Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

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Another film I've yet to watch - but looking forward to seeing it!

The "Lubistch Touch" was used for items such as the garter and gun. With the garter and Alfred's note to the audience, "She's terribly jealous" shows to me that he is slick, with perhaps more affairs than just one. 

The sound of the gunshot is quite muffled and does not sound like a shot at all. I'm not sure if it is because of the sound technology of the time or because it is not a real gun at all (for the scene).

The setting is elegant and luxurious, common features in movies during the Depression. Screwball comedy is also incorporated. I couldn't help but laugh when Alfred was shot and checked his body, then Louise's expression. ?

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I love the clip and I love the movie.  I'd never seen Jeanette McDonald so risqué before.  Precode Jeanette is vastly different from the iconic star she becomes.  As for Maruice and Ernst, we are working with masters, here. I suspect the message of this movie and the numbers inferring violence between the sexes is normal would make modern viewers uncomfortable, but I found all the players fantastic.  The dialogue was rich, as is always the case with Lu****, the innuendos superb, and I was genuinely engaged in how they were going to work this out because it didn't play within the guidelines required yet by the code. Even her submissive surrender to him is sexually provocative in a way that the code would forbid.  Sharing a bed? My God!!!! I found the sound fine where the film I think needs some restoration work. Props in this movie were risqué but sophisticated. They showed characters operating outside the parameters of accepted behavior without paying the price.  Again, pre-code. I just loved the entire movie.

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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)?

Here's a couple of quotes I found on the Lubitsch touch:

"The Lubitsch Touch" is a brief description that embraces a long list of virtues: sophistication, style, subtlety, wit, charm, elegance, suavity, polished nonchalance and audacious sexual nuance."   -- Richard Christiansen

"It was the elegant use of the Superjoke.  You had a joke, and you felt satisfied, and then there was one more big joke on top of it.  The joke you didn't expect.  That was the Lubitsch Touch...."    -- Billy Wilder

Maurice Chevalier is the epitome of the urbane, elegant gentleman who is also a bit of a cad.  The settings and costumes are stylish and sophisticated and the characters have a sexual life that audiences probably wished they had.  When Chevalier is checking the bullets of the gun while holding a garter, it's a hoot, especially as the husband doesn't even notice. And when he puts the gun in a drawer with a bunch of other lady's guns we get that extra laugh.

  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.

The thing I noticed the most was the use of French. Today, there would be subtitles, but Lubitsch trusted his audience to just go with it.  I was also surprised with the first use of the gun when the woman shoots herself.  I was thinking "pre-code" because it seemed out of place in a comedy, but then, when I realized the gun wasn't loaded, I thought "well that's okay then." The shot where the crowds head toward the hotel after hearing the gun was interesting.  It surprised me that the gun shot would have been loud enough to hear outside.

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

As in so many other musicals after this, the sets and costumes are opulent.  This one has a main character who actually is a cad, whereas in others, like Top Hat, there's just a case of mistaken identity.  But love and mix-ups were popular.

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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)?

As has been noted above, Alfred's breaking the fourth wall to address the viewer, the garter, and all the guns reveal that he is a cad, but a lovable, urbane, and witty one. He is unashamed of his womanizing ways, and, indeed, likely sees it as a sort of game of cat and mouse between himself and the objects of his affections. That he has no trouble zipping up the dress when her husband couldn't reveals that he has done this many times before, with many women. Furthermore, the fact that he loads the guns with blanks also shows that he's dealt with countless angry husbands, as well.

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.

Lubitsch's use of sound was quite effective with bothe heightening the tension, and providing comic relief. The rattling door added a touch of drama. Will Alfred get caught? Of course. When the wife takes the gun, and shoots herself, the muffled gunshot alludes that not all is as it seems. When Alfred gets shot... He doesn'collapse in agony. It was all a farce, a misdirect to keep the angry husband's attention focused on his wayward wife.

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

Infidelity played for laughs, and womanizing men that appear to go through women as if it is a game. Invariably the man will be "reformed" by his true love, and will leave his philandering ways entirely.

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Oddly at first I thought it was going to be a silent film...I think it could have worked if there was no dialogue the acting, props and sounds tell the story without even words. It's like watching a Tella Novella there is so much emotion from it (in this case humor) that you don't have to understand the words really. :)

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I am not familiar with this film or with the director Lubitsch. I have found the comments here very educational, even more so than the course professors.

I can see that the use of close up props do move the story along with out the need for verbal explanation. Wonderful!

Also, Maurice Chevalier used the technique of speaking to the audience in other films.

