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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #2 (From Rose Marie)

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I don't think I have seen any Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films, although I can remember them being a favorite of my grandparents, who both enjoyed musical films.  I like the banter they have with each other through the lyrics, especially when Ms. MacDonald substitutes other names.  I was also taken with the scenery.  To me, it said what the codes wouldn't permit to be said!

In the second clip, I watched it first with no sound.  The facial expressions that both actors presented spoke more to me than the musical (even though this is a musical).  Mr. Eddy's face exhibited so many emotions, and Ms. MacDonald's body language-WOW!.  Then I listened with the music, and it just put it all together.  

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1) Rose Marie has major significance for me, it was my mother's favorite. We watched it often during her later years. "Indian Love Call the song from that movie still sends me chills. She relished the innocence of male/female relationships in movies and in her youth. This scene exemplifies that thinking. The interaction between Nelson and Jeanette demonstrates his subtle persistence and charm against her subdued and reluctant flirtation.

2)In the second clip, as she imitates the saloon singer he smiles assuredly and appreciates her devastating charm. It works because she looks so alluring and he very confident. We can predict a repetition of the aforementioned interaction coming soon....boy charms girl. He tries to woo her and she cleverly rejects him, wins him over without a hint of seduction.What I find fascinating is the actual profound romance between these two actors from 1933 to her death in 1965. it is so obvious in their romantic scenes.

3) In these movies,adult relationships were defined by the level of sexual restraint demonstrated. The general rule was that the male made the first move by approaching and charming the female.She had to quaintly accept his advances but was to hold him at bay. The norms supported by the Morals Code defined the sexual double standard of the day. Modesty, chastity and restraint by the female, male characters were given license to flirt, charm persist and seduce.

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#2.  YES I have seen Eddy and Mac in just about all their pieces.  I disagree with the hackneyed assessment of Eddy as "stiff" or not "relaxed". Bosh!  He was a professional opera singer - not beginners like Mac - who had a charming but woefully under-trained voice...which she remedied her whole life with continued vocal training - a great shame it was too late to be captured forever on film with Eddy - oh the might-have-beens...  His understated, witty and sophisticated style is all one could ask for in grand opera translated to film, i.e. "operetta". Also a great comic as in "The Chocolate Soldier".  His incredible rendition of "Neath the Southern Moon" in Naughty Marietta showcases his lush, rich, sexy, astonishing technically satisfying baritone. LOVE the final Russian opera in "Maytime"...Grand Opera! (You guessed it - I was raised on opera)

For MAC - when she is given a piano as a gift in "Girl of the Golden West" and reprises the classical Liebestraum  - it is as though all those rough gold miners in the entire room are translated to paradise...not to be missed...Oh!

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

Clip 1:

She begins removed and uninterested. Once he begins singing to her she's becomes interested and seems impressed by his singing. She breaks her guard a little and begins having a little fun with him bantering back and forth. Eventually her amusement of his song and playfulness is overtaken by her irritation of him taking the joke a little too far and she becomes removed again. 

Clip 2: 

She struggling to win the attention of the room when she notices him come in. For a few moments she seems hurt by the prospect of seeing him with other, flirtatious, females. She's looking but doesn't want him to know that she is struggling with embarrassment and some jealousy so she tries to look more light hearted about it for when he notices her. Once the seductive female stands up to dance around she overcome with embarrassed and I think expects the male is more interested in someone who is more seductive, so we runs off. She didn't notice that the male doesn't seem to really be noticing anyone but her. 

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

I'm not farmilur with any other films staring these actors.   

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?

Clip 1:

I think the film code and norm of the era was for the couple to play a non-seductive game of cat and mouse, with the male pursuing the female. I think females of this film era and code are expected to be depicted as wholesome, yet smart, with the desire to be pursued by a handsome well established man. 

