AndPeggy

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  1. 1. I feel as if the medium of film demands a much more intimate connection between the performer and the audience, and for the performance to accurately reflect and be influenced by that demand. In this scene, there is no need for Streisand to play to the rafters, so she can afford to tone down her delivery of the song. The camera allows us to see her emotional transition through the number by zooming in on her face and keeping her in the foreground. We are in her personal space as she expresses her feelings, so belting rather than crooning would be unnecessary and would have an opposite effect; alienating the audience rather than drawing it in. 2. At the beginning of the scene, we have Sharif and Streisand discuss how their professional lives get in the way of their personal lives, and the nature of the conversation seems very nonchalant and played off as repartee, as opposed to providing any real insight into what both of them are going through emotionally. As a stage comedienne, it would be appropriate to show how Fanny Brice would - like many comedians - use her humour as a defense mechanism or as a way of deflecting any pain or loneliness she might feel. When she begins the musical number, she is playfully musing to herself, and we see Sharif's facial expressions mirroring this; their very real feelings are initially played off as a joke, and they are all bemused smiles. However, as she goes on and begins to allow herself to acknowledge the seriousness of these feelings - the idea that it's okay to want personal, human connection, to "need" someone - we see those barriers come down. With Sharif, he is no longer laughing, but is instead so totally transfixed by Streisand's vulnerability. He is in utter awe and admiration at her ability to come to a moment of self-realization so profoundly, and to allow him to be part of what is a very intimate experience. As for Streisand, it would be no surprise if she is so emotionally naked in this scene because the song isn't about Sharif; she isn't trying to convince him, but is, rather, trying to convince herself, and ultimately does. Sharif remains out of focus and in the background, as if he has disappeared and she is having this experience alone and independently. 3. As mentioned in the previous answer, we are meant to track Streisand's emotional evolution throughout the course of this song, and the camera stays squarely focused on her. While we get the occasional glimpse at Sharif, she is front and centre. The camera glides on a tracking shot, creating a dreamy, out-of-body experience. Streisand may be physically standing on a stoop in early 20th century New York, but emotionally she is floating far away.
  2. 1. Thematically, the biggest connection between the events of this scene in My Fair Lady and the film, Gaslight, is the interaction between the male and female lead characters. The term, "gaslighting", is defined as a manipulation or delegitimization of another person's feelings towards a situation, to the point where their own sanity is questioned. The latter film is the very namesake of this phenomenon. Eliza feels demeaned beyond repair at the discovery that her transformation was merely the product of a bet between Higgins and Pickering, and that the former gentleman never truly valued her as a person due to her lower social status. She is rightfully angry at Higgins and blames him for stripping her of whatever agency she had over her own future. In the world in which they inhabit, in which women have very little power that isn't dependent on their relationship with a man, while she is now above the need to sell flowers, she has still not gained any other skills that could improve her station beyond "selling herself", and thus feels trapped. Instead of acknowledging his part in putting her in this situation, Higgins only condescendingly dismisses her concerns and refuses to talk about the matter with her until she goes back to being docile and obedient, as if she were a household pet and not a person with feelings. 2/3. Cukor does an excellent job at focusing the camera's attention on Eliza and her emotional transitions in the scene. We are meant to sympathize with her, and to understand just how serious and detrimental her predicament is at this time, historically. She goes from being utterly devastated at Higgins' betrayal, sobbing by herself, to unbridled rage at his nonchalance towards her feelings, to being twisted into submission by Higgins' definition of "abuse" (because, you know, psychological torture and manipulation is totally fine when you're swimming in jewels, pretty dresses, and chocolate ), to her heartbreaking utterance of wishing she were dead. Higgins is kept in the background, behind her, as a voice whispering in her ear trying to insidiously convince her that her feelings are without merit.
