Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #3 (FROM THE LOVE PARADE)

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The shots of the garter (then garters) and the gun leave little chance for ambiguity.  Alfred's a cad--an urbane, suave, adorable cad--lol.  This character, along with his asides, is pretty much Chevalier's stock and trade for most of his career, and he's masterful at it.  We can't stay mad at him for very long, and neither can the various women who try (and fail) to resist his charms.  Yes, there will be at least one woman who spurns his advances, but she's finally wooed and won.  In the end, we believe she's managed to change him just enough that we can believe he'll be faithful for at least a day or two.  Oh, who am I kidding?  We know he's going to cheat on the heroine, too, but we still root for him. 

 

I love the comic touches in this scene:  the shot of her garters to show us this first one is NOT hers, the melodramatic pseudo-suicide followed by the men's realization that the gun shoots blanks, the drawer full of garters and guns, the way the husband doesn't know her clothing and body well enough to zip up the dress while Alfred is a pro at it, Alfred's pursed lips and twinkling eyes trying to reassure the cuckolded husband, etc.

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1. I noticed the garters and the dress right away. The close ups of the gun and later the guns in the drawer were also effective. When coupled with the dialogue, the actions, and subsequent consequences of Alfred’s lifestyle, one is able to understand the playboy nature of the character.

2. Right away, I noticed the agitated French dialogue, but the one that stands out is the sound of the gun firing.  Because I am a military historian, I know what guns should sound like. When the lady fired the gun at herself, I thought the gun sounded odd and not accurate to a loaded pistol. Sure enough, when the husband fired the gun at Alfred, my suspicion was proven correct. It added a sense of levity to a situation that otherwise would be incredibly tense.

3. Like many Depression era films, this one has the escapism of the opulent, massive sets. The wealth of the main character, and the upper crust of society are all prevalent.

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1. What I noticed throughout the clip is that it takes place in what seems to be a confined space yet seems very spacious by the staging of the characters. The main interactions between the characters happen when they are so close together. What also makes this work is the physical comedy of the actors along with parts of the dialogue. It is also the little moments that he breaks the fourth wall at points in the dialogue makes me think that he’s a bit of a prankster. 

2. When the scene opens there are voices that I heard even though they were through the door. There’s also a lot of good voice inflections from the actors driving the tension of the scene. Sound of people trying to get through the door. The sound of the gun. Those were just the little things I noticed with the sound in relation to props and the general space of the room.

Also, the music after the husband thinks Paulette is dead is really good up tile the point where he shoots the main guy but then it stops. It adds so much to this scene because it makes the viewer think that she is dead and he’s going to kill him. It’s brilliant and effective in this from and almost gives back to the early days of silent films where this technique was played on a lot of times where music was the key to a scene along with the actor’s expressions.

The only sound that really wasn’t there was the footsteps of the actors moving around the room.

3. I anticipate themes of light comedy being used in other depression era musicals because they’re trying to get people to think of the lighter side of life. Almost as when we’ve talked about that musicals are a world where people can escape. 

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1. I don't think I've seen anything about Lubitsch, but the things that are mentioned in the DD really jump to attention. The closeups of the gun, the garter, and other things. The way the camera and the direction moves to different sides of the room as opposed to the more stagey-like directions we saw in other films makes everything more real. As for the character, one can see that he is playful, sly, and clever. It's the kind of character that draws the attention. I'd really like to see more of him.

2. The distance of the sound as they talk from outside to inside of the room, as well as how the people are screaming outside as they jiggle the door handle. Finally, the sound of the shots are well used, particularly the last one cause it comes right after the music stops abruptly.

3. Again, we have wealthy people, big houses, pretty women, love triangles, etc. Also, the topic we discussed before about how serious things (infidelity, murder) are treated quite lightly.

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I guess it depends on my mood as to whether I see the director's decisions (in this case, the close ups on the garter, gun, drawer) as style or manipulation. Of course, information must be communicated, and style is about the method of communication. But sometimes I feel that I am being told what to notice in a very inflexible way, as though I am not allowed to interpret information in a different way from how the director meant it. What keeps people talking is the opportunity to see things from multiple viewpoints, so the heavy-handed style can be frustrating and confining.

On a more positive note, I really appreciated the idea that the husband was so out of touch he didn't even know how to zip up his wife's dress, and so she went to the man who was giving her attention to get assistance. That is a big idea from a small piece of business.

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1.  The woman finds a garter that isn't hers, indicating he's been with another woman.  Alfred isn't surprised to see her husband.  He watches calmly as the woman shoots herself, and then the husband shoots Alfred.  It's clear that similar situations have happened before.  

2.  Movie opens with frivolous song, dancers, and champagne, all signs of wealth and lightheartedness.  Butler's playful song indicates light spirit.  Volume of conversation gets louder.  Woman screams and shows garter.  Music helps set the tone.

