kirbylee70

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  1. 1. As the scene opens we’re in the dark at night. The room is lit but still the room is enclosed and dark. When it progresses from the room to her hanging clothes we’re transported to an area of light, where the sun shines, Walters smiles and sings of her love of Joe. The juxtaposition of exiting the darkness for the light is displayed not just in the setting but the lighting and character attitudes at the same time. Her joy in his being alive shows that her relationship to her husband is all encompassing. 2. The song would require a few lyric changes to suit that of a child but could easily be accomplished. The cultural implications would also require some changes as well. These lyrics suit the depiction of African-Americans as depicted in films at the time with things like “he got” used instead of “he has”. For the song to apply towards a white audience with a white performer those lyrics would require change, at least at the time the film was released. 3. Not being well versed on the movie I wondered if it would have been considered an exploitation film of the time period. Looking back historically we can decipher the intent of the film makers and the effects of the film coming out but back then would it be viewed in the same light? I think about the fact that in 1943 in most cities there would still have been segregated theaters or theaters designated as black theaters. The definition of exploitation films reads “a film intended to attract an audience by means of its sensationalist or controversial content.” For a film to feature an entire black cast such as this would that have been considered sensationalist or controversial? Was it well received by white audiences or did it even play to white audiences? In watching films we’ve had scheduled and clips from movies to date in the class we’ve seen blacks in films in crowd shots or in the roles of servants which while subtle and small was at least an attempt to include blacks in films. In doing so Hollywood provided an opening for integration and acceptance in a country still dealing with the effects of slavery. We were still less than 100 years out from the Civil War and changes in civil rights had not been pressed yet. A movie like CABIN IN THE SKY would have been an attempt to further those issues and should be heralded. WWII saw military men of all colors joined together to fight a common enemy. It wasn’t about this or that race but about defeating a person and an ideology. It united people of all colors like we’d never seen before. So why wouldn’t the same thing happen in our culture? I don’t think it honestly did until later as we witnessed films from the late 50s, 60s and 70s open those doors. But perhaps those films might not have happened without films like this nudging the door ajar.
  2. 1. Combining editing and directing it was interesting to note the cuts from one shot and angle to another in this segment. A shot could involve on angle, stop and then pick up from a different angle. Not only does it segment the shots to coincide with the songs it segments the camera locations as well. An unskilled editor would cut this together improperly so that the segments themselves don’t line up in order or perfection. 2. The segment prepares us for the singing with a small comedic moment of Sinatra being pursued by Garrett, something used again in ON THE TOWN. It establishes early on what is happening between the two, his flight and her pursuit, before the song even kicks in to tell us vocally what is taking place.
  3. 1. Like many my first Judy Garland film was THE WIZARD OF OZ. Ours was the generation that grew up on that on television, not just randomly placed but seen as an event. It’s a difficult concept for younger people to understand, a time when you didn’t have streaming, disc or even video tape to record a show when it was on. Imagine that! I’m not sure I had a distinct impression of her at the time. I just knew I loved to hear that the movie was coming on. Later when I saw her on her TV specials she left a sad impression on me. I don’t know why, it could have been that I was seeing her at what could be the worst time of her life and could sense it. I don’t know. 2. I don’t view her differently after the clips. As I grew up I was able to see more of her performances from that time period as well as the movies she did with Andy Rooney. I was able to see her perform at her peak on film and appreciate more of what she’d done prior to those TV times I mentioned. While Hollywood provided her with a lifetime most will never see they also did quite a bit of damage to her as well which is sad to think about. 3. Looking at imdb I was stunned to see she only made 40 movies in her career. Glancing through those titles I couldn’t single out any particular number that she did which would do her justice to show her maturation as a singer and story teller. All of her performances were wonderful. Her ability to combine acting, singing, dancing and understanding of how to play to the camera at the same time show in her later films, talents that come with time and experience.
