AndreaMK

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  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? Had Streisand belted more, and made it more theatrical, it would have become a very SHOWY number, rather than a heartfelt number. Here, it is still intimate between the two of them, and the audience can sense how she feels. Had she gone full out for a stage performance, it would have felt over produced, and unrealistic. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? Omar's expression doesn't really seem to change much throughout. From the beginning of the song, he is actively listening, and continues to listen and be present as she goes through different stages of life of who needs who. Streisand, however, begins by being more open and speaking/singing towards him about people and children, but she turns away and appears as if she is really feeling, and understanding for the first time what lovers might need. We lose sight of him during the "lovers" part, but as the camera circles back around, we see him still in the same spot, listening. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. It appears as if this is all one shot, without any cutting needed. As I said before, there are moments where Streisand is clearly in her own world, and the shot is set up perfectly to help us get that sense. When she begins singing, she is walking away from Omar, but he is close behind, following, and hanging on her every word. As she stops and goes into the song-proper talking about what people need, she plays with the balcony, and we see Omar relax and settle in to listen to what she has to say. As she walks further away to speak about what a child needs, she plays with the stair rail, almost as if becoming a child again in a sweet, and naive way. As she begins to sing about lovers, the camera zooms in slightly, her voice becomes more hushed and low, and she turns further away. The camera turns and puts Omar back in the shot as she discusses lovers, but she is no longer singing to him, but looking away, with a distant look on her face, nervously playing with her fingers, as she begins to open her heart about what a lover needs. The blocking and cinematography really help bring us all in to what Streisand is feeling, but without forgetting that about her counterpart and how he might be feeling about her story.
  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) In Question 3 I mention how the distance between Higgins and Eliza is all encompassing with their state of minds, their social status, and also physically. The filmmaking techniques help create this distance with the angles at which they shoot, giving a larger sense of distance. Similarly, I remember the Daily Dose from Take Me Out to the Ball Game in which Sinatra is trying to create distance from Betty Garrett, however that scene is driven more in comedy and through the cartoon like music, where My Fair Lady is driven by deep rooted emotions. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. When Eliza has her low moments of self doubt, she physically also tends to be low, either on the ground, laying on the couch, or simply with her head down and body slouched over. It's also in these moments that she seems to have the least amount of light on her, further enhancing her lowness. When she has bouts of anger towards the situation, she is standing tall and on the same level has Higgings, physically and with lighting. This enhances Eliza's feelings of strength, and doubt. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? The direction here almost seems like a cat and mouse game, in which the cat doesn't quite seem to get to the mouse. Higgins (the cat) spends the scene trying to calm down Eliza, and in those moments he gets closer to her to speak to her, but Eliza (the mouse) is always just out of reach and she turns away, and even walks further away. The sense of cat and mouse would not be as strong if the shot at the end was taken from the left side, making Higgins and Eliza appear on the same plane. Here, it is show from this angle to show the distance Eliza is making from Higgins as she is close to the camera, and Higgins seems quite far away. The distance isn't just physical, but also in a state of being, and how she feels socio-economically.
  3. 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? Over the decades, the male representation seems to change with the climate of the nation. I think about Astaire and how he didn't really have that Alpha male mentality in the 30s, which was fine, because it wasn't something the climate of America needed. But as we got into pre-War musicals, American's needed to feel strength and command from men. You then get the Alpha male with the Beta Male friend who show that someone can take charge. We "loose" the Alpha male during Wartime, but the men are still very active in fighting for a cause, which again, helps the American viewers. Now, in the 60s, America feels powerful, so we are able to allow the masculinity to take a backseat, and start showing more personal takes on men. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? Harold Hill shows his masculinity as being that conniving, con-artist. He's not an Alpha Male, but he's capable of knowing what to do to get his way and what he wants. Victor surprises me, as we are in the midst of Communism. People that were different were looked at suspiciously, so it's surprising to see that character come out (not pun intended) during this time. That being said, he is still very much a man. He's a softer man, but not a man that can be walked over, and shows his strength in his sass. 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? Unfortunately, I can only think of Robert Preston as Harold Hill.
