Fearless Freep

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  1. 1. There is a certain playfulness between the four that I think helps establish the ensemble aspect to it, although they do exclude Levant at one point. Otherwise, it does show an equality that I think has been missing since Astaire and Rogers worked together. 2. Their costumes are all slightly different, though they’re all dressed in a professional manner, so it doesn’t feel as though they’re trying to emphasize anyone over anyone else in terms of the costuming. 3. Levant seems to be the more comedic of the four, especially when he does the bit with the ladder (I’d like to note that both this and Astaire and Buchanan in bowler hats are references to Laurel and Hardy; the ladder gag is based off of a gag from their silent short, The Finishing Touch). Once again, the playfulness between the four seems to be emphasized, giving the idea that they’re all friends and glad to be friends.
  2. I only have seen a few clips from this movie, so I can’t really fairly say whether the film deserves as much controversy as it does or not. I will say, though, that Disney’s behavior regarding this film has always baffled me, not necessarily because they refuse to acknowledge its existence, but more the fact that they refuse to acknowledge its existence while still using their animated characters as part of the Splash Mountain ride at both of Disney’s theme parks. For the record, I love Splash Mountain, at least the one at Disney World (I haven’t been to Disneyland), and, from what I understand, the animated portions are not considered as controversial as the live-action portions. However, the animated scenes do contain the infamous “Tar Baby,” so it’s not as though these segments are devoid of racial insensitivity and audiences probably will question where the characters came from, so having the rides with these controversial characters as the central theme seems confusing. I would also like to note that Disney did campaign hard for lead actor James Baskett to receive an Academy Award for his performance (the Academy refused to nominate him for Best Actor, but Disney was able to get him an honorary one). Also, Nick Stewart, the actor who voiced Br’er Bear, said in an interview in the 1980s that Disney treated the voice actors (who were all African American) “like kings.” Judging by this information, Disney may not have been trying to make something intentionally racist and for all we know, it could be a similar case to Hallelujah, in which the intentions at the time were harmless but come across as uncomfortable today. I would like to emphasize that I am not defending this film; I’m not going to defend a film I have not seen all the way through, and even if Disney didn’t intend for the work to come across as racially insensitive back then, there are at least elements that come across that way today. I just wanted to make clear that making this film doesn’t automatically make Disney racist, as I feel some have tried to imply with this film. Also, Stewart said that he contributed his pay for this movie to his Ebony Showcase Theatre, which was made as a way to help African American actors do some acting without having to conform to using the common stereotypes of the time, so at least that money went towards a good cause.
  3. Supposedly, Jerry’s reflection on the floor was a last minute addition; at a preview screening, one of the executives noticed the fact that Kelly had floor reflections and Jerry didn’t, which, as mentioned at the end of the video, meant they had to do another separate animation exposure for his reflection. I’m guessing that either they were so preoccupied with the missing floor reflection that they failed to also notice a missing background shadow, or that they were running so low on time that they simply decided that adding the floor reflection was more important than the background one. Glad you all like this. I’m also a person who loves seeing the creative processes behind many of these films and seeing something like this always is a treat.
  4. 1. Although we do briefly cut to a shot of the angel as a reminder of Joe’s redemption, this scene is mainly about her happiness that he is back and the cut to her doing the laundry shows that she also is fine with taking care of him while she handles the laundry herself, even despite his past behavior as a gambler. 2. She’d probably still have the same tone of happiness, and the fact that she is taking care of him would apply to a child too, so I don’t think there would be anything too drastic about this. 3. In the film industry during this time period, African Americans were only able to get supporting roles usually in subservient roles, Eddie Anderson included (although unlike many African American characters at the time, the Rochester character on The Jack Benny Program was usually the one picking on his boss, rather than the other way around). Having a film like this not only with African Americans in central roles but also in sympathetic roles was very good, although it does tend to use common stereotypes.
  5. Just thought I’d share this video explaining the creation of one of my favorite scenes in a musical. I thought it was really interesting to learn how it was done.
  6. 1. The sequence emphasizes Garrett’s persistance and Sinatra’s reluctance, so the shots are staged in ways to continually remind us of these differences, like when Sinatra pull some his arms away from Garrett or when she takes his hat. Also, him sliding down the railing is staged so you can’t see his face, since his hat is covering his eyes. 2. It builds up the song by first playing the music normally and briefly stopping as Garrett first notices Sinatra. Then, both the characters and music gradually get faster as Garrett continues chasing Sinatra until Garrett yells “hey!” and starts the number, so the buildup is combined in both the music and the visual performance.
  7. Fearless Freep

    Top 10 Disney films of all-time (not pixar)