  3. 1. As the movie musical is transitioning through the 1960s and beyond, we are starting to see a broadening of not only the types of male characters seen, but also the actors capable of playing them. Gone are the hard and fast categories of "alpha" and "beta" males; actors are no longer playing a vague archetype of what sort of man they "are". Instead, with the rise in popularity of various acting techniques, performances are becoming increasingly nuanced, multi-faceted, and true-to-life, even in the fantastical world of musicals. 2. The most noticeable thing about both of Preston's performances is his ability to simultaneously command and acutely connect with his audience. In The Music Man, we see him rousing the townspeople to the dangers amongst them with all of the zeal of a fire and brimstone preacher, yet his method of getting his point across has a constant laser-focus, even if you remove the bombast. We watch him carefully form his arguments, illustrating them literally with his hands, making them so believable we almost think he believes them himself. Meanwhile the audience hangs on his every word, moving with him as if they are an orchestra and he is a conductor. This same sharp but subtle power is seen again in Victor/Victoria, but in much more intimate and serene (at first) surroundings. The same gesticulations are there, and the same feeling as if you are the only person in the room he is speaking to is still there. His words do not whip you up into a frenzy - unless he makes a jab at your age - but they still are able to carry you away.
  4. Anyone seeing any information/ instructions in this module when they click on it? The screen just keeps coming up blank for me, both on my desktop browser and on the Canvas app on my phone. Help!
  5. 1. As with many of the classic movie musicals in previous eras, Gypsy has a very heavy backstage element, as it is more about what happens in the lives of the performers behind the scenes, rather than the action on the stage. The scene is set during the days of vaudeville, from which many of the early movie musical actors originated and honed their skills, and whose songs created the scores for many of the first musical films. However, the scene itself could be interpreted as a metaphor for the coming disruptions occurring in Hollywood and its studio system at the time the film version of Gypsy was made. When Uncle Jocko refuses to go along with his manager's insistence that he choose the balloon girl over the other children auditioning for his show, he is rebelling against an industry structure based on pre-selected stars and longstanding contractual obligations between performers and corporate entities. He is basing his decisions purely on talent and merit, and is willing to go it alone and produce his own act in order to have the creative freedom he seeks. This is reflective in the increasing number of independent studios looking to challenge the Big 5 studio system and attracting their own new talent, the performers who were starting to push for free agency, and the burgeoning desire of filmmakers to become increasingly experimental with the medium as the 1960s progressed. 2. Having begun her career as a Broadway performer, it's no surprise that Russell's presence on screen seems larger than life. She immediately enters the scene and pulls all focus towards herself - much to the dismay of Uncle Jocko and the theatre manager - despite her "intended" goal being to put her kids in the spotlight. Her voice and the way she carries herself is bold and commanding, with grandiose gesturing and a brash speaking (and singing) voice that could carry up to the rafters of any theatre. While this brand of performance most certainly suits a character such as Mama Rose, I must say it's a habit I've noticed befalls many a Broadway musical performer who transitions to film (see: Anthony Rapp in "Rent" ... I love him, but I swear, during his rendition of "Tango Maureen" in the film version, I thought he was going to pull a muscle ... when you've been playing a character to the back row of the Nederlander Theatre for years, it's hard to tone it down for film audiences). 3. I get that technically we're not supposed to know how the song and its purpose evolves throughout the course of the film - even though we know that one of the central characters is a stripper-to-be - I still can't help but get a slightly icky feeling of exploitation from hearing Baby June and Louise sing it for Uncle Jocko. The song is framed innocently enough - the kids are literally doing kicks and tricks - but the underlying message of the song is this idea that the performer will do anything - and they mean anything - to earn their audience's love and attention. This sly suggestiveness early on in the film - and the fact that a movie centreing on the life of a famous stripper is even being allowed to be made as a major Hollywood musical - once again points at the changing attitudes within the industry at this point in time, as the Hays Code is increasingly being challenged by more risque subject matter.