  4. 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? This scene looks back to the classical musicals as it portrays a "backstage" musical. It's showing the inner workings of how the theatre works. It shows the future disruptions with the brass character of Mama, which is not something we typically see from female characters. 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's knowledge of the theatre certainly helped her in this scene in being able to rattle off the different commands to the orchestra, lighting guys, etc. She has a very strong presence like a theatre actor when making her entrance, giving commands to her children, but also has the subtitles when speaking closely and one on one with the producer, etc. 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). The staging of this performance does not let on to anything edgy. The dancing is very sweet and naive that fit well with the age of the girls. One could say that the lyrics "kicks" and "tricks" could be played differently to make it more edgy, and sly, but as it is portrayed, it wouldn't even cross ones mind.
  5. 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? I believe the whole purpose of the ending ballet is to take us into a different place. It is a dream sequence of what I imagine to be a recap of Jerry's life from arriving in Paris, through meeting Lis, and how he feels when he's with her. He's a painter, which is scene through the back drops of the dream. It truly sets apart his feelings in this dream from the rest of the movie. If the entire movie were in a similar, stylized approach, we would lose the dream sense, as all of it would seem surreal. It would take on a feel of Moulin Rouge (2001), which would be too much. This ballet, along with the opening sequence of what they imagine Lis to be like are distinct, and help the view know that it is how it is pictured in Jerry's mind, rather than set in reality. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Most artists (in all forms of fine arts) know what it feels like to get critiques and comments from those who 1) don't know what they are talking about, 2) solicit it when it's not wanted. Part of why Jerry can still remain likeable is because he is being honest, and saying what most of us would want to say to someone in that situation. It almost is humorous. I also think that Jerry can get away with it because we all still see Gene, which we like from his movie portrayals. Yes, we know he was quite harsh on set, but when watching him on film, we see that characters he plays, so the unlikeable comments made to the "3rd Year" kind of get overlooked and forgotten.
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Pre-dance movements of O'Connor and Kelly seem to completely correlated with their character, as well as their style of dance. O'Connor from the get-go has this air of youth and playfulness to him, and is seen in how overly compliments the Professor, in a teasing, mocking way. Kelly stands there and is more suave, put together, and gentlemanly. (These ideas also tie in to how they are cast in other pictures as Kelly as the Alpha Male, and O'Connor as the Beta Male who is the sidekick.) Once they start dancing, the movements are very similar. Kelly dances in a very smooth way, even when tapping. Kelly is a chameleon in his dance styles, but through his arms, and the way his body seems to flow, it has the same security, and suaveness he shows throughout the movie, and in the beginning of the scene before they start dancing. O'Connor is more of a hoofer to me. He sinks a little lower into his taps, and has more edges in his arm movements, that continue his playful, Beta Male side that is set up at the beginning of the scene. These differences between O'Connor and Kelly are noticeable, but do not take away from the synchronicity of the dance, but shows their character throughout. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The Professor is clearly from a different time than Kelly and O'Connor's characters. He is refined, proper, and enjoys crisp speaking, as if he is there to teach a Cotillion class. One could imagine that he has a very strict routine everyday, and that the corners of his bed are always tightly squared, and everything around him is always in order. He keeps his character throughout as he gets thrown around the room with the nonsense of Kelly and O'Connor. His face tells us that he is in over his head, and is quite appalled by their behavior. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? As I mentioned in question 1, one can see the Alpha Male in Kelly as he often puts his head up during some moves, as if not a care in the world. O'Connor has this more fun, jokester way about him, trying to do what he can to impress those around him by being comical, being a great Beta Male/sidekick. The Professor doesn't ring out as an Alpha or Beta male to me, but simply of a Male from yesteryear that is a no nonsense type, that needs order. I do not feel any of them steal the scene or take the power, but shows how the 3 different types all coincide in the world.
