Joyce Carlson

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  1. The song was very intimate, she was singing her thoughts, but also singing those thoughts to Nicky. If she had belted it out, and a more robust delivery might be necessary in a theater vs a sound stage, the song would lost some of that intimacy. As the scene begins, their share a common thought about how they interact with other people and their is a moment, when Fanny awkwardly and self depreciatingly notes their differences in that commonality, and moves into a soft beginning of the song. You have to strain to hear her, almost as if she is singing to herself, having a private thought, and then includes Nicky as she embraces that thought. The tentative intimacy and yearning of the song between the two is enhanced by the empty street, the dark shadows around then she starts just slightly ahead of him, but always turns back towards him, reaching for him with the words she sings. I especially like the part she partially climbs the stoop and leans slightly down toward Nicky as she sings.
  2. One of the themes that struck me as I re-watched this scene is shadowy luxury of Hepburn’s surrounding and her rich clothing of lace, velvet and diamonds contrast with her realization that she has no where to go, no hope of a future. She is a person without a place in the middle of very richly feathered nest. Hepburns character realizes that she has collaborated with Higgins and the Colonel in cutting herself off her own sense of belonging. The full measure of that hits home. Harrison’s Higgins is still blissfully unaware that the basis of their relationship has changed irrevocably. And even when he comes to understand she has concern over her future, he tried to play into their old roles: offer her chocolate, distract her with talk of working in a flower shop. What he starts to grasp, but not yet fully comprehend is that their relationship, and balance of power in that relationship has not just changed, but went they a seismic upheaval. She is no longer dependent on him, but understands that she needs to forge a new future for herself. He still expects to see her in the same role she has played in the household come the next morning.
  3. in terms of changes in male representation in musicals, the movies started basing characters in more relatable life to the viewer. As for their acting, dancing, singing, the male characters seemed to become more rugged in their physical movement and appeal, rather than smooth and elegant. As I think of the upcoming movies, many of which I have seen previously, it seems that films are moving their male characters (and especially the leads) into anti-heroes, rather than hero roles. Robert Preston plays that in both of these clips. In Music Man, he reaches out to the townspeople in the words he chooses to sing to them, with the purpose of inflaming them and seeing to his own agenda for the town and the townspeople. He does it while lounging singing in Victor/Victoria as well. He sings and is stingingly pointed or gently personalized to his audience. I only recall on other Preston movie, and that as How the West Was Won. He was very masculine, and alpha, but the opposing and not so noble male anti-hero character, ended up with the girl.
  4. The clip encompasses a look back by capturing the rush of children to the stage and screen in the 30's to becomethe next Shirley Temple, complete with a stage mother, and the innocent belief that talent could take you anywhere. It looked forward by popping that balloon - literally, in the case the young girl performing in a ballon costume, a shadow of what Louise would become and where her lack of musical talent would take her: to burlesque and the strip shows, but eventually, to the stages her mother sought for Louise's sister June. When Mama entered, all eyes went to Mama, and the attention that Mama sought for her Baby June, was really the attention that Mama wanted herself, but never got. She took the road of wife and mother, until she realized June represented another opportunity. And Mama was going to make sure she wasn't thwarted this time, as she filled all of the roles: director, choreographer, designer, coach. Baby June singing the song, kept the meaning innocent, but the same song, sung by an adult women, has a whole different nuance. It became an invitation to a casual dalliance, instead of child's play.
  5. In response to the first question, I think the answer that a movie needs to have one particular style or approach consistent through out the film, would be no. It may be that a cohesive style is useful to deliver the intent of the filmmaker or it may be that it cannot. In An American in Paris, the ballet sequence represents Jerry's own despair of losing Lise, and showing it a more stylized approach reflected in his drawing (also something deeply personal and intently felt by his character) makes the contrast that much more marked. Jerry is likely in this clip because he was so honestly vulnerable and exposed. He was rude to the 3rd year girl, because she was something he was not, and possible may be critical of what he was and what was important to him: his art. He said as much. That his character never conceived that he would ever sell one of his paintings, also means he was not as confident in his talent as a painter as he might portray outwardly. Later in the film, when he talks about that for a painter, it is the original that matters. That original has all of his talent and passion painted onto the canvas.
