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

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I find that what is interesting about this scene is that even though there are very few English words spoken during a large portion of the scene, the props and the activities are so obvious that you really don't need to speak French or a need to have sub-titles.  It is striking the ease with which the wife goes to her lover to zip the dress with little response from the husband.  Perhaps this is also a characteristic of the Lubitcsh effect; the openness of the sexual situation.  And seeing the gun go in the drawer sets up a scene later where the "wrong" gun will be chosen.  So there is a sense of the audience knowing something that the characters don't and the expectation of when it will happen.    

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I adore Maurice even more after seeing this clip!  He is cheeky and sexy...seems "innocent" even when you know he is an absolute cad! 

 

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Even though I don’t know any French, it doesn’t take much guesswork to understand what is transpiring.  At first you think that Alfred is the husband, and his wife is jealous because she found a garter that was not hers.  The door rattles and you find that it is the husband at the door.  Every gesture, look, and scene shot helps you understand.

After the gunshot rings out, you see a brief shot of the street and people reacting to hearing the gunshot.  Alfred goes to the outside door after the couple has left and opens it.  You hear the crowd that gathered out I.  This tell that there is no exiting or slipping out unnoticed.

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This is a clever scene and while unpacking it this clip says a lot in just a few minutes. It's clever because of the use of French which is considered a sophisticated language so as a viewer I don't know what's going on but the few words in English helps me understand the situation. Again we see the rich people living the good life because they don't have to work so they get to play! It's interesting if the wife played this scene per suggestion of Chevalier? Maybe they talked about what would happen if the husband was to follow them or catch them in the act.

The use of sound especially the gun shot was evident when in the silent era it would have been a slide (the original Power Point haha!)  saying "I'm shot!".

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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)?

Alfred is a Don Juan, the props like the garter so that he is a lover, not a fighter. But being English speaking I could not understand what they were saying and that would have help to know more about the characters.

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.

Well, I really couldn't tell much about the scene because they didn't speak in English. Maybe when they did start talking in English it did add that Alfred was a cad.

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

More men being cads and women loving them for it. 

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1. From the beginning of the scene where she is confronting him with another garter, it is a reference to his womanizing tendencies. As the woman walks over to ask him to zip up her dress.... as he helps the man who shot him....when he picks the garter back up and is speaking to the ambassador, we are once again reminded of his charm. I was struck by how easy it was for the wife to request help with her dress from the man in the room she knew could fix it. 

2. The pop of the gun is the sound that stands out the most. It sounds like a popping balloon. If you look closely you can see the air from the gun blowing the flower on Chevalier's suit. I wonder if I would notice that small detail if the movie had been silent. 

3. Themes that come to mind are the cheating/jealous spouse or just competition and the clever yet charming womanizer (who may or may not be down on his luck) we can't help but root for.

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  1. This is simply a delightful scene. It's laugh out loud funny when he the knock on the door is about her husband, completely turning the scene on its head. The Lubitsch touches in some ways are so common today--probably even more so on TV than film. And they basically remind me that film is a visual medium first and foremost. It's funny that in a class about musicals, that I'm thinking how the best films use visual images well to make the narrative work best. Even great dance numbers can be enjoyed without the sound on. Here, the story could be told with many more words, yet instead, half the dialogue is in French, yet the images tell us what we need to know about the character. 
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  3. Two great sound parts: "her husband" (I may be paraphrasing). And to the gun shots. I went from a laugh, to shock, to a-ha with simply 3 beats. 
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  5. There are the themes of the lower classes being the heroic sidekicks, seen in the butler cluing in Chevalier's character. The use of grand, opulent sets--playgrounds for the well-to-do--to see how life could be. All combined with petty issues that don't really seem to that important, at least not to the wealthy characters. Here we go from infidelity to death to an exit that seems to scream, "but wait, we're late for dinner, allons-y" in moments.  

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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)? He seemed as though he were a bit of a narcissist. He knew what he was doing was wrong, especially by showing the garter of a different woman to the one that he was currently with. He knew who was at the door and how to get out of the situation unscathed. 


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 of the gun shot and the rattling door, they both gave a dramatic feel to the scene. If there were no sound, you'd have to rely on the actions of the persons to be able to tell what was really going on in the scene. 


What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The high society to be portrayed as more down-trodden, as to appear more relatable to those escaping the realities of the Depression.

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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 are the most telling feature, particularly the drawer full of revolvers. The film stereotype of European women being overly dramatic, especially about love and relationships, is the obvious meaning behind all the guns - each representing a different woman he’s used. This is practically a neon sign pointing to his cavalier attitude toward women and sex. This is also apparent by the extra garter, as its modern day equivalent would be the random bra in the frat boy’s room. The guns and the garter are his trophies from his sexual conquests. He’s obviously being set up as a man that cannot, and should not, be trusted. 

