Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

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We only see the props that help us to understand the situation and the characters. The upper crust room, the garter, the gun and gun drawer, and the handling of the dress. 

Only the important dialogue was in English. The most important sound was the gun because it was a signifier of danger. 

 

We can see that maybe the character will learn to outgrow his playboy ways to become more civilized.

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1) The Lubitsch Touch helps the the scene navigate smoothly. The closeups of the props give viewers a look at what the purpose of each item is or will be. The closeup of the garter and the dialogue of Count Alfred Renard provide a visual and audio story of the item, because it is not of the French woman who then enters the scene. The same goes for the closeup of the purse, which lets us know it is an important prop because the woman will take out a gun from it to try to kill herself. I think of closeups as being a small vision of what we might see and pay close attention to if we were present in the scene as well. The Lubitsch Touch provides a closer and deeper connection to the film, especially if it is tied with dialogue. This helped me understand the character of Alfred, especially to how the scenes are staged and decorated. He seems to be a wealthy man visiting Paris who has some fun with women. He even knows how to properly zip up the dress of the French woman. His dialogue is also witty and carefree. He doesn't seem to take things seriously. He enjoys the moments.

2) The scene's use of sound adds the effectiveness and mood of the moment. For example, when the gunshot goes off there is silence followed by a suspense-rising tune as the husband stares at Alfred and walks toward him with the gun. This allows the pairing of closeups, audio and face expressions and the movement of the scene to flow nicely. All aspects tell the story with its visuals, audio and framing.

3) The theme I anticipate from this particular scene to pass on to other Depression Era musicals is the silliness and lack of seriousness the characters portray. Their funny dialogue and silly ways to pretend/fool others about serious events, such as death, convince viewers to not take things so serious. It allows viewers to laugh and forget about their real-life troubles. Also, Alfred's character seems to be having fun in Paris by spending time with women, and the French woman also has some fun with him even though she has a husband. Therefore, I assume the married and single roles of other characters in Depression Era films to be carefree, and joy-seeking even if it is risky.

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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.

What is striking about the scene's use of sound is how unnecessary it seems at first. You could easily imagine this scene done silently. The majority of the dialogue is in French, which the average American can't understand, and certainly not at the rapid-fire pace of the scene. Similarly, Chevalier's direct addresses in English to the camera could have easily been intertitles. Yet while the dialogue wasn't necessarily useful as far as adding content to the scene, it helped to set the ambience: The rantings of a jilted lover. Sound was also key in the misdirect - the scene would not have played as effectively without the sound of the gunshot.

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1. For me, the so-called "Lubitsch Touch" is summed up beautifully in a quote that may or may not have actually been uttered by Lubitsch about his approach to filmmaking: "Here is two and there is two." Rather than completely spoon-feed his audience and give them 'two plus two equals four' all at once, he revealed things gradually and made them piece together what was happening on their own, often through visuals alone. I think the fact that he began working as a filmmaker in the silent era gave him a big advantage in this regard. The opening scene from "The Love Parade" is a great example of this. We hear the couple arguing in French on the other side of the door. We see them arguing over a garter, which we later see is not the woman's. We think they might be husband and wife, but then we hear her say "My husband," right before the door opens, and her husband enters. When the woman needs her dress zipped up, her husband is useless, but Chevalier's character manages it quite easily. Lubitsch gives us close-ups of these important object and moments, but it is up to us to suss out the significance of them. It is clear from this scene that not only is Chevalier's character a Casanova who takes his love affairs lightly, but several times over, as the lone garter shows!

2. This scene is one that would have worked well in the silent era, but is greatly enhanced by sound. The sound of muffled conversation on the other side of a closed door draws us in, and even though both characters are speaking French, a few stray words and the tone and cadence clearly indicate an argument. The rattle of the locked door sets up the anticipation before we see the door itself, and the bang of the small revolver definitely increases the shock and suspense as it is fired into the woman's chest and later Chevalier's, at least before we learn it is only loaded with blanks! And while not strictly enhancing the scene, the slightly suggestive sounds of the woman moaning while her husband kisses her during the cutaway to the drawer full of revolvers is certainly something that couldn't have been done in either the silent era or in the post-Production Code era!

3. As for theme, I would anticipate that later Depression-era musicals would follow the same pattern of slightly racy romantic comedies (at least until the Code came in!) in larger-than-life settings, with affluent characters and fun, frivolous situations.

