Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #2 (From Rose Marie)

423 posts in this topic

1. They both seem uncomfortable with each other, she avoids facing him in the canoe and at the bar. When she does make eye contact, it seems to embarrass her. He appears to be a gentleman and not only takes her to find another man, but goes after her when she leaves the bar humiliated.

2. I have not seen them in other films.

3. It seems that under the code, there are acceptable forms of affection without any closeness. The way she looked at the other singer in the bar was as if she was repulsed by her or what she represented. It was like two extremes, the prudish singer and the slutty entertainer. 

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It appears that there is certainly some kind of chemistry between the two characters in both clips.  In the canoe clip, it is he that is wanting to be noticed in a good way through his song that is meant to impress her.  She is obviously smitten by the gesture even though she playfully mocks him about it.   In the saloon scene, once she notices him arrive, she then takes the role of wanting to be "noticed" in a good way by him, although her attempt also fails, he is definitely smitten with her as well.  

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I find  the movies starring  Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald's more difficult to get caught up in.  I'm not sure  if it is the  screenplays or the composers and lyricists or the acting.  In the first scene, he is definitely flirting, telling her to look back, asking her if the supposed object of her affection is a banker, a poet or a polo player.  When she responds with no he's an Italian tenor,  Eddy breaks into song.  While he has a wonderful voice, it is too operatic for the scene for my taste. And Eddy seems a little too wooden. She seems more natural in her delivery.  She is withdrawn and concerned about something.  While his character believes she is looking for romance, she is concern ed about her brother and the mess she may be walking into while trying to keep the mountie at bay so he does't catch on to her real reason for being there. 

In the scene where she sings in the saloon, i start to wonder if he is dumb as a box of rocks or a sly as a fox.  Does he make the connection with De Flor and Flower.   He knew who Marie De Flor was, which was pretty incredible for a mountie living i nbn the back woods of Canada-no radio, no phones, no movies, no roadshows.  So did he make the name connection just a quickly.  In her scene, McDonald can't let go.  She knows she needs to be more bawdy just to get the attention of her unsophisticated audience.  Her delivery is so geared to the sophisticated listener, she simply can't let go like the bar singer does. Eddy and McDonald movies are more like opera than Fred and Ginger, and their songs lack the zing of a tune by Porter, Berlin or the Gershwins. Fred and Ginger are fun and their music is fun.  Their scripts are wittier and they dance. 

If I  have seen  Nelson Eddy in movies without her, I don't remember it.  He is too wooden to be a memorable actor, in my book.  Jeanette McDonald, on the other hand has been delightful in a number of other films.

I've never been a huge fan of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette  McDonald movies.  If  i want to hear opera class voices i go to the opera.

 

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After watching the clips from Rose Marie, these are my impressions:

Question #1: I noticed that in the canoe he sits above her as she lounges in the well of the canoe giving me the impression he is the strong, handsome, good love interest and her position lower as the demure love interest who hasn't figured out he is a "good catch". The separation also sets them up for a very proper way to be alone together and begin to fall in love. Their voices and facial expressions are how their romantic emotions seem to be expressed, keeping things proper.

Question #2: I have to say I don't recall ever seeing either actor in other films.

 

Question #3: I think the norms of the Hollywood film codes that are supported in this film, especially in the two clips shown were the separation of the two love interests either by props (the canoe seating arrangement previously discussed above in #1, the table in the saloon scene. I believe the code wanted to show relationships in a more puritanical light hence the singing (Jeanette MacDonald's character singing the saloon songs in her beautiful pure operatic voice vs the saloon singer who got up there and sang with much less vibrato and could give a little more shimmy and shake in her presentation. Also the costuming was a good contrast Jeanette MacDonald is sensibly dressed vs the saloon singer who has a shiny, tight dress that presents her as more brazen. Clearly the nice guy, Nelson Eddy favors the purer Jeanette MacDonald while the saloon crowd likes the girl in the shiny, shimmying saloon siren. I agree with Dr. Ament's comments above that this was a clear "choose this scenario" scene.

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I often heard about Nelson Eddy & Jeanette McDonald growing up. My dad was not a fan of their movies, he was more of a Western, Swashbuckler, War movie fan.

While watching this clip, I see that there is some flirting going on, subtle but present. They seem to be fighting off the attraction to each other. she turns to look back with those eyes. It amazes me during this era how the eyes tell the story so often. how the camera angles catch the glint, and glistening. 

I honestly never saw any movies of either of these stars. 

