Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

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1. The use of props easily help understand the character of Alfred.  The random garter that the couple are arguing about at the beginning and that Alfred is holding at the end, reinforces that Alfred is a playboy.  The collection of guns in his drawer does this as well.

2.  The sound is muffled in some scenes and then clear in others.  You hear a conversation at the beginning of the scence, and as soon as the door opens, the volume immediately increases.  The loud gunshot adds some drama to the scene.

3. I would anticipate dramatic, serious issues like infidelity in this one, would be turned into lighthearted, comedic ones.  Also, I'd expect that nothing tragic happens in these musicals.  In this scene from The Love Parade, we at first think that the wife has shot herself, but it turns out that she was only playing dead.  Everything turns out fine.

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In The Love Parade (1929) the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier) is better understood to be a sophisticated, handsome, humorous and non-threatening ladies man supported by the lavish sets, debonair style of clothing and his light-hearted manner in dealing with an otherwise volatile situation with a jilted lover and her jealous husband. It seems to be a part of the Lubitsch touch to keep just such a scene of anger and high emotions light and entertaining by making Alfred a friend to the audience by having him inform us of what’s happening on screen and offering his interpretations of the other characters, (she’s jealous) and loud banging on the door (it's her husband). 

 

By having the sounds of an off screen argument start this scene, tension builds giving the audience a sense of conflict and anger, yet that’s the complete opposite of what Lubitsch stages which is comedy and laughter.  Once the compromised wife "shoots herself", the music underscores what appears to be a tense moment as the husband kneels over his “dead” wife and changes from a mood of grief to one of anger, picking up the gun, moving towards the womanizing Alfred and “shooting him", the music intensifies and the camera moves in for a medium shot only to reveal again, the complete opposite of what we were expecting.  Instead of death and tragedy we get the Lubitsch touch of comedy and laughter.  

loveparade_shesterriblyjealous_FC_470x264_042220160921.jpg

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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)?

Since most of the dialogue is either in French or English with a very thick French accent the props and mannerisms were key to identifying that Alfred is a ladies man. Lover of the finest things in life and I pretty smooth operator. By visually panning through with the camera, were able to see the unclaimed garter, the "gun" drawer and hanging picture showing what kind of bachelor pad this apartment is and just what kind of hobby Alfred is good at.

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.

The muffling or pop of the gun was almost comically unrealistic as if to show that Alfred is in no real serious threat.

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

Lavish lifestyles, glitz and glamour, and excess living (all great for escapism during a difficult period like the Great Depression)

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What I always find interesting is not the specific sounds in these moments, but by the moments without any sound. There are a few moments that M. C. just gives a look and there is no sound.  Today, we know there would be a sound to punctuate that.  It doesn't need it; the moment is just fine with the look and silence.  Later Andrew Lloyd Weber will use that concept with his musical "With One Look".  It is interesting to think that back then everyone is use to the quiet in the films.  

 

That being said, it is a musical comedy and we want to hear the start of the song.  This little clip makes me want to watch this film immediately.  When we think of MC and musicals, I always go to GIGI and have to remember everything he did when he was younger; he was just so charming and funny.

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I've heard of Lubitsch as frothy, but I can't say that I saw the clip that way; perhaps "frothy" means "lots of interesting props to see." The props, dialogue and especially staging seemed to combine together to convey that we had a handsome young rogue dealing with that jealous woman - perhaps she was justified - but we must indulge him because he's just too delightful not to share his charm with everyone. (Just like in the "King and I" - man must be like the bee, and go from flower to flower.) When things get out hand, it's not surprising that the scene becomes more dramatic, and then goes right over the top into humour. Because Alfred is too charming to endure too much drama - and even the threat of having to return home is not too unpleasant.

I thought it was interesting that the scene not only used the concept of a gun loaded with blanks, something that would have been difficult to convey in a silent film, but also added external sounds after the shots. Those sounds, showing the existence of gathering passers by, underscored the message of the ambassador on the political embarrassment Alfred had caused Sylvania (regrettably, this reminded me of Sylvanian Family toys) by being in a theoretical love triangle. Without the noise and the insert of the crowd, the situation might have gone unnoticed. The incoherent babble of French was also very effective in conveying the hysteria of Alfred's quixotic lady friend.

