MsAllieB

Members
  • Content Count

    19
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About MsAllieB

  • Rank
    Member
  • Birthday

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. 1-Had Streisand gone for a more traditional, theatrical belting out of "People" it would have been just that, a "performance" (by a performer, playing a performer!) without the soul of the message of the song. We needed some intimacy to feel for the characters. I would however argue that this is not the most natural rendition of the song possible, some of her movements do feel a little affected, a touch choreographed, but it is certainly a tone down from her (and Brice's) typical style. 2-Eye contact, and the lack thereof are the most important moments in this song, as well as physical distance. The entire passage about "lovers" is sung without one moment of Streisand glancing at Shariff, not one look...this supports her character's self consciousness, and clear fear of rejection, she doesn't want to know if he doesn't want her back. She uses constant touch of items, railing, staircase, to project her intimate feelings. 3-Again we go to distance as the main character in this number. He follows her, but at great distance, she keeps her back to him, not letting him (or the audience) see her expression, there is always a physical barrier, the fence, the stair rail, he is not allowed to get near, she has a safety barrier to break her fall if he doesn't want to get close. We barely see Shariff's reaction, this is about her, not him, and the direction makes that clear.
  2. 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) 1-The want to compare "MFL" against "Gaslight" is sensible in that there are matching story themes, era, setting, costume and location. Those seem like obvious comparisons, but what is more important to examine is the change in Cukor's style as a filmmaker, regardless of whether or not the themes match up. In "Gaslight" some twenty years earlier, we have a black and white film in which the shots and angles, and general cinematography style is wildly different. Take the "Gaslight" scene where Boyer accuses Bergman of taking the painting off the wall, we see almost extreme close-ups of BOTH characters, alternating and fast close-ups to to both emphasize the accusation, and his stern and almost creepy chastising, and ones on her to emphasize the feeling she may in fact be losing her mind. 2-Eliza gets the favour in these shots (women's director or not, we are asked to sympathize with her, even from a story perspective) we get closer shots of her, a frame in which she is the clear center with some framing around her, but not as much as Harrison, the colder and more distant character, whom we cinematically do not get close to, as well as emotionally. 3-As stated above, we favour Eliza in the shots, she has more intimate lighting and shadow and she physically shows more emotion, from tossing slippers to leaping like a cat even down to hugging furniture for warmth and comfort. He is kept more distant, instead of using his hands towards her (like she claws at him) he holds out chocolates on a silver and formal tray, everything is set up to support her more earthy and emotional sense and his colder and more distant air. He looks for slippers, she is looking for his love.
  3. Hi-yes I realized only after I posted this so I did repost in the "Gypsy" thread, I could not figure out how to erase this completely, I went to "edit" but it would only let me alter, but not erase, is there a way to delete? And thank you!
  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? What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? 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? 1-Some of the most noticeable changes in the role of male musical performers play in films is the fact that the leading man does not have to be necessarily handsome, suave, or even a good person anymore. He does not need to be dressed in full tuxedo and tails, he does not have to be so good looking that all women swoon, and he does not have to be a hero or a "good guy", he can be some of these, but does not have to be all, or any, but can still be the lead. The lead also does not have to be a perfect singer/crooner or dancer, he can be an "average guy" who happens to break into song, not a Sinatra or Crosby, just a joe who happens to be singing. 2- Preston is not, what I would say, traditionally handsome or chiselled, but there is a quality about him, you don't want to like his characters, but you like him, so he wins you over, this is also due to his great acting ability, to find the good in the bad. He has an honesty about him, even when he's a cad, you see him intentionally misleading people but he does it so well that you almost root for him to succeed, that is a certain kind of charm that you don't come by easily. He is a bit gravelly voiced, has a harder face, he's not a young 20-something handsome, but yet he is appealing and attractive. 3-In the few films I have seen him in, he has always seemed like one of those actors who was old, even when he was young, and I don't mean that as a negative, but he always played more mature to me. "How The West Was Won" and "Mame" are two films I have seen him in where I confess I didn't give him the credit he is well due until I thought about his brilliance in "Music Man" I can't think of him without associating "Harold Hill" On reflection, I feel like I always have empathy for his character, no matter what the film, which leads me to understand it was his wonderful work as an actor as the parts he plays are as varied as can be. He always seemed "stagey" to me, despite his amazing filmic resume, he just leaps up a little bigger off the screen than some, "he's a music man, mighty proud to say it!"