Im sure there was a good girl vs bad girl undertow with the rendition "Some of these days" .. simply put.. "Don't be a Gilda when you can get the good guy if you are more of a Jeanette "! ..  I mean, isn't it easier to be a Gilda ??? 

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1. In both clips, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy are separated in some way-- in the boat, she's facing away from him and their interaction is mostly vocal (rather than visual or physical), and in the saloon, he's seated at another table, and she's attempting to distance herself from him. The focus is all in how one reacts to the other individually; we see how Jeanette's character is slowly warming to Nelson's charm in the boat, and how Nelson's character admires Jeanette's bravery in the saloon scene. It's more subtle, rather than overt sexual attraction. 

3. Based on these clips and some of the Fred and Ginger movies I've seen, I'm guessing that films of this era emphasized the courting routine-- the man is usually more direct and the woman is somewhat distant, but secretly warms to him and eventually they get together. In the era of the production code, propriety was expected, especially in the behavior of the main characters. I agree with some of the other commenters on this thread that Gilda Gray's character was probably meant as a sort of foil, to offset Jeanette's character but to show us the difference between the proper woman who gets the guy and the kind of woman who works at a saloon and dances like that (read: the "bad" example). 

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1.  I was surprised at the level of chemistry between the two in the canoe scene, given the fact that, for the majority of the scene, she was looking forward and all he saw was the back of her head.  What spoiled it for me was his attempt to be funny at the end.  Nelson Eddy was too stiff to make a good joke.  The line about "Maude" might have been better had Ms. MacDonald said it.

2. Years ago I watched a portion of a Nelson Eddy/Jeannette MacDonald movie, but gave up about 1/3 of the way through.  Definitely not my cup of tea.

3.  The saloon scene said much, in a short period of time.  The "good girl" with the good voice is barely noticed.  Then the other girl sings the song in raunchy fashion, complete with hand gestures to imply sexiness and winds up with applause and money.  In the meantime the straightlaced hero, Sgt. Bruce shows he is no stranger to the saloon, its patrons or to the working girls with whom he sits.

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1.  These are the early code days (correct?), so what I see in MacDonald and Eddy are worldly individuals fitting their outward performance into polite, acceptable behavior. In the first clip, there is heavy flirting, though the flirting was carried on in the subtext to the dialogue. For example, Eddy conveys how experienced he is with the other sex by explaining he created the song, his "line," to fit the name of whatever woman he is with (and his closing punchline, "Nothing ever worked with Maude," conjures up hints of many cold showers for Eddy though he gave it his best go). Meanwhile, MacDonald is not shocked, righteous, or disgusted by Eddy's apparent philandering (though she feigns disapproval), but, rather, finds it so charming she flirts by lobbing comebacks and commentary on his game. Similarly in the second clip, we see a worldly MacDonald not shocked, righteous, or disgusted by the circumstances of a rough and tumble woodlands bar and the questionable women who entertain the men, but, even while knowing she's out of place, tries to pick up the torch and jump in to the looseness expected.  Meanwhile, Eddy is obviously no stranger to the ladies (after all, what is a handsome man to do for company up in the lonely woods?). Code be damned, there was sex going on.


I think this way of working the dialogue did, in fact, make stuffy operetta singers more relatable. However, I think there is an apparent aesthetic context we've been discussing about the Depression; that is, escapism. There is sophistication to opera. MacDonald and Eddy brought the viewer a sense of sophistication surpassing the drudgery of reality waiting outside the theater doors. It helped the viewer pull their boot straps a little tighter and dream toward something.

2.  I honestly have never seen them beyond a Saturday morning cartoon parody. I, like mentioned in the lesson, often saw clips of MacDonald and Eddy as serious, romantic, operetta singers.

3.  What I want to know is how simple-minded did the Code enforcers think the viewers were? Or, perhaps I should ask, how simple-minded were the Code enforcers? The presentation of chaste innocence was obviously promoted through the Code, but the dialogue and circumstances so flagrantly undermined the Code-sanctioned presentation. In the early days, I feel we can expect studios to press the limits to see where the hammer came down. Perhaps in this way, these early Code films seem much more racy that the films of the late 40s and 50s. Still, I understand that the Code was upheld by culture and many things were not discussed openly. 

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I think that Jeannette McDonald would have been a longer box office draw because she could portraya evolving woman in movies Nelson Eddystruck me as an actor unable to change or evolve to the movie goers perception of a modern man.  I have seen McDonal in a couple of films other then her usual parings with Nelson Eddy.  As society became more open and accepting of changing social norms,I think. McDonald and Eddy seemed stintedand emotionally devoid of modern morality.

