some poor black cat who had been painted with a white stripe. The cat moves out of fear, while Pepe jaunts along merrily.
  8. 1. Like most of my generation, the first time I saw Judy Garland was in the annual presentation of The Wizard of Oz. However, local television was kind enough to show lots of old movies in those time slots where we see talk shows today, so my next exposure was Love Finds Andy Hardy. Many others followed. Ironically, the last of her films I recall seeing was Easter Parade. 2. I don't think the two clips in our assignment changed my view of Judy Garland at all. She is/was a superstar, a term I don't use lightly. She fit perfectly and naturally into every role she played, comedy, variety, drama or melodrama. 3. In the Good Old Summertime is a musical retelling of The Shop Around The Corner, less than a decade after the original was released. However, Garland's singing will make you forget that you are seeing a familiar story in a different setting. She is magic.
  9. 1. I agree with those who have referenced the "melting pot" concept. We see the African-American butler leading the Irish-American Cohan up the steps past a gallery of Presidents while discussing "Grand Old Flag" then being led into FDR's office. Another message is what the office decor conveys. It is replete with props referencing the Navy. Consider that on the backdrop of Pearl Harbor and the message of strength that is implied. 2. What struck me most about the dialogue was Cohan's comment that an ancestor had run away at age 13 to join the Civil War and he was the "proudest kid in Massachusetts." Nothing subtle about this message. the greatest source of pride is serving your country. 3. Starting the film with the Oval office scene and then flashing back gives a special reference to the next scene in Providence, RI. It tells us why only Mr. Cohan of "Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Cohan" is performing and why he is rushing out after his show. I doubt that the meaning would have been as clear if the film started there. It was intreresting to note the fact that the cast and crew were all behind Jerry Cohan as he left the theater. The theme of unity in a time of war seems essential.
  10. 1. There are many details in the scene that may be missed, if not for the fact that the dialogue is mostly in French. Even though I understood some of the dialogue, the reality is that one has to focus on the scene visually rather than audibly. That caused me to notice some things that I might otherwise have ignored: the ornate carvings on the doors through whcih Chevalier appears; the dog sleeping on the couch next to those doors; the exquisiteness of the rolltop desk that contains the drawer full of small pistols. All of this adds up to Chevalier being a well-to-do and important man. 2. The sound that comes to mind is the sound of the first shot, followed by a crowd rushing to the place where it was fired. It reinforces the notion that we are viewing someone important. After the wife and her husband leave the room, Chevalier opens a window, where the crowd noise can still be heard. 3. The one theme that comes to mind is the depiction of the "upper crust" as having rather loose morals.
  11. 1. I was surprised at the level of chemistry between the two in the canoe scene, given the fact that, for the majority of the scene, she was looking forward and all he saw was the back of her head. What spoiled it for me was his attempt to be funny at the end. Nelson Eddy was too stiff to make a good joke. The line about "Maude" might have been better had Ms. MacDonald said it. 2. Years ago I watched a portion of a Nelson Eddy/Jeannette MacDonald movie, but gave up about 1/3 of the way through. Definitely not my cup of tea. 3. The saloon scene said much, in a short period of time. The "good girl" with the good voice is barely noticed. Then the other girl sings the song in raunchy fashion, complete with hand gestures to imply sexiness and winds up with applause and money. In the meantime the straightlaced hero, Sgt. Bruce shows he is no stranger to the saloon, its patrons or to the working girls with whom he sits.
  12. 1. Of course the scene is more lighthearted than one would have expected given the prevailing culture. It had to be. In order for a movie to succeed, the picture had to sell hope, the idea that with just a little luck, you could go from selling apples on a street corner to receiving a magnificent bouquet of orchids or giving a dorrman a five pound note as a tip. 2. This notion that luck can propel you from poverty to wealth is the underlying theme in most of the Depression-era musicals. After all, why else would you pay to see a movie in those times? 3. Most of us here agree that had The Great Ziegfeld been a pre-Code film, the bawdiness quotient would have gone from about 2 to about 8. But for me, I wonder if that would have put it out of contention for winning Best Picture?

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