miss shari

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  1. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? By the time was get to the 60's, we have seen a huge shift in the roles of men and women. Many of the past male leads were two dimensional, they sang love songs or rallying songs, but often there was a disconnected feeling of who the man was and what he was singing.What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He is divine! In both films he is an flim flamming opportunist. He is so suave, you not only can't help but route for him and you have to like him. He gets to redeem his selfish intention it almost Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?
  2. 1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more? It could feel real and exciting if the song was sung more theatrically, it could be a fabulous crowd scene, but I am glad it is not. Fanny is in love, yes it could be shouted to the moon, but if I put myself in the shoes of a woman who has never been in love (the way the movie portray her), whose life was about her work, and had a low self image of her appeal to men, through the intimacy of her song we see her for the first time as vulnerable and even scared. She is not doing what she does, deflects emotional moments with a joke or some shtick, she is having a realization, a revelation she wants more than a buddy or scene partner, she is in love. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? Fanny is revealing herself not just to Nick, she is has unveiled something she was unaware of in herself. She wants to express her feelings, but at the same time, you get a sense of her trepidations. The song builds as she sings about lovers, she is caught up in the rapture of love, then when she sings about a couple that are committed, she regresses to the awkward insecure woman who wants to be loved by this man. Nick is man of the world, yet he looks on with wonder at this woman as he watches her sort of matures before his eyes. She is not making a joke or going for a laugh, she has let down her guard and stand before him, vulnerable. I rather doubt most women who hung around with gamblers went in for a lot of introspection. He must have felt overwhelmed with her genuineness. 3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. Nick and Fanny closest physical interaction is when they share a laugh at the lamppost. The deeper she goes into her revery, the farther she moves herself away from Nick until she is on a front staircase. Nick does not take his eyes of of Fanny the whole time. Fanny's emotions seem to overtake her as she sings out her fantasy of love, her eyes remain closed, she is elevated by her inhibition and you feel the fullness of her heart in her voice.
  3. 1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) Ok, big leap...In both of the mentioned films, we find a younger, more than a little naive woman who chooses to be dominated, by an older, more worldly man. In Gaslight, our leading man has nefarious reasons to manipulate his wife and is playing the long game to get her aunt's jewels. He has her nearly convinced she is going out of her mind, but is saved by the glove. MFL's Professor Higgins is shocked that Eliza feels angry, he, the Colonel and household had treated with consideration. He does not have a long game, his motives, as selfish as Anton's, are not to be destructive, but as selfserving. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Cukor allows the actors to be very present and represent their "true" selves, even as far as Eliza regressing to a gutter snipe while Higgins is aloof. Cukor stages the scene like an slow elaborate dance, he allows the camera to show the confusion both of the characters are experiencing as each tries to understand where the other is coming from. Higgins is clearly bewildered by Eliza throwing the slippers at him. He is surprised by the way Eliza is reacting to the "triumph" at the ball. He doesn't have the capacity of feeling or life experience to empathize, you know stiff upper lip, what? Eliza has not known true fear and despair, but she is aware that now she has completed this experiment and the bet was done, she had not looked beyond this night. She was caught up in the moment, had been guided by Higgins for so long, she lost track of her true self, which pops out when she is so angry at the professor. 3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? Cukor is not a women's director, he is a director's director. He makes every film scrumptious. This movie is as much a pygmalion story as Cukor is as a director. He knows how to get actors to be his image and creation. The camera loves both Hepburn and Harrison, the sets and scenery are lush, and the use of lighting is magnificent.
  4. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? By the time was get to the 60's, we have seen a huge shift in the roles of men and women. Many of the past male leads were two dimensional, they sang love songs or rallying songs, but often there was a disconnected feeling of who the man was and what he was singing.What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He is divine! In both films he is an flim flamming opportunist. He is so suave, you not only can't help but route for him and you have to like him. He gets to redeem his selfish intentions and make good. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? I have enjoyed several films with Preston. I love him in How the West was Won as the wagon master, he is great in S.O.B., Beau Geste, and Junior Bonner also come to mind. I have long been a Preston fan, he has a strong male presence, a sexiness that is like a musical Sean Connery. He has amazing diction, a nice set of pipes and can do more that a simple step ball change.