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? This character is hard to pin-point. With her "one of the guys," "tom boy" mentality, it makes me think about the "Buddy Musicals" with her body language and persona. It is also reminiscent of the Wartime female characters that have a strong purpose in providing for themselves, she can handle herself, wears pants, and seems tough. She certainly is not the helpless, sexy characters Marylin Monroe often played, but she also is smart, like the brunettes normally are, but is a blonde. Even in the second clip when she speaks of love, she keeps her sensibility, without reverting to the demure, feminine, helpless lady that we have seen in the past. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I've not seen any other Doris Day roles yet, so I can't really answer this, yet. I'll be keeping my eyes open as I watch my DVR to see her progression. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. The bright and sunny persona gives a youthfulness to the character, but she still shows her strength. Even in today's culture, women have to find a balance of standing their ground, without coming off as cold hearted. It's a fine dance to be feminine, attractive, and desirable, but with showing we have brains, can handle our own life, we don't "need" a guy, etc. Calamity Jane seems to be one of the first representations of a women who is going through this struggle of a dance, where she ends up keeping who she is, but in a more mature way. It adds to the character to show the metamorphosis and settling into a middle ground, but I can see that some might say it detracts as it might come off as she is losing herself to get a guy, but I don't see it that way.
  8. 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? Pulling from Top Hat in which we discussed how Fred & Ginger were in a battle of the sexes, constantly upping the others move, or showing they can do it, too, this scene is different. Here we have 3 men and 1 women, who are all doing the same steps as an ensemble. The men are not showing the lady how it's done, and she's not taking a back seat to wait to be shown. Similarly, they are all very familiar with each other. The way the grab each others arms when they have a new idea, or thought, seems very platonic, where in the past, the women touching a guy was romantic. Their vocal interplay also show how the thoughts are streamlined. One has a solo that states a thought, the other then continues with the same thought, without it becoming a "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" scenario, where they are always disagreeing. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Even though they all have an individual style, the color palette works between them all. For example, Astaire and Levant both have on dark pants, but differ in suit jacket color, navy and grey, respectively. Fabray ties into this with a grey skirt. Levant has a white shirt, as does Fabray and Astaire. I like how Fabray is in more of a women's skirt suit to play on her equality to the guys. Levant also has a blue tie, which ties into Cordova's light blue ensemble, but mimics Astaire's blue pin-stripe suit. I feel Cordova's sticks out the most being light blue, and might have been better suited with grey pants, and maybe a blue jacket, as he is the only one with light blue. However, as you can see, it all still works together quite well. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? In On the Town, it is made note that the taller character was usually in the middle to make a balance between the trio, however here we have a quartet with varying size and gender. The staging in constantly changing and rotating so that not one specific character is in the center being featured, or stuck on the same side. They also don't play off specific strong suits that often. Astaire could obviously be the main attraction with many dance moves, but instead he stays with the others. They each also have their hand in the slap-shtick of the jokes, rather than picking out characters that might typically do gags. This also ties into my thoughts from the first question, showing how they all grab each others arms/shoulders in very familiar, platonic ways, showing how they are comfortable with each other, and know each other well.
  9. 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? When I see Petunia by the bedside, it seems like a very caring, motherly moment and she's allowing her words to reassure him and lift his spirits. It's a closeup of only the two of them, showing us the intimacy between them. When they switch to her outside hanging laundry, it switches to a more youthful side of Petunia, in which she is singing about the boy she loves. She is doing a mundane task, but is caught up in her thoughts of someone she loves, singing, and even playing with the laundry. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I feel it would have a stronger impact if she was singing bedside to a child. Most people expect to lose a parent, and eventually their spouse, but losing a child is always harder, as the parent feels they should outlive their offspring. With the cultural influence of the war, it would certainly hit home and be a much more direct hit to show losing a child, as many families feared losing their brothers and sons to war. I don't imagine the laundry scene would have been quite as youthful singing about a child, but more thankful. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? This film and it's all black casting is important then and even now. In WWII, blacks were expected to fight for their country, yet, were seen as second class citizens. Roles for blacks in movies prior to Hallelujah and Cabin in the Sky were all of butlers, entertainers, and workers, They weren't seen often as a family, or shown in the same capacity as other families. Showing this family dynamic to the screen helps show the black American families as equals.