  4. 1. The concept of patriotism through the use of props, sets and music overruns the segment shown. To start with the location is the White House, considered the home of the country and one owned not by its occupants but by the people of the United States. The paintings along the walls feature previous Presidents and used to inspire respect for those who came before. The fact that Cohen here is meeting the President, the holder of the highest office in the land, should be taken into note as well. Flags are on display in both the President’s office and along the street when the flashback begins. All of this wraps the viewer in a sometimes subtle and other times blatant sense of country. 2. The dialogue shows two men discussing the patriotism that one instills in those who see his shows or hear his music. The conversation points out a difference in opinion of the political parties even back then from the FDR’s comment that some think Cohen would make a better President to Cohen’s referring to the ownership of a critical newspaper. What was nice to see was that it wasn’t directed as a slam or a diatribe on the difference in parties but played off in a subtle manner as a joke. And FDR’s comment about “admire about you Irish Americans” is seen here as a compliment as he celebrates their adapting to and love of this country. 3. By opening the movie with this scene it eases the viewer into the story that is about to unfold. Had it begun with the parade it would have left you at first wondering what the story was about. Moving straight into the performance his father was giving it might have made people think they were seeing a film about him instead of George M. Cohen. The slow, gliding movements of the opening segment allows the theater patron to sit down and watch the story unfold rather than be tossed into an fast paced parade and performance. It tells you up front this is who the movie is about, his love of country and how that story came to be.
  5. 1. Perhaps not so much a battle of the sexes so much as the holding tight to a stereotype is Roger’s fear of the storm while Astaire smiles and offers the chivalrous attitude of “I’ll protect you” as the piece opens. From there the battle begins as he attempts to show her how wonderful he is with a few moves only to see her then match him step for step. What I kept noticing, and I’m not sure it was intentional or not, was that during the entire dance I kept seeing Astaire smiling but Rogers seemed to be concentrating on her moves. Was this a subtle display of weakness in the script showing that while she could keep up for her it was with difficulty or was it just coincidence? In any event her being able to match him through it all showed that she was as capable as he was and he wasn’t put off by that. This presents a battle of the sexes that doesn’t show dominance of one over the other but a mutual respect for both. 2. The most obvious difference to me was the setting. By this time things had progressed from an “on stage” presence to singing and dancing “on location”. Yes it was a set but no it wasn’t Broadway. It also move the story line from focusing on the ills of the depression to ignoring it and setting things in the world of the well to do. These people aren’t concerned with soup lines, they have enough in their pocket to take care of anything that comes their way. 3. When placed alongside what was occurring in history at the time the comedies had to change for several reasons. Women gained the right to vote in 1920 and while they may have had that right then it decisions like this take a while to change the culture of the time. A woman’s role in the world was evolving from what it was to what it would become. Another reason would be the staleness of using the same thematic contrivances over and over again. People tire of the same plot device used repeatedly. By allowing women to alter their roles in these screwball comedies of the time it opened the door to new storylines that could be used. Those might use the old concepts but in changing gender it also presents a different version rather than the same old same old.
  6. So much has already been said that it seems pointless to add to it but hey, isn't that what we're here for? To me the differences are noticeable in the fact that Powell does indeed show a grace in her movements while Keeler is a bit clunky. But in watching the clips you have to take into account what's being filmed as well. With Keeler we're seeing more of what a live stage performance would have been; it looks like it was shot as an audience looking at a stage which is what it was in that movie. For Powell the dancing is integrated into the setting differently. She may be showing what she can do but not being in front of a theater audience and in a small setting she can add nuance to her moves. Watching the second clip of Keeler someone shared (with James Cagney) it didn't much change my opinion of who was the better dancer (Powell) but it at least was a better comparison. Keeler still shows a more hoofer like quality, all footwork and leg movies with arms askew seeming more there for balance than dance interpretation.
