Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #2 (From Rose Marie)

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1. I think the two scenes exemplify the playful yet sterile "lovemaking" and courtship depicted in historically traditional operetta-- there's a lot of coy batting of eyes, snappy-type dialogue that seems to skirt around the fact that the two are attracted to each other.   I think you find it in most movies of this era and beyond to the 40's and 50's and even in the 60's...no one wants to come right out and say, "I'm attracted to you," but rather a verbal circling game is played.   The scenes are charming and elicit a smile from any viewer, whether that be just liking the scene or baffled by its innocence and "yesteryear" quality that doesn't exist anymore.   

2.  I have seen many other films with MacDonald in them without Eddy:  San Francisco, The Sun Comes Up, The Merry Widow, etc.   She's obviously the one MGM in particular pushed, she's the more accessible of the two.   If I recall correctly, Nelson Eddy had quite a career of his own with recordings and with radio, but was always considered "wooden" in his acting style, which never seemed the case to me -- he is no better/ no worse than Allan Jones or Howard Keel, two actors who appeared in the same type film roles repeatedly in their heyday.  

3.  Characters and roles seem very deliberately and sometimes awkwardly overt:  "good" girl vs "bad" saloon girl, industrious, valiant Eddy vs. drunks, etc.   There wasn't much subtle pidgeonholing going on here (or in any of the early musicals...think of Judy Garland vs. Angela Lansbury in The Harvey Girls:  I recall reading that Angela was actually booed and hissed in public for being mean to Judy in the movie (could be an urban legend, but some roles define an actor and the public sometimes thinks you have to be one (a mean person, for instance) to play one.  

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.
  2. The first scene it was almost 2 people back to back. One singing, the other listening
  3.  
  4. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. 
  5. For my self i know Nelson Eddy as a singer on radio. He use to sing on various radio shows such as "Dream Time" and "The Chase and Sand Borne Hour" Speaking of that radio show on October 30th 1938 people were listening to the Chase and Sandborn Hour and 15 min into it came to the part with Nelson who started to sing, well listeners did not like his singing (I can not stand his singing) turned the radio dial to a program already in progress but it was a news story about Aliens from Mars which made people frantic....wonder what show that was? haha
  6.  
  7. 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?
  8. I did not like both clips, could not stand the singers. Nothing was too bad in this scene other then the singing.  At one point the real bar singer gets up to try to sing and dance and do a bit of a sexy dance at the end

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It seems to me that the undertone is that Nelson is trying to woo McDonald by way of "rescuing" her from someone else that he imagines is winning her heart.  McDonald is staying coy and aloof by not showing him her reaction to his song, as every woman should in that day.  Nelson sings of gentleness,, kindness and an angel to describe her but also adds a little devil in her eye which shows us how men of the time would like their woman to be.  

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

In the first scene, the two characters barely have any eye contact. It looks like a very awkward situation and Bruce attempts to break the ice by serenading Marie, who was obviously impressed but decided to downplay her feelings.

In the second scene, Marie is obviously embarrassed when she sees Bruce in the saloon because she doesn't want him to know that she's working there and doesn't want him to have a low impression of her. Bruce is obviously surprised when he sees Marie but realizes this is probably the only job she could get and is sympathetic and understanding, since he goes after her when she runs off after being upstaged by the other woman.

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

The clips tell us that the relationships tend to start slowly and innocently with the characters getting to know to know each other before getting serious. Also, the male characters tend to make the first move. As for Film Code norms, relationships pretty much had to start out subdued; characters couldn't really be all over each other within the first few minutes of meeting.

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In the first clip, it seemed that they were more comfortable with each other in a flirty kind of way.  You can tell that they are both attracted to each other but are not willing to take it further than harmless flirting.  In the second clip you can tell that Marie is very uncomfortable in her situation.  She is trying to sing in a saloon which is out of her element.  Then he walks in, Sgt. Bruce with a saloon girl, and Marie get very nervous trying not to make eye contact and basically, trying to shrink into the woodwork.  You can tell that they have a growing attraction to each other but they don't want that attraction to get in the way of the real purpose of their being there.  You can tell that Marie is very uncomfortable when the saloon girl comes up and starts to sing over her and do a shimmy-shake to get money thrown at her.

