Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

277 posts in this topic

When Cohen is climbing the stairs, I notice he is passing by pictures of earlier Presidents, possibly ones who served as President during his lifetime. The Butler tells Cohen he saw him during an earlier President’s term in office and mentions the song It’s a Grand Old Flag and how it’s still a meaningful song.  When Cohen enters the Oval Office, the President is seated and greets Cohen as a friend. Cohen remarks he is a bit nervous but the President reassures him by saying that they understand each other. 

I notice the room is softly lit and has a homey feel. There are several model ships and paintings of ships. The desk reminds me of someone who has spent hours sitting at it, with a clock, an ashtray, and some papers. Cohen and the President begin talking as old friends might. Cohen begins talking about his birth on the 4th of July. 

The scene changes to Cohen’s Father on stage, finishing a song and dance. He rushes off stage when finished, refusing to take a bow, so he could rush to his wife, who is in labor with their first child. 

There aware many patriotic clues, from the Butler mentioning It’s a Grand Old Flag to the President mentioning how the Irish-Americans wear their country’s pride and all the flags during the parade. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many good answers, and very little to add. But I found myself appreciating the framing element provided by the Oval Office. This opening scene of visiting FDR and the White House does a lot of work to justify why the film is telling the story the way it is, and why the story is being told at all. It's not just the biography of a great singer-dancer, but of a Great American. It establishes that a Performer can be as important as a President. There is a dignity to the work that both men do, their family credentials, etc. -- all contributing to the American enterprise. As someone previously noted, the Irish received their share of discrimination, but by this time, you could argue that they were integrated into society, rehabilitated as true (white) citizens, with ethnic pride but true patriots. This discussion between Cohan and FDR about their mutual commitment to the U.S., something that transcended their individual differences, lays the groundwork for a very particular set of reminiscences about Cohan's life, one that will emphasize patriotism, and one that will demonstrate Cohan's growth from a cocky youth to a mature hero. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the first few minutes of this film, the ideas of patriotism loom large from the portraits of former Presidents on the stairs to the flags in the Oval Office, to the parade on July 4th in the flashback. The dialogue also promotes it, showing Cohan's love and pride of his country, Cohan's mention of "always carrying a flag" stands out the most. Opening with the July 4th Parade I think would change and/or dampen the message of patriotism coming from the film. Seeing Cohan coming to the Oval Office means something and shows how important the love of his country is to him. His talking to the valet also promotes how beloved a figure Cohan was, a true beacon of patriotism himself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The direction of the Cagney walking up the stairs with the pictures of presidents in the background, the last one George Washington, established the greatness and unity of the United States.  Continual lineage of "great men" leading a "great nation." Even the casting of someone playing the current sitting president must have been a little bit awe-inspiring.  Unlike today, even unlike the sixties, moving picture of a US president must have been rare.  

FDR's mention of "Irish Americans" was telling in terms of the film's patriotism building.  All peoples (well, white peoples who emigrated during the last two or three generations) were now Americans. FDR also referenced the "four Cohans," again building a lineage and legacy embedded with the nation. The Irish emigres from Scorcese's The Gangs of New York were never present in the America of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

The film is much better for having opened with the scene with FDR.  It provides an immediate grounding and let's the audience know the purpose of the film. The parade seems more open ended and cliched. There was something gratifying about watching Cagney interact the actors playing FDR.  The audience connects with that immediacy.  The parade in Providence does not have such an immediacy or urgency about it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Well, I suppose if you're trying to instill a sense of American devotion in your viewers, you can't get a more patriotic set piece than the Oval Office. The flags flanking Cohen and the various pictures of American naval vessels hanging on the walls are nice touches, but the part that really said "America" to me was at the very beginning; Cohen and the attendant climbing the stairs, backed by the portraits of previous presidents. It's representative of the American people, ascending the stairway of success, overlooked by the greatest leaders of their day. It's a subtle bit, but effective. And if subtlety's not your thing, there's a big 4th of July parade near the end just to sell you on the whole "America is awesome" thing.

