Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #2 (From Rose Marie)

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.
 
i noticed that the characters don’t touch. Of course, in the first scene Eddy’s character is rowing, but in a modern-day movie, sone contrivance would require them to be mushed up together and the bodily contact—not the song or conversation—would be the method of courtship (as it were). Macdonald’s facial expressions are very important in her acting, but she keeps her feelings for Eddy’s character and her embarrassment at being found in a saloon  hidden by turning her face. 
  1. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

i have seen  these actors in other films but, to be honest, their style of singing is not appealing to me. I believe I watched their films when I was also watching a lot of Judy Garland, and her energy and style are much more up my alley. Eddy and Macdonald are far more formal and mannered.

  1. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

These clips tell me that chastity and virtue are a huge priority under the code. Even in the saloon, the prostitutes are more like friendly waitresses. They’re completely covered up, clothing-wise, and seem like they’re just hanging out instead of working. The film definitely suggests that it’s the man’s job to pursue the woman and convince her that she loves him. 

 

I expect the Hays Code thinks that kisses are dry and passion is depicted in the widening of eyes. 

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AVOID EACH OTHER BUT SHOWS EMOTION AND PULL BACK WHEN THEY FACE EACH OTHER. GREAT TEAM TOGETHER. PEOPLE WAS HAPPY AT THE END CAUSE THEY FINALLY GET TOGETHER WITH LOVE. LOVE IS ALWAYS HAPPY TO END WITH ESPECIALLY DURING DEPRESSION TIME.

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It wasn't until I was in college (1974-78) that I grew to appreciate Nelson and Jeanette; my father played their records incessantly as I was growing up and I was more into the contemporary sounds of La Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbara Cook, Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.  I had little or no tolerance for Eddy and McDonald until I began watching their films.

Eddy never appeared comfortable onscreen, but that voice could do marvelous things - his portamento on the final "Marie" in Rose Marie is chillingly beautiful!

As time moved on, he did become much more comfortable and I firmly believe that the influence of Ms. McDonald had everything to do with it.

She was a seasoned pro (THE LOVE PARADE) before teaming with Eddy under the leadership of lesser directors.

The chemistry they share is noticeable in both clips.

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(1) Like many of the movies of that time (or even beyond), the protagonists will often have a hate-love relationship, starting off as disliking each other which, over time, will develop into love. In the first scene, for example, she admonishes him but, once he starts serenading her, you can see her visibly change her attitude towards him, even turning on the line "I choose you." He, in turn, makes light of the song by showing that he can adapt it to any female. In the second scene, she's embarrassed that he has seen her humiliated and quickly takes on the "I don't care what you think" attitude, but we see his reaction is more of feeling empathy for her.

(2) I've never been particularly fond of either Nelson Eddy or Jeanette MacDonald - love his voice but find him very stiff on camera; she's a better actress but of the film sopranos of the day, I find her voice (especially her upper range) more screechy - k'vitshy, as my mother would say. I do humbly apologize to those who may be her fans, but I much prefer Deanna Durbin.

One of the questions for the section on Hallelujah was why MGM would turn down Durbin for Garland based on their appearance in Every Sunday. One of the stories I always heard was that this short was, essentially, a screen test for both actresses and, at the end, Louis B. Mayer told someone to "get rid of the fat one" (in his mind) referring to Garland, but was misinterpreted by the other person who let Durbin go and contracted with Garland. I don't know if that story has any validity, but MGM already had Jeanette MacDonald and Kitty Carlisle, so I can see Mayer not wanting to have another singer, especially a younger one who wouldn't be able to play the same kinds of roles. At Universal, she was more unique and got her start playing more of a singing protegee (Three Smart Girls, 1936).

(3) Similar to Astaire seducing Rogers through dance, Eddy basically seduces MacDonald through song. She resists him at first, but ultimately falls to his charms. As independent as she is (or tries to be) in the film, she comes to realize that with him, she's stronger and more self-actualized. In-between meeting and the ultimate falling in love, there are often misunderstandings that threaten to derail the relationship, but all is resolved before the ending. Under the Film Code, you definitely expect that there is no overt affection between the two until the end of the film [after all, Astaire and Rogers never kissed on screen].