If haven't really seen either one of them in anything.  Their style of music isn't what I enjoy, so I don't really watch them.

It seems since the Hollywood Code was put in place, that the girl meets boy interactions were kept pretty much platonic until the end of the movie when the guy gets the girl.  A lot of flirting but no hopping in bed until they are married and not even then.  The fact that they allowed a saloon girl in a skin tight dress do a shimmy-shake dance was interesting.  Again, the movie is showing the really bad saloon girl wanting the guy, but in the end knows the good girl has his heart and true love.  

This seems like a typical movie for the time.  Everything comes out like it should in the end.

 

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There is a great deal about the battle of the sexes and what can be suggested under the Production Code. He can be an experienced lady's man who has wooed many women with his "line". What's interesting is that when that line doesn't work, he openly admits it is indeed a line, which seems to intrigue her more than his straightforward romancing.

In the second scene, he is given a choice between the "bad" girl, who he clearly knows very well, and the "good" girl who he is discovering dimensions in. And he makes his choice of the good girl, thus making this a moral story. It's also interesting in this sequence that the song is really unimportant; the silent close-ups tell the tale while the song is just a vehicle for the action.

Sadly, the humorous byplay here gets smothered more and more in their future films, as McDonald falls into the "grand lady" tradition that Mayer favored, and Nelson becomes more and more a singing cardboard cut out. They become trapped in their own public personas.

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1. It's the standard 30s seduction formula of the man pursuing and the woman acting aloof or uninterested. It's enjoyable to see how skillfully Jeanette MacDonald plays the scene in the canoe, gradually shifting her attention and giving in to Nelson Eddy's tuneful wooing. In the second scene the focus is on the comic contrast between Jeanette and Gilda Gray, but it's also interesting to see the camera focus on Nelson Eddy's reaction showing his concern. 

2. I've seen every film that Jeanette MacDonald made and most of Nelson Eddy's, along with clips of their occasional tv appearances and some of their radio broadcasts. It's interesting that Nelson Eddy was very wooden as a movie actor, but on radio he had a natural ease and warmth that eluded Jeanette MacDonald in that medium.  As another commenter pointed out, Nelson Eddy was just Nelson Eddy. 

3. Clearly JM and NE scripts operated very tightly within the prescribed code. There are no scenes in their films like the one in Merry Widow with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald at Maxim's. Yesterday's comments about women having to choose between careers and love, is at the heart of Maytime, with Jeanette MacDonald trying to repress her love of penniless nobody Nelson Eddy and instead marrying her manager, John Barrymore. 

 

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I wanted to comment about the clip in the Lecture Notes of Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin in Every Sunday (1936).  The juxtaposition of the classical/popular music is, of course, obvious in the scene in their two singing styles.  But a couple of other things also strike me.

1) Right at the beginning the guys in the audience look at the program and say, "Ah, a waltz.  Real music."  That gets right to the heart of the issue.  For many at the time swing wasn't "real music," but a waltz with its classical flavor was.

2) When Judy starts singing in her more swing way (after singing a bit of a proper waltz), the meter changes from a triple/waltz meter to a duple sub-division like in swing.  BUT! the syncopation in the orchestra still embeds an oom-pa-pa waltz rhythm in it.  So it's like Judy is singing swing to a waltz (even though technically it isn't a waltz).  And this oom-pa-pa rhythm dissipates eventually - and we get more proper swing rhythms. So her performance masquerades momentarily as a waltz which is then subsumed into swing.

3) Note the change in the words she sings.  Instead of "dance to a waltz" like at the beginning they eventually become "dance to Americana."  At this time a lot of people in the classical musical world were wondering what American music really was and how it differed from European music.  Americans didn't want to just be copies of European music, but they didn't agree on what "Americana" music would be.  The waltz (i.e. "real music") is marked as European.  But swing/jazz was American (and some folks thought that was great, and others thought it was not "real music" at all - and often put all kinds of hateful racists reads onto that music).

