Dorota Gale

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and appreciated knowledge shared by all the professors. I spent more time on Mad About Musicals because I wasn't content to just view what was in the modules -- I had to google actors, research the real life persons in the "biopic" musicals, and further investigate comments shared by other students. My knowledge not just of the musicals escalated but so did my knowledge of history. Examples: There really were Harvey Girls. Fred Harvey is credited with starting the first restaurant chains in the Southwest. Historical figures such as Calamity Jane and Molly Brown weren't cute petite pixies but robust women, masculine and with much more ATTITUDE (they needed to survive in the pioneer times and in a man's world). I discovered who Horatio Alger was, Fanny Brice was married thrice and Nicky Arenstein character wasn't as clean cut as portrayed by Omar Sharif. I learned of the wit and plethora of quotes of Oscar Levant -- there was a character of a sense of humor, dry wit and self deprecation. I never paid much attention to him before this course, now I will! The most difficult movie for me was Rhapsody in Blue in discovering George Gershwin had died from a glioblastoma. Accounts of his change in personality, anger, violence reminded me of my own father who died 2 yrs ago from the same. I could go on...there's so much more but I think of expressed myself of how much I enjoyed MAD ABOUT MUSICALS!!!
  2. Thanks for all the explanations of the still photos w/audio in a Star Is Born and for the discussion of edited scenes. I would love to see a "restoration" of the Wizard of Oz with its edited scenes placed back into the movie (i.e. the Jitterbug scene). I have that scene in an anniversary edition of the Wizard of Oz but it is shown as an out take after the end of the movie.
  3. 1. In the films of the 1950's that I've viewed so far, the women go head-to-head with their male counterparts and even surpass them at times in wit as well as knowledge in areas generally accepted as male topics (i.e. sports). Yet these women still retain their charm of femininity. Doris Day's Calamity Jane is doesn't want to surpass the men but be one of them. She achieves this by attire, posturing, and twang vernacular. The real Calamity Jane as a young girl was attractive but as a mature woman did look more masculine in her clothing and the way she wore her hair. While known to be compassionate to all whether rich or poor who helped the ill and down trodden (in spite of not being well-to-do herself), her language was far from demure and pure, she was an alcoholic and a prostitute. Not quite the wholesome character of a 1950's woman! 2. Doris grows from the spunky, cutsy, girl-next-door roles to fun mature roles of mother roles such as Please Don't Eat the Daisies to the more dramatic roles at the opposite end of the acting spectrum (note: The Man Who Knew Too Much). 3. Taking into account the timeline of when Calamity Jane was filmed and released, I would say Doris Day's bright and sunny persona added to the role of Calamity Jane. Her interpretation (and the studio's) of Calamity Jane reflected the 1950's. Her spunkiness and want to be 'one-of-the-boys' appealed to movie-goers and fit the exuberance of the post-war era. As with musicals based upon real historical people, many liberties are taken, truths are stretched, unflattering events are either glossed over or eliminated completely, facts are replaced in the name of entertainment. (See also Debbie Reynolds' Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown). It would be interesting to see a musical of Calamity Jane written today; new screenplay, new songs!
  4. 1. Even though Astaire's character is seated in a chair which draws us visually towards him, the attention is given to the other actors during their solo phrases as the other three look directly at that soloist and freeze allowing that soloist "center stage" by voice and movement. They share the spotlight. No one person dominates the scene. There's no 'one ups-manship.' Lester, Jeffrey, & Lily equally need Tony as much as he needs them refresh their careers. 2. Lester and Tony are in simple suits (work attire for their careers of the era) of classic colors, Lily in neutral tones. Jeffrey shows some color but not bright color (in the precursor leisure suit of the 1970's). Again, no attention given to any one specific character. Their clothing also indicates that the friends are at the same economic level. 3. Staging indicates a playfulness between all; that they are capable of working well together having equal temperament: the 4 strike a poise of unity but then Lester walks away, Lily pushing for equal blocking as Jeffrey and Tony upstage her in their little trio dance, Lester re-enters the scene at the front of the ladder then at the end of the ladder -- all is done in friendly competition.
  5. Fascinating read Rochelle. It's always interesting hearing stories of extended friends of famous people,especially those well loved. Thanks for sharing. Keep searching for that son. I think Roberta's story should be told.
