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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #5 (From Yankee Doodle Dandy)

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1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer.

The American flags, photos of ships, and patriotic patterns promote the American spirit and unity.

2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

The President tells Cohan how he likes his (Cohan's) patriotism. Cohan also talks about the American flag and how grand it was and is. 

3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

I like that the opening of the movie takes place in the Oval Office. It tells the viewer that this is an important man. It's not just a guy looking back at history. This is a man telling an important story because somehow he ends up in the President's office. The scene offers great perspective. 

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I was struck by the retrospectiveness in the opening scene. Obviously, they're setting up the story, but there does seem to be heavy air of nostalgia. Both Cohan and Roosevelt make comments about the "good old days," and while no one outwardly says they were better, they both acknowledge that things appeared simpler. The patriotism is there, in the flag lapel pin on Cohan's suit and in the comments the President makes towards the musician. It's not heavy handed at first, but the start of the flashback makes up for it.

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1 From the beginning when Cohan walks up the stairs and you start to glimpse the portraits on the walls I immediately started to get the feel of the picture. That this picture had something to say.  Once he was in President Roosevelt’s office evidence was everywhere that linked to American values: the American Flag, the President himself with his signature cigarette holder. 

2 When President Roosevelt said ‘You carry your love of flag right out in the open’ and Cohan replies and speaks of his Dad going into the Civil War and how proud that he was. Just these words alone shows current patriotism and morals and also past family morals and patriotism. All this in a few lines. 

3 The feel of the movie would have been altered. Cohans love of Country and strong patriotism would not have been made so clear. We would not have felt that connection right away which I think was so important. 

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This opening lends a storytelling aspect to the movie that is very important. Through this flashback, the audience gets a real sense that this is the story of a person rather than merely historical events.

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1-It is clear from the second you begin to watch, that the stately and majestic importance of the White House is at the forefront, the privilege of being inside it, Cohan taking his time up the stairs, he looks at the paintings on the wall, he notes his surroundings. He also has what appears to be an "equal" conversation with an african american man who may well have known the days of slavery but who now is inside the White House and conversing in a mature and equal way with a "national treasure", the butler recounts his seeing Cohan live and the privilege of that moment in his life, Cohan is humble, all the while noting his surroundings and taking them in. Cohan wears an American flag on his lapel, he sits down with a nervousness, a sense that he is in awe of the place he is in, and the person whom he is invited to speak to. He is humble, he refers to once being cocky, but now knowing his place and his role.

 

2-We are directly and indirectly reminded of the role of the immigrant, from African descendants to Irish ones, no matter where you came from, you love and know the American flag to be your own, even a woman giving birth knows her place and that the show must go on, whether on stage or for the war effort. Be humble, revere the president and the white house, but also feel like it is your home, you are welcome.

 

3-An excellent choice is made to open the film in the Oval Office for multiple reasons. Logistically it is a film device, telling a story in flashback is an easy way to justify jumps in time, narration, and the passage of long, or short periods as it suits the story, focus on the interesting, delete the non-essentials. It also reminds us of the present time and day, the White House still stands, America survived the first war and will survive through all obstacles, a sense of importance and reverence to icons of the past (ie George Washington painting) are a reminder of the perseverance of the people, and a social reminder that we must still honour the government, that it is always there, and the people will change, but the cause will remain.

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The film Yankee Doodle Dandy is patriotic right from its title; viewers get a sense that it will be a reflection of American patriotism.  George M. Cohan was known for its flag-waving lyrics and rhythms.  The opening scene at the White House sets the context of duty, honor, and loyalty to country.  For Cohan, it is an honor to meet FDR; it is an honor for the African American valet to meet Cohan; it is an honor for FDR to meet his "double," Cohan, who does as much in the theatre to promote American values as FDR does through his form of "theatre," his radio fireside chats.  Overall, a sense of mutual respect and commitment to the country is imbued into the opening scene. 

This meeting at the White House provides a framework for the unfolding of Cohan's life story.  The viewer sees a patriotic parade coming down the main street of town, and then the viewer hears about Mrs. Cohan's "smaller production," George's birth happening on the same day.  The viewer will later witness how George's birth on July 4th is the basis for him being a Yankee Doodle Dandy.  In short, Chan's life is immersed from the beginning in the nationalistic fervor of the United States.