2. The very fact that Cohen started out as a "cocky kid" who was always "waving a flag in a parade or following one," then went on to become one of the nation's greatest showmen; it's a message to the younger generation. The next American sensation could be YOU, young patriot! Follow that star-spangled parade to fame and fortune! American exceptionalism is scattered all throughout the dialogue, particularly in Roosevelt's comment about Cohen's career being based upon telling "the other 47 states" how great this country is.

3. The film could have just as easily opened on the parade scene as it did on the Oval Office, it simply wouldn't have been as engaging. With the Oval Office opening, we are treated to a glimpse of who we're focusing on, and we're then left to wonder throughout the film how this man got to where he is now. How did a kid from Massachusetts get all the way to a Presidential meeting at the White House? It keeps us intrigued and gives us a stronger attachment to our main character. Had the film opened with the Independence Day celebration, we get an unclear picture of what the film is about. Is it about America? Well sure, that's part of it, but it's mainly about Cohen. Is that Irish dancing fellow the central character? Not likely; the movie poster clearly advertised James Cagney as the lead. Without the establishing scene of Cohen's meeting with Roosevelt and the framing device thereof, the film starts off on rough ground. It begins perfectly well the way it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. There are flags placed everywhere, to build up the patriotic belief. There was also a lot of patriotic talk.

2. There was a lot of talk about how patriotic the father was.

3. If the parade was first the audience wouldn't get to know how Mr. Cohan came to love his country. It wouldn't have given a good introduction to the parade scene either if it came first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many and varied ways employed to boost American values and morale for what was coming. Everyone has made mention of the opening; it was a necessity and well done, to draw the viewer into the story. The grand staircase, up to the 'family' area, gives the viewer a sense of intimacy shared by the President with George. Of course the flags, naval warships, and paintings help tell the history of the US up to that point. The personal comments by FDR about Irish-Americans waving the flag and George' comment about his father and the Civil War bring the viewer into the 'we are all in this together'. Well done with the valet as well. Even though Cagney is 'stiff-legged' with his dancing, it is a great 'flicker-show'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patriotic? We start out our clip with George M. Cohen making a quiet walk through the the nation's home: the White House. What could be more nostalgic, more comforting, more thematically American, than a friendly escort, by the kindly butler who recalls the Cohen song "You're a Grand Old Flag," through the house of the national leader? We walk up the carpeted stairs, past portraits of our Founding Fathers. We get to the Oval office and look past Roosevelt's shoulder's to see the American Flag, and (accurately) sailing ships - because we remember Roosevelt started as Secretary of the Navy - and a busy covered desk.

The dialogue supports qualities that are patriotic and militaristic: to paraphrase Roosevelt: "You do me better than me" and "I admire you Irish Americans, you wave the flag openly" - making these features admirable. Cohen recalls his father running off to join the civil war, and checking on his mother who was giving birth between theatre acts, making his father's desire to fight at a young age, and strong work ethic while in the theatre, equally laudable.

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" is purely a biographical film, but using the White House as the introduction, with the look backwards, gives the opportunity to underscore certain desirable behaviors. Had the film begun at the parade, or just with a date and the tap dance with Walter Huston, that message would have been lost. The film would have been just as fine, moving forward without that brief retrospective, but no opportunity for enforcement of patriotism. It''s subtle, yet once you're looking for it, incredibly powerful, messaging.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ESei said:

One might see these scenes as patriotic cliches, but the country really did need to put aside its prejudices (to some extent) and pull together to fight the war

I think there is a message to the audience too telling the African-Americans and the Irish-Americans in the audience that they are included too.  This message creates unity not just on the screen, but around the country too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having the scene take place in the white house begins the list of patriotic symbols. As we see Cohen and the butler walk up the steps we see portraits of former presidents on the wall, ending with the father of our country George Washington. Once in the office we see the American flag in the background pretty much every time the camera is on Cagney. I'm not familiar with the paintings of the ships, but I'm wondering if this had more to do with the selling of bonds. Along with the flag in the white house, we see many flags being flown at the parade, yet again showing patriotism as the soldiers march off to war.

