Malin

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  1. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? We have the vaudeville setting with performances on a stage and someone that interrupts. A pushy parent comes through and makes sure her children gets all the spotlight. The colors are sort of earthy and nothing really stands out except for the balloons. Since I have not watched the film I don't know what will happen aside from what I've read about it and seen from this clip, and I'm thinking that when the balloon pops at the end, it's a wake up call, sort of. A prenumition to what the future might look like for the girls. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Oh, she just demands attention! She barges in and takes over, barking orders and she certainly knows how to spit out her lines. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). The lyrics definitely has double meaning depending on who sings it - if it's a child it gives them a more innocent vibe while an adult singing the song comes off more suggestive. The staging is disruptive, probably so the song won't be heard as clearly and it won't give the audience time to really reflect over the lyrics.
  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? Since the ending ballet is a fantasy, it needs the contrast of the rest of the film in order to really be portrayed as just that - a fantasy. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I honestly don't find him unlikeable at all! Quite the contrary! He greets his fellow painters, he seems to be in a good mood up until the 3rd year student comes along and only then does he show another side of himself but that's only because he knows what to expect. He's been through it before. He has the right to tell the girl off. He's honest, simple as that.
  3. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Clearly, O'Connor is not taking the lesson seriously. It's all a clue that something much bigger is about to happen, he goes from mocking the teacher by making faces to having Gene Kelly join him. In the beginning of the clip they're two people moving and talking differently, then once the music starts they create a union and from then on they're in sync. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The straight man is the source of amusement. His role is to contrast to the more sillier and mischevious by keeping a straight fact through the ordeal. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Gene Kelly represents the more masculine man and it's only when he joins in that the silly scene turns into a singing- and dance number. O'Connor is the clown that starts everything off, he's playful and an obvious sidekick. The professor represents intelligence, he's the intellectual type but he's also square and stoic.
  4. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? As I have not seen the movie I can only base my reflections on the clips I've watched for this Daily Dose. Of course Calamity Jane is very different from what can be seen in other musicals. The woman wears pants and wants to be one of the guys - it was not something that was very typical during this period of time. Still, when she discovers she is in fact in love she changes. I think perhaps it's too show that a woman still had to have pride in her looks, especially if there's a man involved. She keeps true to herself in a way but compromises with the world and adds a feminine flare to her appearance. It also ties in with the end of WWII - women during the war had to work outside of the household, they had to step in and do what their men had done in the past, and once the war was over they had to sink back into their bubble. Linked to Jane in the movie in can be read as the side she wants the men to know represents the women during the war and the side she welcomes once she discovers she's in love represents women trying to find a way to live after the war. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I have no seen many movies starring Doris Day so this is difficult for me to answer. I think I might have seen one or two. In 'The Man Who Knew Too Much', a Hitchcock movie, she's portraying a more serious character. Since it's a suspence thriller it's hard to compare it to a musical but I enjoyed her acting. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.  The real Calamity Jane has become very romantizied. The real Martha Canary's life was far from a 50's musical, she was leading a rather sad life with a drinking problem that nearly killed her, she was kind and generous, and she was a very unusual woman for her time due to the way she dressed. This film is said to only be 'loosely' based on the life of Jane and should not be taken as an actual biopic. That said, Doris Day's bright persona is quite the opposite of what one would expect Calamity Jane to act and behave. It certainly does not make Jane very realistic.
  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? They're performing as a group with each actor having their own lines in order to shine without actually standing out. When one finishes singing another continues. The dance number at 01:27 also tells of how they're all in it together - putting one foot/leg in front of the other people, battling it out until they all end up synchonized again. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. None of the colors stand out, they're all dressed in blue, grey, black and white. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? As I have not watched the film, I only know what I've learned from the Daily Dose. It is obvious that Jeffrey is trying to inspire and convince. If they stick together as a team, they can make anything happen.
  6. 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 entire clip shows Petunia's faith in God and how much she loves her husband. The cut to the laundry hanging scene tells of her dedication to the household - she doesn't mind the chores so long as her husband loves her. She's happy with life. From having been heartbroken she goes to being happy - God answered her prayers and her husband is going to be all right. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? If she was singing about a child, she would portray her emotions as more caring and nurturing, not as flirtatious as in this number. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? I think with this film, with an all African American cast, they wanted to portray a sense of unity. During WWII everyone had to stick together and by highlighting issues such as love and death, people could connect to one another despite race. By the time this movie was made, blackface was still an acceptable form of entertainment and even if the cast of the film was African American, the men behind the camera were all white. Black people were still limited (still is to this day) in terms of career choices and life. But still, I think this film was a major inspiration to black audiences simply because their cultural (albeit stereotypical) was made into a film.