We witness the confirmation of American values through the dialogue between Cohan and FDR when the president enthusiastically commends immigrant families on their patriotism:  "You Irish-Americans carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open!" to which Cohan responds " I was a real cocky kid back in those days, a real cocky kid, a real Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one."   The viewer can see that Cohan is wearing an American flag pin on his coat lapel.  In FDR's office, one can see paintings of battleships, and even the clock on his desk look like a ship's wheel.  FDR served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy 1913-1920, during WWI, and his uncle and former president Theodore Roosevelt was also Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1897-1898.  Hence, FDR's family has a deep and long history of service to the United States, and therefore, a high level of nationalism.  The mise-en-scene reflects Roosevelt's personal and family dedication to American values.

If the film started with the July 4th parade instead of the visit to the White House, then the viewer may not readily understand the importance of Cohan's contribution to American nationalism.  Beginning at the current time for the audience in the midst of WWII established the tone and purpose of the film from the first moment.  The remainder of the film demonstrates, builds, and defends Cohan's legacy as a true patriot and as a first-generation American of Irish parents grateful to be in America.  This appeal to the immigrant roots of our country would connect various film viewers can make them feel more invested in the current efforts of winning the battles of WWII.  The opening scene shows the sense that all Americans, whether natural born or naturalized, are vital to the triumph of winning WWII; all persons (young/old, male/female, famous/ordinary) are needed for the success of the shared democratic values.

 

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I find it very interesting that in the movie everyone showed their patriotism by waving flags and having parades and singing uplifting songs for the troops. They even sold war bonds to fund the war. As a veteran, I can understand how this can build moral for the troops going off to war. Today, we go off quietly and by our selves with only the good bye’s from our families. 

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     From beginning to end, this scene is jam-packed with visual and verbal references to America, its history and its values.  As Cohan walks up the staircase, there are portraits of former presidents on the wall behind the pair.  The man servant talks about his service to Teddy Roosevelt and infers his continued service to the presidents who have followed him for thirty some years.  He talks about seeing George Washington Jr. and Teddy Roosevelt singing "You're a Grand Old Flag" in the bathtub and says it is as good a song "today" as it ever was.  In the president's office, we see paintings on the walls and a model on the mantle of sailing ships, reminding us of our roots since we came to America in ships and we have a rich sailing history from fishing boats to naval battles. Even the clock looks like a ship's steering wheel. There is a flag by the fireplace and a flag lapel pin on Cohan's jacket.  There is a hint of what could be donkey ears by the lamp on FDR's desk - referring to the democratic party as they mention a Republican newspaper.  Those who share Cohan's ethnicity are referred to as Irish Americans, not simply Irish.  Roosevelt says they love their country and wave that love like a flag.  He goes on to say that Cohan teaches his audiences they live in a great country.

     The people at the Fourth of July parade are all waving flags.  The buildings are all decked out in red white and blue buntings.  Cohan says they knew the flag would have more stars - meaning the United States was growing and they were looking forward to the future.  He also said, "They were optimistic and happy" this, while "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" is heard.    That song was one of the front runners for our national anthem a decade earlier.  The name Providence  evokes the thought of the beginnings of our country with its Divine destiny to greatness.  Even the name of the theater is a reflection of our heritage - the Colony Opera House - bringing to mind the thirteen original colonies of the revolution.  His father, Jerry, praises his wife for her strong work ethic - a quality valued by Americans at the time - saying "she never held up a show in her life".

     Telling a story in retrospect is commonly used when it means the story can start with a powerful image before letting the story unfold.  In this case, the image of meeting with the revered, president Roosevelt - leader of the free world.  Another movie that effectively employed this technique was Sunset Boulevard:  starting with the body floating in the swimming pool demanding your attention and holding it as the "corpse" relates how he got there. 

 

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1.  Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer.

     At the start of the clip, Cohan and the butler go up the staircase to the Oval Office. The portraits of former presidents are hung on the wall and in the flashback scene that follows shortly after is bathed in patriotic fervor with flags galore as it’s an Independence Day parade.

2.  Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

   The butler praising Cohan and his family for their past efforts and what a contribution they made towards the US. Also, when FDR compliments how the Irish Americans have a gift for “carrying their patriotism right out in the open”.