Right away we hear the butler talking about The Grand Old Flag and Mr. Teddy singing it in the bathtub...it was just as good today as it ever was, a sign that patriotism is still strong and never lost. In the scene with Cohen the president makes the comment about Irish Americans carrying their love of the country like a flag, right out in the open, it's a great quality. I feel like this was a message directed towards everyone and not one specific group. I also feel that the use of radio announcer Art Gilmore was used for this specifically for his strong voice and speech. Very commanding for a president.

Since this is a biographical film, using flashbacks to reflect on past events is an easier way to understand the story. It sets things up for us and to give us an understanding of events that were important to the character's life. If the movie had just started with the parade we wouldn't really understand Cohen as a person or how these events shaped his life.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The scenes were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II in Yankee Doodle Dandy. The opening setting is in the White House. The main character is walking up the steps past paintings of American heroes, including George Washington. He enters the Oval Office and sits down across from President Roosevelt. All around are American flags and paintings of successful battles. The Fourth of July Parade in Providence, Rhode Island features everyone waving an American flag and bunting draped from every building. There are happy families cheering wildly as the marching band goes by. All of this combined is very American and very Nationalistic and in keeping with the patriotic and happy family themes of the time period.

2. The dialogue and/or screenplay work to boost American morale as well. In the opening scene, the African American butler mentions when he saw the main character several years ago, he was "Singing and dancing about the grand old flag." That sets the tone for what's to come. This continues in the Oval Office scene with Cohan telling President Roosevelt, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." The President later responds with, "You've spent your life telling all the other 47 states what  great country this is!" He even mentions Irish Americans and that they "Carry the love of flag right out in the open." Everyone is included and very proud to be American. 

3. If the film had opened with the Fourth of July Parade in Providence, Rhode Island instead of opening with FDR in the Oval Office, I think it wouldn't have been as powerful as a biographical musical. The fact that Cohan is sitting across from FDR in the Oval Office is significant. FDR was an incredible patriot and world leader. He united the country and promoted American values. Cohan helped with this and it's an inspiring message that FDR acknowledges him and his efforts. A parade is nice, but definitely not as powerful or as personal as a sincere thank you from one of the most influential presidents in American History. This opening scene in the Oval Office definitely sets a more powerful tone as a biographical musical. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've watched this musical several times, and I've always enjoyed it. You can't beat Cohan music! Although I understand the story does not really reflect George M. Cohan's life, it's still a wonderful picture. When viewed in historical context, you can understand why the writers emphasized Cohan's patriotic songs and made it look like he was the ultimate patriot (maybe he really was). It was important for Hollywood to reflect the national spirit and inspire patriotism at this time since the U.S. had just entered World War II.

I like the way the conversation with FDR book-ends the movie. This technique makes the movie contemporary and firmly places it in 1942. If the movie had opened with Cohan's birth, the movie would have been a historical biography--a much different movie. Instead, it shows how Cohan's past contributions surely will continue through WW II to bolster the country's patriotism and keep optimism alive.

One of my favorite scenes is Cagney dancing down the steps of the White House at the end of the movie. To me, this shows that the White House belongs to all U.S. citizens, which is ultimately what Cohan (at least, the one in the movie) would have wanted everyone to know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything points to America. Flags, the stories, event the small details in the telling of the parade with more stars to be added. All speaks to America's growth and increase in power. Also links families to each other over generations and infers to immigrants and hard work. 

If the movie had opened on the parade I don't know that you would get a sense for what or who the movie was going to be about. You already get to see who he is and the man he becomes with his influence instead of having to wait for it and watch it develop. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  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.
    - Discussion of patriotism and war when George mentions his father being a veteran.  Also the fact that they use symbols of patriotism with flags and the fact that Cohen was born on July 4th during the 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 fact that they show Cohen talking to FDR and receiving an award for his patriotic life with Cohen's music being so pro-Americana.  Cohen again talks about his family's history of being supporters of America when fighting in the Civil War, and in the film they even show Cohen himself attempting to become a fighter after the Lusitania is sunk during WWI and then going on tour for WWII singing his songs to the troops.  
     
