Claude Rives

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  1. 1. My first memory of Judy Garland is as a child watching as Doryhy in the “Wizard of Oz”. Iremember her as a believable character. I believe her affection for Toto was the thing that made her believable. I was only 7 or 8 when I first saw the movie and her love for that dog and fear of the witch really impressed me. 2. After viewing the clips and listening to the course’s discussion of Ms. Garland, I am so impressed with her talent not only as a singer, but her actress and dancer. 3. Of course her later movies such as Meet Me in St. Louis, portrays as a young woman. She portrays her moods and moves the story along with such songs as the trolley song and her wonderful Christmas song. I look forward watching her grow as she matures in her later movies.
  2. 1. I thoroughly enjoyed the two “Rose Marie” film clips and can see how Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy complemented one another. Mac Donald was much more versatile actress than Eddy is. She makes the scenes come to life with her glances and the turning of the head reacting to Eddy’s attempts to gain her attention. We know when he is succeeding and when he is not simply by her expressions. She makes the Mountie believable as he rows and belts out choruses of “Rose Marie” and she acts as a straight man as he admits that Maud would never work. The bar room scene demonstrates MacDonald’s ability to portray a trained vocalist in an uncomfortable and comedic situation. Her gestures and her body moves, trying to imitate Gilda Gray, is really funny. She really is terrific, which as we have seen before, gives Eddy the opportunity to play off her with that stoic looks of admiration and love. 2. Frankly, until this introduction to MacDonald and Eddy, I have avoided their movies. However, now I look forward to seeing their films and becoming aware of their obvious great talents 3. These clips are examples of the film industry’s attempts to show the value and importance of good girls and their virginity. Nelson Eddy may be acquainted with the girls in the bar and he may have had girl friends but the viewer doesn’t question for a minute that he is gentleman. He respects Jeanette and would never think of compromising her. He is an honorable man and represents what the Film Production Code believes is right and just. Jeanette is willing to do what is necessary to get a job by rehearsing in a bar. However, like Eddy, we know that she would NEVER allow herself to become a loose woman as the ones portrayed in the bar scene. She is pure and wholesome. She is saving herself for her husband. Again this is how the Production Code wanted the actresses portrayed. In the end, we would expect these two characters to fall in love. Eddy will pursue her never laying a hand on her or never expecting anymore than a good night kiss. Jeanette will pretend she is not interested in him and dutifully avoid his advances. All of this is simply a game she has to play to prove she is a good respectable girl.
  3. I just returned from a vacation in Mexico and am now just beginning to discuss some of the topics from last week. Please for give the belated answers I Loved the way the early musicals tried to distract the movie goer from the problems of the depression. Lavish sets and scenes, wonderful choreography and terrific music entertained the audience and allowed them escape a dreadful time I’m America’s history. Typically these musicals were screwball comedies that always saw the young lovers find one another and solve their problems. These musicals provided audiences the entertainment and hope they needed. Pre code musicals are really interesting. I had no idea how racy they were compared to the musicals of just a few years later when the industry code was enacted. Suggestive language and scenes, scantily clothed women were the norm. I have not seen “The Broadway Melody” (1929) or “Love Parade”,but from clips I have viewed, they treat sexuality, the body and love affairs in a much more believable and honest way. Once, the Industry Code was applied to musicals, lovers only kiss briefly, women are always protecting their virginity and men would rather be shot than accused of taking advantage of a women. I love the musicals of the 30’s and 40’s. Whether Fred kissed Ginger or not, it was their dancing, their wonderful songs and great supporting cast that continues to entertain me. For me there is something pure and admirable about the the way the leading men in the coded musicals treated the women. They were respectful, courteous and honorable while courting their love interests. Love this period of movie making history. Thanks for allowing the TCM faithful to participate in this course.

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