  5. 1-The most telling clue that this scene gives us in terms of a new, or "backwards" classical musical" number is clearly the fact that we don't get to SEE a musical number. The clarinetist boy is instantly cut off, no one finishes their song or dance, no choreography, no big sing, we don't get to see a good number, or even a bad number in full, there is in fact is NO musical number...in a musical...which is on a stage...with a ton of performers..in costume, ready...to perform..."let me entertain you" but later...much later... 2-Russell's entrance is big and full, nothing is small, this is a STAGE entrance, both literally onto an actual stage within the film, but also bigger than many film musicals would have done prior. In the 40s or 50s we might have had more filmic set up, a close up of Mamma Rose maybe listening at the door, peeking through the cracks to see her daughters, an eye trying to spy close up, but here we get a full on entrance, full body, full voice. The costuming leaps from the character, and it is no coincidence I am sure that she is in full leopard print, a jungle cat who will cut and kill anyone who goes near her baby cubs. In addition, the carrying in of a dog on one arm and a large leopard purse on the other has literally "armed her" with animal camouflage, she bites, and so too might her dog, so don't mess with her, don't come too close. Russell also uses her stage and film training to project her voice like a stage actress, she throws it across the room in a stage style, projecting as a performer, and as a Mamma who WILL be heard. 3-Our obvious go-to here are the double-entendre lyrics, a genius set-up of foreshadowing, "let me entertain you" now...and later...Louise is listening to these lyrics, living them as a second party, but taking them in for later use..."tricks" is the big word here, from magic to fun, from burlesque to stripper. Louise's "trick" could actually be considered as a suggestive finger movement, a small wiggle, a tiny accent that suggests more. High kicks with lots of crinolines and petticoats is one thing, those kicks without those costuming bits can and will reveal much more. The song also gives a finite time line "by the time I'm through..." something will change by the end of the song, there will be a transformation to the person WATCHING the number, genius set up of how someone watching will go from one state...to another...in a short period of time...very sly, very witty.
  6. 1-The most telling clue that this scene gives us in terms of a new, or "backwards" classical musical" number is clearly the fact that we don't get to SEE a musical number. The clarinetist boy is instantly cut off, no one finishes their song or dance, no choreography, no big sing, we don't get to see a good number, or even a bad number in full, there is in fact is NO musical number...in a musical...which is on a stage...with a ton of performers..in costume, ready...to perform..."let me entertain you" but later...much later... 2-Russell's entrance is big and full, nothing is small, this is a STAGE entrance, both literally onto an actual stage within the film, but also bigger than many film musicals would have done prior. In the 40s or 50s we might have had more filmic set up, a close up of Mamma Rose maybe listening at the door, peeking through the cracks to see her daughters, an eye trying to spy close up, but here we get a full on entrance, full body, full voice. The costuming leaps from the character, and it is no coincidence I am sure that she is in full leopard print, a jungle cat who will cut and kill anyone who goes near her baby cubs. In addition, the carrying in of a dog on one arm and a large leopard purse on the other has literally "armed her" with animal camouflage, she bites, and so too might her dog, so don't mess with her, don't come too close. Russell also uses her stage and film training to project her voice like a stage actress, she throws it across the room in a stage style, projecting as a performer, and as a Mamma who WILL be heard. 3-Our obvious go-to here are the double-entendre lyrics, a genius set-up of foreshadowing, "let me entertain you" now...and later...Louise is listening to these lyrics, living them as a second party, but taking them in for later use..."tricks" is the big word here, from magic to fun, from burlesque to stripper. Louise's "trick" could actually be considered as a suggestive finger movement, a small wiggle, a tiny accent that suggests more. High kicks with lots of crinolines and petticoats is one thing, those kicks without those costuming bits can and will reveal much more. The song also gives a finite time line "by the time I'm through..." something will change by the end of the song, there will be a transformation to the person WATCHING the number, genius set up of how someone watching will go from one state...to another...in a short period of time...very sly, very witty.