  6. 1. I think, with such a highly-stylized scene as the ending ballet, the rest of An American in Paris can afford to have its aesthetic much more rooted in reality. To American audiences - many of whom may probably never see the real thing - the very idea of Paris is already surreal and romanticized in its vision enough, even the more bohemian, slightly grittier-looking sections as Montmartre. Gene Kelly's character is intended to represent the "everyman" in the film, and even the title of the film itself hints at the concept of a "fish out of water", however realistic-looking the world he inhabits actually is. Even as we get into the black and white party scene preceding the party - a situation that would call for at least some degree of the fantastic - the mise en scene still holds back so as to not to take away from the sheer sumptuousness and vividness of the dream sequence following it. Minnelli is looking for the payoff of having the ending "pop" in contrast with the rest of the film, even when set in a place as dream-like as Paris. 2. I can understand the resentfulness that Kelly's character has towards the student; I get the sense that whatever she is telling him he's heard a thousand times before, from people just like her, and he simply isn't interested in going through the motions again. It's true that he does show he is capable of friendliness and warmth in the way that he interacts with the other artists. However, since he is supposed to represent the "everyman", his method of cherry-picking who he listens to and is friendly to is pretty problematic, not only in his character's growth as an artist, but also in the message he is sending to audiences who are supposed to relate to him. Even though the delivery of her critiques is initially a bit off-putting, would it have hurt to hear some constructive criticism? He's clearly an artist who isn't doing well financially, yet he expresses a disinterest in hearing anyone point out the flaws in his work. How is he supposed to improve if he can't take ANY criticism? Why is it that he can be rather rudely presumptuous about who the student is and how she thinks, and yet no one can say boo about his art unless they're super nice to him? His character sends this idea that 1) only his feelings matter and 2) anyone more educated than him shouldn't be listened to or trusted. As innocent as it may have seemed then, these sentiments over decades have now managed to create some very real problems in most every aspect of society, as our current political climate suggests. Kelly's way of thinking is no longer charming: it's pretty dangerous.
  7. AndPeggy

    Gigi

    It's one of my favourites, though I feel your pain; that's how I felt about "Guys and Dolls" ... and still do, after forcing myself to watch it this week. Still not a fan. 😑😑😑
  8. 1. O'Connor and Kelly's pre-dance movements are used both as a way of establishing rhythm and tempo once they begin officially segueing into the actual song, but also are played up for comedic effect. The elocutionist is taking the lesson much more seriously than they are, as they haven't quite grasped the seriousness of the logistics behind making the transition to sound pictures. Their grandiose gesturing and over-enunciation of the song's central phrase is their way of gently mocking the affected gravitas of more "serious" actors on, for example, the stage, which kind of hearkens back to Kelly and Debbie Reynolds' first meeting in the film, where they debate over the legitimacy of film vs. the theatre. Kelly and O'Connor's characters, both coming from informal, vaudeville backgrounds, still feel a little silly over the extra fuss and preparation for making their film needed now that sound has come into play, despite it actually bestowing on them important skills, now that their voices will play such an important role - so to speak - in their line of work from here on in. 2. I feel as if the role of the straight man in this particular scene not only works as a foil to Kelly and O'Connor's more outlandish pratfalls, but provides another unique comedic element as well. Even though the dancing and playful mugging of Kelly and O'Connor is meant to take centre stage, the incredulous, sometimes indignant, sometimes curious reactions from the elocutionist are also played for subtler laughs. The actor playing the elocutionist must not only be generous in his interactions with his scene partners, but must also be adept at pulling off and making believable the physical aspects of the gags thrown at him, as Kelly and O'Connor fling him and drag him from one end of the room to the other. 3. Again, even though there are three very unique iterations of masculinity being displayed in this scene, and even though there is some playful mocking of each other - and, at times, of themselves - there is never a sense of competition or fighting for superiority between the three actors. Kelly, representing the "alpha male" type, is working to highlight the athleticism and strength of his dancing abilities, and whenever he and O'Connor pair off, as in the gag with the curtains, he is portrayed with a puffed out chest and the drapes resplendently wrapped around him, Roman toga style. In contrast, while Kelly is the Caesar, O'Connor is Cleopatra in this same moment, as he creates a veil from the other end of the drapes, demurely lounging on the windowsill and batting his eyelashes. As the "beta male", he shows no issue with playing around with gender roles or being up for the sillier, zanier, and even more improvisational gags in the scene. What he may lack in brawn, he makes up for in intelligence and a quiet, self-deprecating charm (I mean, the guy is a music director and first pitches the idea to Don for Kathy to lipsync for Lina in the first place ... he's for sure the brains in this operation). As for the elocutionist, I surmise he would be a slightly different incarnation of the "beta male" trope, as the formal academic background needed for his profession would suggest, but a much more straight-laced and tightly-wound version of it.