3.  Frivolity, drama, conflict between lovers 

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  1. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)?  I feel like the props such as the close up on the garter and all the guns in the drawer show that this character is a player and a cad.  The dialogue also shows that he is a charmer and smooth talker.  The staging in a fancy hotel room shows that he is well off. 
  2. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness.  I like the sound of him arguing with her in french through the door.  I also liked the way that they used the sound of trying to get the door open.  I also liked the use of sound with the gunshots.  
  3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?  I would anticipate that there will be dramatic scenes showcasing the new sound technology.  I also anticipate that there will be beautiful girls, elegantly dressed men, and rich and fancy sets.  People wanted to forget about the daily troubles of life and focus on glittery and glamorous people and places. 

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I found Lubisch using techniques from the silent era that amplified movement as a means to explain the storylines .  Alfred  was a  cad and womanizer   The gunshot and thezipper scene made you feel the actual energy of Alfred's machismo.  You can see this techniques is progressing into a different attitude in social interaction .

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Ernst Lubitsch is one of the great directors that I haven’t gotten into yet, although there are many of his movies that I’d love to see.  Recently, I’ve watched “The Merry Widow” and “To Be Or Not To Be”, both of which were sensational.  It makes a lot of sense that he is transitioning from silent films in “The Love Parade”, and that that would be the reason for his inventive use of (or reliance on) visual cues like props.  I’m reminded of Hitchcock here, because he was another great director who started working in the silent film era and found clever ways to use visual cues to bring the audience’s attention to the characters’ psychological states.  Hitchcock sometimes even used these quick visuals to get around the Production Code censors!  One scene (I think it was in Rear Window) comes to mind; two characters are flirting with each other and everything that would have led during the pre-code era to them sleeping together happens, but at that exact moment, they both look out the window together to see fireworks happening outside!  Genius... : )

I thought that the use of sound in this scene from The Love Parade was cleverly done as well, especially the gun being fired with blanks!  It was definitely pretty early on in the sound era for a director to be already using sound in this way, to deceive the audience and play with their expectations.  The audience really must have been shocked when they realized that the gun had no bullets in it, and tying that joke in with the drawer full of guns we see afterward is a great way of showing how both props & sound can be used to subvert our expectations of what is going to happen (or has happened).  Great clip, excited to watch the whole movie!

- Caitlin Rose

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Daily Dose #3

  • What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? This scene has the “Lubitsch touch” . The scene is set in an extravagant room with rich decorum. The room with an elegant lady and a dashing debonair. Monsieur Chevalier is known for portraying a gentleman. Here, we could see that he is the ladies’ Don Juan with a charming personality. The presence of a garter shows that he is acquainted with more that one women. The other things we see are guns which he have plenty in his drawer. The zip sequence fits perfectly to his flirting character. 

 

  • Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. As the scene is conveyed through few dialogues (most of it in French), there are certain sounds which made me to think a lot. The background music after the lady shot herself reminds me of the silent thrillers movies which are exciting at the same time chilling to watch. 

 

  • What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The musical is set during the “Great Depression”. The audience could resort to go away from their monotonous lives to a world of whimsical delight. 

the-love-parade-jeanette-macdonald-mauri

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The movements with the prompts that would have enhanced a silent picture helped to add comedy to the scene.   Having her lover fix her zipper and the extra guns.  Plus the surplus of garters.   For the sound, th sound of the gun going off but no sound from her mad Rita harder to believe she was injured even though she was faking it.  The additional French was harder for me since I don’t know what they were saying but it added to the scene. For this era there are wealthy upper class individuals without a care in the world with the best in close and override living quarters. 

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What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? I noticed the richly adorned room, the rapidly spoken French (with the exception of the 4th wall narrative in English) and the prop use of the gun that fired blanks. Also with the husband fumbling with the zipper or clasp as compared to Lord Alfred. The scene demonstrates that Lord Alfred is a playboy that has been through this particular scene many times. And the knowing wink to the husband does demonstrate the likable charm he processed.

Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. Mostly, the sound is the French dialog with door rattling and the under-loaded shot of the blank. I feel it shows the audience that it is in France and the idle rich are at play.

What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The breaking of the fourth wall, idle rich, cuckold husbands and roguish cads are to be expected in other films of the era.

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1. The Lubitsch Touch (now I have Ryan O'Neal's character from "Irreconcilable Differences" in my head!) First, a grand room, a closed door and the sound of bickering. Alfred enters, breaks the fourth wall and explains that Paulette gets "jealous." A third garter, a half-hearted struggle with a gun and noise at the door."Her husband," says Alfred. We've been duped! She's jealous of her lover, NOT her husband. Suicide, 2nd try with the gun and we learn Paulette is not dead. Now that she has taught her husband a lesson, it's time to go, goodness your slow, let him do it (easily!) and out they go.  