Clip 2:

I think the code would support the more "wholesome" depiction on the main actress rather then the seductive female in the tight dress. The main actress was trying to earn the audience of the room, as well as their money, but it wasn't working. She was however winning the attention the of the sought after male by being more wholesome and innocent. I think winning the heart of the "prized" male would be considered the exception of the female during the era. 

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1. Eddy and Macdonald speak with their eyes to communicate how they feel in both clips. There are constant clips of Macdonald's facial expressions and wide eyes as she listens to Eddy's voice during the boat ride. We learn so much more about her emotional state through these clips than through her lines. The same goes for Eddy when watching her in the saloon, and he tells the audience what he is thinking and feeling with just a simple look or smile. 

2. I have not seen these actors in any other movies or television shows, but I am so happy to be introduced to them through these clips. They're very likable and skilled in their craft. It's always nice to hear classically trained singers, especially today, when it is out of style.

3. Relationships within this era are depicted as a tender kind of love, one that develops over a period of time even after love confessions are said. There is also the bad vs. good girl trope, which is almost never seen between men in these movies. The "good" girl is usually modest, kind, and demure when posed against the "bad", loud, scandalous girl. This may have been a subtle support of the Production Code, encouraging women to be more like the first rather than the latter.

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1.  What I notice about the two characters in the scenes is enjoyment, interest, embarrassment, and empathy.  The Canadian Mountie has a genuine interest in Rose Marie, and you can tell by the expressions on his face.  While Rose Marie is having enjoyment from his company, even though she might be showing some interest.  While he's paddling the boat, Rose Marie keeps glancing back at him.  While he remains eye contact with her.  In the second scene, Rose Marie's performance is embarrassing for her.  Her body language is showing vulnerability.  While the Canadian Mountie is showing empathy for her, and can feel her emotions by the way she left the room.

2.  This is the first time I've seen these two in a movie.  Maybe I've seen them before but I don't recall.

3.  To answer the first part of the question...a lot of male/female relationships depicted in these movies were presented on the vanilla level; on the border line of some flirtation.  Now, the typical norms from these movies, and from the film code at the time was, strict when it came to female/male relationships.  They couldn't show anything too adult (thus blackout scenes)...also they could show intimacy to some level, but as long as it fit the code; and fit the script without going out of the realm of reality.

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The second clip from Rose Marie was fairly uncomfortable to watch which I am sure was the intent, to feel her own level of discomfort. It depicted to me a struggle that continues in present day. Here is a woman of substance who seems to have a standard of how one conducts themselves and who actually has talent (however unappreciated in this atmosphere). She does know what usually washes in this type of joint but she does not seem willing to placate the audience with the usual, even if it makes her the least popular person in the room. There is a large level of admiration in Sgt. Bruce's eyes. She is much more than the average saloon girl in that moment and while she may not be noticed by anyone else other than being a nuisance, she has impressed Sgt. Bruce with her display of standards and going down with her dignity than staying afloat and compromise.

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. Eddy is wooing MacDonald, who is slowly but surely being won over by his easy and relaxed style. Also although he is singing in a operetta style, he does so with amusing lyrics and puts the listener and MacDonald at ease.

  1. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. MacDonald is less stiff, her singing is more confident and acting is more entertaining in San Francisco with Clark Gable.  I am also taking into account that these are two different characters and she is acting. I don't think I've seen Eddy with MacDonald, but he appears to present his strong singing voice and relaxed acting style in most of his movies.
  2. 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? Women are sex objects and subject to the whim of men. Eddy ignores that MacDonald is interested in another man and woos her anyway, because it is what he wants. When MacDonald 's singing is considered too "chaste and highbrow", a female of lesser talent (who is dressed in a tight, sexy dress) is recruited to sing / bump and grind for the audience. Apparently, the audience expects this sexpot routine because they cheer and clap.  Eddy is the only audience member that appears to be sensitive to MacDonald's humiliation.