  9. AndPeggy

    Gigi

    Luckily I was able to hole up in a Starbucks and partake of their WiFi to watch it. I've seen it a whole bunch of times but wanted to refresh my memory about certain details. It's weird because they've bumped the movie from their schedule without notice before, like during "31 Days of Oscar".
  10. Sooooo, yeah. "Gigi" isn't airing at all on TCM in my neck of the woods (Toronto, Canada) at the scheduled time (12:15 am ET). There's a non-musical film with Leslie Caron in it showing instead. It was one of the films the course recommended we watch, so, what gives?! 😳
  11. 1. I feel as if the character of Calamity Jane starts off as a complete rejection of the concept of femininity in film and society in the 1950s. She is so adamantly against any of the outward trappings of womanhood in her clothing, her vocal qualities and her demeanour. Jane is so determined to prove her mettle in her extremely male-dominated line of work that she feels she has to overcompensate by completely abandoning any sense of traditional femininity. As the story progresses to the second scene, we can see that Jane has found a way to make what it means to be a "woman" (both on and off-screen) work for her. There is no hard and set rule ordering her to be the demure and elegant lady in a petticoat, corset, and gown, especially given her daily responsibilities. Trying to be prim and proper not only goes against what her job calls for, but is also a denial of the very core of who she is: an independent, resourceful, and outspoken woman who is a respected leader in her community. However, being all of those things does not mean she has to deny her moments of vulnerability and openheartedness. If anything, she is more in touch with who she really is than at the beginning of the film by embracing this duality. 2. I can't really say that I'm terribly familiar with her filmography before Calamity Jane. However, I do know that as the 1950s progressed, she was falling into her status as a romantic comedy leading lady, sharing the screen numerous times with Rock Hudson, and I'm somewhat familiar with her role in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. She was often portrayed as the sweet but witty girl-next-door type, which was in stark contrast with the more overtly sultry roles played by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. There's a more decidedly flirty femininity in these roles in comparison to Jane - especially at the start of the film - and I imagine her image in Hollywood was in line with how traditional feminine roles were gradually being tempered with slightly more modern ideals as the 50s transitioned into the 60s. 3. I feel as if Doris' persona lends an extra sense of brightness, energy, and chutzpah to the role of Jane. It's important to remember that, while Jane is definitely rough around the edges, she isn't crude, and while she speaks her mind and will call out those around her, she is never mean or malicious. There is both a passionate and caring heart and a relentless optimism that drives Jane in her work, but her fear of not being taken seriously or respected by her male peers compels her to adopt her initially gruff exterior. Once she discovers how to make her status as a woman work for her, the core of who she is - and who Doris is off-screen - still remains, and still inspires her every thought and deed.