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What I noticed about the “Lubitsch touch” or his show-and-tell storytelling was how he used the props such as the garter, gun, door handles and the Ladies zipper to tell the story even though we are on the outside looking in (with the use of French dialogue). His speaking directly to the audience was as if to keep us up on what’s going on.

Understanding of Alfred’s character was portrayed through the props, i.e. the garter that clearly didn’t belong to the lady & drawer full of guns clearly telling us he’s been in this situation before as well as easily zipping the dress her husband cannot; through the staging by clueing us into his economic status as well as having a man servant; finally the dialogue, he is amused by her jealous talk, cool under fire of being caught, eye rolls.

Some things I noticed about the scenes use of sound are the French dialogue which kept the viewer at arms length from the characters allowing us to hear but not be apart of the scene. This aided the comedic amusement factor because I wasn’t invested in the characters so I was able to see the situations funny side even though most wouldn’t be amused in that situation. The sound of the husband coming down the hall then the door knobs moving and rattling added to the tension, suspense and anticipation of the scene or gave it depth. Even the silence after the ambassador walked in added because you could see he was in trouble.

The themes or approaches I might anticipate in other Depression-era musicals are not to take life to seriously, adultery is amusing, poking fun of the wealthy, showing the wealthy as silly or bumbling, charm can cover bad behavior, the excesses of the wealthy.

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You learn a lot about Alfred from the use of props, especially the revolver(s). The shot of the garter and unzipped dress reveal immediately that he is in a sticky situation with the married woman, and the shot of the drawer with many other revolvers in it shows that he is no stranger to this type of situation - he has definitely been here before. This use of props reveals that Alfred is a man of questionable character.

I loved the use of sound (or lack thereof).  When the scene opens, all the sound is happening off camera, and the dialogue is not in English. This scene is almost completely silent - there are only a couple lines from Alfred in English, the gun shots, and dialogue in French. As an English speaker, my understanding of the plot relies on the shots of the props and action of the scene.

Since sound is not that old at this point in history, I would expect other musicals of this era to rely heavily on visual cues as this film does.

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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 honestly was not familiar with Ernst Lubitsch and his "touch" before this. I researched and read up on the Lubitsch Touch, and was pleasantly surprised that his technique is something I really appreciate in earlier sound films - one where a director uses everything at his disposable to try and create the mood/scene that he wishes.  In this scene, we see Alfred (Maurice Chevalier) is a Romeo with a good nature, as we can surmise with his easy smile even when he is caught with another woman's garter in his hand.  He even breaks the fourth wall by inviting the audience into his little escapade, also possibly replacing the silent movie title card.  The onlooker also is able to see he has done this before, as evident to his cool demeanor when faced with an irate husband holding a gun as well as a drawer filled with more of the same type of weapon!

 

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 think sound is used as something to heighten what is going on, or call attention to something important: When the husband picks up the gun and is headed towards Alfred, we hear a small snippet of music with a tempo which would seem to convey the tense emotions the husband is feeling.  When the gun shot is fired, while quiet and muffled, it was more than likely something new to hear and would shock the audience. Finally, the noise of a gathering crowd when Alfred opens the balcony door, as if to say he knows trouble is brewing for him still (and is confirmed with his facial expression and the ambassador who begins to chastise him at the end).

 

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

Escapism from the Depression when one considers the fancy set and costumes, plus the screw ball type of comedic things that went on to help people forget about what was going on outside of the theater.  I would think there would be romantic elements as well, as the light hearted and fun play boy goes off to possibly continue his romance with the wife or another lover. 

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Who doesn't love Maurice Chevalier? His subtlety is his best comedic tool.   I enjoy the french language as a misdirect for you to focus on the actors in the scene.  The use of the fake gun sound seems to be the tell that all is not what it seems and in the end, her husband isn't capable enough to take care of her.  As always, we are looking at a luxurious apartment, expensive clothes and lofty attitudes.  This is escapism at its finest.  

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Response to #1: Everything in this scene is designed to let the audience know that Alfred is the ultimate roue, charming but still roguish. The garter, the ease with the cranky zipper, the drawer full of souvenir pistols, etc. And the lady Alfred is entertaining seems to understand once her husband arrives that her fling with Alfred has come to an end and she becomes the wife once again, even browbeating her husband as they exit the apartment. 

Response to #2: the scene begins with the camera focused on closed doors, and we hear noise emanating from behind the closed doors. The voices are male and female, and they are arguing in French. So, immediately, we understand that we have stumbled upon a “domestic”situation of some sort. Only after the doors open and Alfred breaks the fourth wall, do we understand that the “domestic” situation is comical and even satirical in nature. 