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Both characters show their feelings (which change as they go on) in socially acceptable ways, even as their feelings grow stronger.  There's a happy ending of course.  And throughout the morning sic, while lowing expression of their feelings also stays socially appropriate and chaste. This seems to be the formula that occurs in their other movies ad well, with the initial situation and location changing.

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Good evening everyone.

I noticed in the first clip that Jeanette MacDonald is positioned in the boat facing away from Nelson Eddy. In the first part of the scene, she is unconvinced by him and even mocks him. But when he begins to sing, we see from her expressions that she is impressed. This is something that we see in many musicals; the song functions to further the courtship. By the end of his song, she feels differently about him. In this way, the music actually moves the plot along by furthering their relationship. The tone of the scene is lighthearted as well as romantic. The fact that Eddy's character can substitute different girls' names into his song is his way of teasing her as part of the courtship. The song is the characters' way of exploring their feelings for one another.

I have not seen many of the MacDonald-Eddy musicals. For some reason, I am not particularly drawn to either of them. I think their appeal for audiences at the time, however, must have been the fact they they were elegant and regal, providing escapism during the hard times of the Depression. Their style of music is classical yet accessible enough for mainstream audiences. I don't think they age particularly well today, but that might just be my personal taste... not sure!

 

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1. I have always found a lot of the MacDonald/Eddy musicals follow a similar formula. Jeanette is always the high society girl and is always trying to fight her feelings and/or plays hard to get. And I think the first clip definitely demonstrates that. Like others have stated the 2nd clip feels very awkward which I'm sure is the intent. It has MacDonald's character feeling out of place but that makes her all the more human, making Eddy's character more invested in her wanting to protect her and spare her feelings.

2. I've seen all the MacDonald/Eddy films and all they all seem to have a touch of class to them like they were made for audiences with more sophisticated tastes versus a mainstream musical. I would think some audiences have never been to an opera or understand what the stars are singing about because many operas are in foreign languages so this was a whole new experience to them. I'm sure MGM kept making these movies because there was a definitely a niche audience for these type of films. As for MacDonald and Eddy, I have found the movies they made without each other somewhat so-so. In most cases they are the only singing star and they have to carry the whole movie sometimes and the can leave to mediocre results (the only exception I can think of is San Francisco with MacDonald). 

3. I think Frank Sinatra said it best in That's Entertainment he said, "boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy sings a song and gets girl." And you see that over and over again in musicals, and I'm sure thats why so many of us enjoy them! Men have to do the pursuing and women need to be the pursued. 

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

The clips are not actually in the order that they appear in the movie.  The second clip occurs before the first one.  The second one is where Bruce and Marie see each other for the first time.  That scene used to always make me uncomfortable because I was embarrassed for her.  As I got older, however, I realized how funny Jeanette was so I appreciated it more.  Marie is so used to everyone walking on eggshells around her, it is fun to see her eyes opened to the fact that she can be upstaged.  I love the expressions on his face as he watches her, realizing who she is and wondering what she is doing there.

The scene in the boat is one of my favorites.  I love how we as the viewers see the emotions on her face, but he can't.  And Nelson in that Mountie uniform.  As Dolly Parton would say, "He really melts my butter!"

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

When I was a little girl, my dad had an LP set of operettas.  I used to dance around the living room to the "Totem Tom Tom" from Rose Marie.  So, when I was about 11 or 12, my dad brought home a VHS of this movie.  At first I was put off by it being black and white, but soon I was hooked.  I have seen every movie they made together and some they did separately.  I absolutely love the two of them, especially together.  They had such a chemistry on screen (rumored off screen as well).

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?

Taking just these clips into mind, the male is the one doing the pursuing/wooing.  He follows her from the saloon after she is embarrassed, and he sings to her to try to win her affection.

As for the code, I agree that it seems they were trying to convey a "good girl" vs "bad girl" message in the saloon scene.  You have tight-dress-wearing Gilda Gray, who attaches herself to Sergeant Bruce as soon as he comes in and only leaves his table when her boss makes her.  But alas, he only has eyes for buttoned-up Marie, the good girl who plays hard to get and who he pursues out of the building.

