stephaniegeeze

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  1. 1. The ending ballet is so good, with so much going on, I think it could go either way. But since it's a musical, I think it makes more sense to have it stylized throughout the whole film. It is Paris after all, and while it might get mundane if you live there, as a visitor (whether in person or watching media from home) it holds a certain splendor. I went there years ago, and my memories are still positive and bright, and make me want to visit again. Even just hearing Paris makes me think of beautiful things, including this film. 2. Gene Kelly is just so darn likable in virtually every movie he's in, even when he's supposed to be kind of a jerk. It's his kind, handsome face and non-threatening, smooth voice. Being such an incredible dancer also makes his movements beautiful, no matter how small they are. He's a person you just want to watch, no matter what they're doing or saying. I think that's a huge part of why he always gets to be the romantic lead, and makes other men pale in comparison when they share the screen.
  2. 1. You can see that the two of them aren't taking the diction lesson seriously. Throughout most of the movie, the two characters in general don't take much of anything seriously, so this isn't surprising. Once they take the book away from the instructor, they start to get into a sing-song pattern of speech and start clapping. It's a classic indicator of a song and dance about to begin. Once the movement begins, it's as casual and comfortable as their whole friendship seems to be. They're really synced up with each other, literally and figuratively, performing at the same level. 2. The straight man is usually there to bring balance to a scene. They act like any person would who wasn't involved in a big dance number happening around them. They can also be used as a prop for the funny characters. The instructor in this case is more bewildered than anything, kind of baffled by what the other two are doing. He gets to be the audience that makes the scene more grounded into reality, instead of just a dance number happening with no one around for no reason. 3. The instructor is seen as the most feeble of the three. He's more practical minded and focused on teaching, definitely not the type to break into song and dance. I always see Donald O'Connor as the goofball, since he usually plays the supporting character, which isn't any different in this movie. Gene Kelly, as usual, is cast as the strong, tougher guy. I think that goes for most movies he's in. Since he's set up that way, I see him as the most masculine of the three. Going off of the characters of Don and Cosmo, it lines up that way, too, with Cosmo as second fiddle and Don as the lead getting the girl.
  3. 1. This number is a real ensemble number. Everyone is participating and it feels very equal. There's no romance involved, unlike a lot of other clips we've watched. They all get to have fun together, it feels very casual, like they're genuine friends. 2. Everyone is wearing fairly muted colors that are similar to each other. It's all subdued, not much flashy about any of them. That way not one person is meant to stand out, they get to complement each other as equals. There's one red flower to brighten things up, but it doesn't distract or overtake at any point. 3. As I mentioned above, it's very clear that they're all friends and used to having a great time together. It could only be good friends that would go so far to cheer up another person like they do. They look like they've been performing together in vaudeville for years
  4. 1. I think action is the key word here. There aren't many still shots, and when there are they don't feel stagnant. There's so much movement, all telling a story. It utilizes all the space available to it, especially with the bleachers. Each new shot helps progress the plot line. From the resistance, to possibility, to mostly giving up and giving in. It's able to stay lighthearted and fun throughout 2. From the instant he steps out, the two characters are playing a game. And since we already know we're watching a musical, it's certainly inevitable to have singing. Earlier in the movie they show her having a caring attitude towards him so it makes sense she would want to explore that further. And singing to a stranger is a really great ice breaker. I think it also helps that there wasn't any dialogue leading up to it, just dancing.
  5. 1. Like so many others, my first Judy Garland movie was The Wizard of Oz. I would come home from kindergarten and watch it every day, yet never tired of it. I think I was envious of her in the film, because she got to go on such an amazing adventure. Even though she was young, she still seemed so much older than me. She probably helped start my dreams of acting and performing. 2. I've seen both films many, many times, so I already knew she was capable of being a comedian on top of a phenomenal singer. Easter Parade is a personal favorite, as it has so many amazingly talented people. I love her chemistry with Fred Astaire, especially compared to Gene Kelly. It might help that she was older in Easter Parade, compared to looking so young in For Me and My Gal. It makes it more realistic that she would be in a relationship with someone like him. 3. Meet Me in St. Louis is an excellent showcase for her. The excitement she gets through on the trolley, to the melancholy in her voice during the holidays, it's very clear how her character is feeling at that moment. I love her appearance in Summer Stock, as well. Even though it was only a few years after these films, she seems so much more mature. Part of me wonders if her personal demons and problems helped her to flesh out later characters, feeling like she had more to prove and more internal turmoil to drive her.