My suspicions are immediately confirmed about Alfred when he opens the drawer for the gun. Several other guns (many with blanks, not bullets, no doubt) give evidence that Alfred has played this scene several times before, and may again. He is an urbane roue, and possibly suspects that these wives are using him as much as he is using them.

I was reminded of a much later Chevalier film, "Gigi."  There he is a much older roue, mentoring his young nephew. The nephew is bored by his lover attempting suicide. Another character is asked how and responds: "the usual way; insufficient poison."  How similar to a shot to the heart with a gun loaded with blanks!

I suppose Alfred will be sent home in disgrace, fall in love with some lovely woman, and have to prove himself "improved" to deserve her (but only after various embarrassing reprisals of his established behavior.)

2. Most of the sound reminds me of old vaudevilles routines. Bickering though the door, no underscoring to speak of, a small "pop" of the gun that sound more like a toy than an instrument of death. But how effectively this same "simplicity" is used to change the tone when the Ambassador to France confronts the Count. Chevalier's light-hearted pace slows and the Ambassador takes control! Suddenly, Count Alfred is as urbane and a schoolboy facing the switch, nervously putting the "intimate" garter out of sight as he modestly suggests his reputation is exaggerated.

3. I expect that when the mise-en-scene moves to Sylvania, we will see elaborate palace sets, sumptuous gowns on ladies-in-waiting and no sign of hunger and poverty in the streets. The men will either be rich, or "temporarily short on funds."  Frankly, I'm looking forward to seeing this film. soon.
 

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the  fact that he has other women, is really no surprise for she herself is a another woman, the delight in this film is the blanks in the gun,  and the looks of total astonishment   that she would fake  her death  to see his reaction , this was in response to his being caught  when she lifted her dress to revel her garters and the one she was wearing ,he does not care that she discovers that he see other women carries on. 

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I think there is a scene in Ninotchka where Garbo is blindfolded and a cork is popped from a bottle of champagne and she falls as if from a firing squad. Does this tell us more about Garbo toungue in check or Lubistch and the use of sound.

In regard to the scene in Love Parade, it reminds me of Smiles of a Summer Night.

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2. From the scene, dialogue and props we can tell alot about Alfred. He is a man of some means as he is staying in an nice hotel room in a fancy hotel. He is somewhat of a cad as the woman he is with finds a garter that wouldn't fit her inside the room. He is also a man who is used to courting jealous women as he is not at all fazed by the woman pretending to shoot herself right in front of him and has a drawer full of revolvers from previous lovers.

1. We have a garter, a gun and a jealous lover and her husband all in the span of a few minutes.

3. That the rich and upper class would be used as a focus of humor for the masses dealing with the ravages of the great depression.

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1.       The Lubitsch touch allows the audience to see how dramatic these characters can be without it being a musical scene.  Alfred is very amused by the woman being disinterested in her husband and prefers Alfred instead. 

2.       The sound in this film is very quiet except for the sounds that made a difference in the scene, the dialogue, the prop gun, and a door shutting.  There’s no background noise like music, or noise from the outside in the streets, or noises from the characters’ movements.

3.       I can see where the glamourous dress of these characters were used and repeated in future musicals.

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1. What I noticed about the Lubitsch touch is how it utilizes what would otherwise be characterized as static images/close-ups to convey the plot (useful since most of the dialogue in this scene is not in English) and to make implications that wouldn't be appropriate to voice aloud to audiences watching the film. The character of Alfred is a roguish man who seems to think on his feet and behave confidently around everyone and in the face of whatever problem he has. This understanding is aided by the props in how he carries them (the garter being hidden and also tossed around, the gun stored with all the others) and how he reacts to them (how he pats himself after being shot at); the dialogue in how he tries to backpedal in the face of his superior and the playful tone he uses in relaying information to the audience; the staging in how moves in junction with the other performers, fluidly with his lady love and always placed in a position that affords him the best vantage point for getting himself out of trouble. 

2. The scene's use of sound is jarring and deliberate, meant to refocus attention back to a specific person or plot point. Examples I noticed are the first gunshot, which brings attention to the dire (at least, what we believe to be) situation for the woman, an element of surprise that is intended to capture the rapt attention of the audience who will want to know what happens next and the dialogue at the end by Alfred's superior, the most amount of English spoken in the scene, conveying a sense of authority and making it so the audience will understand that his word is meant to be the final one. 

3. A theme I noticed that I anticipate is used in other Depression-era musicals is the focus on the lifestyle of the wealthy and privileged, with beautiful costumes and frivolous worries that allow for those in the audience suffering from the Depression to leave those worries behind and escape into a lifestyle and story far beyond their reality. 

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Lu**** has a way of letting the audience know the mood and conveying what is going on without the camera being on the actors. Even while the camera is on props you understand what he he trying to capture. 