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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.

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We see these situations again and again: a fiercely independent woman who fights against society's expectations within a rigid setting. Once she is removed from that setting, she is challenged with learning a new set of rules that will help her survive but that give her a chance to be more true to herself. The conflict is her initial unwillingness to give up the old system to be who she should be. Often, she is engaged to be married to a boring man who will provide her with stability and security but he does not understand why she wants the excitement of the unknown or why she feels the need to rail against the conventions of polite society.

These two scenes show us two people working within those rigid societal conventions but often feeling frustrated by them. Their flirtatious banter during the first clip reveals a mutual attraction and the resistance she displays serves as a catalyst for his increasing infatuation. He sees her strength as beauty where others see it as obstinance. She is attracted to his wit and finds him irresistible when he sings. Part of the "dance" they are performing with each other is made all the more attractive by her initial hesitancy to participate.

In the second clip, we see her at her most desperate. She is struggling to survive in an entirely new environment, one that in many ways is so much more harsh than anything she's ever known. Outside of her comfort zone, she knows she must do what she can to survive but is completely unprepared with how to do so. Unlike the others, he sees her desperation and it deepens his feelings for her to an intensity unlike anything else he's ever felt. He yearns for her and wants to protect her. He instinctively knows he can be a bridge between worlds for her so he goes searching for her when she sneaks out after feeling humiliated.

The actors in the lead roles, Eddy and MacDonald, were frequent co-stars. Their onscreen relationships seemed to follow similar formats in each of the films. Their onscreen attraction to one another hinged on their ability to perform the banter that kept the sexual tension going. Even during arguments, the audience was aware of their attraction to one another, even if the characters themselves were unable to admit it. We just "knew" they were right for one another and the enjoyment and satisfaction when they finally came together made us come back again and again.

Movies that adhered to the code overwhelmingly portrayed men as the protector, the knight in shining armor. The women were depicted as being complete or whole only when the right man saved them and provided them the opportunity to be fulfilled as a housewife and mother. 

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1. I love the playful interaction between them, especially as MacDonald taunts Eddy over his song to her.  They do not have to face each other to have a great chemistry together.  In the second one, MacDonald’s unease with the situation coupled with Eddy’s compassion as he quietly observes creates a memorable moment between them.

2. I have seen them in other films, but only parts of those films.  Usually, I pick up on a movie in the middle when I have finished homework. Prior to these two clips, I always considered their interactions to be restrained and at times sickeningly romantic. It was refreshing to see them as having more relatable interactions.

3. Nelson Eddy carries off the role of the pursuer of a relationship in the canoe scene, and, in the saloon, his protective nature is evident but restrained. MacDonald’s restraint, albiet sarcastic demeanor lends her a mysterious air. At the saloon, the propriety of women is immensely evident as she is not too proud to work but will not demean herself in a job that is less than socially acceptable.

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The interaction between the characters in the first clip:  Eddy's character tries to be suave and seduce the pretty lady, but she's having none of it.  She's more sophisticated and wittier, and she's wise enough to catch onto his game pretty quickly; she gives better than she gets.  He may be paddling the canoe, but she's in control. 

 

The interaction among the characters in the second clip:  Here, MacDonald's character loses her confidence because she's completely out of her element.  She's the awkward outsider who can't connect.  This time, when she sees Eddy's character interact seamlessly with the locals, she realizes sophistication isn't a substitute for raw sexuality.

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1. In the first clip she doesn’t look at him all that much where he is looking at her throughout the entire scene. But I can tell that she’s thinking until she looks at him direct about 2:40 into the clip. But then goes back to look out ahead until he says caroline. By the end of the clip she gives him lots of eye contact back.

By the second clip she is ignored by the clients in the bar. Then when he walks in everyone seems to know him and greet him. She tries to step up her game when she seems him and he gives her straight eye contact. As soon as the regular person comes into sing she has no idea how to act because that she isn’t that kind of person at all. Although she tries because she needs the money, but she decides to leave and he keeps looking at her. Until their eyes meet at about 3:30 into the clip.

2. I have not heard of this classic pairing, but I do know the name Jeanette MacDonald.

3. Something that I’ve noticed is that the men and women pretty much ignore each other in films of this era unless they’re the main characters. But I think that was due to the code because the restrictions were so tight only the main characters really could interact with one another. Like even in the canoe scenes they only look at each other through eye contact and nothing else. And in the bar the MacDonald’s character gets ignored because she doesn’t dance and dress like the other singer at all. As MacDonald’s character is supposed to be proper and respectable which is why she doesn’t get the attention that the other singer gets.

