D8N_Barb

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  1. 1. 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? Each character sings a line then one of the other picks up the next line. They pretty much have the same amount of screen time. The story usually revolves around just a couple of people in previous musicals. They pull each other into the action, like when "passing" Nanette to each other during a dance. 2. 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 costumes really stood out from the other. The men wore different versions of the same outfit...pants, a shirt, and a tie or cravat. They are not dressed flashy and have basically the same colors in their costumes of blues and grays. The red on Nanette's dress is the most showy item on the costumes. In earlier musicals, there are solos and the stars have flashier outfits, like Fred & Ginger musicals. Even scenes with more than one actor in previous musicals, it is usually just one or two of them that have the spotlight for the scene. 3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Most of the time they are on the same level, same plane or side-by-side. They have the same choreography. The interaction is friendly among them all and not one of them tries to stand out from the rest.
  2. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? I guess like many, the first film I remember seeing of Judy Garland's was The Wizard of Oz. But unlike most, I didn't like the film. (Don't hate me. ?) As a child, it was scary and even as an adult, I still just don't like it. It doesn't appeal to me. I still thought she was a good actress and that voice is one that will never be matched. She was a triple threat. She could sing, dance, and act and all at the same time making it look easy. She always put so much feeling into the music, too. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I watch movies for pure entertainment. It isn't until I take a class like this, or Film Appreciation that I took in college where we really concentrated on Hitchcock, that I analyze the films more. (That Film Appreciation class was the second hardest class I ever took, btw. The hardest was trigonometry. ?) You do start to appreciate the pure talent of Garland when you can analyze everything going on in a scene and see how much she does and makes it all seem effortless. 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? Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas just tears me apart in Meet Me in St. Louis. I cry every single time. It's one of my favorite Christmas songs. The way she conveys the melancholy for the future of her family and that they may be split up, really comes through, even as she tries to comfort Tootie and make her feel better. I think her maturity comes through more in her young adult years and that is the time of my favorite Judy Garland films...Meet Me in St. Louis, which I've lost count of the times I have seen, Easter Parade, and Summer Stock.
  3. 1. You can't get much more American than the White House. Much of the dialogue was about flag-waving and being a proud American. In the Oval Office, you see images of powerful Navy ships in models, paintings, and the clock on Roosevelt's desk. You see the flag and paintings of our founding fathers on the wall going up the staircase. 2. Once again, the dialogue is about patriotism and showing it. Roosevelt also brings up Irish Americans, to help promote diversity and acceptance of immigrants and what they bring to this country. WH Assistant: "And you was just singing and dancing to all about the grand old flag. Mr. Teddy used to sing it in his bathtub." Cohan: "It was a good old song in its day." WH Assistant: "Yes sir, it was and it's just as good today as it ever was." Cohan: "A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." Roosevelt: "I hope you haven't outgrown the habit." Cohan: "Not a chance." Roosevelt: "That's one thing I always admired about you Irish Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It's a great quality." 3. The first scene being in Oval Office gave historical perspective and the importance Cohan had in our history and how important America was in Cohan's life. It allowed for the rest to be a reflection back on his life.
  4. I see Eleanor Powell as more stylistic, refined, and graceful. Ruby Keeler is more athletic and forceful in her dancing. I compare Powell to Fred Astaire and Keeler to Gene Kelly as far as dancing styles go. All are wonderful dancers, but they do have different styles.
  5. When Count Alfred Renard opens the drawer to put the gun away and we see several other guns, we understand this type of scene happens frequently with this character. Many women had pulled the same stunt with an unloaded or fake gun when confronted by a husband. The garter in his hand when trying to defend himself from being sent back to Sylvania is counter to what he is saying. His affairs are plenty and not exaggerated. The woman's yell when she is off camera as Renard is in the doorway obviously expresses she is upset. We need her to appear and confront him about the garter she found to understand the situation and show why she is jealous as he had just informed the audience. There is a lot of innuendo, but nothing shown explicitly. Like when Renard buttons the woman's dress when her husband couldn't. It alludes that Renard is good at handling buttons on women's dresses due to his many dalliances. However, we didn't see him undress her or be with any other women. It is a sanitized way to show Renard is a "playboy".
  6. In the first clip, it seems Bruce is the more vulnerable one and in the second clip, Rose Marie is. He is pursuing her in the first and she has the upper hand. In the second, she is embarrassed and out of her element and he is in his element. She tries to fit in, but doesn't feel comfortable in the situation. Bruce realizes Rose Marie is more vulnerable than she tries to portray with him. I think this goes along with themes of the time. The women are more vulnerable and the men need to help them. Of course that is the same in a lot of films even today. But things are shifting. The films are a mirror of the times. The second clip also shows the a main character that stays "pure" and doesn't lower herself to a more sleazy level. That fits within Production Code standards.
  7. I do agree it is brighter than it may have been in a different era. During the depression, people wanted to escape their problems when they went to the theater. They didn't want to be brought down, so themes were lighter or were an escape to fantasy. The Anna Held character seemed flighty and didn't seem to take her career seriously. She was more interested in the person who sent it than the opportunity it may present. The films of that era were an escape from reality for the audience, so they were sanitized, up-beat, lighthearted, happy themes, or total action and fantasy. Post-code films couldn't be vulgar, obscene, delve into sex, or too deep into crime. They just touched the surface of those themes or didn't even mention things like a couple living together "in sin". So everything was a sanitized version of real life. But that is what audiences seemed to want at that time. As for what could have been different if it was pre-code, Anna Held may have acted more seductively during her song and not been dressed so modestly. She probably would have been shown changing clothes in the dressing room. They may have delved more into Ziegfeld's affairs and the fact he and Anna Held were not legally married. The film may have also gone into his sometimes shady methods of obtaining talent and the fact he drove his performers hard. Or more of a cut-throat competition between Ziegfeld and Billings. It was all a sanitized version of his life.
  8. White Christmas, Mary Poppins, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, The King and I, The Sound of Music. I'd also like to see some of the newer musicals like Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Yentl, Evita, Newsies, Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, and A Chorus Line.

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