  6. The pre dance movements by Gene and Donald are musical pantomime. Donald mocks the Speech Coach with his facial expressions, while Gene over-enunciates each word, rolling his r's, and letting his voice tones move up and down the scale. They mock him, tease him, and are mildly disrespectful. However, as the scene goes on, it would be hard not to dance with Gene and Donald as they danced around the professor in his straight man role. When Gene moves him from the desk to the chair as Donald dances, you see the professor's walk/shuffle almost starts to follow the beat, but then he is thrust into the chair and Donald sits on his lap. No dancing for him. As male representations, the professor is the restrained, rule follower. Donald and Gene are the rule breakers, but comically, with a little bit of poking that comedy at the Professor's restraints.
  7. In terms of how this character fits into female representation in 1950s films, and specifically this character, even while Calamity is independent early in the film, she desperately wants to fit in to her society, and in the end, falling in love with Wild Bill, helps her find her true happiness. I don't know if it is purposeful, but the independence of women in the 40's, as they joined the paid workforce (because women have always worked), is being turned into a more of a reflection of the man they are attached to, rather than a person in themselves. That is what seems to happen to Calamity. She cleans up her person, tones down her personality, to become an acceptable companion for Wild Bill. He basically tells her that she must do so in order to be attractive to men. I have enjoyed Doris Day movies over the years, but they are light fare, and I would not say i found her to be a great actress. Even in her serious roles, like Love Me or Leave Me or The Man Who Knew Too Much, she always seem to me to on the edge of overacting. For this version of Calamity's life, she is suited to the role. It is light-hearted, and fun, and she was always good at portraying those kind of characters. She does have a comedic ability that she is not to exploit for the purpose of making the role work. I do like that about Ms. Day. And of course, she had a versatile singing voice. I liked her big band days, better than her movie days.
  8. I noticed that in this scene, the characters are interacting with each other, and the camera is a witness to that intersection, rather than in some of the previous movies when the characters interacted with each other through the camera. No one was the central character, they all interacted. Their clothing as neutral, blacks, greys, whites, so they blended as they moved around each other in the musical sketch. They all moved stage material to support what each charter did next. Their steps mirrored each other, and were in sync. They moved like the supporting cast might behind the main character. This this case the main character was the song.
  9. In the beginning of the song, as she kneels by Joe's bedside, her hands are clasped as if in prayer, and she appears to be singing her gratitude to her prayers being answered, and her husband's return to her, after thinking him dead. When the scene cuts to the laundry line, she is singing more of the delight in her love for Joe, and her tenderness towards him (as she moves him into the shade of the porch), and uses the shirt to simulate an embrace of her husband. I suppose the song could be sung about a child, but I don't think that was the intent to the composer and the lyricist. It would change the tone, and probably some of the words to make that work. I don't think you should change another person's work of art. And music and lyrics are art. A movie with just black actors, for an economic (Movie Studios searching for a new and expanded audience) and political (desired support for the war effort by all citizens) purposes, only underlined that we were still very much a segregated society. The military all during WWII was still separated by color, until President Truman ordered the integration of the Armed Forces after WWII. Despite this, these servicemen enlisted, fought for the ideals of this country, even if the realization of those ideals had not yet been enjoyed fully by these servicemen. And, unfortunately, we are not there yet. I really enjoyed this movie. I had not seen it before. Ethel Waters just blew me away. She was a wonderful actress and singer, and had an incredible presence on stage. I have seen Lean Horne perform, but never Waters. Wow!
