Skeezix

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  1. 1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? I partly disagree, because of the word 'might', and from a resistance to the idea that those on screen must represent what is socially common. The setting is an elegant show performed for the rich, who certainly still existed during the depression. The clip, if not the whole picture, takes place in this encapsulated environment, where elegance and pleasantness are the standard of the moment, much as they were in the house of the Bullocks, if very much not as they were when Godfrey left the Bullocks' place for his former home on the streets with his fellow vagrants. There certainly had to be such streets outside the theater, but these clips don't happen to go there. I think it's possible, if not likely, that in such a contained environment, people might wear suits and smile at a performance, and the performer might be enjoying her night, and might enjoy the company of her backstage helper. It might be a brighter perspective of the average of every life, but it isn't portraying every life. Luise Rainer is not playing any depression era woman, but, specifically, a well regarded stage performer of a particular stage culture (notably 'high'). The look and behavior might be very realistic in such an encased place and moment. I do doubt that everyone would be this chipper all of the time, even just the time the film covers, but in this clip, I can believe that Powell, out on the town and in public, would be on best behavior, as would the doorman, an audience, an opponent and a performer. I also believe that he, not everyone, might have 5 pounds to offer. That might be even more likely in Britain, as their depression was less 'great' than America's Any unrealisms also come from the specifics. My main one would be that lovely, backstage changing room of hers. I suppose it could be realistic, but I find back stages and changing rooms to be more believable when they just look like tossed together spots, with no attention payed to decor. A room like hers is certainly not impossible, but it may not be credible. I'm less inclined to disbelieve her behavior there. She might just be a normally kind person. Post-code, it could be difficult to portray a true, offstage crassness, though it was done with a punch at least once. I think of the way Eve Carrington behaves in the final scene of All About Eve, as a person fully entitled to be unpleasant and cold, after having forced an obsequious countenance for most of the film. It's shocking, maybe more so than would be a flurry of profanities in the same performance shift attempted in a similar film made after the ratings system would allow them. That changes could have been done here too, but I would not suggest that it should, and imply that all actors and actresses are the opposite of all that is pleasant once they leave the stage. What stands against my read is the fact that these were real people, and their histories are known, as the introduction to the clip conveys. Changes were made. Are they responses to the depression itself? I think they have more to do with being post-code, and of the Hollywood style. Even if not so shackled, grit would not necessarily be required for realism. Rules of the Game is all about the mix-and-match dalliances of its ensemble of characters, while they remain pleasant and likable throughout. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? From just this clip, the obvious would be an avoidance of the aesthetically ugly (such as a backstage changing room), and presentation of the high life as a believable way to live. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. Talking about the whole film now, not just the portion in the clip, I think the premaritals would have been part of the plot. Look at the overt wooing, open, rather than buried, double entendres, and obvious bed sharing in The Maltese Falcon from 1931 vs. the 1941, where I'm pretty sure we get a kiss, a fade out, and edits suggesting that the next time Sam and Brigid meet, one of them has to travel to the other, rather than just waking up next to each other.

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