  7. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. When Sinatra heads toward the turn of the corridor, Garrett is right there waiting for him in that narrow hallway. There is nowhere for him to hide. The music matches the actor's actions perfectly. When they start running, the music speeds up. Then the music stops as soon as she calls out, 'hey!'. When she sings the line, 'start playing ball with me' he tosses her the ball and once again, it adds up to the music. For some reason Ann-Margret's scene in Viva Las Vegas comes to mind - 'My Rival Is A Baby Blue Racing Car'. Garrett is obviously the more aggressive one while Sinatra tries to dodge her by at first running away and then playing along. It's similar to their roles in On The Town. 2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The music building says it all, the way it's cut off by Garrett's 'hey!' throws a lot of anticipation into the picture. She sure has something to say whether he wants to listen or not and she's not going to let him get away.
  8. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The first Garland movie I watched was THE WIZARD OF OZ. I can't remember exactly when it was, but I was young - either a kid or a young teenager. It aired on TCM and I wasn't a fan of classic movies back then but for some reason I decided to watch it. My first impression of Judy was that she looked older than I did and still she was dressed in something that I perceived as quite childish back then. And then I didn't understand why they were constantly singing in old films, it was fascinating but also annoying. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I have not watched any of Judy's films aside from THE WIZARD OF OZ but after watching these two clips, I will definitely check out more of her work. The first clip from Easter Parade impressed me. Fred Astaire is always good, but Judy stole the scene. She really knows how to use her body for comedy, her timing is perfect and her movements are more visible, evident, than Astaire's. In the second clip where she fakes her piano mastery is truly something worthy to be noted. Plus how she still keeps focused on the flirting with Gene Kelly, it's not something a lot of people would be able to pull of with such grace and make it look so easy. 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? Sadly, this is a question I can't answer because I have yet to watch any of her later movies. But I am sure it is something to look forward to.
  9. 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. The first thing I noticed was the flags. There are plenty of flags. And that the clip is set in the White House with the paintings of past Presidents by the staircase, I think that was meant to get people thinking about how much the US had been through and how big of a nation it had grown into. The 4th of July parade is another scene which promotes patriotism. 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. The clip begins with the butler mentioning the song 'Grand Old Flag' and right from the start the audience is showered with patriotism. Then FDR says, "You Irish Americans you carry your love of country like a flag right out in the open" and Cohan says, " I was a real cocky kid back in those days, a real cocky kid, a real Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." Cohan's parents are Irish immigrants and FDR shows appreciation for the Irish-Americans' patriotism to bring the country and it's people together. 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. If the construction of the movie had been different and it had opened with the 4th of July parade instead then it would have been difficult to bring the audience into the story since it was put together in a way to take you down a man's memory lane and past.
  10. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? The first thing that stands out is Ginger’s outfit. She’s not wearing a dress, she’s wearing pants which was highly unusual back then and once Fred starts to dance, she shows him up by proving that she isn’t easily impressed by his skill because she’s a dancer, too. He decides to test her dance abilities by busting a few moves and she challenges him by easily mimicking him. Although it can be viewed in a way that Fred leads the scene and Ginger is simply following, I believe it’s actually the other way around. She leads by challenging him – he wants her and she knows it. Another thing is that the number is equal in terms of showcasing their skills. Fred’s number is in no way more complicated than Ginger’s – anything he can do, she can as well. She doesn’t need to be rescued, she is no damsel in distress. 2. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? This film is toned down a little in terms of flashy details. There is still wealthy people present with so much money the audiences could only dream about but they’re not throwing it all around as much. The characters are slightly more believable and ‘human’. 3. 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? It reflects the importance of women. They contributed a lot and was needed in not only the films, but in the real world as well. During WWII the women couldn’t just stay home, they were needed in various fields of work. The struggles during the Depression wasn’t reserved only for the men but women suffered as well and needed an escape – female actresses provided that escape by playing strong women on screen. It gave women a sense of security.