  5. 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? The musical opens to an audition, which immediately harkens us back to the old time musical openings in the early back stage musicals. Another way this opening number is a nod to the old musicals, is this is a family of vaudevillian troupers (sorta). I think the chaos of the opening, with the children all on stage at once foretells that changes are coming. All the children had a different act, there was no cohesion. 2. 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. Russell gives Momma Rose gravitas, she is an amazing comic character performer. She swoops into the scene and unlike the other moms who may be fussing with their child, she dresses down Louise and starts to give directions to the orchestra leader, Professor, Mr. Simpson (on the percussion?) and the lighting technician, Mr. Electrical, aka Gus. She is larger than life, ferocious, she leads the dance. 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). Yes the lyric is sly, it need to be, it is a song used as a child who turns teen stripper! The scene we see, the song is "innocent" and the children are sweet and well mannered. This is an opening number and it is designed so it has plenty of room to build. It moves in and out of a disruptive state. Until Momma Rose enters, it is fairly calm. Louise is made to be less vibrant, it is hard to see anything in Baby June but ruffles and curls, and then there is Momma, she wins.
  6. 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? The film is a love story. Like most love stories, it is often a fantasy. The film is a love story about people, music and Paris and an ode to ballet. Minelli offers a lush post war look at life moving forward. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Well, hell's bell's it's Gene Kelly! He isn't unlikeable to the other artist, but has clearly been asked the same questions many times by the "third year girls", and has lost his taste for even flirting with them.
  7. The first time I saw Singing in the Rain was on February 14, 1973. I was thirteen. It was in a downstairs studio for ACT at 450 Geary Street, in San Francisco - and it was a Steve Silver production (of Beach Blanket Babylon fame). It was an amazing party, with two actresses (I remember one was Deborah May, and think Marsha Mason the other) from the company singing and dancing (I think on skates) to Sweetheart, dressed as gigantic frosted cupcakes. He staged many sketches and had hotdogs, soda and popcorn. After the skits and sketches were done, Steve Silver showed the movie! Such a young Debbie Reynolds and the amazing dancing of O'conner and Kelly, but I think Jean Hagen was the only star who I had never seen in a film. So, naturally I was slayed by her timing and wit. I love this movie, I think of that party every time I see the film. And at nearly sixty and having thrown and played at some crazy, beautiful, elegant and zany parties, that was still the very best party I have ever been to. PS Thanks mom and thanks Steve. sox How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Kelly initially is attentive to the professor, you see the concentration on his face. When O'Conner comes in it only times a moment for their chemistry to take over and the boys start to play, the way life long friends will do. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The professor is a good straight man. He follows the choreography and he allows them to mess with his clothes, hair and body without upstaging the antics of Kelly and O'Conner. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? I think this question is difficult because each is an alpha male in their own area. The professor is a top man in elocution, Kelly as an actor and O'Conner as a musician/composer.
  8. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Of the major musicals of the 1950"s, Day gives a performance that is not glorifying femininity. Even so, Day can't hide how lovely she is, the pretty blonde with beautiful blue eyed. Day doesn't usually play a rough and ready characters. She and Anybodies in Westside Story, are the most masculine ingenue I can think of from the fifties. (Majorie Main, just couldn't help it!) How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Prior to this film, Day played a girl next door, when she appeared in On Moonlight Bay, she was young tomboy and we see her change to a more feminine character when she meets a boy. In Calamity Jane, that just did not work out for her, she just needed to tidy up. Over the decades, Day gets to play more sassy, sexy and mature roles, ut retains her Doris Dayness. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. This is a Hollywood fantastical portrayal of real people who lived. I wouldn't want it any other way. I guess someone else would have worked, but Day feels right in this role, and she still is lovely when she is covered in mud, dust and grime.