3.  Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

     It was a very good idea to start the film in the present and lead up to the flashback. This allows for more clarity into identifying Cohan’s personality and his background as an entertainer (he refers to himself at one point in the opening scene as “a regular Yankee Doodle always waving a flag” when he was a young kid). This makes the viewer think of Cohan as a man who wears his heart on his sleeve.

 

 

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1. The image that stood out to me the most in this scene as a symbol of American values is the scene where Cohan and the valet are walking up the stairs in the White House, flanked by portraits of past Presidents, while the valet reminisces about seeing Cohan for the first time while working under Teddy Roosevelt. The background serves as a hearkening back for audiences as to the legacy of the Presidency at this time: image after image of men who were entrusted to uphold and preserve democracy for the people they served. As this portion of the scene concludes, Cohan is ushered into the Oval Office, where he is to meet with FDR; the current keeper of that legacy. Under his administration, he has managed to see a country through a Depression by redefining the M.O. of the American people through the New Deal. They are now a country that draws its strength by taking care of its most vulnerable citizens, and are currently on a mission to extend that vision on the international front in Europe during the war.

2. "I inherited that (love of country). Got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was 13. Proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts."

Jumping off the concept of legacy, in the above quote Cohan is reflecting on his own familial legacy of pride and patriotism, and how both have served to immensely fuel the desire to uphold the American values he and his ancestors have held so dear. He speaks lovingly of his father's yearning to join the ranks in defending the Union while still only a child himself; his drive to serve the country he loves simply cannot wait. It's no coincidence that the numerous references to Massachusetts in this scene mirror Cohan's father's drive. When one is born in the state that most vociferously called for independence, was the birthplace of the Revolutionary War, and was the home of John and Samuel Adams, two of the most illustrious Founding Fathers, the desire to defend one's homeland and everything it stands for is ingrained into every fibre of one's being.

3. I felt that beginning the film in the Oval Office rather than with the parade lends it a certain staidness that gives Cohan's story an important sense of gravitas. The audience already remembers Cohan as a composer of energetic and patriotic anthems; they are used to associating him with all of the bombast of a parade. The choice to begin the film in a much more understated way, and then having the remainder of the film occur in flashback allows for both Cohan and the audience to more quietly reflect on his legacy (a running theme here!). When you strip away all of the flash and swagger of Cohan's music, what remains? What have the events of his life as an emblem of American patriotism taught him about practicing the values preached in his songs at a simpler level in his everyday life? Do those messages still ring true to Cohan, years after first writing about them?

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The parade scene was used to promote American values during World War II. The setting of the film is in the White House with FDR. In the parade scene, people are waving American flags and Cohan was talking about how patriotic his father was, never missing any parades or any of his shows. In the Oval Office, there are photographs of ships, signifying the war. The opening scene of the movie lets us know how important it is to reflect on Cohan’s patriotic life. If the parade scene had opened Yankee Doodle Dandy, it might have been a foreshadow.

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1.  The walk up the stairs is interesting for a number of reasons.  I assume, maybe incorrectly, that Cohan is meeting FDR in the Oval Office, but the Oval Office is on the first floor.  Moving it to the second floor makes it more grand and elevates the position of the President.  Of course, the stairs will come in handy later in the film when Cohan leaves the White House and dances down the stairs.  Something the President would have been unable to do.

Cohan is nervous, and the African-American doorman chats with him and calms him down.  He seems to be in control of the situation more than Cohan.  It is important to remember that it wasn't too long before this time that the Irish were discriminated against because of their Catholicism.  So here we have two minorities represented, who have been the butt of stereotypes, racism, and ostracism.  I don't know how much the negative attitude toward the American-Irish still existed in the early 40's, but I do know that we still have stereotypical jokes about them today.

All the flags and flag-waving are obvious references to American patriotism.  Less obvious is the fireplace behind Cohan which might have reminded viewers of FDR's Fireside Chats.  And aren't those pictures on the wall images of battles and warships?  The image is rather dark so I can't really tell.

2.  FDR's reference to "you and your family" introduces the importance of the family unit.  The family unit will be very strong in the course of the movie.

The flashback takes us back to a time when people were "optimistic, happy and expectant".  Note that a visual carefully shows us that the year is 1878, nearly 65 years before the film's premiere.  Most of the audience would be too young to remember what it was like in 1878 (for that matter, so was Cohan), but they could easily tap into the nostalgia and comfort of early-Americana and share that optimism and happiness.  The reference to "the beginning of the Horatio Alger age" further reflects American optimism.