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

A common theme (considering Top Hat as well) would certainly seem to be the mockery of the rich. It would allow the masses to feel a little better about themselves for a brief period of time. It would give them the opportunity to say “Well at least I’m not as gullible as...” or “At least I would never...” within the world of the film. 

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Maurice Chevalier was known to play this kind of suave sophisticate, who had a way with women. This scene shows both wit and humor that Max Lubitz is known for. I found the combination of the french conversation between the couple interspersed with the English commentary pretty funny, it seems as if Alfred is letting us in on his life, and showing us that he can charm his way out of this (or any) situation. That he and his lady friend have been caught cheating, and then get away with it shows us, the audience members what our lives could possibly be like, if we were so inclined. 

   I thought the most humorous part of the scene was when Alfred opened his desk drawer to put the gun away, only to show several more guns in the drawer, implying that this has happened to him that many other times! 

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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 watched the clip a couple of times, just to soak it all in (and was always amused by the dog sleeping on the sofa near the door, unbothered by all the human antics.) The Lubitsch touch is certainly engaging: the camera cuts to the garter, the pearl-handled, almost delicate pistol, the desk drawer full of similar firearms. Couple that with Chevalier's breaking of the fourth wall -- I see the camera as a slightly subjective objective narrator. The very specific camera cuts paint a clear picture of what sort of fellow Alfred is: a confident, charming, womanizing cad -- all without a word of description being spoken. Yes, it's a carryover from silent films, where the visual guide was necessary, but here, with sound part of the package, it's a little more cheeky than I'd expect from an objective narrator. 

Albert is a cool customer when faced with an irate jealous lover and a cuckolded husband -- this is not his first rodeo. His living quarters are posh; his gentleman's gentleman accommodating (and a bit of a scene stealer.) His sigh and handkerchief business after his lover and her husband bicker out the door looks to be both a bit of relief and a bit of "there we went again." The use of French without subtitles established location and added to the sophisticated tone of the scene. 

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 in the scene is about quality not quantity -- the muffled argumentative dialogue behind closed doors; the rattle of a locked door; the shot of the gun (which to my 21st century ears was petite compared to the sound of modern day cinematic gunfire) that was enough to pique the interest of people on the street below; the heavy-on-the-strings music as the husband tried to shoot Albert, timed perfectly with that petite bang. 

I personally liked the locked door rattle. It signaled a sense of urgency and gave both the illicit lovers (and the audience) a moment to pause and realize that something was about to happen. Plus it was nice to see a door that's not easily opened, rather than one that immediately gets burst into.

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

• The showcasing of posh surroundings and sophisticated people as not only great backdrop, but also as visual escapism. 
• The musical-as-screwball-comedy. As mentioned in the lecture video, a trope of the screwball comedy is a leading man is not looking for love. Albert, having multiple liaisons with unattainable women, falls right in that category.
• Great supporting characters; Albert's gentleman's gentleman, without saying a word, made an impression on me just with expressions and gestures.

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1. I loved Chevalier's nonchalant reaction to being shot point blank. He just shrugs his shoulders. Obviously he's been through this before judging by the collection of guns he has stored in the drawer. Also it's very telling when he's proclaiming his innocence while holding the telltale garter in hand. His personality comes through long and clear in the first minutes.

2. The sound that really caught my attention was the first gunshot, which to me sounded just like a popped champagne cork! Seemed appropriate for that cad, Chevalier!

3. This movie summed up a common theme of the time: Watching how the rich lives and loves but with music! 

 

 

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  1. With the showing of the expensive garters (one of which was not Paulette's), the pearl handled gun and the unzipped dress give the impression that Count Alfred is definitely a lady's man.  Also the showing of the draw with a collection of guns, garters and material which the Count shows as trophies from his conquests.  
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  3. There wasn't a whole lot of background music in the scene which helps with the drama.
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  5.  The scene opens with the Count and Paulette on the other side of the door yelling at him in French, when the Count turns and looks directly at the camera and says "she is terrible jealous", you feel that the Count is talking directly to you, the audience and is including you in the scene.
  6. I love the way that the director uses the close ups of the faces of the actors, especially the one of Paulette on the ground after she shot herself and the gentlemen figure out that she actually didn't shoot herself.
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Wes Gehring makes a point in the lecture about "Top Hat" that really surprised me: Fred Astaire does improv! That's an association that I would have never made myself.

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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)?

Forgive me but I needed to Google the term to get a better understanding of this Lubitsch Touch technique. I found a great one on YT featuring the great director, Billy Wilder. I'll post a link at the bottom of this response.