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. The shots are set up in which Garrett and Sinatra are almost always moving away from the camera. This, to me, spotlights how Sinatra is trying to get away. Each shot, it appears as if they go further and further away form the camera, demonstrating Sinatra's desire to get further and further away from the ever persistent Garrett. It was all very well "choreographed," or edited, so the shots blend well together to keep the story moving smoothly. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? This segue is reminiscent of cartoons where the music really tells you what is happening, or what is ABOUT to happen. Here, you have a happy, whistling tune to show Sinatra leaving the locker room, showing he is unaware of what is to come, however there is a minor key about it, making it somewhat ominous. Once Garrett steps in front of him, the music becomes short chords, which give the sense of sneakiness and urgency, which are seen in Garrett's ploy to trap Sinatra, and Sinatra's confusion and desire to leave, respectively. The music then speeds up as Sinatra runs up the stairs, and continues to gain speed, with a crescendo, only furthering the urgency to escape. With the final rise in pitch of the violins, it makes the viewer aware that something IS about to happen. In a cartoon, say Tom & Jerry, Jerry would then be trapped somewhere and need to figure out a new strategy to escape. Here, Sinatra is Jerry as he runs away from Garrett, and the trap is her starting to sing.
  11. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? The first Judy film I saw was Wizard of Oz when I was very young, probably 7 years old. I feel like it was the only one I saw of hers until I was a teenager where my dad introduced me to Meet Me in St. Louis. Those two films always had a sweet, naive, innocence to them. I recognized she had a great voice, a voice that seemed much more mature than her age, but other than that, I didn't think much of it. There aren't strong dances to be blown away by, so it was always just how sweet she and her voice were. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I am happy to see more of her comedic timing in Easter Parade. It shows diversity in what she is capable of doing as far as comedy goes. For Me and My Gal is somewhat reminiscent to me of Rosemary Clooney from White Christmas. Although I know the taps are foley, I watched her feet very intently and found her steps were quite graceful, with accurate steps to match the sounds. From my own tap experience, I know that getting the most accurate sound is quite difficult, but either she had the steps down, or was quite close, as I was fooled. This clip is the first time I feel like I see her as more of an adult, rather than sweet, young Dorothy, or teenage girl from St. Louis. 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? Sadly, I don't have much of a repertoire when it comes to Judy and her other films. My knowledge so far is comprised of Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and a TV bio-pic I saw when I was about 10 years old, and a play about her called Over The Rainbow. I'm very happy to be able to see more of Judy this week in the TCM movie selections.
  12. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. In the opening scene, you see Cohan walking up stairs in which the wall is lined with portraits of the presidents. He then enters what could be the Oval Office. The parade scene is filled with everyone waving American flags with a band. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. Throughout the dialogue, the stream of anything referring to politics is endless. There are many references to patriotic songs, name dropping of political party members, politics, and deliberate statements of being proud. For example, as Cohan and the butler walk up the stairs, the butler recounts how when he first encountered Cohan he was in the box seat with Teddy Roosevelt to watch George Washington Jr, dancing to "Grand Ol' Flag." While in the office with F.D.Roosevelt, FDR quotes the Harold saying Cohan would be a better president, to which Cohan remarks it's a Republican paper. Cohan calls himself an a "regular yankee doodle dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade, or following one." FDR mentions Cohan being an Irish-American, which I feel is a strong pull to unite everyone, no matter their heritage. They are no longer Irish, Italian, French, but Irish-AMERICAN. Cohan makes reference to his father running away to the Civil War at 13, and that he was the "proudest kid in Massachusetts," to which FDR replies, "So you spent your life telling the other 47 states what a GREAT country it is." The remark of the Civil War shows pride in how the country has fought before and the pride that comes from supporting what you believe in, and FDR's comment is practically a campaign slogan. These are just a few examples in the first 2 minutes of how much the dialogue promotes American morale. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Had the opening scene been the 4th of July parade, I think it would have set the musical up to look to be more of a backstage musical from the 30s, rather than being the War Time musical that it is. Although there were flags waving on a 4th of July, it would seem less important. Having the present time scene of being with FDR and putting the audience in the social climate of the times, it gives the parade and all that it encompasses a stronger meaning.
