GPotter

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  1. 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 beginning scene seems to call back to the backstage musicals of the 1930s and early 40s by showing us the auditions for 'the show within the show'. Instead of using over-the-top sets and costume pieces, they are more subdued and grittier. 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. - From the moment the audience first hears her loud and raspy voice shouting at her daughters to 'sing out' all the attention shifts directly to her. Mama Rose is the character that unintentionally draws attention to herself and the casting of Rosalind Russell in this role seems fitting. I also can't help but feel like since she is a trained stage actress that she maybe drew from personal experience in playing the overbearing stage mom. 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). - It's interesting how the tone of the song changes depending on the character that's singing it. When Baby June sings the song with the lyric 'let me SEE you smile' the audience interprets it as a little girl singing an innocent song. But when the song is performed later in the film by Gypsy Rose Lee and the lyrics change to 'let me MAKE you smile' the song suddenly has a more sexual and suggestive tone. The same can be said for all the other double meanings of the lyrics in this song.
  2. 1. Throughout this whole sequence, we see Frank Sinatra's failed attempts at getting away from Betty Garrett's character. It shows us that Garrett is the more dominant character by blocking all of Sinatra's escape routes. 2. In musicals, singing is the most straightforward way that a character can express their emotions. Whether it be to convey a character's inner thoughts or a conversation between two or more characters. In this case it is the latter. It starts off almost conversational until Garrett explains what her true intentions are by singing them. The underscoring also plays a key role in heightening the tension between the two characters.
  3. 1. The first Judy Garland film that I had ever seen was The Wizard of Oz. I was roughly 2 or 3 years old. Everytime I watch it, I constantly remember that when I was little I wanted to sing "Over the Rainbow" 'just like Dorothy'. This film also brings back memories of my grandfather re-enacting the Tin Man's dance for "If I Only Had a Heart". It wasn't until many years later that I decided to watch more of her movies just to see the legendary actress she grew up to be. 2. Up until a few years ago, I had known Judy Garland as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. But now that I have seen more of her films, including the two that these clips are from, her growth as an actress can really be seen. In the clip from For Me and My Gal, even though Garland couldn't actually play the piano, she did her research and made it believable that she could play the piano. She was able to pick up on the smaller details, such as the way a piano player's hands move, and that alone helped her further develop as an actress. 3. The one film that, to me, is the ultimate climax of her career is definitely A Star is Born. Not only does this film really showcase her ability as a performer, but it also allowed her to captivate the audience in the non-musical sequences as well. There were many moments in this film where I was becoming emotionally invested in this film because of Garland's performance as Esther Blodgett.
  4. 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. There were a lot of patriotic symbols shown in this clip. As Cohan is being lead up the stairs to the oval office, we see that the walls are lined with portraits of the past presidents and that Cohan is wearing a pin of the American flag. I also noticed that the oval office was decorated with models and paintings of boats. At the beginning of the flashback sequences we see that the people who are attending the parade are waving American flags as the soldiers are marching past them. 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. I liked when Cohan admitted to the president that he was a little nervous about meeting with him. It just goes to show that no matter how accomplished you may be, everybody gets nervous every now and then. Another line that stood out to me was when Roosevelt said "That's what I love about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of the country like a flag." 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. I think that the opening is perfect because it is a biographical musical. This is not somebody else telling the story of George M. Cohan's life, it is Cohan telling not just president FDR but also the audience about his life and his experiences. If the film had opened with the Fourth of July scene, we as the audience wouldn't have known that Cohan was telling us this story.
  5. 1. I couldn't notice any apparent battle of the sexes aspect from this clip alone. Maybe very slightly in Rogers' facial expressions whenever Astaire compares their relationship to that of thunder and lightning, but other than that: nothing. 2. I've only seen this film maybe two or three times, but from what I remember there was more of a character arc and development for Rogers. Compared to the other films studied this week, which seemed to feature their female leads in a "damsel in distress" type of role, this film seemed to give Rogers a character that has a distinguished personality. Instead of being easily swayed by Astaire's charm, Rogers only acknowledges him when she thinks they could be seen as equals. Which is something that stands out when presented with the other clips we studied. 3. Films were beginning to reflect the current changes going on in the world. Women were beginning to become more self-reliant and independent while their husbands were at war. The Great Depression sparked motivation in women to join the workforce.
  6. 1. Something that I noticed about the Lubitsch Touch is that it seemed to push the boundaries of the motion picture production code of that era. But, by doing so, it added a comedic tone to the film and its characters.Alfred's dialogue and actions give off the impression that he is both sophisticated and a scoundrel. For example, when he was "breaking the fourth wall" he was simply guiding the audience so that they didn't get lost in the action and French dialogue.Alfred also seemed to be unphased by the woman that showed him her garter. 2. The music used in the scene after the woman pretends to shoot herself adds tension and anticipation for what will happen next. I also noticed that with every muffled gunshot, the tone of the scene changes drastically. 3. Breaking the fourth wall allowed the audience to feel as though they were part of the action within the film. Thus creating another form of escapism for the audience.
  7. 1. In the canoe scene, there is an obvious flirtation coming from Bruce's side of the relationship to which Rose Marie, in a sense, tries to shrug off. It isn't until he tries to serenade her that the audience gets the idea that maybe she actually does feel the same way towards him. However once she starts complimenting him on the song, he boasts about how he could simply change the name in the beginning from Rose Marie to any other woman's name as long as it has 3 syllables. In the second clip, we see Rose Marie looking uncomfortable while singing in a saloon. She is put into an even more embarassing situation when she is upstaged by another singer who "kicks things up a notch." Bruce is at the saloon with two other ladies, but he notices how confused and out-of-place Rose Marie feels at the moment. When she runs out of the saloon, instead of just forgetting about her, Bruce leaves the saloon to try to console her. 2. Apart from these two clips, I have never seen any other movie with these two actors in them. From the chemistry that I saw them sharing in these two scenes, I can see why they were often paired together. 3. Instead of the whole "love at first sight" scenario, these characters were taking their time in establishing their relationship with each other. Their relationship just seemed like it was being formed in a more natural way. Even though a canoe ride in the moonlight usually screams romance, we have to take a look at how they are sitting. While Bruce is sitting so that he is facing Rose Marie, she is sitting with her back facing him. This creates a barrier between the characters that even limits their eye contact with each other. Therefore, they only have their words and attitudes as a means of expression.
  8. 1. I do agree that the clip does exhibit a brighter perspective on life, especially within that time period. As stated before, the Great Depression was a time where many people endured a lot of hardships. By including more comedic moments, such as the lines 'Yes I'm trying to lose weight.' or 'Junior? Is he a little boy?', it allows the viewers of the films to briefly escape their reality. 2. I noticed that many of the characters, specifically Anna Held, were very over-the-top with their actions. For example, in the scene where Held is in her dressing room weighing out the pros and cons of working with both producers, the dialogue between her and the stagehand was slightly more dramatic than a normal conversation. This could be because this film falls into the subgenre that is backstage musicals. Therefore, many of the actors in this film are portraying characters that are also actors or performers. Audiences simply fell in love with the idea of backstage/behind the scenes stories becoming films themselves and it seemed to become a trend for many films at the time. 3. I think that had this film been made precode, the filmmakers wouldn't have lightened the mood so much. The rivalry between Ziegfeld and Billings would have been more straightforward instead of just implied.

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