As for what I noticed...the props, dialogue and staging were used to illustrate an idea or impeding action. For example the extra garter suggest he might be cheating on his lover...with another lover. The extra guns in the drawer suggest he's been in this situation or similar situations before....that this lover may not be the first or even the fifth...given the number of guns in the drawer. Serious concepts addressed in a humorous manor. The suggest the Chevalier character might be a lothario with little to no concern for the consequences of his actions because SOMEHOW things always manage to work out. 

 

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.

Interestingly...it's the absence of sound that makes the dramatic moments. When the camera hangs on the garter or the the wife opening the purse to retrieve her gun...there is no music. It's not until the husband picks up the gun and begins to instantaneously consider what he will do that we get provocative or leading notes that inform the audience that something sinister is about to happen.  The sound vanishes again when the husband and lover are trying to figure out why the 2nd gun shot had no affect. Once again that absence of sound indicates something shocking is about to happened and the camera cuts away to the wife who we see is alive and well. 

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

I can't say what I expect but I think it's simultaneously hilarious and a little unexpected (not to mention disturbing) at the way the film treats the topic of adultery. All is literally forgotten the second the husband thinks the cheating wife is dead. And when he realizes she's really alive...all is literally forgiven. And to top it off...she encourages him to zip up her the dress she just put on after what was clearly a rendezvous with her lover. And what's more she gets frustrated at him not being able to complete such a simple task. I guess this was another attempt at movies taking the audience out of they challenges and drudgeries of Depression-Era life with a little 'lite' comedy.

 

The link for the Billy Wilder comment on the Lubitsch Touch is here...(hope that works)

 

 

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MC breaks the 4th wall by speaking directly to the audience. The gun shot is very muffled and does not sound real.

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Although the camera barely moves -even if it's not quite static-, I must say the 'Lubitsch touch' truly infuses the film with life! Smart choices in editing, sound, and gestures to balance it all out,... make it easy to understand the type of characters we're dealing with. 

Every element hints at Alfred being a sly, yet good-natured jokester. A ladies-man who confronts everything with a wink and some quick-thinking.  

The use of sound -and silence!- cleverly supports this notion. There are elements from the days of silent comedy, like the use of visual gags and gesticulation to convey meaning, masterfully combined with tidbits of music to create a wonderful result, like when Alfred and the husband discover the truth about the gun. Simple, effective and brilliant!

It's also fun to notice that, despite having the ability to fill out that simple moment with endless melodramatic dialogue, Lubitsch and his team chose to deprive us of it by limiting the character's interjections, and also by making them speak in a foreign language. It shows an early understanding of the importance of the image in the musicals, and all the creative choices that could be taken as soon as sound was out of the picture -quite literally.

Again, these Depression-era musicals bathe every little issue in a more soothing, extravagant light. An affair? A suicide attempt? A possible murder?... Don't worry! We'll wave it off with a wink and a jest so it's all well again! And, in the meantime, enjoy the luxury of our settings and the frivolity of our characters.

Fun and wonderful, indeed!  

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1.  The garter, the collection of revolvers in the desk drawer, and the presence of Alfred's lover and her husband, and finally the dialogue with the boss all contribute to the staging of the movie.

2.  The violin music leads to what we believe is the climax of the scene when the revolver is fired and we think that Alfred will die, but he of course does not.

3.  In depression era movies, the charming scoundrel comes out on top in the end.  

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Daily Dose#3

1) I noticed with the Lubitsch touch, there is a particular attention to detail where certain images are focused and heightened for particular affect.  The props such as the garter, interaction between the characters and gun show how Alfred is a character that is involved in scandalous behavior where his actions can be deceiving. 

2) The particular scene in the very beginning where you are just hearing the male and female character arguing is a unique way to set the scene that leads to the female character's actions but also to demonstrate how Alfred is a character that will hide his true intentions from the audience in a way that can be deceiving.

3) The theme in this film that connects to the depression is that their is a certain charm and light heartedness that relates to the idea that movies in the great depression were set to help people forget their troubles. Even though this scene shows someone "shooting" themselves, the audience quickly learns it is all a joke and nothing can be taken too seriously 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)?

Since Lubitsch got his start in the silent era, the staging of the scene has to be more "obvious" for viewers.  As the majority of the scene is in French (for non French speakers, it might as well be a silent film), the audience needs some cinematic assistance to connect all of the dots. The cross cuts to the close up of the garter, the gun, and other props help drive the action and lead the audience by the hand to find characterization clues.

  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.