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1. Although I haven't seen this film, I think that both scenes are an example of how the tables turn between the characters. In the first scene, Bruce is very confident in his courtship and singing, while Marie either mocks him or doesn't pay much attention. In the second scene, it is Marie the one who's being ignored by the audience and upstaged by the other dancer, and she just can't take it. Bruce's expression is one of genuine preoccupation and pity of her.

2. N/A, cause I haven't seen them at all.

3. Well, first Bruce's courtship attempt is charming, but distant. He sees himself as competition fighting for the girl, if I remember correctly. However, in the second scene, he arrives at the saloon with two women. The expectations of men and women are completely different. As for the norms post-code, perhaps the dances and the clothing would be different (compare with Chick's dance in Hallelujah). Maybe the dialogue would've been a bit more charged.

 

 

As for the video lecture, I saw Hallelujah last night and, although I had some issues with the way the plot unfolds, I can appreciate King Vidor's intention to showcase African-American culture. Also, the fact that most of the actors were not experienced makes the end result more impressive. I also found it interesting that both this film and Broadway Melody touched on similar topics, but from completely different angles. Here we also have a man that finds himself smitten by another woman, despite being committed to another. Another thing is that I found the musical numbers here way more lively and entertaining than the ones on Broadway Melody. There are certainly some issues, but I enjoyed it more.

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Wow! I just can't unsee that pelvic thrust Gray gives as she sells the song. Jeannette McDonald wouldn't be caught dead acting like that. She's way too classy, from her clothes to the style of her voice and musical genre. Eddy and McDonald are the types that the Dead End Kids would beat up in an alley.

But the purpose of the code was to reinforce proper, moral behavior and make it look desirable, and who better than Eddy and McDonald? Even their chemistry is whitewashed to mildness, not the burning passionate can't-keep-my-hands-off-you stuff we see in some 30's films. Hollywood wanted us to grow up to be them: good, decent, empathetic, reliable, and hard-working "salt of the earth" types.

Thank goodness for their senses of humor, which made them human. Otherwise McDonald would be too unapproachable and people would hate her, and Eddy would be too much a goody-goody, and women would pass him by for a bad boy.

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. The interaction between Eddy and MacDonald in the canoe scene seems to be more comical interplay with her body language and his musical come on that can be tailored to any woman's name except for Maude.The bar scene is funny in her trying to copy the local gal making money but Eddy seems to recognize the "good" girl as a fish out of water even though he cavorts with the two local women.

If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I never seen them in anything.

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? In the first clip, humor is played with the song as a line from Eddy to MacDonald. There is no physical interaction to be noted. Very chaste. In the second clip, the two ladies of questionable virtue are ignored and the hero, the more desirable man in the clip, is immediately attracted to the chaste woman ignoring the other women. Good triumphs over evil.

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

Their interactions with each other speak of longing, but also an easiness only found between two people who are truly compatible. It is in the ease of being yourself around someone who you find attractive which is magical in relationships. There is no wall or front needed to hide yourself. That is what I saw in the boat while he sings to her, and she so quickly discovers his ploy of inserting any woman's name into the song. It is also at the end of that scene in what was meant to be funny, but was actually kind of heartbreaking, when he said, "It didn't work with Maude, but then nothing worked with Maude." He barely knows Marie, and yet he opened up enough in that moment to let her see a small piece of himself.  

In the second scene the viewer can clearly see they care for each other. He knows she is hurt by the other woman's performance, which is base and rude compared with her own. I'm sure, in that moment, she had conflicting feelings of needing to lower her standards to entertain the people, and not wanting to have to do that in order to be liked. She chose the high road by taking herself out of the situation, but he could tell her feelings are hurt. I think it might have even bothered him the person who hurt her feelings came in with him. 

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

I have not. 

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?

In the first scene it seemed proper she was facing away from him the the boat, as he was "taking her to meet another man." His co-actions of physically leaning in while rowing and singing indicated his intentions toward her, which sparked her action of turning toward him indicating her returned interest in him. She wore her emotions and perceptions of what he was singing openly on her face, though she was still facing away from him to keep him from seeing. I believe it was a breakthrough she called him out on his song though, allowing her to be open and honest about her feelings instead of simply staying quiet in the background like a good little woman. I liked she could be wholesome, yet stand up for herself. 