 

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Based on what I had read about Eddy and Macdonald I was mostly pleasantly surprised by their acting abilities.  It was much more clear to me why they were popular than I had realized from the rather dismissive things I had read.  But as to the questions.  The first clip really tied the idea of sexual attraction to the voice.  She dismissed him and was focused on her tenor, and he was smart enough to realize that this was the way to her heart.  The interplay which focused mostly on her was well done.  We saw him sing with a slight self-mockery which made him much more charming and her reactions as she was reluctantly impressed were believable within the style of the film.  And best of all was the twist when we realized he had done this same routine with other women.  She was "put in her place."  And yet she took it in stride and so we got the feeling that we were only at the beginning of some intriguing one-upmanship between the two.  In the second scene Macdonald is mostly on display and she does mock her own style limitations and she becomes MUCH more appealing because she realizes that she truly cannot compete with what the other singer/dancer is doing.  A little humiliation and humility HUMANIZES her nicely.  Eddy has less to do, but it is clear that he sympathizes with her and is uncomfortable with her embarrassment.

I cannot really address the second question as I have not seen them since very early childhood and I don't remember them well at all.

I was actually surprised that the film was more subtle than I expected -- I am focused on the second scene.  The scene seemed conceivable as occurring for the most part -- except possibly the fact that neither the pianist or the customers were as cruel to her for her awkward singing as they would likely have been.  I appreciated the fact that they actually at one point completely blocked Macdonald as she was singing for a fairly long time.  And the other performer -- at least for me -- came across as a much better seller of the song and APPROPRIATE for the saloon and the style of music.  I saw her as being shown as a success not really "a bad girl" and Macdonald as just truly out of place.  It seemed more of an artistic judgment of the two performers than a moral one to me!

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1. I noticed that the leading man is very forthright with his intentions; he is interested in pursuing Marie.  He tries to find out about his "competition," the man she is going to see.  She acts very coy with him, and shows visible annoyance.  I think I might have even seen an eye-roll.  However, when he starts singing, she starts smiling and shows an attraction to him.  They also have a very playful interaction when she starts mimicking his song.  In the second scene, it is obvious they like each other because you can see Bruce's empathetic embarrassment for her.  And Marie is extremely embarrassed when she realizes that he has seen her making a fool out of herself.  If she didn't have feelings for him, she wouldn't have cared so much.

2. I haven't seen these two actors in other films.

3. In films like these, the male/female relationship was always depicted with the male pursuing the female.  Women in this era did not or were not allowed to exercise their own agency, so the men made the first moves.  Also, usually the women either hated or were annoyed with their leading man, who eventually would win her over.

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1. A lot of their interaction, I thought, came from the looks they would give. Their expressions told you just about all you needed to know. Jeanette's little smiles and eyebrow raises in the first clip told you she was interested in Nelson - and that she was rather enjoying the serenade. However, you also learned from her composure and teasing air of aloofness that she wasn't ready to give in to him. But... the idea was starting to look not so bad after all.

In the second clip, Nelson is sitting at a distance from Jeanette while she struggles to sing along to the barroom music that she is clearly unaccustomed to. He watches while she tries to get ahold of the crowd's attention and awkwardly mimics the singer who steps up after her. His eyes sort of soften while he's watching, and you can see his sympathy for her. When she catches him looking, he gives her a small smile. And through all this, the audience understands that he cares about her - and her embarrassment at the fact that he had seen her suggests that the feeling may be mutual.

2. This is the only Eddy-MacDonald movie I've seen so far, but I have also seen Jeanette in "Love Me Tonight" with Maurice Chevalier, which I liked, too. Usually, it seems, she played sophisticated characters - princesses, famous opera singers, etc. And even when her character wasn't high-society by circumstances, she always seemed to have an air of dignity. I can't say that much about Nelson's characters, since I've only seen him in one movie, but I did like what I saw of him in "Rose-Marie". I think the studio used him as their "pursuer" - going after a girl he's interested in and using song to help him out, but all from a respectable distance. 