 

In the scene sound is used to set the dramatic tone of the infidelity going. The raised voices, gun shot and loud know on the door all set the tone.

 

Despite the dramatic beginning of the scene and situation it ends light hearted. Escapism is certain a theme of the depression era musicals as folks were trying to escape their own problems by wither looking at others battle theirs or dreaming of an extravagant life.

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1. The dialogue is in French and English. She is unhappy with him for the garter, confronting him. She has on her garters that he is guilty of infidelity. Then the husband enters, she is now on the hot seat for infidelity. She shoots herself and plays dead. The gun is pointed at Alfred, it does not work. The husband can not fix her dress. So he, Alfred has to zip her dress and does, Voila. Then he is back in trouble for his affairs. It seems that each item is amplified. 
2. A few lines, Alfred interprets in English. People have to watch and listen for all the small ideas and influences going on. When he talks with the last gentleman, Ambassador it is all in English. He is told no one will put up with his affairs. He must meet with the queen. 
3. The scene is light hearted and beautiful, a clear change from reality. Definitely watch all aspects of the scene not to miss anything that is heard or seen, to understand it. The Lieutenant has the Ambassador confronting him after another episode of scandal for their country. 

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1)Based on that scene; I'm guessing Alfred is popular with the ladies. There was a closeup of the garter and the gun. It was apparent the garter belonged to someone else. Alfred's date started to shoot him; until her husband walked in on them. Then, she shot herself.

2) There was a sound that sounded like books dropping. It was supposed to be the gun shot. It looked like the woman was dead. Then we found out she was faking. The gun must have had blanks. 

3) Lots of musicals with a charming Lothario.

 

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I have always had a fondness for Lubitsch films. Lubitsch can make a tragic situation and turn it on its ear, like To Be Or Not to Be and the Little Shop Around the Corner. I find it hard to focus on anything else in the film. Makes you see the best and worst of a situation at the same time even in real life. We are all heroes at times capable of compassion and humor.

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What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)?

The props were extremely effective in conveying Alfred's playboy character -- the garter and the drawerful of guns, obviously collected from previous jealous female lovers with a penchant for drama; the dialogue exchange both in French and English, and the staging, specifically Alfred's willing assist with the dress zipper, all transparently present Alfred's true heart as a dedicated Lothario.

Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness.

The translated dialogue from Chevalier when he tells us she's jealous and again, when it's her husband at the door, remind me of the silent film title cards and also the asides that actors in melodramas toss to the audience to enhance the understanding of who/what was just presented.

What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?

The theme of this might be that the well-to-do citizens have the money to indulge and play to excess and there are little if any restrictions placed upon them, morally or otherwise.

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1.What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)?

I notice that Lubitsch goes above and beyond by flowing camera angles to give us the full story and more observation of whats going on between characters and the set.

2.Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness.

I notice that though the actress is in the other room you can tell they are arguing about Chevalier's character and she is upset. His laughs and smirks show he has a playful attitude but can be manipulative as well. When the door sounds he realizes it is the husband and you can hear the fear in his voice, it adds a lot of emotion where we could not understand the language.

3.What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?
Themes of infidelity and violence, life-altering circumstances

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DAILY DOSE 3

1)What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)?

The first thing I noticed when the couple burst through the door arguing was that Alfred just stood, at the door jamb, perfectly composed, smiling even, as if this sort of thing happened to him all the time. Then the woman came out still agitated and he still stayed calm. He was not at all discomposed when she shoved the garter at him as other men may have, again reinforcing that he had plenty of experience dealing with this. Then her husband arrives and he still remains calm. She on the other hand fakes shooting herself, wherin the husband shoots Alfred. Again he just stands there and doesn’t try to run away. I have to wonder how many times husbands have shot at him. At the end when her husband couldn’t do up her dress she exasperatedly turns to Alfred who does it in a second.

I could only understand a tiny bit of the French dialog but the expression in the voices told the story of a woman who was having an affair, a husband who just found out but loves his wife and doesn't want her dead. He just wants the man dead. With all this excitement and turmoil Alfred stays calm in manner, actions, and speaech. Between his calmness and accepting of the situation you know he has dallied with many married women before and will again.

2) Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness.

Actually what I noticed was a lack of sound, except for the voices and the gun shots. SInce this was an early talkie that made the dialog very effective. Your concentration was totally on the movements of the actors and the dialog, nothing else. There were no traffic noises, no music playing in the background. When the gun appeared and was shot the sound was all the more glaring because it was so alone and made it very effective.

3) What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?

There certainly was the approach of opulence in this clip that was in subsequent depression movies. There seemed to be a restraint of sound in this movie that I haven’t noticed in other movies except for when they wanted to emphasize particular dialog they decrease music or if they want to emphsize the music and dance they decrease the dialog.

 

 

 

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