Response to #3: we see repeats of gorgeous people in beautiful clothes and lush apartments. This intensely stylized world is becoming something of a Depression-era trope. We also see the cuckolded husband, the charming rogue, and the wife with a wandering eye. The rogue is usually a count or prince of small European country. All we need is the innocent girl/lady, and the film will be complete! 

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1. The Lubisch touch includes the specific cuts to particular objects and props in order to further the story, such as the pistol, garters, and gun drawer. It also includes various things to engage the audience more actively through the use of music, breaking the fourth wall, focused shots, and the translation between languages. We are given a look into Alfred's character through what he tells the audience, how he interacts with the woman (lying to her, then trying to get her back, then nonchalantly letting her go), and his interactions with the man and the pistol drawer (which in itself tells us a lot about Alfred, no dialogue necessary).

2. The use of sound in this clip is both innovative and also a throwback to silent film. Right after the French woman is shot and is presumably dead, her husband rushes to her, and when she doesn't move, and he looks up to see Alfred, the music kicks up with a threatening theme by the strings. Similar to the Jaws theme, the sounds combined with the glare that the husband gives to Alfred uses the music to convey hatred, desire for revenge, and blame. This was the only way to convey emotion and motive during silent films, and is effectively used here. It is also innovative, however, in the way that each sound, like this one, has a purpose and a meaning, and is not simply filler, as much silent film music was.

3. Similar themes I might anticipate would be that of men fighting over a woman, misunderstood identity, and wealthy couples who are not in love

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1. I notice that the Lubitsch touch keeps things light and funny although the scene would be serious in another light. Although most American watchers wouldn’t understand the French dialogue, he makes it easy for people of all cultures to understand through body language (this coming out only two years after the silent era, most actors were extremely good at that), and props such as the garter and the gun without bullets. These props along with the setting also give me the idea that Maurice’s character is a playboy, and isn’t serious about his relationships.

2. The arguing behind closed doors seems to be a technique they were just trying out at that time. They could never do such things in the silent era. Also, they used the gunshots effectively, which must’ve been a thrill for viewers of the time, who had never had the privilege to hear such things on film before.

3. I find that a French theme is used in many depression-era musicals, and it may have started with this one. Back then, the French seemed to be very romantic and carefree, which was what the majority of people in the depression were itching for. 

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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 sort of dot-to-dot shots of the garter, her legs, the purse, and the gun lead you by the hand in the direction Lubitsch wants the viewer to go.  Much like the dialog screens in a silent movie.  No ambiguity, just a clear cut "blueprint" for a sordid encounter between a married woman and a man who, judging by the collection of guns, has done this before.

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 most important sounds in the film are the actors voices.  The gun shot is so faint that it is almost an after thought, and the rattling of the door helps move the story along, but just barely.  It is almost as if the sound effects are after thoughts.  Like the movie makers are still trying to figure out how to use sound, so they are easing into it with baby steps.

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

I think the theme of the wealthy and charming, yet flawed, ladies man will continue.  I also think the use of a more mature father figure, in this case the government official recalling Alfred back home, trying to redirect the actions of the romantic lead will be popular.

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Just like its predecessor, minimum dialogue is used in this scene, its more visual, with the slight hands tricks, gestures, Chevalier breaking the 4th wall explaining the over obvious notions, the many guns in the drawer, the small tasks the husband can't handle (shooting, zipper, looking for an exit wound, etc) and Chevalier cleaning up as if this wasn't the first time he has done this (knowing where the gun should be place, not reacting to the gun shot, and smiling at the husband when he forgives his wife).

There are a few sound effects in tact and some that goes unheard, like the gun she takes out of her bag, when they look inside the gun, when the wife drops to the floor just to name a few. Although the sounds that are shown have an interesting sound about them. The argue french voices behind the door, implying that they are not alone and others will soon follow them up there to their room. All in french, except for Chevalier 4th wall comedic responses. The tension then takes hold when we hear the door nobs of the bedroom rattle, until her husband comes into the room. Then comes the gun shot, that sounded rather off....foreshadowing the gag and then the zipper for her dress, the argument in french the wife gives to her husband to apprehend him.  