So in this scene we not only get the juxtaposition of two styles of music, but we also see a kind of cultural debate about American identity (both in general and in music) being worked out.  And which one seems to come out on top in this scene?  We know musicals went with the popular sound.....  That is the sound of AMERICANA (which to my ears in this scene also has a Latin flavor as well as a jazz sound).

--Lydia

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So what strikes me about these clips and this discussion is the idea that the American movie musical is so different than any other art form.

The American stage musical was different than Gilbert and Sullivan. The American movies spoke vernacular. So Nelson and Eddy, very much like Ginger and Fred, have to cover both the "classy" upscale cultural values embodied in (for Nelson and Eddy--and Deanna Durbin) operetta and operatic style singing. And yet, they have to appeal to the common man because these are movies, and movies are the art form of the working class. They're not opera. Anyone can go. So like many things, Hollywood holds two truths at the same time: movies are classy, and movies are for everyone of every class. Operatic singing is good! But it's also outdated and not as fun. I think the clip from Every Sunday embodies that.

However, my absolute favorite example of it is Ginger and Fred, especially in the performance of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from Roberta (1935). Ginger Rogers and Irene Dunne were small-town Americana that made it big in Hollywood. And Fred Astaire was Broadway when Broadway defined itself. They're playing at being classy, European (read: tied to opera, ballet, and other "high class" arts), but they're also swinging. They're for everybody. The common American in the Depression gets a little class and a little trip to Europe when they watch this film.

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from Roberta

 

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The interaction between characters in the boat scene is what could be deemed a “proper” courtship.  He obviously wants to take things further with her, but is respectful and does not make any physical advances. In a pre-code world, with the two of them alone on a boat on a moonlit night, they might have been all over each other—or a little more forward in their advances. 

The saloon scene perpetuates the idea of “loose women” not being worthy of a man’s attention.  The saloon girls were all over the Mountie, but he rebuked their advances and ran after the “good girl.

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1)One of the things that I noticed in the interactions between the two characters (especially in the first clip) is that Nelson Eddy's character is very upfront in his attraction towards Jeanette MacDonald's, whereas she acts pretty independent and pretends to be uninterested in him. 

2) I don't recall having seen any other movies with Jeanette MacDonald or Nelson Eddy

3)One of the things that I noticed in both clips is that Nelson Eddy's character is very open about flirting with several women at once. I can't really think of any films from the same period where the female character flirts with men to the same extent, so I think that there was a bit of a double standard where it was acceptable for men to be womanizer but women were expected to remain chaste and monogamous. I haven't seen this film in its entirety, but I have no doubts that the two characters ends up together, so I'm guessing that the code allowed men to be womanizer as long as they ended up married at the end of the film ad thus became 'nice' and 'faithful' men.

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I’ve never seen any of Nelson Eddy/ Jeanette MacDonald’s work together.  I’ve actually avoided their work together because I’ve always had the impression that Nelson was way too staid and stiff.  And now, watching this clip I see immediately that there is chemistry between the two of them.  MacDonald’s attitude towards Eddy is comical disinterest, she has her mind on that Italian tenor at least until she hears Eddy sing.  Judging by her facial expressions she certainly didn’t expect to hear that voice coming out of that man.  That clip makes me actually want to see this movie!  (The whole point of me taking this class was to introduce me to a genre of film I have ignored.  And if a brief clip of stiff Nelson Eddy and his joke about Maude makes me reconsider watching Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald movies, then it has already been a success for me.)

Their humor towards one another seems to be standard (at least in comedies) for movies of this era.  One of them is aloof while the other has the making of dreamboats in his/her eyes and scene by scene things slowly begin to change.  There always has to be some type of conflict between a man and a woman who will be romantically inclined by the film’s end.  The conflict is slowly whittled away through action and deeds, as in this scene where Eddy will no doubt be providing support to MacDonald for showing strength and resolute in a bar full of people who don’t care to listen to a specific type of singing. Slowly but surely they will end up together, after all, happy endings are generally expected for couples in this era. (And again, I'm making a generalization because I expect things to always be happy at the end of a musical.)