  7. 1-The beauty and brilliance of the "American In Paris" ballet is compounded by the fact that it is purposefully set apart from the rest of the film. The reveal of the fantasy world, the "dream world" created through Jerry's painting and seen through his eyes is exactly what establishes its magic. Of course it is important to clarify that the film itself IS stylized through the eyes of Minnelli, he used a soundstage as a canvas for a Paris inspired filmic painting, but the style is separated from that of the amazing ballet closing. The ballet uses costumes, characters, and lighting as the primary artistic elements, very simple backgrounds to allow those things to "pop", where the rest of the film does almost the exact opposite, the sets, the buildings, the Seine, the paintings in the background are what makes Paris..Paris. 2-It is true that Mulligan presents some potentially unlikable qualities in this scene, so why do we like him? If we look at the opening scene of the film, the one that establishes our lead and who he is, we get a perfectly choreographed opening where a simple man lives in a ridiculously small apartment, a commoner, not rich, not fancy, an artist doing his best to get by in his tiny surroundings, so that right there gives us empathy, he should be struggling but he makes the best of his meagre surroundings. In the scene in question itself, we get an "average joe" just trying to do his best, he is immediately questioned by a faux-intellectual, she presents as instantly snobby so we dislike her and lose the focus on him, he dismisses her hastily, with cause, and then softens when treated in a more friendly manner by Milo. Also, sidebar, it's Gene Kelly, we love him because...he's Gene Kelly! That charm is there no matter what he says or does!
  8. 1-The "pre-dance" movements I would argue are not "pre-dance" but the beginning of the dance, they are rhythmic-stepping in time to their self created beat to the spoken word of the tongue twisters, the two characters (and might I add actors as well!) are perfectly in tune with one another, each simultaneously gets the idea of where they are going and what is about to happen. The set up is that neither actor is taking these lessons very seriously and like two cut-up kids in class, they know they are going to cause mischief and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting professor. They are literally conducting themselves with their arms (with excellent carriage for those ballet students in the house) and tapping out the beat to set up the rest of the dance, it's foreplay for dance! 2-I have always felt bad for the Professor in that half of the number he is completely obscured, buried under props galore (but let's be honest, if they had left his face available to see, would anyone look at him when faced with a choice of watching Kelly and O'Connor dance together? Nope!) He underplays but does it well and is right on point, he starts big, the know it all elocutionist, but as he is cut down by the two men, he becomes befuddled, then clearly gives up, he doesn't struggle or fight when he is buried, he sits and takes his lumps like a good straight man should! 3-There is no more masculine dancer than Gene Kelly, no one can compare to his physique and strength which is in perfect harmony with his agility and grace, an unheard of combination. For anyone to dance beside him is a risk, no one can match him, but in this number, O'Connor is an equal, a stunning feat of watching not just one, but two absolute masters meeting one another step for step. Their styles are slightly different, but as a dancer myself, you have to acknowledge not just their footwork being in perfect harmony, but the gait, swing and positioning of their arms-now that is genius at work! Clearly Gene will always be the Alpha here, but Donald gets a Beta PLUS for his stunning side by side dancing, and the poor Prof comes in with a solid C for being a Champ to take what is served.
  9. 1-"Annie" in "Annie Get Your Gun" pre-dated Day's role as Jane, and years later Debbie Reynolds "Molly Brown" post-dated the role, all three very similar "backwoods gals just learnin' how to be proper like" (not to mention Eliza Doolittle was on the horizon too!) so this did become a familiar character type. No doubt the popularity of westerns was a part of this trend, and the blending of two styles, musicals and westerns, to draw a larger audience as the threat of television had come onto the horizon. These women all have a masculinity about them, but they are never truly accepted until they transform into the classic female mold. 2-Day went from more shiny, traditional, and large 50s musical roles to the 60s sex farce/comedy romp in a very small time frame, from shy and innocent to a little more racy, but always maintaining the Day sunniness and sweetness. She kept an integrity about her voice and overall character that remained unchanged despite the moving times and roles. 3-Day is one of those performers who for me, is always Doris Day first, I am always aware it is her playing a role as opposed to getting lost into it. This is not to detract from her abilities, a beautiful singer, actor and performer, but she was always a personality first to me. When she's dirty and shooting a gun, she is still a beautiful blonde with a beautiful voice, it just can't be erased.