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? In the clip, a moment that stuck out as a battle of the sexes is after Ginger gets up and has shown she can hold her own, they pair is walking away from the camera, and she does a quick little tap diddy, making Fred turn around to hear the challenge, then they get more intense in their steps. It isn't much of a one-upping battle, but she is definitely keeping par, which is a new concept, since most female roles are portrayed as damsels in distress that need help. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? Although I ahve seen this movie a million times and have worn out my fathers VHS, I have not watched it yet this week to brush up on the on goings of the movie, specifically in this type of analytical view. One thing I can see is the progressiveness of this clip. In Born to Dance, we are still looking back at time as we knew it, with girls in dresses, waiting for men to return from war, with a young girl trying to make it on the stage. Here, Ginger is her own bread winner, the musical numbers are becoming more spur-of-the-moment, rather than production numbers on the stage, and she's also dressed in pants. At the same time, however, there are still similarities to other movies we've seen/discussed in it's distraction from the Depression. They are flying to new locations, going to lavish dinners and night shows, and dancing in grand ball rooms. 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? These screwball comedy musicals show the growth of the women and her standing in society. As I said before, the damsel in distress mentality is starting to slip away as women in society gain more respect and power as they were able to do more than be home-makers. That can also be seen in how long it takes for Ginger to succumb to Fred's persistence. In Born to Dance, Stewart and Powell meet, and fall in love all within one scene and song. In Top Hat, you see Ginger being quite annoyed with Fred's persistence, and even if she might get caught up on occasion and dance, she stands firm and takes longer to be wooed. Women before couldn't make money as easily as men, so they needed to marry,etc., but since the Depression, women had to get out and work, help earn a living, and started realizing their value in society and as a person.
  14. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? Lubitsch's style is quite prominent in this clip. The long look at the garter's on her legs, as well as the reference to the one she found in the room, the slow look at his dresser drawer where many other guns can be seen, Alfred's entrance from a different room (aka the bedroom), and the help she requires with her zipper. All of these aspects show Lubitsch's style of the sexual aspect, but in a slight comedic form. This style also helps us learn about Alfred's character as a care-free, joking, playboy. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. This scene was almost like watching a previously silent film turned talkie. The scene is very quiet without any normal background noises. When she moves, you don't hear anything from her pearls hitting each other, the snap on her purse as she opens it, the footsteps as the husband crosses the room to shoot Alfred, or the sliding of the drawer. The sound of the door shaking/opening, and of the people outside running after the gun shot are quite apparent, however. The parts that have clear sound are adding to the story (audible lines being spoken), or by making it more suspenseful (gun shots, the husband trying to break in the room, the background music). What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The Love Parade is still only 2 years into talkies, so it would make sense that many other Depression-era musicals from eh same time have similar approaches of basing it around more of the Silent Film staging, until they grow more accustom to the use of sound. Also, these are still in Pre-Code times, so there would still be more risqué aspects (such as garters, guns, etc), with some nods thrown to Vaudeville in some of the comedic aspects.
  15. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. The interaction between Eddy and Macdonald are almost those of forbidden lovers. They keep their distance at all costs, and distract with humor or more distance, if words or glances are exchanged that could be interpreted as longing, or caring. For example, in the canoe Macdonald turns around towards the end of the song and has a very pleasant look on her face, as if she's actually beginning to believe his words, then realizes her gaze and turns back around, and beings ot make jokes. In the bar, Eddy catches Macdonalds eye as she is realizing how out of place she is, and you can see he feels for her, but instead of helping, he gets up from the table and diverts his attention. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. Sadly, my memory and my research tell me I haven't seen Eddy or Mcdonald in a film or show. I'm looking forward to watching some of their partnerships for the first time through TCM this week! What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? It is clear the Hollywood Film Code keeps everything as assumed or understood, without actually giving an answer. The Roaring 20s were such a time for women to be free, and for everyone to rebel against Prohibition, but the Film Code reversed all of that and put it back into the early 1900s, where everything must be covered, and all topics are taboo. The other singer at the saloon is still more of a care-free flapper type, but one gets the feeling that those in the bar who appear to be frequent flyers, or riff-raff (drinking too much, loud, knocking over trays from the waitresses, and dancing about in skin tight clothing). Male/Female relationships were very discrete, innocent, and naive, as if we are all 10 year olds around our first crush, with our parents watching us.

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