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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 scene, he is pursuing her while she tries to appear uninterested. There is very little eye contact between the two. She casts a few backward glances but doesn't want him to know she is entertaining any thought of the two of them as a couple. She is "saved" by the whole exchange regarding him using the song as a tool for picking up girls.

In the second scene, her embarrassment at being caught singing in a saloon is obvious. She tries to avoid him seeing her at first but realizes it's hopeless. His feelings are even more noticeable in this scene. Whereas in the first, she could have been just any girl he had a passing interest in, in this scene his eyes say he cares and is hurting for her. Her embarrassment suggests she cares more for him than she wants to let on. 

2.      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 any other films with them.

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? We can see in the first scene that men do the chasing while the women get to choose whether they are caught or not. It's a very idealized and chaste scene. In the second scene, we see the "good girl/bad girl" juxtaposition. Jeannette's character may not be able to do the song justice for its setting, but the audience is drawn to her because of her good character, as opposed to the saloon girl. 

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.
  2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.
  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?

1.  As one of the quotes Dr. Ament included suggests, it's MacDonald's and Eddy's wonderful voices that touch each other, not their bodies!  They both seem self-assured but curious in the canoe scene (I was shocked when the camera showed them actually in water, since most of the scene seems to be performed in front of a screen with water being projected onto it!).  That they both are somewhat startled at the other's situation in the saloon (her trying unsuccessfully to adapt her singing to the setting and him sitting with the floozy women) indicates that they care what the other thinks of them.

2.  I've seen a few of their films together.  I think the charming Nelson Eddy's gotten a bum rap over the years; he's a fantastic singer, is handsome, and has a comfortable, manly screen presence.  Jeanette MacDonald, of course, had been allowed to be more sexy and "free" in the Lubitsch/Chevalier films.  It's easy to see why the 2 together were so popular.

3.  I think the message given was that it's better to get to know each first and find things in common (like singing or dancing well together) than it is to jump right into overt sexuality (don't be a Gilda Gray!).

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I completely agree with GeezerNoir's comment.  Gray is allowed to dance and perform to demonstrate to the audience what is unacceptable and should be shunned. Of course, purporting to demonstrate bad behavior in an effort to demonize it still allows the film to showcase such scandalous sexuality.  I suppose that this allows the film and to have its cake and eat it too.

By the way, the composition of that scene with Gray dancing in front of the piano and next to a disheartened MacDonald is tremendous. Reminded me of the piano scene in Only Angels Have Wings. Maybe Hawks used Rose Marie as inspiration.

I have never seen either Eddy or MacDonald (at least that I can remember), but the clips demonstrate a terrific nimbleness by MacDonald.  Her facial expressions in the first clip in the canoe were brilliant.  She communicates so much with her eyes and mouth. Eddy does seem a tad wooden, but the straightness of his dialogue delivery (and his hat and facial features) make him honest and forthright.  There is nothing that is coy about him.  His sincere, concerned look in clip 2 is convincing in depicting his feelings for MacDonald.  

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.
  2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.
  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?

1.  In the first scene there is a little light flirting between the two.  He sings to her and she sort of holds her own and shows that she is not going to be won over by a song.  She displays conform in herself and strength.  In the second clip, she is totally out of her element and we see that she isn't so strong among all of these people, she tries to fit in, but realizes she  cant.

2.  I have only seen Jeanette MacDonald in the film San Francisco before.  I really have no perceptions about them, other than always hearing about them together and that they sang.

3.  The second clip short of showed both styles pre code and post code.   

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In the first clip, it seems Bruce is the more vulnerable one and in the second clip, Rose Marie is. He is pursuing her in the first and she has the upper hand. In the second, she is embarrassed and out of her element and he is in his element. She tries to fit in, but doesn't feel comfortable in the situation. Bruce realizes Rose Marie is more vulnerable than she tries to portray with him. I think this goes along with themes of the time. The women are more vulnerable and the men need to help them. Of course that is the same in a lot of films even today. But things are shifting. The films are a mirror of the times. The second clip also shows the a main character that stays "pure" and doesn't lower herself to a more sleazy level. That fits within Production Code standards.

