Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #2 (From Rose Marie)

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1.  While I haven't seen the whole film, I do notice how Eddy and McDonald play out on each other for their own operatic singing skills as Eddy attempts to impress her by his singing, yet McDonald looks uninterested and mocks his performance. In the second scene at the bar, McDonald tries to sing amongst the crowd and to impress Eddy knowing that they both have similar interests in opera singing. But then one of the ladies Eddy brought over performed her popular singing current at that time that got more attention to the crowd, and McDonald has to mimick it in hopes of getting that response, but failed. Both Eddy and McDonald do flirt in the moment, but she feels embarassment on doing something different Eddy wouldn't expect, but then he sympathies her attempt and goes to comfort her. Hence would be where their romance would blossom from there.

2. I never seen their past films as well as the film at hand, so I have no opinion/answer to share here.

3. I think they showcase the classic tropes of any romantic situation past and current (which is usually romantic comedies in recent years or any romantic subplot in today's blockbusters), how the couples would meet, whether love at first sight, sometimes bicker in their differences and surface level quirkness. The meet cute in other words. Until then, whenever something significant occurs that reveals their true selves, they would then stop bickering and come to interact postively and grow their relationship from there. If under the Hollywood Film Code, it wouldn't have much physical contact nor innuendos, but more formal and proper behavior in showcasing how a relationship phase would look like, but ideal and exaggerated for jokes and beauty within.

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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 first clip McDonald keeps her back to Eddy during most of the song but smiling as if enjoying a private joke. Eddy spends a lot of the time looking outwardly stiff but he also smiles a small smaile as if enjoying a secret. Towards the end of the clip they face each other and tease vocally. In the second clip McDonald is nervous and does not sing the song well when Eddy arrives. When Eddy enters the room and sits with two floozies she seems upsets. One of the women gets up to sing the song McDonald is killing. When that happens Eddy sees how McDonald is trying to capture the audience back and he smiles as if to applaud her for trying to fight against a stronger tide.

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 seen them both in other films with each other. They are not my favorite films. Both of them have good operetta voices and do decent justice to the music they sing in the films. As actors I think of Eddy as a stiff, except for when he smiles. Smiling brings his whole face to life and makes me believe there is a personality under the acting face. The acting face however does him no good and leaves me cold. McDonald appears to be a warmer person. I don’t think her acting ability is fantastic but at least I feel like I get to see a personality in her roles. Good or bad, the personality helps in the playing of the role, I feel, and without it the role gets tossed away.

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?

It strikes me that the role of the male is to pursue,  however ineptly and the females role is to  evade no matter how much she may wish to jump into his arms.  He is to woo to win her; she is to tease and torment to see if he is willing to do battle to win her. Taking all that into account I would expect that the Code would support a chastely intimate relationship leading to marriage. By chastely intimate I mean the wooing and teasing that is seen in thses clips. The discrete clothing, nothing too revealing. Music that might speak to the heart and of the heart but only in poetic terms of classical love.

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Even though there is no eye or body contact, the first scene shows definite sexual tension.  He's going to chase after her until she catches him.  In the second scene she sees him with the other women and feels she's lost him.  She  is also very embaresed when he sees her trying to sing in the bar.

I have seen a couple of their other films together and the formula seems to stay the same.  They are always falling in love with each other whether they originally wanted to or not or whether they should or not.  

Keeping to the code, there's no overt sexual interaction between them.  

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

I noticed that with the training of classical singers, I myself have studied opera for 14 years, that there is a sense of more formality which may come across as stiffness.  Nelson Eddy does seem to struggle more with movement though, and Janette MacDonald seems a little more at ease.  Her timing seems better and her facial expressions in the boat and her attempts at mimicking the saloon singer make her seem more warm.  

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

I can’t remember the names of the movies I have seen them in, but my grandmother loved to listen to and watch Nelson Eddy and Janette MacDonald.  Actually I do remember one called “Naughty Marietta” where they sing,  ‘Oh Sweet Mystery of Life’, and every time I hear it though, I think of Young Frankenstein….sigh….however, I do remember the costumes and exaggerated acting.

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?

The male/female relationship appears to be the dominant male and the flirtatious female, where the strong male wins the damsel in distress. I think the Hollywood Film Code continued to set the stage for the female always needing to be saved by the strong male. That women took second to men.

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In the first scene, the flirtatious nature of the man is ignored. At first, the conclusion could be drawn being upfront and aggressive isn't tolerated at this time, but near the end of the clip, multiple other names are used within the song. This changes perception, illustrating aggressive nature is prevalent during this time; however, it's not accepted by the main actress. This idea is directly reflected in the second clip as well. The performance and signing is only noticed when the performance is sexualized. And for a reward, the audience gives applause and throws money at the entertainer. Men also are depicted as more powerful, especially within the saloon. They overpower female roles both visually and vocally. 

 

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1.  At the beginning of first clip, in the canoe, the characters seem to be fighting attraction for each other; MacDonald seems to be somewhat superior in her behavior toward Eddy, and he is aware of it.  Later, in the saloon, Rose Marie feels forced to step off her moral pedestal and witnesses Eddy's true character as he rescues her.  After all, a mountie always gets his man, or woman.   

2. I admire the work of MacDonald and Eddy, but their film rolls are so repetitive; beautiful, good girl with high-brow morals and talent meets handsome, often uniform clad, not-so-high-brow guy.  She rejects him.  He rescues her from some kind of music laced catastrophe and then convinces her, through song, that they can live happily ever after.  They perform a duet, which seals the deal.

 

3.  The depictions of male/female relationships in films of this era were very traditional.  Men pursued women.  Women characters were either good girls or bad girls.  If the women exercised independence, in either a moral or immoral fashion, the good girl ended up with the boy, and the expectation was that she no longer had a need for independence.

        

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1.  Marie keeps her shy ways because this was now the day of becoming and staying a 'decent' girl.  She could not respond so quickly to the advances being given.  Hence the 'courtship' days were now being brought back.  Their love songs to each other were the best 'love scenes' ever!

2. Though I have not seen them in other films before, but film books, TCM, biography channels and even cartoons have reflected back to the 'sweet days' of Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy. 

3. As far as what these films tell in the male/female relationships in this era, pretty much 'touching' was not the norm.  Staying sweet and innocent will get you the man you will marry.  However, maybe not necessarily so for the man. The man was not considered 'innocent' but proper enough to get the sweet innocent girl.  

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