  6. Dorota Gale

    The Wizard of Oz

    Thank you Tomilee for the clip from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I am a WO aficionado and did not know it existed. Margaret Hamilton is absolutely adorable on that show. Such a sweetheart. I did a little Google search and see that she was also on Sesame Street with Oscar the Grouch in 1976 (episode #0847) dressed as a witch sans make-up. I'd share the photo with you but I'm techno-challenged and am lucky I've figured this online course and these TCM bulletin boards. :-)
  7. I live on Maui and got up at 4AM to watch For Me And My Gal (as its been a long time since I've seen it). Alas! I made it through the first 15 minutes and fell back asleep. LOL Woke up in time to see the Harvey Girls and actually made it all the way to the end of Good News!!
  8. Was glad to finally be able to view Cabin In The Sky. I knew two of the songs, "Taking A Chance On Love" and "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe" but never knew it from the musical. Heard Ethel Waters on tv in her later years but am glad to now hear younger self. A Fan Is Born! I could feel and relate to the emotion she exuded singing "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe"
  9. 1. As with most, Wizard of Oz was my first Garland movie (in the '60's). My parents were having a dinner party and they put the tv set in the bedroom. My siblings and I were relegated to this room with gave us soda and chips. I was about 6 or 7 years, TERRIFIED by the flying monkeys and crying hysterically along with Dorothy when she saw Auntie Em in the crystal ball. I fell in love with Judy's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and it has become my #1 favorite song of all time with Oz being my #1 favorite movie (GWTW following close behind). My husband's ringtone for me on his phone is Judy singing the first phrase of Somewhere Over The Rainbow! My first impression of her was that she WAS Dorothy! I believed every emotion she showed in that role. Notice I didn't say "acted." When I first saw the Harvey Girls I remember thinking I couldn't get over Judy being a blond. 2. I was able to view all over the Garland movies Tues except for Me And My Gal (and I have seen others in the past). After viewing the clips, I watched her movies with more detail -- paying attention to her progression and experience as a young performer through her years into adulthood. I've seen several of the Andy Hardy movies but I'm not that big of a fan of them. 3. As Dr. Ament commented that Judy had a way of singing her songs truthfully, honestly and with authenticity pulling from the pathos of her own life to convey the lyrics of each song. Her ballads and and torch songs are heart wrenching. Songs like "We're A Couple Of Swells" swings the pendulum to the other side of her fun, comedic personality allowing us to laugh along, smile, feel good and happy! When I studied voice, Judy was the first singer I wanted to emulate (followed by Kathryn Grayson, Julie Andrews and Jeannette McDonald--in that order). I even bought Judy Garland's Songbook and learned EVERY song in it. Capturing an audience's attention as a storyteller later in her career when she sang I would have say "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" immediately comes to mind followed by "The Man That Got Away" in A Star Is Born. As an aside, there was an instant moment when Judy sang the lyrics, "We're a couple of lads...we'd tell you who we kissed last night but we don't want to be cads..." that I saw Liza's face in Judy's facial expressions and even heard Liza's voice inflections (in that one small phrase). She's "her mother's daughter."
  10. The parade at the beginning of the movie was a flashback of a 4th of July parade, not of soldiers going off to war. Since Cohan was born in 1878 (approx 30 yrs before WWI) my guess is the soldiers in the parade were from the civil war. It was an Independence Day celebration. In regards to "happy..." when the film was in pre-production, the USA had not yet entered the war. The economy was slowly turning around and the reference to the Horatio Alger Age was still alive (belief in the 'rags-to-riches' story and following the American Dream). Yes, once we entered the war, happiness gave way fear and uncertainty but I still feel Americans were optimistic and expectant. Their hard work (especially the Rosie Riveters i.e. increasingly more women in the workforce outside the home) showed American determination and hope. That is one thing they had to cling to hope.