Interestingly, it is a LACK of sound that added to the final humorous beat in the clip.  After Chevalier checks his chest for a pistol shot to find no bullet hole and his assailant double checks the gun clip to discover there are no bullets in the weapon, there is a beat of silence, followed by a single shot of the woman looking up irritated from the floor.  It's humor that fills that awkward silence.

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

Since sound is a relatively new technology in the early thirties, many of the same narrative techniques used during the silent era are going to leak over into the musicals made with sound.  Also, since the filmmakers haven't yet re-invented new ways of looking at the stage, musicals on the screen are going to be shot from the point of view of the audience as theater goer.

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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)?

Right away, the idea of talking to the audience establishes not just Lubitsch's touch as a director, but also gives insight into the Chevalier character (both on and off screen) an impish, cheeky guy who isn't afraid to break a rule (like directing comments right to the audience) many elements at play all at once, much like Lubitsch's brilliant use of sound in all his films, he has many things happening simultaneously.

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.

"She's terribly jealous" Chevalier blames her immediately, it has nothing to do with him, he is innocent as an angel, the very first thing he does establishes exactly who his character is. 

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

 Like "Top Hat" we see lavish, large, palatial settings, a gorgeous purse, a fabulous flapper dress, attendants/servants, beautiful doors and ornate decorations, everything is bigger and better than what even the privileged people of the time would have had, everyone got to look up to something, even the well to do could escape in these films.

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C'est tres amusant. Immediately, you notice the garter held by Paulette, obviously not hers as she lifts her skirt revealing her own two being worn. This gives clarification to the prior dialogue through which Alfred had told the audience she was 'so jealous.' Next we see Paulette withdraw a handgun from a very nice decorative handbag, obviously she has good taste or a wealthy benefactor....the latter to be revealed as being an additional jealous character, her husband; voice soon heard in hallway just prior to bursting through door. I found the violin composition as camera shifted between Alfred and the husband amusing. It added a sort of je ne be sais quoi to the scene, adding to the suspenseful jet whimsical mood being set as we are yet unaware the gun had been loaded with blanks. Alfred's gestures seeking for the wound were quite playful. They definitely set a certain tone for what we can expect from his character throughout the film. As he opens the drawer, adding Paulette's gun to his collection, his playful and playboy nature is further exemplified. 

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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)?

Our main character, Alfred, is a lover of women. He seems to have a lot of them either serially or concurrently. He loves the feminine and their appeal to him. The dressing of the woman makes me think this film is pre-code, as it suggests a sexual affair in a pretty blunt way.

We don't see the bed, rumpled or not - if we did, I missed it.

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.

Sound is well-done! The sounds behind the door sound like they are behind a door. The sound of the gun is on-time and sounds like it could be a gun. I speak and understand just enough French to get the "gist" of the conversation - the Zipper is not that "difficile" or "difficult" and her husband can't seem to get it, but Alfred does it up easily. I wish we'd heard the sound of the zipper going up.

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

Sexuality either expressed or clearly suggested. Opulent settings and clothing. High ceilings in buildings/rooms, which even my mother in the 1960s wanted in an apartment.  Tall french doors with deep mouldings.

At the end, when the ambassador comes to get Alfred, we find that he's answerable for his actions and scandals - to someone else. He cannot continue in this vein - which says that some sensibility to "overdoing it" was present even in this film. 

 

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While watching this clip, I gained some insight to the Lubitsch touch and the foreshadowing of what is to come from this entertaining and sexually charged film. He suggestively uses the garters in a close up numerous times , which is very Pre Code . This is not only evidence of Maurice's philandering, but of the woman's strong sexuality, and attractiveness as we are allowed to view these items AND her upper thighs with in the first three minutes of the scene! 

I feel these Depression-Era films will certainly transfer the average person to a world where the  privileged classes enjoy their privileges..What better way to be transformed for two hours by watching good looking well to do  men and women drinking, dancing and romping around?

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1) When the scene starts you feel like a voyeur. You know something bad is about to happen. Alfred is just inviting you in to watch it all. Even though they were speaking in French, you knew by the body language, exactly what was going on. Even though, she was married, she was still jealous of the garter she found. Alfred was calm about the whole thing. He did not need to explain anything.

2) For me the scene was void of noise, other than the mood music that came thru, when the lady so-called shot herself. This scene, to me was a set up scheme to get this couple back together. The apartment, itself, was set up for just this scenario. Extra guns filled with blanks, in the desk. Once she shot herself, she waited until her husband responded the way she wanted him too. Showing his love and affection. I thought that portion of the scene was too funny. Alfred is just standing there grinning, especially when he zipped up her dress. You think to yourself, why is it unzipped to begin with?

3) Theme you can anticipate would be adultery, and lengths a person would go, to get some attention. 

 

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