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First time seeing another movie to watch. The beautiful sounds of the French language, the gun going off and then finally the English dialogue. The scene is so beautifully done with the coy behavior of the lovers, the angry husband ,the shooting of Maurice and the realization of the husband and Maurice that it was just a ruse. My favorite part a drawer ful of pistols. Oh if the walls could speak. So much  depicted in such a short time. Marvelous use of props and action in a scene. Its on my list. 

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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 fourth wall breaks convince the audience that they should be on Chevalier’s side, even though he is a womanizer and, in modern-day films, would be either a definitive anti-hero or perhaps the villain. We know, given the size of the space, that he has money (or is supported by someone else’s wealth). He seems to be an amused observer, as he watches the interaction between the husband and wife but makes no attempt to help or to comfort when she “dies.” His drawer of “souvenirs” suggests that this scenario is familiar and that he does not feel guilty.

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 thought the sound work was inconsistent but perhaps in a calculated way. We don’t hear every door open and close; instead we get door sounds to telegraph a dramatic entrance and as a sort of close to the scene. The only music plays when the husband is mourning his wife and, given the lack of reaction from Chevalier, tells us that the husband has great feeling for his wife, perhaps too much? as the music delves into melodramatic territory.

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

i think this clip shows that depression-era musicals will probably deal with a rich person, with a looser sense of morality, in a somewhat glamorous job, who has to turn his life around by applying good old-fashioned values and work ethic.

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LUBITSCH'S WIT AND HUMOR IS PERFECT BUT LATER ON HIS TECHNI ON FILMING ARE SHOWN MORE IN OTHER FILMS. THE GUN SHOT WAS PERFECT THINKING SHE SHOT HERSELF THAN FOUND OUT WAS VERY FUNNY. ALFRED TRANSLATE A FEW WORDS IN ENGLISH AND THE HIS ACTING AND ALFRED TRANSLATE THE REST. MOVIE CLIP IS GREAT TO WATCH. GARTERS GUNS WERE GREAT AS PROPS

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1) The main character is sly and witty and always seems to be of “convenience”. Especially when her husband is trying to zip up her dress and cannot. She then goes over to Alfred and he zips it up with ease. You can easily see Lubitsch’s touch in multiple parts of this scene. From the extra garter to the multiple guns and the fake bullets.

2) The “weak” sound of the gun going off was the first thing I noticed. Obviously sound was brand new at the time and gun shot that goes off sounds nothing like and actual shot but I also it adds to the comedic value of this piece. Also the characters speaking French as well add to the comedic yet intensive outlook on this scene.

3) This scene is a very common theme that runs throughout multiple depression era musicals especially the light, comedic aspect of it. Even as the women is caught by her husband, everything turns out “ok” and all characters seem to blow it off.

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1. so this was really "big" and had almost a silent movie feel to it for me.  Lots of big movements and almost melodramatic. 

2. To me the gunshot.  I was not expecting that at all.  And then the subsequent shots that showed it was all nothing, including bullets, which I found funny since if there are not bullets there would be no gunshots!

3. I think we certainly see these bigger than life sets show up later,  especially in the Rogers/Astaire movies.  Really over the top wealthy folks living in a world that's bigger than life!

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1. A lot of close up shots of items that will became important in the next scenes. Facial expressions and the actors acting is also more dramatic. 

2. The scenes use of sound shows the importance of an certain item, such as the gun. We hear the gunshot twice. And when we hear it it is very loud. 

3. The themes you see in this clip are a mix of comedy and drama. You also see the usual wealthy characters.

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  1. It is clear that Alfred is a philanderer because he has a garter in the bedroom, then a drawer full of small pistols that were from presumably previous other women who committed similar acts to this married woman. He is smooth, dashing, and quite the ladies' man.
  2. The gunshots were very effective. They were quite jarring and unexpected. The flow from English to French and  back was interesting. English is quite a harsh language compared to French. To have to "romantic"  scenes in French which is more pleasing to the ear and then change to the harsher English language to tell Alfred he has to go back to his country because he has disgraced his post is interesting to me. 
  3. I would expect more gender-based themes and approaches along with the show of wealth.

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What I first found somewhat telling is that Maurice Chevalier's character surname is Renard. Renard is French for "Fox."

A subtle message in this clip is, while Renard knew how to "work" the dress zipper, the lady's own husband didn't, implying the husband wasn't accustomed to "working" her dress zipper, thus an insight into their relationship.