  6. 1. There really isn't much more American than being in the White House. It tends to conjure up feelings of pride and country. Cohan walks by pictures of previous presidents, reminding the audience that these historical figures, these great men, lived and worked in this same building that he's walking through. There's also a sense of intimacy when Cohan is in the room with Roosevelt, a closeness most people will never get to experience, but would love to. 2. Roosevelt mentions the Irish roots of Cohan, and Cohan tells him how his father fought in the Civil War and instilled that pride into him and his family. This would be poignant for many people in the US, since so many were immigrants themselves and maybe didn't feel always feel welcome in America. I think Roosevelt's casual approach makes the scene feel more comfortable, like he's an approachable figure and not just some sort of myth. He speaks honestly and feels like a real man. This makes the viewer feel at ease, and think they could be on par with him, a true American. 3. If it started with the parade, it would run through his life from beginning to end, which is normal enough for a biographical film. But I think framing it with an older Cohan to start makes it clear he's there to tell his story, from a current standpoint, to his audience of "right now". It also enables him to cut in at different points of the story, or flash back to the present if he wants to interject something. It gives it a more personal touch that some biographies can lack, and is even better when the person is still living or lived very recently, like Cohan.
  7. 1. I think her general resistance shows a kind of a battle. It's one of the hallmarks of the screwball comedies, where the female lead is unimpressed by typical manly showmanship, and ultimately strong on her own, to the shock of the male lead who's generally trying to woo her. I love Fred Astaire's reaction of surprise and respect after he starts dancing and she's suddenly joined him and is matching him. Except for the embracing dance parts, this could easily be two men dancing together. 2. This movie, and particularly this number, seem very stripped down compared to the gigantic Busby Berkeley numbers of musicals from just a few years prior. Top Hat certainly has some large numbers, like The Piccolino, but it also feels more intimate. That's a common theme with Astaire and Roger's movies, that they can be so entertaining with just the two of them. This film also strays away from the Broadway feel, into a more realistic, everyday setting. 3. At this point, women might have started to come into their own, be their own person, wanting to rely less on a man compared to a generation before. If that's the case, then films would naturally want to follow their lead. While there tends to be a complete lack of realism in movie musicals, they might try to express a current attitude and outlook of the changing times. The depression also plays a part, in that women had to step up and work harder, maybe more than they were used to. While this is far from a time of equal rights for women, it's a step in the right direction.
  8. 1. The characters seem relaxed with each other, more than their looks make me think would happen. They make jabs at each other on the boat, neither one being too serious. In the saloon, they could have easily made him look at her with more pity, and her with more sadness at being outshone. But instead he gives a little smile and she scowls at him, not giving him a bit of what he wants. It keeps it form dissolving into a romantic cliche that early on. 2. I've seen one other Nelson Eddy film. He appeared very stiff in it, and that led me to believe that was his usual performance. It might have been due to a different lead actress, or that it was more dance heavy versus the singing he's used to. 3. In these kinds of movies, the man is usually the stronger character. He also gets to be the more relaxed one, while the female lead needs to be respectable and have more decorum. They also show the relationships starting very slowly and building up to a safe, innocent romance. There tends to not be much passion, even if the scene is supposed to be romantic. Musicals tended to be gentler, in a way. Your Clark Gable and Cary Grant films had them being able to drag women around and show how macho they are. The women dealt with it, but could also get fiery and attack back.
  9. 1. I would imagine this is a brighter side than what life was like at the time. The film clip looks to be set in the early turn of the century, so the depression of the 1930's wasn't an issue that would be apparent in the film. The clip also centers around wealthier people, so they kind of automatically push past the realm of most people's realistic lives. I think the audience at the time was looking for escapism and movies like this, and other musicals with even bigger numbers, were probably perfect to make people forget their problems for a few hours. 2. There seems to be a more lighthearted approach to life in general. There was a big theme of people wanting to be successful on stage and in film. A character seeking stardom could work slightly harder than the rest and end up being a hit. I think that goes along with the first question, of showing a happier and more positive side of life than what was actually happening for most people. 3. The film might have been more risque, with a little more skin being shown. If they were going for realism about Flo Ziegfeld's life, they could have mentioned or alluded to his personal life more. Post-code, movies were made to tiptoe around anything slightly sensitive and gloss over the unpleasant parts.

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