This clip, like the clip we saw of the Great Ziegfeld, gives the depression audience another chance to escape the bills that require paying and the sewing, cooking and cleaning that has to be done. In the segment we saw, the rooms are enormous; people are leading exciting lives filled with emotional drama, fun, and no realism, and I bet they're looking forward to more of the same. This (in marked contract to the Great Ziegfeld), in spite of the fact that, had the motion picture code been in effect, they'd be still be editing that scene. 

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The staging of the scene in "The Love Parade" is wonderfully suggestive in its delivery. The audience never receives any information directly through dialogue and yet we know everything about the scene - that Alfred is having an affair with a married woman who accuses him of cheating on her, only to have her husband discover them. It is through the props, the staging and the camera angles that we gather all of the information. 

From this clip, I would assume that Depression-era musicals, especially under the Film Code had to use a lot of insinuation in order to let audiences on in the situation. Audiences could never see the two characters in an embrace but we could see all of the evidence of an affair, in a way to get around the morality rules.

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He uses a lot of sound in the clip.

The sound to begin with, the clip opens with no one in the room but you hear voices. Then enters the man and the woman comes in to accuse him of seeing another woman because she found a garter in the bedroom.  Next the husband enters and the woman shoots her self.  The husband then takes the gun and uses it on the man only then they find out that it is a blank gun.  It ends with the wife complaining about things that the husband can't do.

I would expect that there would be more comedy in the musicals.

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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)? By just the fact Alfred breaks the fourth wall and makes his inner thoughts known, he is shown as a cad, never taking the events seriously.  The drawer full of pistols he deposits the current pistol in, shows cavlier attitude of..."oh another one for the collection".
  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 found it interesting that to give it a Parisian feel, the woman never speaks in any language but French.  Renaud (fox) must clearify all of her thoughts.
  3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? There is the extremely large room(s) which is kept spotless, heightening the effect of escapism from the daily lives of the viewer.  The clothes are clean pressed suits, presented as standard day wear by all the characters. The main character of Renaud has no real cares of his churlishness, even having his impeccable man servant hint incognito he is in a vat of trouble.

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In this scene I get that Alfred is a bit of a 'player'.  The garter debacle, Alfred stating she is jealous and then the disclosing of her being married. Of, course the zipping up of the dress, now that is good. Placing the revolver in the drawer with many guns,like he has had to remove an abundancy of guns from jealous husbands/lovers. The end of the scene where he is chastised for his behavior and Alfred downplaying it with the garter in his hand, then hiding it slightly.

Sounds that clue you into the scene, the muffled arguing and then clear sound of door opening for Alfred's explanation to the audience. Again, the muffling sound of the arrival of her husband and his entourage, clearly coming up steps yet Alfred breaks the 4th wall and let's us know it's her husband entering. Her husband dropping his cane, you clearly hear the cane hit the floor but not the wife. I found that interesting.

The opulence of their dressing let's us know these people are well off, her pearls,fancy dress, the guys in tuxedos. Not how 'regular people',let alone people struggling during the depression were wearing.

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He adds humor with his props. The gun should be serious but then you see a drawer full of guns. He also goes back and forth with French and English to give it a more exotic flair.

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1. From the clip provided the character of Alfred seems to be a carefree playboy type who cares little emotionally for anyone but himself, a narcissist whose only concern is how happy he is no matter the cost to anyone else. Everything is lighthearted to him with no care in the world except how much pleasure he can find for himself. That he has nothing but disdain for the woman’s husband is shown with the winks, nods and muted laughs he has after the man enters. The drawer containing the numerous guns shows that his involvement isn’t limited to just one woman, another example of his self-centered nature.

 

2. The only noticeable thing about the dialogue to me here was that much of it was in French and for decades the French language has been described as the language of love. In choosing to mix French and English in the chosen dialogue it seemed that the moments of high passion were fueled by French and the more staid moments in English creating a difference in not just languages but in what was behind each. As for the sound I noticed two items that made the scene different from most movies I recall from the time. The first is as the scene opens when we can hear the couple arguing before they even enter the room. It’s subtle and allows us to have an idea of what is going on prior to their entering. The second while brief is when Chevalier opens the balcony doors and we hear the street traffic below. It creates the illusion of the scene taking place in the city without having to show the view from the balcony. Early audiences unaware of the process of making movies would have thought this was shot on location rather than a studio.