I would say the theme of the clip is love gone astray, infidelity as well. As if to teach her husband a lesson, she coups a suicide, the husband turns towards the lover and tries to shoot him, but instead finds out there are only blanks in the gun and that his wife is unharmed, but angered. He confines her and apologizes to the lover's amusement.

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This clip of "The Love Parade" reminds me greatly of the set in "Ninotchka," with its grand white doors, and elegant facade.  In "Ninotchka," there is a fake gunshot as well, except that it is in reality a champagne bottle cork that pops, causing Greta Garbo to slide down the doorjamb as an "executed prisoner."

In the "Love Parade," the fake gunshot was a comedic attempt at turning a rather serious incident - the shooting of Maurice Chevalier's character -  into a light and frothy moment. Likewise, the supposed shooting of Ninotchka, by a light and frothy Melvyn Douglas also turns a serious subject on its head - the oppressive world of the old Russian government and its effect on its people. As a "good Russian," Ninotchka succumbed to death. All is revealed however, when both shots are proven false in the two films. One gunshot is merely a champagne cork gone awry; the fake gun in "Love Parade" is a toy.

The theme I propose above is that with humor, darker situations can be parodied, or dealt with in the safe environment of musical story. While these were not musical numbers per se, they did have the "screwball" effect.

Ernest Lubitsch directed both of these films. I think that his signature touch was the serious themes (adultery and oppression) both with a veneer of froth, coupled with his repetitive (in a good way) choice of similar sets of grandeur. Whether French or Russian, Lubitsch depicted upper class characters with witty banter very well. (Ninotchka was later turned into - what else? - a musical, entitled, "Silk Stockings."

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Think of Ernst Lubitsch and, voilà, you think of some of the most sophisticated films ever produced in Hollywood. The Love Parade was the first talkie Lubitsch made. While he used sound effectively, the silent movie influence is obvious.

As in silent movies, the audience learns most of what they need to know about Alfred from the setting. Aside from one painting that appears to be a landscape, all of the paintings, photos, and sculptures in the room are depictions of women. Closeups of the garter, Paulette’s hand as she removes a pistol from her purse, and the drawer full of pistols (as well as some feathers and what appears to be another garter), tell the audience that Alfred is a lothario. The action takes place in Sylvania, a wooded place, and people on the street run past the Cafe du Bois, a wood. These names are of places apart from Alfred, showing the audience that while he is surrounded by wooden people, Alfred is vivacious. 

The opening of the scene is in French, which serves a dual purpose. It effectively makes the film a silent for American audiences who likely understand little or no French. By using language thusly, Lubitsch shows the audience how to interact with this new kind of film that includes sound. This technique tells viewers that they should not rely on dialogue simply because it is there, but to continue to look to the established forms of visual exposition to know the characters and situations. On another level, the fact that Alfred and Paulette are French brings into focus the stereotype that the French are preoccupied with love and sex. This immediately tells viewers how to frame the characters in their minds. It is a brilliant use of the new sound medium as a means to bridge the old way of movie making with the new. 

Before Paulette and Alfred enter together, we first hear them off stage in muffled tones, and though we cannot hear their words, we can tell from the tone that they are arguing. When the door opens, the sound of the voices comes up to an audible volume. This clever use of amplification demonstrates that Lubitsch is truly tuned into the minutiae of daily life, and he’s determined to help audiences embrace this new type of film by making the setting seem real. This reality is deepened by the little dog on the setee; he sleeps through the voices, characters entering the room, and the continued row because he’s heard it all before. This little dog does much to tell the audience about Alfred’s character. In the basest of terms, we learn that Alfred is a cad.

These stylistic features are not the only attributes of the Lubitsch touch. Also a keen part of “the Lubitsch touch” is the way he plays with the subjects of love and sex. He makes light of these subjects that heretofore have been considered improper topics for polite and civil company. By doing so, Lubitsch allows audiences to be tittilated by the scene without feeling guilty or dirty about it, effectively elevating the idea of illicit sex from the gutter to the social conscience. 

 

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The muffled dialogue behind the close door, the attire, the garter, dual language and translation all create this image of Alfred - they kinda say 'this isn't your run of the mill guy off the street' that this is someone of interest, experience and intelligence. They set the tone to indicate that something interesting is about to take place. 

Definitely the gun shot, the audience would expect to see tragedy but what happens is more light hearted, causing the scene to change from one of a darker situation to one of gladness and relief. Also, the silence and the music play an important part as they enhance and lead the audience to speculate the next actions. 