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I completely concur with the course notes about having preconceived ideas of both actors’ performances.  I only knew of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald as a film couple, but I had never seen any of their movies.  I had only ever seen MacDonald in one other film called San Francisco, many years ago.  MacDonald played a down-on-her-luck, classically trained singer who gets hired to perform in a saloon by the owner, played by Clark Gable.  I don’t recall liking her character because she seemed “too good” for the saloon owner and she was clearly out of place in his world of liquor and gambling.

In the Rose Marie clips, MacDonald plays a similar character, a classically trained singer trying to get work in a saloon; but in Rose Marie, we see MacDonald making fun of herself, being vulnerable in front of an audience, showing she has real human qualities that the viewer can relate to.  This draws the viewer in and makes her likeable to the viewer. Same thing with the clip where Sgt. Bruce tries to charm Rose Marie by singing to her.  He tries to be playful and sincere, and it’s the typical guy crushing on a girl scenario.  She initially resists, but then realizes he is letting his guard down in front of her, being authentic.  Rose Marie cannot help having feelings for him.  Much like Rose Marie, I found myself falling for Sgt. Bruce.

There’s definitely a proper sensibility in these clips reflecting the time the movie was made.  The men and women are polite and do not express their feelings directly.  They must use other means to get the point across because it would be too forward to just say to someone I’m attracted to you. In this case, Sgt. Bruce has the advantage of being a gifted singer so he can woo Rose Marie with his crooning.  That’s a common theme in musicals “after code” – boy likes girl, boy pursues girl, boy serenades girl and/or dances with girl, girl falls for boy.

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  1. I thought the interaction between the characters seemed real and relaxed, not wooden like some early films. They definitely had some chemistry. In the canoe, the dialogue that McDonald had at the end about the song being adaptable seemed almost adlibbed. It was very playful and gender specific in how it played.
  2. I don't remember seeing either actors in other films or television shows.
  3. These clips tell us that the male and female relationships are very strictly defined during this era. Some of the norms that I thing were supported during the Hollywood Film Code are: Men have the role of pursuit and the choice of many partners. Women wait to be pursued.  Gender roles are well defined and should not be crossed. There are consequences for crossing gender roles.

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1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the canoe clip, it's playful, teasing and lightly suggestive enough to be fun but not upset the code. He obviously likes her and she's pretending not to but she does (a typical scenario in movies of the era). The bit about changing the name in the song to suit the current flame is amusing and shows both have a sense of humor. The humor also shows he may flirt but he's not a bad guy and she gets it.

The second clip further demonstrates the two have feelings for one another. He shows concern over her embarrassment and situation - compassion for the tough spot she is in - while we can see she is upset that he sees her in this embarrassing moment (if she didn't care it wouldn't matter so much) and out of there as quickly as possible to end that uncomfortable episode. By manner and singing style we see she is not the type of girl (good girl) that frequents a place like that even though she tries to gamely mimic the saloon singer (bad girl) to salvage her unappreciated performance (two different moral worlds - see we are upholding the code!). 

2.      If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. 

In her Paramount musicals with Chevalier, we see a much more risqué teasing manner in MacDonald and the dialogue was much more suggestive and sexual (or to the point). She handled that style well - again with a touch of humor - so that ability has carried over to the more morally upstanding vehicles at MGM post code.Non-musically speaking, she delivers the good girl triumphing and reforming her love interest in a morally free and corrupt setting in San Francisco. Her bit in Rose Marie in the saloon is a minor replay of her start in San Francisco where her singing style doesn't go over until she peps and sexes it up (successfully in Frisco). However she returns to the cultured morally higher road of an opera star in the latter part of the film. 

Have not seen that many Eddy performances minus MacDonald but he always appears to be - at heart - a regular guy that is trustworthy and loyal not a slimely character.

3.       What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

Courtships between the main leads were to be conducted on a higher level - very proper and no excess pawing. Good girls didn't easily succumb to charm and good boys ultimately respected a lady (sometimes after a game try to get to first base and realizing the error in their approach). The leads were chaste until marriage. Foreplay was though words or music or dance. The love-hate thing seesaws through misunderstandings, separations etc. and, having weathered all the storms, morally true love triumphs in the end. Code perfect.