But the flashback also reminds us subtly that not everything was so good in the 1870's.  When Cohan's father runs to leave the theatre in his Irish costume, he is told "You can't run though the streets in that outfit.  They'll put you in jail."  This is a reference to the anti-Irish-American, anti-Catholic prejudice that still must have been strong in the 1870's.

3.  Beginning the film in a situation where Cohan is nervous and humble introduces him to us in a way that is endearing.  This is important because there are a number of times in the course of the film where he is not so likable.  Had the film been more chronological, we might not like him as much or cut him a break at these times.  Our first impression is one that we like, even though he warns us that he used to be a "pretty cocky kid."

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1. There are numerous clues in the scenes - when George ascends the stairs, there are the portraits of the presidents on the wall ending with George Washington at the top (who he 'portrayed' in the show the butler is talking about).  George Washington has long been used to evoke the ideals of America.  The pictures on the walls of the Oval Office are mostly of large ships, showing how America can meet the needs of war.  The parade scene is filled with flags.  The Cohans are particularly patriotic - they love the country, they have been showing the rest of the country on how to do that, family is important but so is also making sure the 'show goes on' - the allusion is to America being ready and capable of waging and winning (more importantly) the war.

2. The lines about  the Irish immigrants being very patriotic and the Cohans showing the rest of the country how to be patriotic as well.  The tying of Mrs. Cohan's labor and the beginning of the war for the US - she won't hold things up implying that the US will set about getting geared up for the war and be prepared quickly and will win quickly.

3. If war has not just be declared, the opening could have been the 4th of July parade very easily, but switching it to the Oval Office ties everything into the war and the war effort.  Signs and clues to victory are everywhere - the portrait of George Washington, the marching of the Union veterans, the commitment of the citizens, the might of the American industry (hinted at in the pictures on FDR's walls).

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The butler in the White House was scheduled to be off that night but wanted to see Mr. Cohan, having seen him some 30 years ago from the Gallery courtesy of Mr. Roosevelt. 

Cohan (Cagney) talks about how there were fewer stars on the flag some 60 years ago (1878, when he was born) and the parade. Flags, and vaudeville.

As Cohan is walking up the stairs, the portraits of past presidents line the wall. The clock and what looks like a wheelchair in the back of the room behind Cohan in FDR's office. How Cohan "tells the other 47 states" how to be an American.

A mention of Irish immigration - which caused a lot of problems at the time.

Cohan Sr's wife "never held up a show in her life" meaning she was dedicated to entertainment and vaudeville. 

 

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This was a film to promote American Nationalism, goes far beyond values. The staircase to the Presidents office was iconic in all patriotic and historic films of the White House, especially with that long line of presidents paintings on the way up, especially Grant, Jefferson and Washington at the top of the stairs. On the way up the butler (African-American) remembers seeing him 37 years before when “Mr. Teddy Roosevelt” got him the tickets, and seeing Cohan up their with all the “flag waving”.

 

Then on entering the Presidents office and all the nautical elements the paintings of ships, the ship model (a hobby of Roosevelt’s), the nautical clock on the desk, and the wisps of smoke curling up from Roosevelt’s cigarette. Everyone knew of Roosevelt’s fascination with the navy and preference for. Such a perfect stand in for Roosevelt, I am sure it was him to most movie goers, very familiar with Roosevelt.

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The opening of today's film clip, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," does a good job of looking for universal symbols of America during the time period. First, what can be more American than the White House? To have the movie begin here is to set up the rest of the film for a call back to this setting, especially when you see James Cagney's character drive the film, at least the clip, through his memories from this place. He is also speaking directly to the President, another way to symbolize America quickly and easily. The first stop in this memory sequence is a revue show years ago, which for those alive during the time period, may also be a universal memory. Lots of people know that entertainment prior to film was perform on vaudeville and revue shows that featured lots of various acts. This universal Americana orients viewers easily.

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I thought starting the movie in the Oval Office emphasized the fact that it's a biographical film. It kind of set the stage for what was coming, and gave a feeling of reminiscence over how everything started.