We are again given a brighter side of life perspective. We are give a picture of infidelity, a dark situation, that leads to the death of one of the characters; however we are then given the insight that there in fact is no tragedy. We see the husband go from anger to relief that his wife is still alive. And though a display of the wife's disappointment, anger and irritation; the husband displays relief, care and concern by helping her finish getting dressed. Additionally, Alfred gives us little smiles throughout the clip to indicate a lightheartedness and possibly the idea that he knows more of what is unfolding than he leads on. Other than we are given the luxurious clothing, apartment, location and other elements to give the audience an escape. The infidelity could even be a form of escape from the reality of the times. 

clip 5.jpg

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     One of the things I noticed about the Lubitsch touch was the lighting around Alfred after his 'liaison' had shot herself and her husband focused in on Alfred, so too did the lighting. The set was dark except for a dissolve of illumination around Alfred as if the spotlight were on him.  Of course, the extra garter and then the collection of pistols, easily zipping up the gown, being at least bi-lingual (I'm sure Alfred is fluent enough in other languages as well), having the woman in his home all lend to his lothario image.  Also, when the husband shot Alfred, it was comical in that Alfred's handkerchief in his left chest pocket rustled ever so slightly as if being "shot" with a puff of air.

     The rattling of the door lever and the arguing of voices on the other side of the door clue us in that someone is being prevented from entering the room.  The hollow sound of the gun firing lets us know she really didn't commit suicide.  The liaison asking Alfred to zip up her dress, which he does effortlessly and announces, "Voila!" finishes the scene with Alfred's triumph even though his love interest is going home with the husband.

     One theme: the rich get into predicaments often exaggerated that diminishes their haughtiness making them appear ridiculous.  The "small guys" revel in the "big guys" being "brought down a notch or two."  The depression theme of rooting for the underdog.

 

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1. The close-ups of the props makes an intense take on the scene. We see that Alfred has flings with alot of women which he gets in trouble with, but can manage to get out of. There is comic humour with his actions as when the husband shoots him he pats himself down to find where he has been shot. 

2. The sound of the gun being shot is dramatic and makes the scene more shocking. The use of dramatic music adds more anticipated suspense. 

3. I would anticipate that there will be more comedy drama, but perhaps leaning more to the lighter comic side of life. 

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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)?

The Lubitsch touch reveals to the movie audience additional insight into the characters’ backstory and situation within the scene. It also allows the movie audience to take ownership by ‘discovering’ certain items that serve as non-linear reminders to the crucial points within the arc of the scene. The props go on to include a preconceived idea of the hidden intent of each character. For example, the origin of the garter was unknown to his mistress which shed light on Alfred’s galavanting ways. The gun was the hard token of jealousy showcasing the ‘ownership’ that his mistress, albeit already married, feels she has over Alfred. It also served as a great device to showcase the overdramatic affairs of the love triangle which incites her self-inflicted gunshot in addition to the gunshot from her husband to Alfred, as well as serving as the catalyst for the comedic partnering of Alfred and the husband to determine that the bullets were blanks, and then finally to show Alfred put the gun into a drawer filled with other guns, implying that this isn’t the first time this has happened. The dialogue served to solidify the comedic persona of Alfred. The staging depicted Alfred as always being more centered than the others, using more rigid movements and not as frantic as everyone else except for the Sylvania ambassador, who was the only one whose character was the more centered of all.

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 specific sounds that stood out to me was first was the gunshot, creating a sense of shock which served as the setup for the blanks. The second was the music which comes in to support and emphasize the husband’s agenda to kill Alfred. The lines of dialogue that added to the effectiveness of the scene was Alfred’s breaking the fourth wall indicating her jealousy and the arrival of her husband. Also the last line, “I’m sure the stories you have heard about me are horribly exaggerated” all while holding a garter in his hand.

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

I would anticipate more of the opulence and extravagance throughout the scene. Set design, wardrobe and the characters’ wealth which serves to give the movie audience a laughing target in times of the Depression.

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The opening of the seen with the voices coming from behind the closed doors was brilliant.  Since they were unable to show sex scenes, it led you to wonder what all had gone on behind the closed doors leading up to the scene.  Enjoyed the comments in English during the French scene to let us know that he knew we were watching and he felt we needed some hints at what was going on. Didn't need to be in English...their acting told the whole story.

Loved the number of small guns in the drawer....that many women had already been behind his bedroom doors.  The garters were also a smart prop to show his appetite for the other sex.