I also noticed a contrast in perceptions of women vs. men at the time. Women could be either prim and proper (Though Marie broke that for a little while making fun of herself), or they could be bawdy and persuasive (like the woman singing in the low, dusky voice and swaying suggestively). There did not seem to be this duality for the male characters though. They could be both proper and forward in the same scene! 

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Re: Rose Marie-What I observed in this movie and what draws me to movies of the 30's-50's is the banter of dialogue. I think post code most of what was happening between men and women was relayed via clever dialogue, which takes great skills from writers to carry a story.  I must admit, my clearest memory of Eddy and McDonald is the running reference of the two doing the Canadian Love Song.  I intend to view the Rose Marie in its entirety.

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1. The interaction between Sargent Bruce and Marie is pretty typical of the films of that time. Sargent Bruce is trying to outright woo Marie with his silly song which Marie in turn in trying to resist Bruce's charms mocks the song and tries to act disinterested in him when cleary she is smitten.

2. In most of the Eddy/MacDonald films of the era there seemed to be an easy charm between the two which translated well to film. They were married so that also added a level of chemistry to their work as well.

3. This clip showed that the men were the pursuers and the women were the ones being pursued. It was the man's goal to woo the woman while it was the woman's job to resist the man at all cost. You can definitely see the change from the more loose and free wheeling era of pre code Hollywood to the more religiously toned down films that came after.

 

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1. The interactions between the characters in the two scenes are very different. The first scene takes place in a romantic setting—a guy rowing a girl to some destination at night. Nelson Eddy is trying to woo Jeanette McDonald and is being very romantic. She, however, is having nothing to do with him until he starts to sing. She is impressed with his voice and perhaps a little taken by the attention, but in the end, the light flirting gives way to the fact that he uses the name of the object of his attention every time he sings the song. Maybe he just doesn't want her to know how interested he is. Maybe, she is trying to tease the romance away by accusing him of being fickle. Either way, the romance begins.

In the second scene takes place in a very different setting—a rowdy saloon. JM is embarrassed by the fact that she can't adapt her singing style to the saloon situation and crowd and by the fact that NE is watching her struggle. He seems embarrassed for her, but also possibly a little impressed that she is trying so hard. She slips away from the scene and he in turns leaves also.  

2. I have mainly seen them together. They have beautiful voices, but I always have the since that JM is a better actor than NE. I remember seeing her in San Francisco with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy where she plays much the same type of part—a fish out of water when she tries to sing in Gable's saloon. 

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?

3. The male/female relationships are depicted in this era as very polite, proper and sexless. I am surprised that JM and Gilda Gray, especially Gilda, were allowed to do such a sexy shimmy with suggestive movements while singing "Some of these Days."

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1.       I noticed that Sgt. Bruce has a huge liking for Marie but she does not seem to return his flirtatious persona.

2.       I’ve only grown up seeing film clips and remember how they were the classic romantic musical couple of the silver screen.  Many early cartoons and television shows would imitate them.

3.       These clips tell me that the male/female relationships were very different than they are today and that during that era it was very common to see women dancing as one of the main sources for a man’s entertainment. 

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1. In both scenes, there is noticeable distance and formality with the interactions between the men and women, but in order to convey courtship and love, both the camera and editing are used to great effect. In the first clip, even though both are together on the boat, there is still a slight barrier between them, creating a respectable distance that conveys to the audience their closeness without there being any suggestion of impropriety. In the second scene, they're further apart and the camera cuts back and forth between them to convey not only their interest in one another but also their increased distance that has now become a hindrance to their courting, as opposed to earlier. That the second scene ends with the man leaving after she does, pursuing her as the camera captures all the movement, indicates that the distance will finally be crossed, but not in any improper way.

2. I have not seen either of these actors in other film/television shows before, but just based on the two clips I watched, there's a sense of fun in their banter that overcomes the physical distance most likely enforced by the Code. Both of them have beautiful singing voices and without using the accompanying dancing popular in the Pre-Code films of the 1930s, the two actors are able to convey personality and feelings just through the music, an admirable skill. 

3. Based on these clips, the male/female relationships in Code films were distant, marked by an overemphasis on "proper" behavior towards one another, nothing that could be seen as sexualized. Unless of course, they were trying to draw a contrast between two women and one of them behaved inappropriately as a way of categorizing her as a "loose" or "undesirable" as the second clip does with Gilda Gray. The Hollywood Code wanted "pure" relationships between its male and female characters to dictate to audiences how those interactions should be, help construct a moral code that could be translated from screen to reality. 

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