  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 think that showing the conversation with FDR is wonderful for the time that the film was made in, which was during war time.  I would also like to mention the importance to James Cagney for portraying such a patriotic figure due to the fact his name had been connected to Communism and McCarthyism was black listing many of Hollywood's brightest starts.  Yankee Doodle Dandy made sure that Cagney would be forever seen as Cohen and as a patriot.  If they had started showing the parade it would have taken away from the Patriotism of meeting and showing the acting President of the time of the film, and really focused too much on the man that was Cohen.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

1- The most important is the opening couple of scenes are set the White House and presidential portraits and flags adorn the walls.  There is a key scene between Cohan and President Roosevelt set in his office (lined with the American flag). Something about the lighting and shadow of FDR (the actor's back is turned) is reverential, I don't have the technical knowledge to explain. Cagney wears a flag pin and we can assume the sitting president does as well. The flashback scene takes place in the middle of some kind of parade. People are waving flags, cheering, and there are also flags on shops and elsewhere too. The flashback has flags and the same patriotic fever decades earlier that people had (or were supposed to have) in the current day.  

2. These scenes connect the past to the present. People were patriotic in the past and are patriotic in the current time especially with the country at war. History is a way to boost morale, provide consistency, and make people feel they are part of the country. Gives them a sense of identity. The first conversation Cagney has is with a valet and they talk about the American flag: 

"I was a valet for Mr Teddy Roosevelt. He got me a seat in the gallery. The play was Mr George Washington Jr. He was singing and dancing to all about the grand ole flag...it was as good of a song as it is today". 

The valet was around a former president who was related to the current sitting president. They speak of the song being as good and valuable today as it was decades earlier during World War One when it was written (thus, its valuable for the Second Word War that is underway). The conversation Cohan has with FDR is interesting because it connects back to his Irish heritage and immigrants to the country. He is telling the president about himself as a cocky young man: 

"Bigger than Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one"

"I hope you haven't outgrown the habit"

"Not a chance"

"That's the one thing I've always admired about you Irish Americans. You carry your love of country right out in the open" 

"I inherited that from my father". 

I was truck by the emphasis of "Americans". Cohan came from an immigrant family but is still part of the total American family. FDR appreciates his patriotism and the patriotism of an immigrant community. Immigrants have contributed to American history, society and culture. Patriotism is and has been something passed down to families and generations through the ages. Families connect themselves and their identities (in this case as Irish immigrants) as American citizens. 

3. If the movie opened with Cohan (I assume as a youth) in or near an anonymous parade it would be necessary to give more backstory and reasons to the audience why he is there and what the point is. It would take more time to develop the story rather than getting right to it. People would have already known who Cohan was and why he would be invited to meet with President Roosevelt. The would have known he wrote iconic patriotic WW1 anthems and would understand that FDR would want him to know his songs are influential in the current Second World War. This was a Warner's movie and I know their movies were known for getting to the point quickly and moving the plot and story along quickly. 

There is also the point about the politics of the scene. The president meeting with famed songwriter of war songs that cheered the American cause of freedom in the Oval Office. This combines messages of the connection between government and culture (music and musicians), the relevancy of the old songs to the current conflict, and the fact that there is a portray of the president in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I last saw this movie about 40 years ago. I knew it was patriotic but don't remember and probably didn't notice the portraits, all the flags, the ships, and so on. Also, the bringing nationalities together through dialogue. As patriotic as a 4th of July parade is, I think this scene is more effective. More direct hitting and not as spread out as a parade.