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1.  What I notice about this techique in film, is that it inspired people like Woody Allen to borrow this style for comedy movies.  I can see the influences in this movie scene and a specific scene from Annie Hall.  Anyway, getting back on topic the props used in this scene compliment the dialogue.  Along with the light slap stick that is happening throughout.  It helps us to understand the character through his eyes, as soon as he pulls the audience into the movie with him.  

2.  The sound in this movie or this scene, is quite revolutionary for its time...and considering that sound in film at this point was only just beginning.  The sound of the fake gun, helps stage a cruel yet funny prank accepted at the time.  While the clear sound of the knocking on the door, helps pave the way for the joke..."Oh her husband."

3.  The theme I can anticipate from films like 'The Love Parade' are interaction with its audience.  So the audience isn't just viewing the movie as 2 dimensional; yet more in a 3 dimensional sense.  

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1. Even from this short clip, you get the feeling the audience must have had on first viewing an early introduction to sound. The sound is primitive at best especially background crowd sounds. Lubitsch amps up the sound for Chevalier’s English translations to the audience. I loved that and it became quite evident this was an influence on Woody Allen. You can definitely the over the top reactions you’d get from a silent film and by playing the majority of the dialogue in French it actually leaves American audiences in a similar place as a silent with Chevalier replacing title frames. It’s such a fun, witty film!

2. Chevalier bringing the audience into the zaniness and absurdity of the action with his wry asides to us.

3. It hints at the dawning of the age of the screwball comedy.

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1.  By far, my favorite part of the clip was Alfred’s nonchalant tossing of the gun into the drawer full of pistols.  Does he supply these to his conquests, or suggest the ploy?  Are the husbands so dense that this common ruse, probably shared among the wives, goes under the radar?  When the husband ‘shoots’ Alfred and watches him pat his chest to locate the wound, I love the cut to the wife staring at her husband, whom she can’t believe is such a dullard.  The husband seems nonplussed when his wife has to have Alfred, who is more familiar with her than is he, zip up her dress. He seems more concerned with her coat than with their intimacy.  The scene is so effective that only Alfred’s asides to the audience are necessary to understand what’s afoot.

2.  The tone and volume of the voices while in the bedroom, and the wife’s scream, let you know the intensity of the situation, at least on her part.  Alfred is amused and much accustomed to this kind of scene.  The gunshot takes a dramatic turn. until you’re in on the joke.  When Alfred opens the patio door to the sound of many voices, I wondered if it was just the night sounds of the street.  But when he quickly closes it, I think he realizes he might be the subject of the cacophony.  He’s been here before and must expect the Sylvanian visitor to shortly arrive.

3. I expect the common themes to be affairs with intimate but not blatant gestures, jealous husbands, wealthy and/or titled lovers, and the most obvious to me, the display of ladies’ legs and various underthings.

 

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The props do well to give insight into Count Renard's character. For instance, upon discovering that the gun the woman has used to "kill herself" is a fake, Renard quickly stashes it in a drawer containing a multitude of other guns, alluding to the fact that this has happened to him a number of times. Furthermore, when discussing how the government cannot continue to support his sexual behavior, Renard argues that he is not a lothario at all while brandishing a woman's garter in his hand. The staging further enhances this by showing how easily Renard can zip/unzip a woman's dress, while the husband of said woman struggles. 

 

As for sound, the scene has very little examples of it. Outside of the diegetic sounds of the husband as he comes into the room, the dialogue between characters, and the gunshots, we have very little sound. Instead, we hear the white noise familiar of the early sound era until the suspenseful music plays as the spurned husband approaches Renard with intent to kill. Afterwards, we return to a scene without music once the gunshot has been fired and discover through comedic means that Renard is alive and this isn't his first foray into similar circumstances. 

 

Again, we find ourselves immersed in lavish hotel rooms with equally lavishly dressed characters furthering the escapism of the era. Also, we see the emergence of the screwball comedy that would come to dominate the theaters for years to come (as stated by Gehring in his exploration of Top Hat). 

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Like Hitchcock, Lubistch uses his silent film experience to tell a story- you don't even notice very little English is being spoken but you know full well what's going on. The French dialogue almost comes across as background noise because the direction and Chevalier's face tell it all.

It's hard to make a good comedy to this day- love when Chevalier opens the desk drawer to put the revolver in, and you see a slew of them. By virtue of the fact that 1. he knows where to put it and 2. the audience sees the pile of revolvers, you can conclude that this scene is a common occurrence with these 3.

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