  9. 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? There is a generosity between performers in this scene. Each is equally showcased individually, but it is far better when they work together. Levant is a bit of the odd man out, as he does not dance, but all is redeemed with the ladder bit. They use some of the old time slapstick, but it feels fresh. There is no lead, this is an ensemble piece, sans chorus. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Minnelli is a man who know how to create costumes. The color pallet is clean, crisp using cool tones, (Fabray get that feminine touch of red, you know, ever so popular), against a highly stagy dramatic set set. The thing that I always notice in this scene is how Buchanan is set slightly apart, via accent, presence (he is tall), but how Minnelli dresses him as an English county gentleman, complete with ascot. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Minnelli is the master of mis-en-scene. Technology was advancing in this era of Hollywood cinema. Minnelli create a feeling of intimacy and comradery that grows between the performers as the song progresses. We see the transition Astaire makes as he buys into the idea. But, by far the best aspect of this scene is how playful, and hopeful it is.
  10. 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? As the scene opens we hear music as Petunia rushes to Little Joe's side, and gives praise to the lord, asking Lily to tell the Reverend and all the folks that Little Joe is alright. As she begins her song, the lights shine on her smiling face, while she caresses LJ's hand. She sings the song with a playfulness, even she is singing about the hard times. The camera jumps to the General and we see him smile and fade out of view providing a sense of of hope and redemption. As Petunia lays her head on the pillow next to LJ, and he gives her all she need from him when he places his hand over hers. Before the lyric is reprised, Petunia is outside and the sun is shining, she glides her hands over the laundry, gently crooning as she takes in the wash. Her hair is not covered by a scarf, which makes her seem light and breezy, even though the the song is sadly sweet. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? This song could be sung to a child. The implications of unconditional love crosses all cultures. This is a song of devotion, dedication and it is sung sincerely. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? Hollywood musicals could not exist with out the influence of black Americans input, and many white folks there knew they were not represented. The producers new that there were enough black performers whose names were plenty big enough to draw the white audience as well as the black audiences. The military was swooping up any able bodied male. Although there was stereotypical characters in the film that were easy to mark, but the Petunia is like Lady Liberty, there for good.
  11. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. What I saw was the manner in which the shots were framed. How the camera would go to close ups to promote a feeling of intimacy and wide shot to create distance. It moved along like a river or a dance number having the camera being the lead. Garrett is given a fabulous set to work her prowl on Sinatra. She, like the ballpark bleachers area is cornering Sinatra, a ploy which she will be revisited in their next film together, On the Town. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The music informs us a song is about to commence. As Sinatra leaves the locker room, carefree, tossing a baseball with happy bouncy music and then we see Garrett, the music changes tempo as she start the dance.
  12. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The first Garland film I recall was one of the backyard musicals. Wizard of Oz was on TV once a year in the early '60's, and we had a black and white TV. For me, I saw Judy and it was love at first sight. I wanted to grow up and be just like her. She is was born on June tenth, and I was born, well 59 years ago today.  2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? Not a bit of change in viewing the clips, she is and will remain one of my all time favorite performers. 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? The films that shows her maturation as a singer and performer are In the Good Old Summertime, Summer Stock, Words and Music, I Could go on Singing and of course, A Star is Born. Judy just had that special quality that other only imitate.
  13. TCM just showed the We're a Couple of Swells /A Walk up Fifth Avenue, that is my favorite number in the movie. Yeah MGM!!!
  14. Although the clip has a sort of "stagy" feel, for instance, the melodramatic element, breaking the fourth wall, the jump cut to the crowd on the street, it is pretty difficult to go wrong when you have Chevalier. He is a fine tuned comedic, song and dance man. Plus his accent, OOH LA LA, he personifies the American idea of the elegant European, scoundrel. The set is beautifully detailed. I love the paintings of semi-nude women. The crystal wall sconces, the airiness of the room and the window dressings all contribute to the delicious polish of the scene. daily dose 3.docx

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