  11. 1. 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)? Even if one doesn’t understand the language, it’s still very easy to understand what’s going on. There is the garter that shows why the woman is upset – there are other women involved with the man, the other guns in the desk that shows that it’s not the first time Chevalier deals with a similar situation and the struggle with the zipper that tells us the difference between him and the husband. Chevalier has had practice zipping up women’s dresses during all his affairs while the husband isn’t as used to helping ladies with their clothes. 2. 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 scene is highly enhanced by the use of sound. The dialogue is in French except for a few words spoken in English that clues the viewers in on what’s happening. There is the rattling of the doors that shows that someone is about to walk in on them and some actions are muted, like when Chevalier pulls out the drawer and puts the gun inside. All you hear is the dialogue between the husband and wife. 3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The concept of wealthy people’s problems and playboys, and giving the audience an opportunity to make fun of the rich and that the film is set in high society.
  12. 1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first scene it's clear that Marie isn't interested in Bruce, or at least pretends not to be. She seems a little annoyed by his contast questioning and Bruce clearly thinks (or knows) she only dates men of wealthier and more sophisticated status since he keeps asking what her cavalier does for a living. Is he a big banker? A poet? A polo player? No, he's an Italian tenor. It isn't until Bruce starts to sing that she seems to relax. That's when she truly starts to pay attention to him. Once the song comes to an end, it seems like she tries to cover up her interest by going back to playing hard to get. In the second scene, Marie simply doesn't fit in. She isn't used to that sort of a crowd. She doesn't belong there. While Bruce is clearly in his element, he knows everybody and everybody knows him. He's comfortable there. She has stepped into his world Marie doesn't give up right away when she fails to catch the crowd's attention, she keeps trying until she seems to realize she can't do it and is embarrassed that Bruce has seen her. He on the other hand seems even more taken with her in a way, he seems to admire her guts while at the same time feeling sympathy toward her. 2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I have not seen them in any other films so I cannot share my perceptions of them. 3. 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? First of all there is no physical contact between these two characters in either of the clips. Even the eye contact was kept to a minimum. They're the good, modest, decent lady and the gentleman. It's the typical story of two people that try to avoid one another only to end up together in the end. Despite the struggles of the woman, the man still wants her and despite the man not being a poet or a banker, the woman still falls for him. Then there is the bar floozy that takes over when Marie is singing - it sends a message that a good man goes after a good girl like Marie instead of paying attention to the vulgar woman that lures all the other men to fall for her.
  13. 1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? Oh yes, the clip definitely exhibits a brighter perspective of life. Money seems to be no issue in the clip – the price of the flowers is easily revealed, they were expensive and surely not something the common man would spend money on during hard times like the Depression. The same thing goes for when Ziegfeld tips the other man, he gives away the money like it’s nothing. Another thing is the dialogue. The characters know exactly what to say and they say it quickly. There is no time to stop and think, there is no time to think twice of what to say, the words are already there. The way Anna Held plays around with the mirror during her performance might also stand for an analyzation. The audience bring their hands up to protect themselves from the reflection – they could portray the common people during this era. They’re in the dark and they’re not used to the bright light that could symbolize a brighter future while the producers bask in it instead. They had money to get by, they were truly wealthy and thus lived a comfortable life despite the era – they didn’t need to worry about the future. To analyze that particular scene differently, the audience could also symbolize the average American in terms of going to the movies and watching a show. Anna Held is the ‘movie’ that makes them forget about everything else until she blinds them with the mirror and brings them back to reality. 2. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? The lighthearted dialogue is something I would think carries through this particular era as well as making sure that money is not an issue. The characters aren’t worried about the future and I think that’s a common theme. 3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. If the film had been made pre-code, the costumes would have been different. Anna Held would have shown more skin and wouldn’t have been portrayed so naively. There would have been more violence and the language would have been harsher. For example, the rivalry between Billings and Ziegfeld would have been much dirtier in terms of competition. There would have perhaps been gangsters involved. The scene were Anna Held is in her dressing room would have showed more backstage story and it would have shown her undressing. Ziegfeld would also have showed up at the dressing room instead of merely sending her flowers. It would have been much more 'hands on' where the characters went after what they wanted in a much bolder way.

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