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I haven't seen this movie yet, but am rather curious...he is taking her to the pub to see friends, in a canoe...at night? Who wrote this?  OK, beautiful background.  Just for the journals, there is never such a thing as pre-code/ post code  sex in a 1920's era canoe.  Jus' Sayin

In the second scene, He left to console her.  That would be an interesting paddle back home.

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MacDonald seems more natural and free in her acting. Eddy is very stiff. I especially admire Jeanette’s facial and eye expressions as he sings to her. He is behind her in the canoe and can’t see them. She is an underrated actress. I have seen most of their pictures together and her pictures with other actors. She is great in everyone, especially San Francisco.  The best MacDonald/Eddy film is Maytime and the finale, Sweatheart.  Wow!

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1. What I notice about the interaction between the two characters is that they are both attracted to one another but they are trying to fight the attraction.

2. I have not seen wither of these actors in other movies or television shows.

3. Both try to deny that they want the other in the beginning but in the end they always end up happy together. The norms that I expect are supported are more formal relationships.

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.

The interaction is clealrly subtle

If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

Unfortunately I haven't seen anything else with these two actors.

What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

the relationship is shown with more clarity in terms of respect and courtship with or without the norms of film code.

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I think Jeanette MacDonald is brilliant- a great actress, wonderful voice, and beautiful with expressive eyes. One of my favorite films with her is San Francisco with Clark Gable, though he is so darkly sexy in the way he sizes her up  that I feel he could eat the "lady-like" MacDonald alive. Nelson Eddy is more of an equal sexual match for her with his more "gentlemanly" and non-threatening charisma.

I noticed in the clip how the bar girls latched on to Eddy when he entered the saloon and he was quite happy they did. However, as he begins to focus on MacDonald and her attempt to sing, a nice little piece of acting (for the so-called "wooden" Eddy") softens his face and eyes and he sort of brushes away the hands of one of the girls at the table. He may be a heroic Mountie, but he's also a guy in uniform who seems comfortable with buying a working girl a drink until MacDonald comes along. We also get another hint of his character with his teasing conversation in the canoe about changing the girls' names in the song to suit the moment. A great line, by the way "Nothing worked with Maud."  

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I remember watching Rose Marie with my older sister.  I loved Jeanette MacDonald wide, expressive eyes, Nelson Eddy's deep voice, and the banter of their looks and conversation.  Their characters do show restraint in their attraction to each other, and that restraint holds the audience in anticipation as to whether they will end up together romantically.  The operatic delivery of song may seem respectable, but one must remember that operas like Carmen are very passionate' the voice can express a great yearning for love.  Nelson and MacDonald's rapport is charming and their facial expressions show more than the words they speak.

I have seen Jeanette MacDonald in Three Darling Daughters with Jose Iturbi, Jane Powell, and Elinor Donohue.  It was a charming romance and great singing by MacDonald and Powell.  Of course, I loved the movie because I am one of three daughters in my family.  As for Nelson Eddy, I have seen him on TV, but I do not recall what show.

Male/female relationships are juxtaposed in extremes--the virtuous woman and the loose saloon girl--with the heroic Canadian Mountie watching as other men are busy talking or drinking or dancing with barmaids.  The comparison and contrast are oblivious like an allegory of the goodness of nature versus the corruption of the city.  Eddy is certainly more connected to nature as so he sees MacDonald as a frightened rabbit who is in danger of being hurt by the big bad she bear that is Gild Gray.   

 

 

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1. In clip one they are more relaxed when they are talking and it seems more natural for them to be together. In scene 2 it is obvious that Rose Marie is looked down on for not being  what is called a "lose" woman. It is obvious that the male half is bothered by the lady being downgraded by the bar maid woman.

2. I have not seen these two in other movies that I recall.

3. It is obvious that woman were expected to be more reserved and if they were not they were not moral women and were not given respect. Under the code the norms that are depicted is that if you are a woman who spoke your mind or liked to be around men you were not married to you were not worth respect and if you had a voice you were not being ladylike. The other norm depicted is that all woman wanted, if they were moral, was to be married, loved and not be out.