  10. 1-As has been discussed, the overlying sense of the characters in this number is that they are all "buddies", they can poke fun at, and with one another, there is a sense of true friendship even if someone is taunting someone else, the ensemble feel is at the forefront. In earlier musicals we see one, maybe two characters at most interacting, solos and duets almost exclusively, but this is a group number, and even the lyric is divided to allow sharing amongst musical phrases, very unique and a trail blazing concept compared to musicals of the past. 2-Costuming is relaxed, friendly, buddies hanging out in "rehearsal gear" even Astaire himself is as casual as he could get, all colours are muted, soft blues and beige (aside the one classic red rose pop on Fabray's waist) the costuming suggests they are all just in hang out mode, nothing special, no occasion to dress for, just "average clothes for average joes" 3-As I stated earlier, the song is split not only into 4 different soloists, but phrases themselves are sub-split, this allows for a feeling of spontaneity, freshness, someone can cut someone off mid thought and finish it, this allows the feel of a true ensemble sense, a friend who annoyingly cuts into your point, or conversely knows you so well that they finish your thoughts. The 3 characters are convincing Astaire who "gets it" by finishing some of the thoughts his friends started, it also allows everyone to be a part of the story that is being told, to develop the concept of "entertainment" as they go along.
  11. 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? How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? 1-The scene is directed in a way to show Petunia's undying and unwavering support and love for her spouse, and does, if I am being completely honest, really put women's rights back a few good steps as she is kneeling right down low at his bedside, and then GLEEFULLY taking down laundry, clearly thankful that she still has a husband for whom she can do menial chores...BUT I do understand the spirit for which it is meant, she is so grateful his life was spared that any chore is a blessing as long as he is home. 2-The sentiment can be similar from husband to child, as long as the person in question is safe and home, you too are happy and at peace, but of course the lyric supports a more romantic partner feel, as does the acting style. 3- I have read much about this and I think the issue is a mixed and complicated one, on the one hand, having an all African American musical was a boost to racial efforts and recognition, but stereotypes were also perpetuated in it thus setting the rights movement back a little too. Ultimately this is a positive step in the right direction, but one could argue that it still wasn't truly progressing race acceptance and relations as well as it could, and should have
  12. 1-This number is a perfect example of choreography...not just in actor movement, but in camera, editing, and direction as well. Every part of this number is a dance (despite the fact that there is no dance!) the set is used as a character, every hall, step, bleacher and nook and cranny is used in a calculated and planned manner. Sinatra is "cornered" at all times between Garrret and the set itself, the cat has not only tracked the mouse, but knows exactly where to lead him to trap him. The song is supported by the actors, the direction, the choreo and the editing, all are in cahoots with Garrett to trap her man. This number is an excellent example of all of the parts of th machine working together in calculated planned harmony. 2-Like any great musical number, we are not jarred or shocked by the singing beginning, we are lead into it naturally, she tracks him, at first slow, becoming quicker, the pace picks up, so too does the underscoring, when action no longer is enough, singing takes over to deliver the final blow of attack on the meek Sinatra character.As they always say in musicals, when words are not enough you sing, when singing is not enough you dance, it all happens seamlessly, no noticeable introduction, a smooth flow that eases us in before we even know what is happening (much like poor Frank who just wanted to toss his ball to the rhythm, he finds himself in a chase, it was not planned, but he runs all the same!)
  13. 1-I would love to have a different answer than everyone else, but let's face it, "The Wizard Of Oz" is going to be the main answer, and as well it should! Lots of things get called "classics" but I can think of no better textbook example than "Oz". What I remember most is, growing up, we did not have cable, and no VHS/DVD player at that time, so the only way you would get to see a favourite movie was to search for it in the weekly TV guide and pray it would come on. "Oz" was always shown at Christmas and I would wait all year, knowing I would get my shot at watching it, just once, over the holidays. I remember seeing Judy in colour for the first time and thinking how pretty she was, that the Technicolor red-brown hair was the most perfect colour I had seen in someone's hair ever, and that she was perfect to me, in every, single, way. Even after watching the film, for days, months after, I would chuckle thinking about the Lion, and my eyes would recall every bright Technicolor moment when she first lands in Oz, and my Dad would scare the heck out of me by shrieking "I'll get you my pretty" here and there 2-My childhood Judy was all Dorothy, I remember being confused at first that she could be in any other movie, as any other role, it took me a while to understand and get that she was an actress, not just "Dorothy". I have seen all her movies and appearances, from the round cheeked little girl to her later years when she was clearly struggling behind the scenes, it's so hard to disconnect the knowledge of her sadness and struggles with any performance she does. Could she do it all? Yes! Her comedic roles always impressed me most, it seems most people associate her with sadness, soulful ballads, but she could be flat out hysterical, and I think it's nice to think of her like that, giving us joy, but hopefully finding it for herself too. 3-I know this may be sacrilege, but I confess that I have never been a fan of Judy's version of "A Star Is Born" (I can't disassociate her sadness at the time in her life) BUT no one can deny that her rendition of "The Man That Got Away" isn't an exemplary example of how to take a lyric and squeeze out every ounce of emotion, heart and soul. In fact all of her songs from this film show the RAW pain and heart on sleeve ability she had to get everything out of a lyric and a narrative. No doubt some of this is due to the fact that she herself could no longer keep back a lot of personal emotions and anxieties, but it did push her acting to the next level.