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Those at the time who knew more about Cohan than his songs were aware that the man was a highly vocal critic of FDR and far from the humble man Cagney portrays. In fact, he had a constant running battle with Rodgers and Hart who wrote the show I'd Rather Be Right over the fact he would improvise lyrics highly critical of the President. It is highly doubtful that Cohan would have welcomed, or been extended, an invitation to the White House. Therefore, it was very clear that this was going to be a patriotic fantasy rather than having much basis in fact (unusual for the musical biographies of the time, the on stage numbers are far more historically accurate than the off-stage scenes). Beginning with the fact that Cohan was born on July 5th. 

The backstage scene, as Huston heads toward the exit is an amusing microcosm of the vaudeville of the period -- pretty girl singers, acrobats, a black-face performer, etc., all wishing Cohan Sr. luck.

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1.    Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. FDR’s office includes an American flag and a model and paintings of war ships. Even the President’s desk clock is designed as a ship’s steering wheel. The Rhode Island Fourth of July parade scene bends the truth (Cohan was born on July 3) to allow for stars and stripes bunting and the kind of small town that Americans were told they were fighting for, filled with flag-waving Americans. This leads to the theatre where we visually connect vaudeville with patriotism, an idea mentioned just before in the dialogue between Cohan and FDR. Seeing Jerry Cohan perform a stereotypically Irish number (wearing breeches, Leprechaun hat, etc.) connects to moments earlier when FDR notes that the Irish have always been especially patriotic for America.

2.    Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. There is talk of patriotism in the discussion with FDR, who notes that “you Irish” are especially patriotic. Cohan says he was “always carrying a flag in a parade or following one.” When Cohan is talking with the butler about the song “Yankee Doodle Boy,” Cohan said it was a good old song and the butler replies, “Yes sir, and it’s just as good today as it ever was”; the film will want the viewer to make a similar decision – that these old songs can still rouse the patriotism we need now. FDR, too, connects seeing the Cohans in his childhood with the kind of patriotism needed “today.”

3.    Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Opening in the Oval Office clarified for the 1942 audience that this whole film relates to the contemporary situation of World War II. “I wish you did (have all the answers) too,” FDR says to George, alluding to the war. Had the movie opened at the time of Cohan’s birth (1878), the viewer would have to wait until the end to connect the patriotism of the story of the wartime concerns of the current time. We also wouldn’t have seen Cohan speaking at the beginning with the White House butler, which might have seemed racially progressive for 1942.

Yankee-Doodle-1.jpg

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  1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer

As others have noted, the many flags, the portraits, the naval/military imagery and being in the White House itself all establish the glorification of the U.S.A. and the importance of the military and leadership.

  1. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

When Cohan (Cagney) suggests that 30 years earlier "You're a Grand Old Flag" was a "good old song in its day", the butler replies, "Yes sir it was, and it's just as good today as it ever was".  This suggests that patriotism isn't just some sentimental relic from the WWI era; it was still vitally needed in the new WWII era.

  1. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

Opening in the "present-day" White House helped establish who the main character was, helped us focus on the importance of Jerry Cohan getting off-stage to witness the birth this main character, and helped us understand the significance of George Cohan being literally "born on the 4th of July" (perhaps making him the patriotic entertainer we saw in Roosevelt's office)!

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Patriotism is the biggest part of this clip. Alot of flag waving, the parade, and marching music fits this clip. Cohen walks through the White House, which is another big part promoting America's values. The dialogue says alot about American values. I think it would not be as serious if it opened with the Fourth of July parade.

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Questions 1 & 2: 

As George M. Cohan walks up the stairs of the White House there are framed paintings of the previous U.S. presidents. The butler talks about singing the Grand Ol' Flag and says, "It is just as good today as it ever was." Inside the President's office we can see the American flag as well as framed photos of boats and ships, which could represent the American Navy. Cohan mentions carrying a flag and wearing a beret, and FDR hopes he hasn't "outgrown the habit" and Cohan replies, "not a chance." Their conversation is promoting patriotism and how it has not changed since years and wars prior. Cohan is particularly patriotic in what he says because he assures FDR and the viewers that patriotism is even more stronger now (during WWII). He also mentions how support for America has been run down in his family thanks to his father who joined the Civil War. He tells a story of the people who were optimistic and happy on July 4, 1878 (as we can see in the wall and the theater sign during the flashback scene). There is a marching band and people at the parade are waving the American flag and cheering. What I find interesting is when Cohan Sr. is on stage wearing an Irish costume and exits the stage, one of the production crew members tells him that he can't go out dressed like that or he'll be taken to jail. It makes sense because everyone outside is waving the U.S. flag and boosting the American morale just after the civil war. It would be strange to see a man in the street promoting or dressed in another country's clothing. 