  7. 1. From the clip provided the character of Alfred seems to be a carefree playboy type who cares little emotionally for anyone but himself, a narcissist whose only concern is how happy he is no matter the cost to anyone else. Everything is lighthearted to him with no care in the world except how much pleasure he can find for himself. That he has nothing but disdain for the woman’s husband is shown with the winks, nods and muted laughs he has after the man enters. The drawer containing the numerous guns shows that his involvement isn’t limited to just one woman, another example of his self-centered nature. 2. The only noticeable thing about the dialogue to me here was that much of it was in French and for decades the French language has been described as the language of love. In choosing to mix French and English in the chosen dialogue it seemed that the moments of high passion were fueled by French and the more staid moments in English creating a difference in not just languages but in what was behind each. As for the sound I noticed two items that made the scene different from most movies I recall from the time. The first is as the scene opens when we can hear the couple arguing before they even enter the room. It’s subtle and allows us to have an idea of what is going on prior to their entering. The second while brief is when Chevalier opens the balcony doors and we hear the street traffic below. It creates the illusion of the scene taking place in the city without having to show the view from the balcony. Early audiences unaware of the process of making movies would have thought this was shot on location rather than a studio. 3. Once more we’re witness to a movie that chooses to place us in the world of those unaffected by the Depression, affluent society members who don’t have the same concerns as the average person. The fact that it revolves around an affair shows two things to consider. The first is that while affairs know no class bounds movies like this depict a world of the wealthy where they have nothing but free time never having to work and thus have a schedule flexible enough to do so. The second is that pre-code more settings that would have been considered salacious at the time are seen. Both would lend themselves to expecting the same to follow in movies of that time period.
  8. 1. Perhaps a brighter perspective on life isn’t quite what we see here. As with most films we see not how the average film goer lives but how those in the glamorous world of the stage live which itself isn’t always that way. By choosing the star rather than the chorus it does depict a brighter perspective ignoring the rest of the stage cast and crew. 2. A theme that runs through many of these musicals is that of a positive attitude while ignoring what was going on off screen. A depiction of what glamor the world could hold against the reality of what was happening. Because of this it helped the popularity of the films giving them the ability to remove ticket buyers from their day to day existence and allowing them to escape if only for the short time they spent in the theater. The movies became a morale booster for so many because of this. Because of this one would think that all movies took this as their cue to follow making more movies of an upbeat nature. 3. Pre-code might have found the seedier side presented with a focus on all the backstage drama rather than the story of the star. It might also have dealt less directly with the contract battles of the two producers or shown them with less hospitable attitudes toward one another. Rather than a nod of the head or stunned look an actual confrontation between the two complete with threats would be expected. In addition to that the coquettish nature on display by Ranier would have been less playful and more fueled by innuendo. It feels like the pre-code films were more blatant than subtle.
  9. 1. The interaction between the two seems to show the differences in background without belaboring the point. Eddy seems to be the average Joe while MacDonald is the sophisticated socialite type, lower/middle class presented against the upper class. In the first clip while he has no problem saying what’s on his mind she seems she puts on airs, not so much playing hard to get but carrying about her an atmosphere of above him socially. The second clip tosses her into his world, one where art isn’t so much the be all to end all deserving full blown attention from those listening. Instead it’s raucous and rowdy, less sitting calmly and listening and more interaction. You can tell in the clip it’s not what she’s used to. In addition to that you can see that the behaviors on display seem crude and crass to her, a fish out of water if you will. The interaction she has with Eddy in this scene shows he is willing to be more accepting than her while she has a sense of shame that only increases knowing he is there. That air of superiority on display in the first clip is gone replaced by shame and yet in both you can see neither one affects him or his affections for her. 2. I’ve not seen one of these movies in decades so can’t comment on this question. 3. The depictions one could gather here seem to show the male role as the lead and female as a more subservient one. In addition to that we get the idea that the male protagonist is chivalrous and inclined to play things straight while the female tends to play games and maneuver her way to what she wants, at least by the first clip. The second clip shows how that maneuvering doesn’t always go as planned and leads to embarrassment. But it still shows that concept of male superiority in it with Eddy un-phased by what’s going on in this locale and accepting of her no matter what. As for the depiction of the two with the code enforced the interaction between the couple versus the interaction of the saloon singer with the customers displays the differences in what could be considered moral versus immoral. MacDonald is the essence of purity in comparison to the free moving, hip shaking style of the saloon singer who does what it takes to survive and make money from a group of what some would consider lowlifes but are simply working stiffs. Post code would want to portray the saloon singer as a fallen woman who is willing to do anything for a buck and the star, MacDonald, as the symbol of virtue in spite of the world she’s thrown into and thus the object of affection for the hero in the film. It places her on a pedestal to be worshipped and him willing to do so. Of course real life isn’t composed of the black and white differences in people but this is the movies.