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

It is obvious that Sgt. Bruce is attracted to Marie in the first clip. In the beginning she is focused on her need to get across the lake to find her brother but she can’t tell the Mountie about her brother since he is a prison escapee. Being slightly elusive makes her more intriguing. Sgt. Bruce begins to break through her mental barrier as he sings to her but her defenses rise again when she perceives that he has sung this song on other occasions to other girls. 

In the second clip, she must be in need of some extra money because she is attempting to sing in a saloon. Being an opera singer, Marie doesn’t know how to “sell” the songs to the crowd. When Sgt. Bruce walks in she is immediately uncomfortable but gamely keeps going until the owner sends one of his regular girls up to take over. She flees in embarrassment and he follows after her.

All of the flirtation and pursuit is very chaste.

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

I have watched this film and one other (can’t remember the film title) with Eddy and MacDonald. I found both of their performances to be very stylized. He especially comes across as very wooden. While they both have excellent voices, I have never been a fan of operatic singing so that has deterred me from watching most of their films. I did see MacDonald in a film with Clark Gable set in Alaska during the gold rush. Her performance in that film was a little less inhibited.

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 virtuous woman was rewarded at the end of the movie with true love! The man was usually the pursuer because a good woman wouldn’t be that forward. 

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The thing that struck me about the male/female relationships in these scenes is the way that music is used for seduction.  In the canoe scene, it is Eddy's crooning - and his virtuosity - that is appealing to MacDonald.  As long as he's singing in that very refined, "gentlemanly" kind of way, she seems to be thinking, "Hmm, he's appealing."  It calls to mind the quote that Dr. Ament gave us: "the soundtrack indicates that he is avidly commingling with her."  His vocal mastery and dexterity seem to also be a stand in for his romantic (and perhaps sexual) dexterity that she seems to be intuiting from his singing.

Conversely, when MacDonald is singing in the saloon, her refined way of singing is not seductive to the crowd.  When the other gal starts singing, we see what the crowd (and the men in particular) want from the woman singer - a lot of physicality, showing off the body - and that pelvic thrust she gives at the end of her singing was a surprise.  The men aren't moved by the refined, "ladylike" singing of MacDonald.  So I think this also shows us a kind of sexual dynamic between the male and female characters - in these scenes men and women want different kinds of sexual/vocal display.

I thought it was interesting that in the saloon scene, MacDonald is singing every note/pitch correctly, but her rhythm is off - often by a whole beat.  She can't quite "get" the syncopation that the song has and that the piano is playing.  This is also a sign of her "ladylike-ness."  The bodily, physicality of that music isn't something she can do.  This music inspires a kind of sexy movement - a rhythmic bodily response - that she doesn't "get."  So that also shows her as more genteel - she is not physically swept away by the music.  And then when she tries to imitate those movements, it still doesn't work - and it just looks forced.  This more physical/rhythmic/sexual music isn't something she can embody.  So her more pure stance is intact.

What's telling though is that Eddy's character sees beyond her inability to perform well.  He's not seduced by her sub-par singing of this kind of rhythmic popular music (or her later attempts at gyrations).  What appeals to him is her willingness to put herself out there - it's her gutsiness combined with her vulnerability that gets to him.  And perhaps he too is seduced by the "real" voice he can tell she has - the voice that is a counterpart to his (and that they will soon "commingle").  It's a kind of virtuosic voice that is refined, not "debased" in physicality.  So that shores up the Hollywood desire to depict moral characters, and it's definitely strengthened through their musical depiction.

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

Well in the first scene he is singing to her that he loves her while she is thinking maybe not so bad until he changes the name in the song and then she thinks he is just a big player. In the second screen, she sees him and is jealous, but the other actress starts to sing he becomes concerned about her.