  12. Right?! I totally got that same impression! Like guys, complete egalitarianism is pretty much what socialism is based on. You're doing it wrong! 😂
  13. 1. The most noticeable aspect of how the four characters relate to one another here in The Band Wagon, as opposed to other musicals, is that they all seem to collectively be working towards the same objective in their performance. In music theatre - and in theatre in general - we are often taught that certain songs or scenes are used by a character to get what they want or need from another individual(s) in the story. In earlier movie musicals, that type of interaction is often strictly between the character who is "selling" their objective, and the character who is their intended target. They may on occasion look wistfully off into the distance, but for the most part, the character doing the singing is aiming their attentions solely on their scene partner. In this case, while it initially seems that the characters are trying to "sell" one idea to each other, it soon becomes clear that their actual target is the audience itself. They are all already more than on board with the idea of what show business is and have no need to convince each other. Instead, they are trying to convince us. Their faces, voices, and bodies are all pointed squarely towards the camera, and they seem to be leaping past the proscenium-like confines of the screen, and will not stop until we are just as sold as they are. 2. All four characters, while still expressing some semblance of individuality - Astaire and Levant in their own versions of professional suiting, Buchanan in stereotypical "director" attire, complete with cravat, and Fabray dressed decidedly feminine yet casual enough for backstage - are kept on an equal visual footing by being kept in muted and relatively neutral colours. This helps to further the concept of "be yourself, but not too much, because we're all in this together and anyone who can't get along is scary and probably suspicious" that was popular in 1950s cinema, as studios became more fearful of rocking the boat re: societal norms as Mccarthyism crept its way into the industry. 3. In keeping with the sense of solidarity and "we're all in this together" that defines this number - and much of the genre in general during this time period - any sense of one-upmanship that may have been present in previous eras of the movie musical is more or less done away with. Each character is in on each other's gags, and is willing to help execute the payoff or punchline. The choreography is comparatively simple and uniform, and solo singing parts are equally distributed. There is no "star" of the number because, as mentioned in my first answer, they are all working together to convince the audience to see things their way.
  14. Yeah, it seemed to work better when accessing the Badges tab directly from the app's sidebar. Thanks! 😊
  15. 1. The song does an excellent job at highlighting Petunia's warmth and innate sense of nurturing. Her unconditional love for her husband is what fuels her to create a perpetual nest of cozy domesticity, even in the face of certain hardship and struggle. We see her finding delight in taking laundry off the line, but it's not the mere task she revels in; it's what that task represents. She will take pleasure in doing the laundry for the rest of her life, if it means the shirts worn by the man she loves so dearly - one of which she embraces as if embracing Joe himself - are among it. 2. I feel as if this song in its original state is just so clearly a romantic love song, that there would have to be a few extensive lyric changes before it could truly work in conveying a mother and child reunion. The concept of unconditional love through happiness and sorrow can certainly translate, but lines such as, "Then he kiss me and it's Christmas everywhere" might prove a little dicier. 3. While watching the movie, even though there is certainly a progression in how black Americans are portrayed since Hallelujah, I still found it difficult at times to turn off my 2018 lens. For sure, there are efforts to not paint the characters with overt stereotypes re: people of colour, I felt like this was only achieved by keeping most real details about many of the characters' lives purposely vague and not specifically fleshed out. While it's great that the negative stereotypes are left out, I wanted to know more: who is Petunia, aside from certainly being a good, loving woman? Aside from her husband's gambling problem, what is their exact financial situation? Do/ did they have any children? What about Lilly? How did Georgia come to be in her situation? My only possible reasoning for leaving out specifics was that, as pointed out in the lectures, movies like Cabin in the Sky were made to feel thematically universal, as the country was looking to unite past racial lines during WWII. Drawing the characters out too minutely might have interfered with the allegorical nature of the story, thus reducing its effectiveness. I will say that I did like how all of the leaders in the community were portrayed as black; not only with the Reverend acting as a spiritual leader, but Joe's boss at the mill (I think it was a mill? This is another detail I would have liked). Even though he is a very minor character, audiences in 1943 got to see a black man on-screen doing well enough to run a business successful enough to gainfully employ other people in his community which, at the time, would not have been very common, though still possible. It's representation that, in a time where black actors were relegated to playing criminals and maids, was (and is) extremely important.

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