Off topic but when Cohan meets FDR, I couldn't help thinking of the Seinfeld episodes where George Costanza is talking to Steinbrenner. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  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 overarching focus was depicting a deep devotion to country at all costs - from Cohan speaking to FDR to his father's song regarding his homeland. Symbols provided illustrating the devotion to America went from LOTS of flags (even one behind Cagney when he is speaking with FDR and Cohan's lapel pin!) to a long line of presidential portraits lining the stairs to the Oval Office which Cohan takes in on his way into the office.

  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.

The simple answer is a committed sense of  pride and devotion to home.

Cohan: "A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy - always carrying a flag in a parade or carrying one."

FDR: "Carry your love of country like a flag - right out in the open"

FDR: (in summary) "So you have spent your life telling the other 47 states what a great country this is...."

  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.

Using the format of flashback story telling keeps the story in strong context of Americanism by providing the "answer" before the question is asked. Starting with the July 4th parade would have left the audience to develop their own definition of how or why this fierce patriotism evolved. This method sets the stage of stating WE ARE GREAT - then tells the story of why and How Cohan arrived at his love of country.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this movie! The subtle use of flags and portraits puts you in mind of true patriotism. The Presidents admiration of Irish Americans is a great reminder of how young the country was and how it was built. I love that the film begins with the President and Mr. Cohen. It provides a great setting in order to bring the film back to the start. It would have been too confusing to start at the parade. The conversation between the two men is the foundation of this movie.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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  think the opening with the dialogue makes the movie slow. It drags out the main story. With the two men slowly walking up the stairs and then FDR and Cohen talking niceties, just get to the point. And maybe it's just me but the voice for FDR was off putting, it seemed to loud and very recorded. With opening the movie with the parade and Cohen's voice over I believe audiences would've understood that it was a biography. "it started in Providence, Rhode Island on the Fourth of July. There weren't that many stars on the flag then." Bam first opening line, audience understands when and where.It also helps wake up the audience rather than putting them to sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I noticed as Cohan was being led into FDR's office was the line of Presidential portraits on the wall, and a couple of flags along the way.  Discussion of the flag between Cohan and the valet, referring to it as grand then and still grand now.  Enter the office, and I see nothing but photos on the walls of ships, many appearing to be involved in combat.  Was this a deliberate act to make the audiences think of Pearl Harbor?  If so, do you think that would rile and rally the audiences to feel patriotic and root for the U.S.A. in the ongoing WWII?  That's what I took out of this first and foremost.  Also, of course, more mentions of the flag during the FDR-Cohan conversation, with the President saying Irish-Americans wear that love of country out like a flag.

I like that the movie opened this way.  It is obvious that we're going to see and hear what brought Cohan to this point where he's in the Oval Office shaking hands and conversing with the President of the United States.  I'm not sure the film would have been better or worse if it opened with the parade, but that's neither really here nor there in my opinion.  I think the biography could have still been effective in either case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. In the opening scene we see Cohen entering the White House as a guest of the President, and see all the paintings of previous presidents. Later on in the flashback we see a parade with tons of US flags. The only thing missing was fireworks!

2. The bit of dialogue that sticks out to me is when Cohen talks about always carrying a US flag or following a parade, and Roosevelt asks him if he outgrew that quality. Roosevelt goes on further to say that is one quality he has always admired about Irish Americans. 

3. I think if the movie started with the flashback it would have changed the tone of the picture. With the White House intro we get to see Cohen as himself and the whole scene shows Cohen as a humble and patriotic person. The opening also gives the audience member the idea that this man was very important and contributed a lot to our cultural history. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The slow climb up the White House stairs was a wonderful opportunity to work in a conversation with the African American butler as they talked about patriotism with portraits of US presidents behind them.  Even though Cohan was a major celebrity at that time, it rather brought to mind the great ascent of the "simple" Irish immigrant family and how that could only happen in America. This really kicks in when the flashback shows Cohan's father in a sort of "leprechaun" suit in start old-world contrast to his fully integrated American son. 