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I am continually floored by how "NATURAL" Nelson Eddy is - When I was a newcomer to watching anything of this ilk, I assumed he was a "eyeliner" guy who was soft-soapy and pathetic!  Boy was I in for a shock.  He is humorous, convincing, entertaining and of course, can sing!  I thoroughly enjoyed "Rose Marie" and have learned to enjoy other of their films, like "Maytime" and "Naughty Marietta" among others.  MacDonald is also quite good and her voice at that octave an accomplishment.  So overall, I learned a short time ago how these ARE a valuable part of the history of the "musical" - Canadian or not!! ?

 

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Interaction between the two characters:  His dialogue doesn't get her but his singing begins to melt away her reserve.  We anticipate that he is going to have. to work hard to woo her because she ultimately rebuffs his moves. He is playing it cool, too, by inserting other girls' names in his song.

Other performances:  I most enjoyed Jeanette in San Francisco and sadly saw one of her final fils where she played second fiddle to Lassie.  Whenever I see Nelson Eddy, I do remember seeing Himont TV in the 50's and I always think about Sis Caesar's imitation of him as a wooden actor.

Code values:  Man chases woman; woman is not a pushover and must be romanced.  Very chaste interactions with singing providing the heat of romance.

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1.  Nelson Eddy's character is very upfront and straightforward in the way that he tells Jeanette MacDonald's character to choose him as a suitor, but he is also humorous in a very dry, tongue-in-cheek way (almost like the type of guy who would constantly tell dad jokes). Jeannette MacDonald gives the impression of a character who is proper and cares about respectability in the way that she scoffs and totally ignores Eddy's advances at first and then tries to play coy and hide the fact that she is somewhat attracted to him.  The interaction between the two characters is fairly formal/respectable, as one would expect the interaction between the two sexes in post-code (is that a term?) film to be.  In the 2nd clip, Jeanette MacDonald behaves in a less ladylike way and embarrasses herself in a bar, while Nelson Eddy's character behaves compassionately and in a caring way once he sees her embarrassment.

2.  I have actually never seen any films with Jeanette MacDonald or Nelson Eddy before, but I instantly liked their on-screen dynamic after watching this clip.  Jeanette MacDonald seems so expressive and versatile as an actress, and I loved Nelson Eddy's subtle humor and great voice.

3.  These clips show the traditional, proper, and respectable behaviors exhibited by males and females in films under the production code.  During this time period, male/female relationship are displayed in a very courtly manner. Women are respectable and never make the first move, while men are depicted as chivalrous gentlemen and subtly make the first advances.

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1.  Marie definitely had the upper hand in the canoe scene and was secretly enjoying his attentions.  Eddy's character was somewhat ridiculed and belittled.  Second scene; rolls reversed.  However, he being the gentleman, did not take advantage of Marie's embarrassment; he actually felt sorry for her.  I feel he would have led her out of the saloon and tried to comfort her if she hadn't already fled the scene.  Who knows if she would have reciprocated?2.  Have not seen very many of these films.  Always found them a little too sappy.  I hope to gain a better understanding and appreciation for their work after this course.

3.  The relationship between the two lovers is the epitome of Production Code era.  No jumping into each other  arms until a lengthy period of getting acquainted through gentle sparring.  I agree with the earlier post on the slinky, silky, sexy saloon gal and her semi-erotic dancing (that gown left little to the imagination!)  How did THAT get through?  Makes me wonder how the code REALLY worked?  Nelson Eddy represented every parent's idea of the ideal boyfriend for their precious daughter-every hair in place, crisp, starched uniform, etc.  Operatic voices lend a classy note (no pun intended.)

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Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy were an iconic couple on film. Their sphere was operetta and the operettas they sang dictated the morality more than the studios I believe, as most of the operettas were period pieces with the usual norms, etiquettes and standards of their time. I was with a light opera company in Manhattan which did many operettas on a repertory basis, so I am very well acquainted with the genre in viewing and in performance.

The idea was that the woman was chaste and sought after. The young heroine sometimes wandered (not morally, but in her path to her goal, euther in disguise, led astray, captured, etc). There was usually a mezzo who was the wiser, more experienced (or less moral) secondary character as well. The hero pursued, and the heroine played hard to get until relenting or being rescued. My theater company did "Rose Marie" before my time there, but it would have been fun to do.  