3) I think the thought of opening the bio-film musical with the parade scene would not be as effective. I think the opening sequence of Cohan talking to FDR gives a more strong purpose to the boosting of American morale during WWII. What could be more American - and an American dream - than to visit the White House and talk to FDR, especially in regards to the U.S. and its patriotism. The White House scene provides a clearer focus on what Hollywood was trying to do with its films at the time. Their conversation sets the tone of the film. Then, transitioning to a previous form of patriotism in a flashback is more effective because we get to see an example of how it was back then on the 4th of July and how it hasn't changed much since the time of the film (1942).

 

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1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer.

 

The scene begins at the White House. As Cohan ascends the stairs, we see Presidential portraits. His conversation with the butler about Teddy Roosevelt and "You're a Grand Old Flag" further puts the audience in a patriotic frame of mind. As he moves into the Oval Office, we notice his lapel pin of an American flag, the flag behind him, the paintings of naval ships and battles... 

Cohan and FDR's conversation has many elements that highlight patriotism, most notably FDR's mention of how the Irish-Americans wore their love of country on their sleeve and Cohan referring to himself as a Yankee Doodle Dandy. The American value of family was evidenced by Cohan speaking of his admiration for his father and his pride in him.

The next scene in the clip is an Independence Day parade. Flags galore, and the band is playing "Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue."

2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. 

Cohan: "A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one."
FDR: "I hope you haven't outgrown the habit."
Cohan: "Not a chance."
FDR: "That's one thing I always admired about you Irish Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It's a great quality."

This piece of dialogue illustrates the high regard for patriotism and love of country and encourages the same emotions in the viewers.

3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. 

Beginning in the Oval Office gives is a great beginning to Cohan's story. Introducing it by having him reminisce about his family and boyhood gives us a good framework for it. Beginning in the present (40s) and then going back to his birth lets us know just what we're going to see... how he became the man he is today. If it had started with the Fourth of July parade, we really would have no frame of reference for what was coming.

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1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer.

Well it opens in the White House talking to the president so I'd say that's about as patriotic as you can get! With the addition of the pictures of past presidents alining the walls as Cohan goes up the stairs, followed by the dialogue talking about how his father ran out and joined the Civil War without hesitation, you could hear the importance of America to Cohan and his family. Once we see the flashback scene with all the flags and parade we know were in for a very patriotic film.

2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

When Cohan states his father was willing to run out and fight during the civil war and how the president says that Cohan is the best representation of American values even portraying the President is a compliment to him.

3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

I don't think the movie would be as well celebrated on patriotic holidays like the Fourth of July like it is now. It would just feel like another bio pic like "Till the Clouds Roll By" or "Words and Music". Both these films are not as celebrated and kind of get lost. The president added heart and gave purpose to the flashback story and Cohan was celebrated for his patriotism.

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Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II.

The overt Americana is evident from the parade scene - everyone has a flag, there is bunting everwhere, the Civil War veterans marching past the crowd - it looks like an Independence Day Parade at Disneyworld.  Roosevelt's oval office has an obvious naval theme, likely to remind us of his prior position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and includes things that weren't in the actual office (e.g., the ship's wheel clock).  The message is "display your patriotic fervor during this time of war."

In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale?

Roosevelt extolls the virtues of Irish -Americans - "You carry your love of country like a flag - right out in the open."  Roosevelt's valet also tells Cohan that Teddy Roosevelt (himself a veteran of the Spansih American War) would sing "You're a Grand Old Flag" in the bathtub.  The message is that, no matter where one's family came from, or what one's station is, Americans should openly display their patriotism.

Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office?

Since this is a biographical musical, the subject of the biography should be the centerpiece.  Showing Cohan being led up to the Oval Office, and then having Roosevelt be the audience for Cohan's life story lets the viewed know that Cohan is the movie's true subject.  If the movie had commenced with the parade, it likely would have been no different than a musical revue.

 

 

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