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

The only other film I have seen is with him, he is a wonderful singer and actor. Love his voice.

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?

Well, the relationships between males and females in this era is sweet, innocent and kind. The norms that are seen are no scantily clothed females, even the girls in the salon style clothes are well dressed. 

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

In the canoe, Bruce offers her romance in a very shallow manner and showed his interest in her with his "looks of longing".  When he doesn't seem to be making any progress, his questions about her love interest seem to hold a hint of contempt or disdain in each one.  When she finally says "Italian tenor", he gives it one last try by singing.  Her facial expressions show she approves of the singing and she seems to be softening her stance against him until she realizes as he admits, he simply changes the name in the song to that of the girl he is trying to romance. (This ploy was also used in a Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedy - "You are my inspiration Marie..Lucille..." etc.) 

In the saloon, you see a different side of both of them.  Through Bruce's facial expressions and actions, the viewer can see he is sympathetic and you just know he is leaving so that he can check on her out of compassion and concern rather than just another chance to hit on her for his own gratification.  MacDonald does an admirable job of showing frustration, hope, and embarrassment.  In the split second before she leaves, you can also see her losing all pride - as though she is trying to run away from herself and her failure as much as from Nelson Eddy.

2.  If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.   My first introduction to Nelson Eddy was his portrayal of Willie the Operatic Whale in a Disney animated movie.  I loved how he switched from "Shortnin' Bread" to opera.  The fact that he was willing to participate in the Disney project leads me to believe he was a down-to-earth performer who did not see such things as beneath him and his talent.

I have seen a couple of MacDonald/ Eddy operettas and wished the quality of the sound reproduction was better than that provided by a mono television speaker.  While I enjoyed the music, I found the stories largely forgettable.

 

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

Overall, they respond so well to each other.  :)  In the first scene, their timing in their responses to each other is so harmonious.  In the second scene, it's all about their non-verbal dialogue with their facial expressions towards the other.  

 

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

This is the first time I've seen Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald together! :)  I can see why the studios continued to pair them together.

 

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?

No physical touching; attraction needed to be communicated in an underlying, "covered-up",  yet palpable way.  

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

In the first clip you can see that Nelson Eddy has an attraction to Jeanette MacDonald. His eyes shows his interest as he stops paddling and focuses his gaze on her. Jeanette acts as if she is not interested, but her eyes says different as she turns away. In the second clip more eye contact tells that Jeanette is embarrassed about her performance and Nelson is also embarrassed for her. He ignores the women around him and excuses himself when he sees Jeanette has left the saloon. He is off the rescue the girl!

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 in other films but its been a while. I think that Jeanette MacDonald is a good actress and her voice is superb.

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 clips shows the "good" girl (Jeanette) and the "bad girl" (the saloon girl) scenario which is portrayed in movies during this era. I wonder if the Hollywood Film Code would support the dance the saloon girl danced in the second clip. It was quite provocative. Just a thought.

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

In both scenes they are very kind to each other. The ribbing in the first clip is all in fun, both enjoying the banter. He expresses interest, but not in an uncomfortable and cloying way. Her face is so very expressive - a great close-up face. Her reactions are very understated, devoid of staginess. A little eye roll, a smile at the corner of her mouth. These are natural reactions and we are drawn into the relationship.

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

I vaguely remember a clip from This Is Your life - Jeanette McDonald many years ago. (It’s on Tube from 1952) There are Murrow interviews, too.  They seemed to genuinely like each other. Nelson sang at Jeanette’s wedding. When Nelson came on for This Is Your Life, Jeanette held his hand for a long time. They were both naturally charming. Nelson never seemed all that comfortable in the leading man role, but I get the feeling that Jeanette was the right co-worker to bring out his best. They seemed to have a great rapport and the same sense of play and humor. They respected and cherished their relationship.

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

There was no touching at all. The flirting was all verbal and in fun. No innuendoes here. There is resistance and restraint, yet you feel the attraction. Under the code love is at all times respectful and non-carnal.

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