3. The relationship norm in post-Code movies? Let's go back to that last bit: "all from a respectable distance." Audiences enjoyed seeing romance on the screen and ultimately the Code didn't prevent the making of some incredible romantic movies, but it ensured that it was used in moderation. For example: Kissing? Sure. But not too often, and nothing risque.

I think that there were some advantages to having the Code around, too, since the actors and screenwriters had to rely more on the use of subtlety when showing characters' feelings for each other, and because of that, some romances seem to have more depth and sincerity than they did in pre-Code movies. The romances had to have more to them than just... physical attraction, so there was surely a more emotional quality to most. However, the Code was also limiting in possibility. 

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1.  The interaction is very formal.  I almost expect them to refer to each other as mister or miss.

2.  Never seen them in any other context.

3.  Good girls get good boys.  Sex wasn't even on the table.

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This scene reminded me of a love scene that is in most of these classic films. To me, this scene is charming and romantic. I have seen MacDonald in San Francisco and Cairo. She was lovely and charming in those movies. too. While she was singing, the people was not listening to her, nor paying attention to her. Of course they all paid attention to the "regular" singer.

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1. I noticed in the interaction it's all very proper; even though the characters are attracted to each other, Jeanette MacDonald is trying not to be. Nelson Eddy doesn't mind flirting, as seen when rowing, but MacDonald seems unwilling to admit to herself that she might like this working class guy. When she tries to sing in the saloon, it's clear she's really uncomfortable; this is not the environment she is used to. Nelson Eddy just strolls into the saloon, it's obvious when he walks in with a girl on each arm that he has been in a saloon before.

3. The male/female relationship seems to be that the woman is very proper, maybe sheltered. Rose-Marie doesn't seem to have ever had to had to work before; otherwise why would she be trying to get a job singing in a saloon? It's obvious she's never even been in a bar before. This is what the film code did, she's very proper. On the other hand, Nelson Eddy's character has obviously been working most of his life; he's in uniform, and doing manual labor when we first see him. Even though he flirts with Rose Marie, it's obvious that he's not too serious about her, he admits using his song to try and charm other women. When we seem him in the saloon, he has women on either arm; but he chooses to go after the well-bred Rose Marie instead of staying with the women he escorted in. The message seems to be that a woman can get a man if she's not too forward; after all, the woman with "pip" is left in the saloon

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   I have never bothered to watch the films of NE/JM as they always seemed far to stiff and staged for my tastes. I should really give "Rose Marie" my full attention sometime.

   Mr. Eddy's singing voice is quite splendid; unfortunately I find Ms. MacDonald to be very irritating. Chalk this up to a lack of appreciation for opera and the recording techniques of the 1930's. 

   The pair are fine but at the end of the day that's best I'll give them--fine. Perhaps this is generational but I found them to be bland and as exciting as mayonnaise on beige carpeting.

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I have never seen a complete film with them as protagonists. I have seen a clip with them. In general I do not usually like that kind of movies and romantic-musical scenes, but I must admit that in this scene there is a lot of humor, especially by Jeanette Mac Donald. Anyway, I recognize that the public, in the midst of depression was good to see such films that allowed him to evade reality. And it obviously reflects the ideal of pure and romantic relationship as established by the code.

 

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. Sgt. Bruce's interest in Marie is very much more obvious than Marie's for Sgt. Bruce. During the serenade in the boat, she looked as though she tried to pretend that she wasn't interested. But the further the song went on, it became more apparent to her of her feelings toward him. In the saloon, they both nearly stopped what they were doing as they caught their first glimpse at the other. I thought Marie felt heartbroken and/or as a failure for not performing to the norms of the saloon, so Sgt. Bruce went after her to see what he could do to cheer her up. 