Though by entirely different directors, some parts of this clip put me in mind of humor found in Laurel and Hardy shorts from this era, from reactions and facial expressions to using the 4th wall. In fact, two actors shown in Laurel and Hardy films appeared (uncredited) in this movie: Ben Turpin was a regular in the Laurel and Hardy films, while Jean Harlow's photo (as "Jeanie-weenie") and premise of the plot, was shown throughout the 1931 Laurel and Hardy film "Beau Hunks."

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MovieManiac2018

1.  Chevalier enters the scene first speaking French: this makes the audience have to pay attention more to the actors ! i wonder if anyone in the audience understood French ? I’m curious to know the translation!. Then Chavalier tells us ...” she is terribly jealous “.He is telling the audience ... rather than another actor. i feel that this particularly draws in the audience more to make them feel like a part of the film. It is literally speaking to us!

The close up of the props : the 2 garters, a small caliber handgun, and an unzipped dress.... allsuggest a forbidden love scene. Chevaliers’s character right from the beginning appears to be on the sneaky shady side but has a happy go lucky attitude. Obviously he knows what he is doing because why return the gun to a whole drawer of other guns that likely do as he just performed. This isn’t his first rodeo.

2.  The French language is soft spoken but the knock at the door is louder while the gunfire is the very loudest. that is an emphasized moment on purpose. The English speaking part better understood to most of the audience let’s them in that a “superior” is unhappy with Chevalier and wishes he would go back to his home in Sylvania. The ...”she is jealous” quote is definitely an important line because now we learn about her more. More about her as a woman.

3.  Chevalier is a repeat offender as far as love escapafes. . He gets away with it by being funny and sly but yet caught in the act as if this would teach him a lesson. Not seeing the rest of the movies outcome i don’t know whether he has learned his lesson. Being Lu****s’ background was in the silent era he has to use the actor’s actions to portray what is going on and then using sound to accent it.

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The Lubitsch touch characterized by “a subtle and soufflé-like blend of sexy humor and sly visual wit.” is clearly shown when the husband shoots or thinks he shoots Alfred but Alfred looks for the bullet wound and then together they check the gun. Then Alfred puts the gun in a drawer that has many guns in it. It is again sexy humor when the husband can't get the dress zipped while Alfred smiles, then the woman moves over to Alfred to do the zipper for her. The props like the drawer full of guns and the appearance of the Ambassador to tell him that his scandals have gone too far to his denial while holding a woman's garter in his hand shows insight into Alfred's character.

First, only Alfred speaks in English and speaks directly to the audience. Then it continues in French until the Ambassador enters the scene. Only sounds, the door rattling, a gunshot, the sounds of the crowd and the language you presumably do not understand and music force the audience to watch the action more closely to follow what is happening. It all adds to the scene as you must pay closer attention.

Other Depression-era musicals would let the audience escape the reality of the time along with screwball comedies and plots that make fun or tear down the rich like My Man Godfrey or Holiday.

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That Alfred is a womanizer is clear from the moment he opens the door and declares that his current lover is jealous. Everything about the scene reinforces this conclusion. She is holding a garter, not hers, as she proves by lifting her skirts. This exchange also reinforces the deduction that Alfred and the woman have just finished making love, for which she would have removed her stockings and the garters.  Her small gun is another familiar object to Alfred, the jealous (and with good reason) women frequently threaten him or themselves; he has a collection of these guns that he has confiscated. The second door important in this scene is rattled by the arriving husband, whose angry voice is heard outside.  He is handled by her pretend suicide, and the couple leave with the cuckolded husband being severely chastised, as if he did something untoward. Before they leave, Alfred has to hook up her dress, again reinforcing the idea of his playboy ways.  

Few musicals after the code would have featured a character as libertine as Alfred.  Playboys of the more chaste sort would presumably be acceptable.  

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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 noticed the clever use of innuendo in the whole clip to include the props, the garter from another woman, the assortment of girly guns, the zipper that the husband had difficulty with.  The dialogue was genius,  going back and forth between French and English but I still knew what was going on, he he he.  And the staging with most of the clip being shot in the bedroom,  well. . .
  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 of the gun, I could tell it didn't sound exactly like an actual "kill shot".  And from the other guns in the drawer, I think it might have been a plan. And it worked, apparently multiple times.
  3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals?    I think in a lot of Depression-era movies in general there was a whole tone of escapism.  Movies (musicals) depicting wealthy people in unrealistic scenes for most ordinary people. I doubt very many people in the audience lived in fancy apartments or had multiple lovers, or servants.

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I loved the breaking of the fourth wall. It made the character more humorous and relatable. The Lubitsch touch definitely added to the scenes for me, especially the garter in his hand while talking to the ambassador. I also enjoyed when he opened the drawer and we saw all the other revolvers!