  11. 1. Promotion of American values can be seen in that it begins IN the White House. No government building in the world is as synonymous with its country as the White House, except maybe Buckingham Palace and the Queen but then that's not a government bldg. Paintings of past presidents, (especially prominent George Washington) and paintings of various war ships in the presidential office along with the American flag beside the fireplace promote American values. Next the FAMILIES present at the 4th/July parade and all the flag waving in what looks to be small town America is definitely what America was about. 2. What a way to boost morale by showing a biopic of a proud American (who was actually born on July 3rd not the 4th but it adds to better story line and patriotism) who proudly wore his patriotism on his sleeve. The character George M. Cohan describes America on the day/year of his birth as one having "not so many stars on the flag...but folks knew more were coming." He also speaks of the country being "optimistic, happy, expectant" which described America just prior to WWII and the optimistic/expectant/hopeful during WWII. He describes himself as a regular Yankee Doodle Dandy (a term from the Revolutionary War) "always carrying a flag in a parade or following one!" There's also an appeal to the immigrants to rise up for love of their new homeland when the character FDR references Irish Americans who "always carry love of country like a flag..." 3. Opening scene taking place in the White House with the fireplace in the background (think FDR fireside chats) lends a sense of authenticity, seriousness and subtly 'this is a message from your president' with regards to the patriotic and patriotism theme of this movie. Then segue into the 4th of July celebration validates the message of supporting your country; followed by the vaudeville scene - we are now ready to be entertained with the seed of patriotism planted in our subconscious.
  12. I do see this as a competition, a battle of the sexes. At the beginning of the scene, Roger's character snubs Astaire's character; he trying to woo her in the traditional way which at that time would win out but Roger's character depicts a strong, independent attitude of "you really think I'm buying into this." Her reaction to dance is "I'll show you!" While Astaire's character leads the first steps to which Roger's copies, there are 2 brief moments I caught her inserting her own steps but Astaire does not copy HER as she did him. Still, it gets to a point where they are equal to their keeping up with each other and one gets a sense of who's leading whom. I missed this movie and its been awhile since I've seen it but at least from the clip, I see Roger's character as strong-willed, NO damsel-in-distress woman as the women in the other Depression era musicals seemed to need saving from a "knight in shining armor" and if not that, then as women who easily succumbed to the men's wiles. Changing roles between men and women could also be seen as sign of the times. With the Depression, many men committed suicide, left their families...women were thrown into being a single parent and having to find a way to feed their families. Also, the women (especially assertive women) the screwball comedies posed no threat to the average American male as he would see these dominant female characters as pure entertainment and not reality.
  13. Undoubtedly, Powell is the better more talented dancer. Keeler is all below the waist movement, mostly just feet. Not much arm movement. She appeared very methodical as if even though she was singing, mentally she was reciting 5-6-7-8! Definitely playing on the cute factor though. Powell, on the other foot, (horrible pun intended) made her dancing look effortless. She had leg kicks, spins, turns, lunges, balances, more movement in the upper torso with slight back bends, swaying, lots of arm movements. Her dancing flowed. She showed personality and enjoyment. All of this I took note before I viewed Thursday's Lecture Video. No surprise she was a ballerina first as her tap dancing had a "ballet-esque" style to it.
  14. One of the things I noticed about the Lubitsch touch was the lighting around Alfred after his 'liaison' had shot herself and her husband focused in on Alfred, so too did the lighting. The set was dark except for a dissolve of illumination around Alfred as if the spotlight were on him. Of course, the extra garter and then the collection of pistols, easily zipping up the gown, being at least bi-lingual (I'm sure Alfred is fluent enough in other languages as well), having the woman in his home all lend to his lothario image. Also, when the husband shot Alfred, it was comical in that Alfred's handkerchief in his left chest pocket rustled ever so slightly as if being "shot" with a puff of air. The rattling of the door lever and the arguing of voices on the other side of the door clue us in that someone is being prevented from entering the room. The hollow sound of the gun firing lets us know she really didn't commit suicide. The liaison asking Alfred to zip up her dress, which he does effortlessly and announces, "Voila!" finishes the scene with Alfred's triumph even though his love interest is going home with the husband. One theme: the rich get into predicaments often exaggerated that diminishes their haughtiness making them appear ridiculous. The "small guys" revel in the "big guys" being "brought down a notch or two." The depression theme of rooting for the underdog.
  15. I'm with you, BlueMoods. I'm not good with videoconferencing. I don't do Facebook. I just signed up with Twitter for this course but haven't used it yet. Helpppppp!

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