  14. 1-It is clear from the second you begin to watch, that the stately and majestic importance of the White House is at the forefront, the privilege of being inside it, Cohan taking his time up the stairs, he looks at the paintings on the wall, he notes his surroundings. He also has what appears to be an "equal" conversation with an african american man who may well have known the days of slavery but who now is inside the White House and conversing in a mature and equal way with a "national treasure", the butler recounts his seeing Cohan live and the privilege of that moment in his life, Cohan is humble, all the while noting his surroundings and taking them in. Cohan wears an American flag on his lapel, he sits down with a nervousness, a sense that he is in awe of the place he is in, and the person whom he is invited to speak to. He is humble, he refers to once being cocky, but now knowing his place and his role. 2-We are directly and indirectly reminded of the role of the immigrant, from African descendants to Irish ones, no matter where you came from, you love and know the American flag to be your own, even a woman giving birth knows her place and that the show must go on, whether on stage or for the war effort. Be humble, revere the president and the white house, but also feel like it is your home, you are welcome. 3-An excellent choice is made to open the film in the Oval Office for multiple reasons. Logistically it is a film device, telling a story in flashback is an easy way to justify jumps in time, narration, and the passage of long, or short periods as it suits the story, focus on the interesting, delete the non-essentials. It also reminds us of the present time and day, the White House still stands, America survived the first war and will survive through all obstacles, a sense of importance and reverence to icons of the past (ie George Washington painting) are a reminder of the perseverance of the people, and a social reminder that we must still honour the government, that it is always there, and the people will change, but the cause will remain.
  15. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? Although I do agree that there isn't a particularly large or overt "battle" here, especially with Fred and Ginger, we do get some slight indications that the female has more power perhaps than in other films of its time. Not just in the "Ginger wears pants and is sassy" sense ("Lovely Day") but we do have our secondary leads, Madge and Horace... I think there is much more of an overt female power battle here. Madge is totally in control, she is un-flapped by anything Horace does and knows very well that she has all the power, she does not weep, complain, whine, throw a classic 1930s "female fit" she knows she is the boss, now THAT is a switch. Ginger also holds her own, but she always plays a fiesty and strong female, in as much as her characters allowed, she is rarely a weak wilting flower in any of their films, Fred always has to work for her affection, it's never handed to him, so that is a refreshing angle for the partnership in general. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? It falls in line with the screwball meets musical genre that we have seen in a lot of this week's films. It also matches in that everyone lives well, has no concern for money, beautiful gowns, tuxes, settings, rooms, horse drawn carriages, flowers in abundance, nothing is spared and no one has to ration or acknowledge the depression. In fact, the only thing that I would say distinguishes it apart is that it is so far and beyond what even I suspect the wealthiest people of the time would even consider, that it is an "Over the Top..Hat"..WHO FLIES TO ITALY FOR THE WEEKEND!? Especially in the early thirties, I mean, come ON! But they played it and they played it hard, and you buy it too, it's so well done and so perfectly cast and acted that you accept it, but really, the amount of money being spent...unreal. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? One of the main rules of comedy is to flip something, to reverse the norm, so for screwball alone, having women "wear the pants" (literally and figuratively) probably to some was empowerment, and to others, was hilarious to see women "in charge" works for both purposes!

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us