 

3. Once more we’re witness to a movie that chooses to place us in the world of those unaffected by the Depression, affluent society members who don’t have the same concerns as the average person. The fact that it revolves around an affair shows two things to consider. The first is that while affairs know no class bounds movies like this depict a world of the wealthy where they have nothing but free time never having to work and thus have a schedule flexible enough to do so. The second is that pre-code more settings that would have been considered salacious at the time are seen. Both would lend themselves to expecting the same to follow in movies of that time period.  

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1.     What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? Lubitsch uses several items to tell the story and to inject subtle wit.  He does this most effectively with the gun.  To show that it’s unloaded, a slow pantomime is acted out where Chevalier checks here and there for damage from a bullet.  Then he and the husband discern together that there are no bullets in the gun.  Finally, the camera pans to the “dead” wife who is clearly unharmed and very bored with the whole scenario.  It’s a very clever way to quickly change what could have been a dire situation (suicide/murder) into a funny one.  How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)?  Lubitsch was a visual storyteller.  The first thing I noticed is that very little English is spoken, yet the audience still knows what’s going on.  Lubitsch shows that the characters are well-to-do with opulent surroundings and elegant dress; he shows that Chevalier is a seasoned playboy through his nonchalant attitude at being caught not only by his lover who found another woman’s garter but also by the husband who has caught both of them; through the zipper episode, Lubitsch shows Chevalier’s familiarity with his lover’s clothing as well as her husband’s ineptness; he shows the wife’s disdain for the whole situation through her bored look after they determine she really didn’t harm herself.  With very little dialogue, much information about all of the characters is shared.

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’m actually struck by the lack of sound after the husband shoots Chevalier.  It heightens the tension and ultimate comedic finish with Chevalier first checking for wounds, then checking for bullets and finally looking over to his lover to see that she is not only alive but supremely bored with the whole thing.  Sound would have diluted the impact of this scene.

3.     What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?  Opulent surroundings are a common theme in Depression-era musicals and this one is no different.  In addition, the setting is exotic (France) which adds another element of escapism. 

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Alfred definitely appears to be a playboy showcased in this scene by the garter and the line indicating that our lady is married. The many guns tell us that this little scene has played out before many times w/similar results. We also see that the gun is not loaded and neither of them have been hurt and that the wife is rather disinterested in the proceedings. 

I found the lack of sound rather interesting. You could barely hear the gun when the husband shot Alfred and thereafter there was no sound as he checked himself for a bullet wound. 

Impressive and elegant surroundings I believe would be seen in other musicals along w/the aspects of comedy portrayed here. 

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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)?

Because the film is coming off the silent era, I first noticed the richness in visual detail, particularly with the luxurious surroundings of Alfred's home. You get a sense of character and story just by looking at all of the details.

  1. 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.

Interesting when the gun goes off, there is quite a long pause ... almost going back to the silent days, when instead of a sound, there would be a title ... then the sound comes back. Perhaps the pacing of the film is borrowed from the earlier days?