My point is that even though the studios may have dropped/changed songs or storyline from the operas - McDonald/Eddy films, the moral standards (code or pre-code) were built in by composers, such as Rudolf Friml, Victor Herbert, Franz Lehar, or Sigmund Romberg.  Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy executed the story and song beautifully and appropriately for the time periods.

 

 

 

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You can see the beginning of him charming her in the first clip, she's obviously surprised & impressed by his voice. Her character seems to be coy, or even outwardly unwilling to show him she's at all interested. But then in the second clip, you can see she obviously cares what he thinks of her, and you can tell he cares about her and feels embarrassed and sorry for her. The setup of their characters seems to be a rather go-to formula of a valiant, down to earth, well-liked, "charmer" type man vs a more uptight, yet classy and likeable woman. This is purely me going off the clips, as I haven't seen this movie or any Eddy and/or MacDonald movies. I love what I saw, though, and hope to watch one or two this month! 

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In both scenes the characters seem to be sizing each other up. She is nodding in approval of his singing talents.  As he is watching her while she decides if she can do the job, he seems to understand her dilemma.

I've seen both in movies over the years, and remember her more so than him.  

It seems as if Post code characters are expected to be morally upright, and behave like a lady or gentleman.

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I want to talk about the Every Sunday short with Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin.  In the lecture notes, Dr. Ament asked why was Deanna Durbin let go from MGM?  The question was answered in Jeanine Basinger's book The Star Machine which has a section on Durbin's stardom.  She states that Garland already had a seven-year contract with the studio and Durbin was killing time before she started a film biopic of opera singer Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink; Durbin would have played her as a child.  Durbin had only been signed to a six-month contract.  Sadly, Schumann-Heink became ill and died.  The studio had no work for Deanna and when the six months was up, she was dropped.  

Fortunately, MGM casting director Rufus LeMaire, who selected Durbin for the biopic, made a deal to come to Universal, and his new contract had a clause that allowed him to bring over any exceptional talent he discovered.  He took Durbin.  Has anyone seen the opening credits to Three Smart Girls?  I couldn't find a good video, so here's the trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gj8XM23Fzk

I found the movie on YouTube.  Watch the beginning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF2jiKPEKps

 

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I sheepishly must admit that I don't believe I've ever seen a thing with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald together, and I need to rectify that pronto.  I'm familar with Eddy's singing career to an extent, but even that is limited.  When I saw the title of Rose Marie, my first thought was the top center box from Hollywood Squares, so obviously I'm just going to kerplunk on this Daily Dose.  I can say though, there was a noticeable chemistry between the two, and her comic ability glimmered quite a bit in that second clip, although ultimately she kind of wound up in the background.

It seemed quite evident that women were thought of as the, for lack of a better term, inferior sex in this era.  The men clearly dominate the saloon and the women are, at best, dressing, and at worst, completely in the way.  Like with yesterday's DD, I just take this as the social norms of the time.  We're fortunately much smarter today.

If this were a Pre-Code film, we'd have seen a much raunchier saloon too.

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.

There definitely is a serious chemistry between the characters. However it is one that is being very carefully veiled and cloaked in innuendo and subtlety. When you cast aside the curtain of corny there's some serious heat here. 

If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

I believe that this is my first real real exposure to them. 

  1. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

Male dominated with women being prom and proper and being very morally subdued. There's a sense of captivity with spirit and independence and a sugary idea that love will make everything okay.

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I've never seen this film nor have I seen any of the films that Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald made together. Having said that, I enjoyed the chemistry between the two. In Rose Marie, Eddy does seem stiff compared to MacDonald, but I saw him as the straight guy to her being the more funny of the two. The interaction in the boat is witty, funny, and very charming, which I'm sure has a lot to do with it being after the enforcement of the film code. But that's okay. It work so well. In the second clip it felt awkward seeing Marie fail in her attempt to entertain, but there's big strong Eddy to her rescue. 

The relationship between the two is similar to other musicals, a sort of cat and mouse game with humor and witty dialogue, and some great songs as well. Which I'm sure was expected for this era. But considering the restrictions the code put into place, it doesn't make for bad movies. The characters and the audience seem to enjoy the pursuit of affection and anticipation when these two will get together. I know I now want to see this movie.

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