Can'tDance

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  1. Lets not gloss over Minnelli placing a caricature of "Winnie" Churchill painting still-life on a Parisian street. Even "Mulligan" does a double-take. The interaction of Kelly with the "art" student and followed by his confronation with Nina Foch is a continuation of Hollywood's attempts to contrast between the class struggle that was being played out in American politics. No doubt Kelly's Mulligan is an example of the Proletariat contrast with the ruling Bourgeoisie. And art is a great example of both the struggle and the eventual outcome with the Proletariat dependent on the capital provided by the Bourgeoisie. But at what price? In An American in Paris, Kelly choses love and soul.
  2. Before going into their dance routine, Kelly and O'Connor are already preparing the audience with an increasing tempo in their word play and their synchronized movements around the "professor." The elocutionist plays his part quite well not really quite sure if he is being mocked or if just has some overly exuberant college boys using his lessons in their own playful way. The voice lesson scene with Kelly and O'Connor is dramatically opposite of the one undertaken by their hapless co-star. And the latter has an even more hidden lesson when LaMott's singing instructor will be recognized by most movie audience as a character actress who often spoke with a Scandinavian accent.
  3. Whether opposite of Howard Keel or opposite Rock Hudson or Tony Randall, Doris Day always appeared to me to have the same outward aggressive moment that seemed to prove that she was an equal to any man. At the same time, as she does with the song "Secret Love," Doris Day was able to project a sensitive and softer side that was the hallmark of her choice by many as representative of the American woman of the 1950s. For many males entering puberty about the time that Doris Day was a Hollywood hit in the 50s, no doubt she established some of our views about both womanhood and what to seek in a wife.
  4. While Betty Garrnett's character definitely had a "crush" on Frank Sinatra's character, I thought Garrnett probably used her role to show she could upstage any of the known stars of the movie. Much like she did On the Town. Take Me Out to the Ballgame is one of my all-time fav musicals. Being Irish, however, I would have enjoyed the moderators' take on Gene Kelly's rendition of The Hat My Dear Old Father Wore. While I thought both the song and Kelly's singing and dance routine for the segment was outstanding, I have often wondered why that song in that part of the movie. It came after a heart-felt scene in which Kelly has made little head-way with Esther Williams. The song and music just did not seem to fit with the general flow of the scene or movie (the Irish connection was handled in several other segments).
  5. While the dance routine between Astaire and Rogers may be seen in the prism of 1935 as a battle of the sexes, it was not an equal battle. Obviously (perhaps) the dance routine itself is fairly basic so as to maintain the continuity of their evolving relationship. It certainly was not a dueling banjo type of equality. At the same time, as did most of the dance numbers during the period, the audience is swept into the mood of the moment and that is the principal aim of any director or choreographer.
  6. This clip obviously portrays the transition between silent and sound films and the impact that transition has on both actors/actresses and directors. The obvious stilted and sometimes exaggerated action are made more obvious when the viewer attempts to make the same transition. The comedy of the clip made have been lost on men in the audience who may have fallen victim to a handsome lover in contrast to the rather boorish appearing husband. Unfortunately, I may not have appreciated this clip and most assuredly not the movie since I have never been a fan of Maurice Chevalier.
  7. As with music in general, my taste in musical movies is decidedly pre-1964! Exceptions might be Disney musicals. But musicals of the 20s, 30s and 40s are a time capsule on a era that was transitional between the two world wars and which mirrored the optimism that followed the end of World War II.

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