    1. The Lion King 2. Lady and the Tramp 3. Alice in Wonderland 4. Bambi 5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 6. Beauty and the Beast 7. The Great Mouse Detective 8. Tangled 9. The Little Mermaid 10. Lilo and Stitch I’d include Mary Poppins, though since this is in the cartoon topic I assumed it wouldn’t count. If it does, it would probably be between Bambi and Winnie the Pooh.
  8. 1. Although The Wizard of Oz was one of the first Garland movies I saw, the earliest one I recall seeing was actually one of her last: Gay Purr-ee, an animated film in which she voices the character of Mewsette. Therefore, the only thing I really knew of her for was her voice, and it was a great voice. Wizard of Oz, meanwhile, showed me that she was pretty good at dancing as well. 2. She’s definitely very versatile. The Easter Parade clip shows that she could adapt to a more comedic style while the For Me and My Gal clip shows that she could convince you that she really could play the piano even though, from what it sounds like, she couldn’t. She was definitely a very talented actress in addition to her singing. 3. Gay Purr-ee, which was released in 1962, relies heavily on Garland’s voice, specifically during the slower scenes like when they’re showing the streets of Paris, which have beautiful visuals, though nothing of interest going on storywise. The combination between the art style and Garland’s voice is delightful and makes you completely forget that the scene really isn’t anything more than filler. Also, it’s impressive that her voice still remained so great at this point despite her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.
  9. 1. FDR and Cohan’s dialogue very much concerns itself with the war effort, such as when FDR tells Cohan that his job is to rally up the states in his act. The spirit of the audience watching the army in the past, too, seems as though it was designed as something audiences should model themselves after. 2. The line about rallying up the states is the one that stood out most to me, though this may be more of a call for entertainers to help out in the war effort rather than regular audiences. 3. Opening with the Fourth of July scene probably would have alienated the audience. Having the FDR scene at the beginning gives the audience something to relate to right away. If I had lived during this time period, I probably would have preferred opening with the FDR scenes, though personally I think either one would work just fine.
  10. 1. I do kind of see a battle of the sexes type approach here, though it seems to be more in tricking the other rather than trying to beat the other, sort of like how Groucho tries to trick Harpo during the famous “mirror scene” from Duck Soup. The thing that always impressed me about Astaire and Rogers was how perfectly in sync their moves were with each other, especially in this clip considering that most of it seems to have been done in the same take. That, to me, is a major part of their appeal. 2. I suppose Ginger’s dress style could be one thing that differentiates it from other musicals; at least based off of this clip, she does seem to be more of an equal to Fred, as opposed to, say, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, who were clearly much different personalities and who seemed somewhat uncomfortable around each other in the Daily Doses. 3. The Code probably had something to do with it, given that sex appeal had to be toned down. Also, the Great Depression called for as much work as possible from both men and women, so movies may have been trying to reflect the fact that each of them just as important as the other, rather than making it a competition.
  11. 1. His addressing the audience as well as his interaction with the dress gives the idea that the character of Alfred has been in this kind of situation before and actually takes pleasure out of it. 2. The sound of the gun going off was probably Lubitsch’s way of deceiving the audience. It’s pretty obvious today that she faked it, though for audiences back then who were still adapting to the process of sound, it may have not been as obvious and the sound may have been considered misleading. 3. The themes in this film probably wouldn’t have been used much longer, given that the Code would be enforced during the depression era. However, the idea of a character being reprimanded by his superiors and having to overcome that, as implied at the end of this clip, was probably a common theme. Also, was anyone else surprised to learn that Chevalier was 40 when this was made? He looks a lot younger than his age.
  12. 1. The two seem to be of very different personalities, seeing as how Eddy is more comfortable in the saloon when compared to McDonald, and in the first clip the two do not seem all that close as well. They’re made even further distant by the fact that Eddy admits to not having the song written exclusively for her. 2. I haven’t seen either of them in anything else, though if they’re similar to how they are in this clip, I can see why they’re considered so unique given their differences. Personally, I’m not too fond of this style, but I can see others being fond of it. 3. Kind of going back to the Ziegfeld discussion, the fact that it is more lighthearted than most relationships had been portrayed previously seems to be a major result of the Code, though unlike Ziegfeld the saloon setting does come across as a bit more adult.
  13. 1. Yes, I do think that the clip gives a brighter perspective on life, although I wouldn’t say that everything about it is exaggerated. Business practices definitely seem to be more lighthearted, though the idea of Ziegfeld sending flowers, for example, could have been something that was entirely possible as an early way of persuading Feld to sign with him, even if it probably wasn’t as dramatic as the movie version made it out to be in Feld’s eyes. 2. Sort of similar to number 1, the idea of making events more lighthearted would probably be a common theme in musicals during this era, possibly as a way of relieving tension from Depression-era audiences. 3. Clothing options probably would have been more risqué during the pre-Code era. Also, dialogue would have probably been more suggestive; nothing explicit, though it would probably be heavily reliant on double entendres, for example.

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