If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. As of yet, I don't believe I've seen either actor in a film or tv show. But I am very much looking forward to doing so throughout Mad About Musicals!. 

 

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 relationships seemed to be the norm in the movies from the era. Man meets woman, falls for her, but she loves someone else. He tries all he can to win her over. There's nothing wrong with these types of relationships, but once in awhile, they get old seeing them depicted so often. Let it be a role reversal, where she chases him. A small breath of fresh air. 

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Male and female romantic relationships, as depicted in Depression-era musicals, seem to prioritize innocence and chastity over what may have been the reality of times. Couples do very little touching or kissing, and much of the falling in love is done through their dialogue and singing. In the two clips we saw from "Rose Marie," the emotion or feeling that the two express is seen through their eyes and faces, and in the words they say to each other. Thinking of the strictness of the Film Code, this was likely the plan, that love was kept between only married couples and that outside of that, men and women would be chaste until then.

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

In both of the scenes, you can see the impact of the film code in the characters' interaction. Everything between Eddy and MacDonald is lighthearted and safe, with a very chaste portrait of courtship. In the first clip, Eddy croons romantically while MacDonald playfully rejects him by poking fun at the sincerity of his lyrics. In the second clip, we see the discomfort of MacDonald's character when attempting to "lower" herself to the level of barroom revelry. She is out-of-place in this environment, and we see her attempt to avoid Eddy's gaze when she notices him enter, as though she is ashamed of her current position. Not only is everything between them kept safe and saccharine, any attempt at risque behavior is immediately portrayed as either comical or awkward.

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

Having previously seen Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald together in Naughty Marietta, I was not surprised to see that Eddy seemed to suffer from the same performance woes I'd seen from him before. Although his voice is quite powerful, everything about his performance feels rather unnatural and stiff, and he's never really worked for me. MacDonald has a unique voice that has taken a while to grow on me, but one that I have come to appreciate, and she is clearly more natural in front of the camera than her co-star. Unfortunately, seeing her with Eddy here only had me wishing the clip was from one of her far-superior partnerships with Maurice Chevalier (The Love Parade being a personal favorite). Chevalier's charm and charisma offers a much more pleasing counterpoint to MacDonald than anything I've seen from Eddy.

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?

These clips suggest that the tasteful, appropriate manner in which male/female relationships were portrayed during the Hollywood Film Code era. As for the supported norms, traditional values (modesty and morality) were exalted by the Code, and characters who engaged in unsavory behaviors were portrayed negatively, with some of the worst transgressors killed off on screen in order to punish them for their misdeeds. This led screenwriters to develop safe, playful relationships like the one seen in Rose Marie between Eddy and MacDonald. They were comfortable, familiar, and ruffled no feathers with the censors.

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1 hour ago, LScott said:

This may have been a subtle support of the Production Code, encouraging women to be more like the first rather than the latter.

Your point reminds me of something Mickey Rooney said. I can't recall the whole thing but the gist is MGM used their films as a sort of "how to" guide. He was talking specifically about his Andy Hardy films in that they showed teen audiences "how" to be a teenager or how teenagers should act and behave. I feel this when ever I watch Myrna Loy and Bill Powell in anything since they were positioned as the "ideal" married couple. Their whole purpose was teaching people how to be married, how a wife/husband should act and if you copy them, you'll have a marriage like theirs in The Thin Man. Because, after all, aren't they and their life so perfect?

And this scene, it seems clear that they're using Jeanette even though she's awkward and failing at copying the sexy blonde singer, that women should follow her. They shouldn't try to be seductive and sexy but rather prim and respectable. Because if you do, you could end up with a man like Nelson Eddy and live happily ever after (these films also positioned them as a perfect couple).

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There is so much being said with their eyes and facial expressions. It is easy to see the relationship grow in tenderness.

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