  10. The characters start this sequence almost dancing. Betty steps forward, Frank steps backward. Frank steps to the side, Betty mirrors that movement, stalking him, corralling him in time to the music. As the dancing becomes chasing, the worlds become full out singing. All the time she chases him, she is telling him thru song that the end is inevitable as it is fated. She is sort of playing with him like a cat and mouse. Sometimes the mouse momentarily escapes, but the cat is always quicker and catches him again. As the music crescendos, she is chasing him across and up the bleachers, and at the end, as the music comes down the scale, he mirrors that in his slide down the bannister with her catch of Frank reflecting the abrupt stop of the music. I like this musical and also On The Town, and I think Frank and Betty make a good screen couple in these movies where she plays the aggressor, and he is pretty good at playing a more innocent and bumbling prey for Betty. I think Sinatra's slim stature and height similar to Betty's actually helps him carry it off.
  11. The first movie I remember seeing Judy Garland in is Wizard of Oz. It was on during the Holidays, I recall often on Thanksgiving weekend. I remember watching with my whole family sitting around the television set. My Dad would make popcorn or fudge as a treat. When she sang Over the Rainbow, it was like she was singing the questions, I (and probably everyone else) had asked themselves in the privacy of their own thoughts and dreams. I have seen For Me and My Gal, and Easter Parade many times. My opinion of Judy Garland as a performer each time I see these or other movies or shows she preformed is always awestruck. She has a beautiful singing voice, of course, but I think she is an underrated actress. In one of my favorite films, A Star is Born, her singing is central to her role, but her acting was first rate. I also liked her in the small role she played in Judgement at Nuremberg. She sensitively portrayed a woman victimized and scarred by Nazi Regime she live under before and during WWII.
  12. I think the opening with FDR was effective. The parade scene would not have been seen in the same context without the conversation between the FDR character and Cagney's GMC. Patriotism and love of country spanning generations of Americans. Cagney's character said, he learned it [patriotism] from his father, who enlisted for the Union in the Civil War, and the President talked about how Irish Americans wore their patriotism and love of country openly. One member of this class mentioned the scene where Cagney's character was seated off center and a chair in the background with the desk clock looked like a wheelchair. I saw that too, and that the film director did not have the FDR character rise when Cagney came into the office or when they shook hands, a normal part of that courtesy and greeting. As Cagney ascended the stairs and he and the butler spoke, the paintings reflected past Presidents, wartime Presidents culminating with Washington at the top of the stairs. When Cagney entered the office, you saw other reminders of past wars, the masted battleship under a glass case, paintings of other ships and battles, the flag next to the fire place. The conversation was personal, but the Cohan character always maintained a respectful formality for the man holding the office. I liked that the filmmaker did not try and put a face to FDR, it was reminiscent of his radio broadcasts. I think they were called fireside chats. It was how most Americans connected with FDR. I know that this was film meant to stir our support and ove of country, but it is one of my favorite Cagney films (along with Something to Sing About). You see what a great song and dance man Cagney was. And you see his charm as he interacts with his female leads.
  13. I like the back and forth in the choreography. Each one advances and retreats on the other. I think both dancers being in pants and low heeled shoes rather than Ginger being in a dress & high heels makes for a more equal partnership in the dance. In the spins they each appear to take turns being the anchor during the spin. And I like the ending: a handshake, rather than a kiss. It seems to foster the partnership in dance rather than seduction and capitulation.
  14. One of the sounds I thought was most interesting was the crowd sound we heard when the woman and husband in the clip left the apt. M.C. opened the door to the balcony. We could hear the crowd sound as he did. He seemed weary of the noise and the audience. He closed the door immediately and shutting out the sound. And was momentarily unburdened.
  15. The character played by M.C. reminds me of Hugh Hefner as a character. He has an apt where women surround him. He is playful and unapologetic with the female character in the clip. Given the souvenirs in the desk drawer, it seems to be a routine. At the same time, he seems able to walk away frim the relationship in the clip and the woman does not appear angry or hurt, but pragmatic, right dowin to deciding to have him zip her dress in order to facilitate leaving the apt with her husband.

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