Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #1 (From The Great Ziegfeld)

657 posts in this topic

I do agree this clip shows a lighter side of life apart from what the audience was experiencing in their own.  As it says in the line of a song " forget your troubles come on get happy".

Most of the themes of this time are love, success on your own so you can go back home and show your friends and family that you're not a dumb slob.

If this had been pre-code, her costume would have been more revealing.  We would have seen her take off more than her hat in the dressing room.  I also would expect the Ziegfeld and Billings would have met her back in her dressing room.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.    Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? 

I believe the clip showed a romanticized version of the real events.  I think the point of the film is to entertain, and it did just that.  If it were to show the struggles, the real conflict, it might be too dark or down.

2.    What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? 

The themes or approaches I see are the struggling person that wins in the end, the happy ending or fairy tale ending.

3.    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.

It might have been filmed with either Billings or Ziegfeld meeting Anna in her dressing room after the show, and possibly one walking in on the other in a delicate scene, possibly with more sexual overtones. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I do agree this film exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic. The opportunities and the livelihood were not within reach of the mainstream population. It gave a release into another world that probably few knew of.

2. I think the peek into worlds with beautiful women, handsome men, beautiful clothing and money could be expected in other movies. Also, themes dealing with getting the "break" and success coming from little to nothing would be expected--adding to the optimism of depression era films.

3. I think costuming and scenes would be more provocative (e.g., Ziegfeld girls costumes and interactions between male and female characters more realistic for the time--males taking advantage of females).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The clip does have a brighter perspective than what might be reality, from both a visual standpoint and within tonality. Visually, you notice lighting isn't necessarily realistic. There aren't any shadows or nods to natural light. Everything is bright, from set design, to wardrobe to lighting. Second, the inflections in the main actress's voice portrays a very optimistic, romanticized view on life in general. There's no doubt in her voice. No contemplation, but rather, forward thinking married with positivity.

2. Themes would seem to be very upbeat, positive and forward thinking. Entertainment and the cinema was used as a crutch for society to escape reality and take a break from their troubles. As the Great Depression was a very difficult time, it only makes sense to create pieces that show an optimistic perspective on life, filled with jokes, romance and overwhelming feelings of happiness. This idea is directly replicated in the clip within the lecture, with double emotion scene of both crying and laughing. If the scene was portrayed with simplistic crying, the audience would be overwhelmed with a sense of sadness, relating to the hardships of the character's lost love to her sister. Yet, the scene was strategically created to implement laughing, illustrating the situation isn't bad at all. It's humorous, noble and loving.

3. The wardrobe in this clip is very conservative - the main actress is wearing a gown, showing little skin. She sings and dances with an umbrella, protecting her body from absolutely nothing. First and foremost, wardrobe might be a little less conservative. Second, the choreography in the musical number isn't very 'advanced.' The actress moves from side to side of the stage, but doesn't actually do anything besides slightly sway her body. Sure, she flirtatiously reflects her mirror toward the audience, but the portray isn't sexual - it's humorous. We may see more tension in the performance from a sexual standpoint if filmed pre-code. Third, at the end of the clip, the actress retires to her dressing room, yet she doesn't undress. The scene may have been more realistic, using the functionality of the room if filmed pre-code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Simply put I often reflect and enjoy looking back  although seeing the great Ziegfeld it is a theme that has been repeated time after time  find the “it” girl do whatever it takes. Poor frank Morgan.  The enjoyment for me is that it does reflect society then. Even today there is a need to escape reality the mundane day to day  and enjoy something, Even if it is birdwatching.  Considering the question at hand I believe society at the time were looks for the music, fashion and the great Ziegfeld with his over the top stage settings.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic. The lyrics of the song "I'm fond of fun and games" depict an image of spending your day having fun instead of working and a job. Also, that fact that a gentleman could tip a doorman such a large bill during that time period without a thought of how it would affect his life.

2. Themes present are happy, upbeat, positive.  I think I would anticipate a very "come in and forget about your troubles" approach musicals during the Depression era.

3. The costume would have been more revealing. When the actress when to change they moved her behind a large flower arrangement and moved the maid behind her, giving the illusion of her undressing without showing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!. High society was a their way of starting over from the recent depression.  They wanted people to forget the past and 'colorize' the future.  Fancy clothing, jewels, drinking helped make them forget.

2. A theme of being carefree whether they could afford it or not.  Movies initiative to be more uplifting.  Time was now to 'produce' good feelings.

3. If it was pre-code, then most of scenes would have or could have been more provactive.  Less clothing if none at all.  Sending flowers to her dressing room could have been a more subtle scene with a more sexual tone.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us