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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)? This scene has so many touches, a half dressed woman having a fight with her lover over a garter belt (in an intimate setting), you immediately know something is awry.  You know that Chevalier is no stranger to this situation because he is calm, nonchalant and nonplussed, even as this woman is escalating.  He calmly disarms the woman and adds her pistol, to a drawer full of pistols and also manages her clueless husband. He is clearly a womanizer or gigolo.  Although the dialogue is mostly in french, we can sense the sophistication, clever jokes and  tongue in cheek conversation that must be taking place.  Lubitsch allows the audience to be in on the joke or the ruse being played by Chevalier on the cheating wife  AND her husband. Chevalier habitual womanizing status is  confirmed when his superior comes and dismisses him from his post due to repeated scandals.  As compared to the Broadway Melody from the same year, this story, the lighting, the dialogue, sound and the acting is far superior. Lubitsch definitely advances the musical and gives it a new level of style and sophistication.  
  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. The sound is effective in that you hear the argument between Chevalier and the cheating wife before you see them. This is effect is used again when the wronged husband approaches.  The gunshots attracts attention from people outside, this is  a realistic use of sound.  Sound is also used for comic effect as the couple leaves, as they loudly bicker with each other.  The fact,  that the people are speaking french, gives this scene even more intrigue and sexiness.  Lastly, Chevalier speaks directly to the audience, and draws them in to his life, this is very clever, it breaks the third dimension and makes the point that silent movies could never do this.   
  3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? This musical takes lighthearted look at the fact that many marriages were troubled or wavering during the hard times created by the Depression.  Specifically, some women may have stayed in loveless marriages because they needed the financial security.  Some men were forced into similar situations, such as  having relationships with wealthy women in exchange for gifts, money and other valuables. At the same time, this appears to mock the upper class, because here they are displayed in a harsher light, we have a cheating / morally corrupt wife, a cuckolded / dimwitted husband and a charming, but deceptive womanizer. Chevalier does not try to hide his roguish behavior, but laughs at himself  until he learns that his career /post is in jeopardy.  He introduces a new type of leading man who in not perfect, in fact he's a unapologetic playboy, but he is still likable to the audience.  The audience sees all of the glamour and scandalous behavior and is allowed draw their own conclusions about these characters. This equalizes the marital problems, scandalous sexual behavior and relationship issues across classes,  and allows the audience to feel (at least temporarily) that rich people were having similar problems to them.
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1. One prop in particular-the garter-tells the audience a lot about Alfred (mostly that he is a playboy.)  Also, most of the French dialogue is not translated.  The audience is left to draw its own conclusions as to what's going on.

2.  Most of the French dialogue is not translated.  The audience is left to draw its own conclusions as to what's going on. This keeps the audience engaged.

3. I expect the themes of love/relationships in other Depression-era musicals.

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The lubitsch touch,  sexy& comedic. The scene about  the extra garter, the lady pulls up her dress and the camera focuses on the legs to show that  she has both garters on.  The fancy hotel setting shows the Maurice Chevalier is a well dressed playboy.

I think the background music added tension to the scene when the husband grabs the gun and approaches Maurice Chevalier. 

I anticipate the charming playboy in light hearted romps in upcoming musicals of the depression era.

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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)?  Lubitsch is a flirty way of directing and Maurice is the best at the flirt in English or in French.  The guns containing blanks made it funny when Maurice/Albert was shot and acting as if he was not.
  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.  The only thing I truly notice is the gunshots.  The scene show her killing herself and the man trying to defend so shoots Albert.
  3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?  Scams and always trying to trick the others into a false sense of security.

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The Lubitsch touch is evident in each of these aspects of the scene, however, I was particularly drawn to his use of props to help further the character of Alfred. From the obvious props such as the garter (and how nonchalant he is when she discovers it), which infers that she is not the first woman he has had in his apartment, and the drawer full of guns, which infer that this is not the first woman and/or spouse to attempt to kill him, to those less obvious props such the the boudoir painting above Alfred's desk all give a good indication of his womanizing character, even without dialogue. Also, Lubitsch's use of the dress as a prop is so very clever because not only does it add the humor of the woman returning to her lover for him to zip up her dress, but Alfred's efficiency in zipping up the dress, especially in contrast to the husband, emphasizes that this is a common occurrence for him. His efficiency also renders the moment a slight business-like feel to the whole sequence; there is no particular attachment to this woman, which again furthers his philandering character.

Lubitsch's use of sound to emphasize certain aspects of the plot is stunning. In choosing to have limited dialogue in English, Lubitsch is able to draw the audience's attention to two specific lines: "She's terribly jealous." and "Her husband." While important to the plot, these two lines are also incredibly humorous, for here is this "jealous" woman berating her lover about a garter that is not hers who then in turn has a husband herself, who, ironically, is not depicted as jealous so much as frustrated with the whole affair. Also, the sound of the gun with no apparent effect adds to the humor of the film because the audience, much like Alfred and the husband, are left wondering why Alfred is not injured or dead since he was shot point-blank. If there was no sound for this portion of the film, the sequence would have come across as some sort of gun malfunction, not a comedic and miraculous shooting survival.