  10. kirbylee70

    Request

    I would imagine there would be some difficulty in offering the past courses due to use of TCM for many of the movies we're going to have access to here. I too am one of those who just learned about the course and would love to have taken part in the earlier ones. Any ideas of what is to come in the future?
  11. I can't think of any musicals that I can actually claim to hate. And a number of them I've come to appreciate with time. I think WEST SIDE STORY is overrated as an entire film but I love segments of it. It's one I need to reevaluate with time. Interestingly enough the first time I ever saw THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW was at Ball State the year after it was released. The SCGB (Student Center Governing Board) showed it for Halloween my freshman year. I hated it at the time but have learned to love the music and appreciate the film. Wanting to be involved I was able to join the board as Film programmer and did that the next three years there until I graduated.
  12. An interesting topic and like most here I don’t think I could limit myself to a single film. In reading replies I found movies I’d forgotten or hadn’t seen yet. Coupled with recently compiling a list of my favorite films from each year I found there too that there were a number of movies I missed but would still love to see. But back to musicals. For me growing up meant classic movies. As a child my uncle would have me mow his lawn and afterward he’d make lunch and we’d watch classic films on the UHF stations out of Cleveland. This was in the 60s before tape and discs. I grew up watching and appreciating them and then watched them on my own on late night shows. Little did I realize it was an education in movies. But to pick one is still impossible. Each movie we see creates an image in the mind based on our own personal histories, memories of events that they remind us of. It’s why some of us love some movies others hate and hate movies others love. So here’s my movies: Gold Diggers of 1935 left an impression on me, stunned by their rendition of “Lullaby of Broadway”. Three Little Words, was fun and the tune stays with me to this day. Singin’ in the Rain not only taught us about movies but displayed the talents of the three leads perfectly. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was raucous fun. On the Town had great tunes and Kelly doing yet another amazing job. Hans Christian Anderson was a childhood favorite. White Christmas was a great movie and has become a yearly tradition in our home (my wife and I were able to see it on the big screen this past year as the Ft. Wayne Cinema Center screened it for the holidays). The Music Man continues to stun me with Robert Prestons performance; it also was my first childhood crush in Shirley Jones. Bye Bye Birdie was bright colorful, the tunes were great and brings back memories of seeing it at a drive-in of all places. Robin and the Seven Hoods was my exposure to the Rat Pack. Yellow Submarine came as I grew into rock music. 1776 I didn’t appreciate until I was older. Jesus Christ Superstar was a movie based on an album I listened to non-stop in my teens. Grease reminds me of dating my then girlfriend and now wife. Xanadu seriously Gene Kelly returning to the big screen and not loving it? Campy and fun it doesn’t deserve the hate most give it. Little Shop of Horrors once more tunes you could sing and more fun. Across the Universe I’ve only seen once but the renditions of Beatles tunes here is so well done. And more recently I’ve loved watching The Greatest Showman more than once in both the theater and at home. It IS what classic movie musicals were. A little long winded, which I can be, but I’m 60 now so cut me some slack. I also came into the discussion late. LOL.

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