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1. He added a comedic element to the scene. This also helps us understand the frustration the woman has with her husband.

2. I think the sound of the gun being shot and nothing happening builds to the scenes comedic theme.

3. They make funny movies for people to enjoy, to make them forget about their real troubles for a little while.

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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)

Ah, the humor of the Lubitsch touch! I see the sleeping dog on the couch - he obviously has been through many evenings like this and is used to it. The multiple pistols and garters in the Count's secretary - again this situation has happened numerous times before. The graphic of the scantily clad lady above the secretary. The shooting that isn't a shooting and the Count's checking his body for a gunshot that never touched him - and the quick shift to show the lady is unharmed as well. The rattling of the door that surprises the quarreling lovers. The music that builds when the cuckolded husband is preparing to shoot the Count. The flow of the scene and the inclusion of the outside (the street scene and the noise of the outside crowd that we hear briefly when the Count opens and closes his window. Sophistication and wit.

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 rattling of the door surprising the lovers and then the build up of the music when the husband picks up the gun and approaches the Count - it enhances the drama and anticipation of what we think is going to happen. And then nothing really does because the gun shoots blanks!

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

Beautiful people with nothing but the pursuit of pleasure on their minds (work? what work?). Beautifully designed apartments and elegant clothes. A fairy tale world

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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)?

Was surprised at the breaking of the fourth wall.  The props, the blanks in the gun, Chevalier's reaction to being shot, turning the suddenly melodramatic scene into a comedic one.  The direction is very "stagey"  as was a lot of early movies, very few close-ups, mainly medium shots as if you were in a theatre watching a live performance. The props handled by Chevalier - especially the garter, helps establish the character as a lothario very quickly.

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

Actually I'm going to draw your attention to the dog on the couch, and what we don't hear.  Opening scene. Look to the lower left of the frame, there is a dog on the sofa.  The scene starts, and there is a gunshot, not once, but twice.  And do we hear even a whimper from the dog?  Nothing.  A small dog would at least yap out of surprise of the sudden noise of the shot.  

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

The upper-class struggle with respectability, the casual sexual attitudes.  "Forget your troubles, come on get happy".

 

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1. I notice the hallmark black and white contrast photography first in the clip. The use of props and the humor that's used also point tot he Lubitsch touch. Alfred is a Lothario--the use of the extra garter, the smirk, the extra pistols in the drawer, the dress that needs zipping up--as well as the line, "She's so jealous!" and the use of the closed bedroom doors right at the beginning, all help me understand.

2. This scene uses sound to emphasize certain points--like the gun being fired and the yelling behind the door, and husbands barging in through doors. I think the gun being fired adds to the scene's effectiveness--it gets your attention! I really believed she shot herself and that Alfred had been shot--I had no idea they were blanks!

3. From this clip, I might expect beautiful sets, elegance, costumes, and wealthy characters that the audience could laugh at to feel better about themselves. I would also expect a romance with proper courtship rules and a woman who has to choose between love and career. 

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1. Something that I noticed about the Lubitsch Touch is that it seemed to push the boundaries of the motion picture production code of that era. But, by doing so, it added a comedic tone to the film and its characters.Alfred's dialogue and actions give off the impression that he is both sophisticated and a scoundrel. For example, when he was "breaking the fourth wall" he was simply guiding the audience so that they didn't get lost in the action and French dialogue.Alfred also seemed to be unphased by the woman that showed him her garter.

2. The music used in the scene after the woman pretends to shoot herself adds tension and anticipation for what will happen next. I also noticed that with every muffled gunshot, the tone of the scene changes drastically.

3. Breaking the fourth wall allowed the audience to feel as though they were part of the action within the film. Thus creating another form of escapism for the audience. 

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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 use of various props (the guns in the drawer) suggests Alfred's sly conquests of women. Taken from the silent film, the focus of the object or objects of a dramatic scene. Witty dialogue interchanged between characters with playful sexual undertones. Alfred's sophisticated European style and flair, and his indiscretions reveal a double standard, and flawed character. His elegant charm and wit captured in a single scene when he flawlessly undoes the button on the woman's dress with Freudian overtones. Alfred speaks in dual languages of French and American, and it is revealed that he is of a prominent position making the situation even more humorous.

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.

  • There is dramatic music at the beginning of the shots being fired, and the knocking on the doors when there is an entrance creating anticipation, dramatic effect and escapism with humor.

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

Playful adult themes, witty lines, sophistication and style, focused camera on objects, use of sound and music.

- "No one should try to play comedy unless they have a circus going on inside". ~Ernest Lubitsch

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