The theme/approach I expect to see again is the lightheartedness of the whole affair. A woman is caught by her husband with another man and "commits" suicide, only to still be alive. Subsequently, her husband is so relieved to have her back they move on with their lives almost as if nothing had really happened. In many ways, undercutting the potentially serious nature of this scene furthers the audience escapism of the Depression era by reinforcing that nothing is so serious it cannot be made humorous in some fashion.

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The references to the womanizing "the touch" through clothing, use of French is just part of the director's specialty in giving the audience understanding of the characters personalities. Making fun of the wealthy, Infidelity, Treatment of woman, the man getting a lesson for his frivolous relationship. the noises such as the door rattling, gun popping, music gives more information. Part of what we have been discussing: why musicals had such an impact during the depression years. 

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Count Renatd's character is made clear very early as he is caught with a garter that is not the lady's and as he &  the woman try to flee as the door rsttles.  The staging, which allows the Count to speak to us directly adds to the scene, and done of the props such as the drawer full of guns add humor to what could be a dire predicament.  One would expect this humorous look at serious situations in other films of that time, allowing people to escape from dreary times.

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I really enjoyed The Broadway Melody last night. It was really cool to see Dr Ament introduce the film and see an add run for this course. I am thrilled to learn so much.  I am a fan of "screwball comedy" and enjoyed this clip (okay maybe a little too short) but i will go find it the full movie to enjoy the rest. :)

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

To me this is the very beginning  of comedy. Some of it may be missed by many. I think its one of those movies you can watch a bunch and still find funny little things here and there. Right from the very beginning when he acknowledges the garter and realizes he cant talk his way out of it, to going along with being shot by the husband only to realize there were no bullets in the gun. He is a man that looks to get away with all he can and rides the waves when he cant. This scene was very well put together. 

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 was startled that the gun actually made a noise. Im not sure what i was expecting but i actually thought that the lady had shot herself to death only to realize it was a ploy. I did notice the gun discharged so i got carried away by the sound only to realize id been duped hahaha

 

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

I think light and dark play major themes. keeping the audience grounded to reality at the same time helping them escape that reality into a world of lavish fantasy and laughter. The world is a serious place. why not escape for a little while?

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Short reply, but my key takeaway is we already see Lubitsch's great eye for close shots on either inanimate objects or words posted on a window or other sign. Here, he closes in on the gun(s) in very genius ways.

More to say but no time this time around. ?

Great module! I'm loving this course!?

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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 instantly noticed the subtle erotic aspect of the scene, especially with the woman lifting up her dress to show the garters on her legs. Lubitsch was always very creative of sneaking in the sex without showing it.

There is minimal dialogue at the beginning, allowing for the action to play out in real time. There is also the matter of the gun, and in a sly moment, Alfred helps the woman's husband to examine it, after he just caught her with him. Probably the most humorous is the bit with the zipper; the husband isn't able to zip up the dress, but Alfred does it immediately. I also love the moment where Alfred opens up the drawer and there's other guns inside. You know that he has dealt with the situation many times before. He actually smirks about it, like this is a game to him. 

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.

Like I said in my first answer, most of the scene takes place without music. The music only comes in when the husband sees his wife shoot herself, setting it up to be a tragedy. But, when both Alfred and the husband discover that the gun has blanks, then the music goes away, letting the sound take over to show the satire of the situation. When it comes to sly dialogue, there is the matter of Alfred trying to deny any scandalous behavior, despite the fact that he is still holding one of the woman's garters.  

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

Obviously the theme is the nonchalance of the wealthy, where they don't have a care in the world, despite what was happening during that era. They think that because of their money and indulgence, they can do whatever they want and not worry about the repercussions. This did happen in many screwball/slapstick comedies where the rich behaved badly, and the less fortunate would come in and help them see the error of their ways. During the Depression, it would quite obvious that wealthy people were being parodied, which was quite refreshing to the audience.

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