In FDR's office, the walls are covered with pictures of ships, many of which are great sailing ships. Ships brought immigrants, helped build the country and in 1942 have a martial overtone. Ships, and the sailors in them, imply duty, service, and self-sacrifice. I can imagine the Office of War Information was grinning ear to ear with mise-en-scene of Yankee Doodle Dandy!   Also in the office, one can't help but notice the flag pin on Cohan's lapel.  

In the flashback, the music hall sign announces "Zouaves" which I found very interesting. Zouaves were originally French North African troops, but later many tough army units around the world took on that title. There were even American Zouave units in the Civil War and Louisiana French Zouaves, so I don't know if that theatrical show was about the Civil War (a few years before Cohan's parade flashback,  or if the Zouaves are a reference to the "exotic" fighting abroad, which, in the contemporary 1942 era, included North Africa.

Just as an aside, as a teacher, I am very conscious of the lack of color in many crowd scenes in so-called "typical American cities"  when I show films or clips to my students. (Yes, I understand that we have to view these as historical artifacts, and the fact is I never looked at the films for race until I began to teach.) I just think would it have killed casting, even back in 1942,  to add a few non-white faces in the crowd of the parade, faces of people who were also very patriotic? Sometimes I wonder with all the Jewish people in the Studio System who knew what prejudice was, why they weren't a little more sensitive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the beginning of the clip as Cohan and the butler go up the stairs, you view the portraits of presidents.  Once inside the office, you notice that Cohan is wearing a flag pin on his lapel.  In the flashback, there is a lot of flag waving and also a parade, which you realize that it is the 4th of July.

There are many places where the dialog boosts American morale.  The conversation between the butler and Cohan as the butler talks about seeing Cohan 30 years prior.  “The play was George Washington Junior.  You was just singing and dancing to all about the grand ol’ flag.”  As the camera pulls back, the last portrait on the wall is George Washington. 

“Regular Yankee Doodle Dandy always carrying a flag in a parade or following one.”

”I hope you haven’t outgrown the habit”.

”Not a chance”

”That’s something I’ve always admired about you Irish Americans.  You carry your love of country like a flag right in the open.”

The opening with FDR gives a purpose to the storytelling as we see Cohan reminise about his life.  If it opened with just the parade, one would question what was so special about the parade and not be able to make the connection so readily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am intrigued by this clip and want to look up this musical to view for sure. I have heard of it but have never seen it, and even in the small clip i can see the difference a decade can make to musicals. 

 

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.I

I think the first part of the clip where they are walking up the stairs through the hallway with all the portraits, entering the presidents office.  Also the flash back to the parade where all the flags were flying and everyone lined the streets in a show of absolute patriotism. 

 

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.

Referring to the "grand ol' flag" and "Yankee doodle dandy, always carrying a flag or following one  " you carry your love of country like a flag right out in the open" "spend your life telling the other 47 states what a great country it is" all point to boosting american morale. 

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 think  its important to have FDR opening in the oval office. It sets the tone for a calm assertive collected president who is not only proud to be an american but strives to have all other show pride in their country as well. I think it would have felt out of sync and not had the strong connection to FDR right off the bat had the scene opened with the parade scene. It would have felt patriotic, but lacked the backing of a strong leader brimming with American pride. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  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.

There were a lot of patriotic symbols shown in this clip. As Cohan is being lead up the stairs to the oval office, we see that the walls are lined with portraits of the past presidents and that Cohan is wearing a pin of the American flag. I also noticed that the oval office was decorated with models and paintings of boats. At the beginning of the flashback sequences we see that the people who are attending the parade are waving American flags as the soldiers are marching past them.

  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.

I liked when Cohan admitted to the president that he was a little nervous about meeting with him. It just goes to show that no matter how accomplished you may be, everybody gets nervous every now and then. Another line that stood out to me was when Roosevelt said "That's what I love about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of the country like a flag." 

  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.

I think that the opening is perfect because it is a biographical musical. This is not somebody else telling the story of George M. Cohan's life, it is Cohan telling not just president FDR but also the audience about his life and his experiences. If the film had opened with the Fourth of July scene, we as the audience wouldn't have known that Cohan was telling us this story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us