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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #7 (From TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME)

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Garrett is definitely the aggressor in this scene, and the filming highlights this. She is the focus of the scene; Sinatra's character doesn't even start singing until almost the end. I enjoyed this scene, but I love Betty Garrett so that's probably why!

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

Each shot coincides with what we should be focusing on. Closer shots in small spaces force us to watch the facial expression of the performers, which shows us his reaction to being pursued by a woman who knows what she wants. The wider shots allow for the bigger actions - chasing and being chased.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The feel of the music changes from being part of the background to moving with the performers.


 

 

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1)  Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.  I am not sure if I completely understand the question, but with each action she or he makes a response is performed.  Sliding down the rail she catches him.  She pushes him down to the bench on the bleachers so she can lay her head in his lap.  She catches up to him as he runs away, and then the ball is tossed at her.

2)  It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?  The music starts building in frequency as she is chasing him.  It builds to when she catches up to him.  That is when the song starts.

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Daily Dose# 7

  • This scene is quite unique as it flows away from the norm. The reason is that one doesn't see a girl chasing behind a man of her dreams. The usual norm is that "A Man chases a Girl" and courts till she's his own. Here, we could see that Betty is chasin' behind Frank till he runs out. Eventually, she empowers him with less might as Frankie is light as Feather. This scene would be an inspiration for another Baseball movie: "Damn Yankees" where Joe (Tab Hunter) is seduced by Lola (Gwen Verdon) in men's locker room. I should say that this scene was way ahead of its time. Here's the clip.            

 

 

 

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I do like the privacy the two actors have in this number, but I wouldn't mind seeing maybe a few background actors (baseball players, spectators, etc) out side by the bleachers or watching the comedy scenario take place.  Maybe a few ads here or there, or posters promoting the game. I never been to a baseball game before, so I am not quite familiar with the set up or the ambiance of the place, nor am saying they didn't set up the seen correctly, but there does seem to be a few things that could have been in affect. The chase and movement around the bleachers was a good effect of Sinatra's entrapment, as no matter how he tries to escape Garrett, she is at his every corner. 

When Sinatra exit the locker room while bouncing a baseball completely oblivious to Garrett waiting for him around the corner. When he tries to pass her, she blocks his path and soon a chase begins to take place with Sinatra running away from Garrett, who soon catches him in the bleaches. Some musicals I've notice have gone either two ways, 1.) Smoothed transition from dialogue to song, and 2.) a rough cut from dialogue to song that leaves the audience off key. However this film has a great transition at the start of this scene to the music number. Starting when Sinatra leaves the locker room, a pop tempo film score playing in the background that plays very well in this scene. Especially when Sinatra tries to run away from Garrett's seductive conquest, the music changes up the beat to follow along with their movement and when they begin running, the score gets faster and more lively. When Garrett calls out "Hey!" and the music stops and the musical number begins.

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

  • Although this is not a dance sequence, it is highly choreographed. At the beginning, for instance, each time Betty Garrett moves, you hear a musical beat. When she talks about "fate knocking," she knocks on the rail and we hear it. This sequence is masterfully synchronized between the actions/acting of Garrett and Frank Sinatra, the song lyrics and the editing. Well done. 

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

  • She confronts him. She chases him across the bleachers. After that, she just has to sing a song to explain her actions. It's fate. 

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It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

It prepares us by having Frank Sinatra toss a ball back and forth then being caught by the lady in the hallway. Then doing a dance back and forth and Frank Sinatra running for his life. 

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

  • At the high point of the song, the actors are at the high point of the stadium.  I love that they use shadows to mimic the chase that they are doing.  I also love that Betty is doing the chasing.  Usually, it's the other way around.  I also think that when she lifts him, it is a symbol that women are just as strong as men but in different ways.  I would have chased Frank too!  LOL  

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

  • The music builds and then when they sing, it is low and very few instruments are being played.  Letting us know that the music is important, but get ready, they are going to sing.  

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  1. The scene is staged in a way Shirley has dominance over Dennis including the song implying that he is destined to be in love with her. The staging plays out as Dennis walks out to the hallway casually with his baseball as it’s a men’s interests, but then Shirley shows up and blocks his way. The camera at slightly medium shot follows every move they make to then dolly back as the chase happens towards the bleachers, the stopping point where the song begins has a visual metaphor of Dennis stopping at the entrance with squares over him like he’s trapped by Shirley outside within the bleachers in the background. Then the characters movement like when she walks and leans towards him at extremes shows Dennis getting scared of her assertive force.  Even the lyrics points out how many tries he would do to run away but fail. The refrain part where the camera switches from body shot to medium close up shows Dennis entrapped by Shirley taunting him and his shyness. And also the characters mostly walk towards the beat of the song based on the pre-recording steps made in post-production by Blanche Sewell. The framing of Sinatra and Garrett has the bleachers frame them in symmetry and entrapment. Them running past the billboard “From Mansion to Cottage” highlights the fate of them going from rich backgrounds to settle in a simple lifestyle possibly from dating to marriage, to start a family. The stairs from bottom to top to then top and bottom would look like the high point in the song where Sinatra finally sings about fate giving in after resisting at first.
     
  2. The music would at first sound like the typical background music to segue to the next dialogue scene, with Garrett appearing towards Sinatra. But with the beats of steps, slowly accelerating to a chase scene towards a crane shot of them going to the bleachers and the music swelling to the high point to then make us realize that this is the next number to anticipate in Garrett’s comedic dominance over Sinatra in a charming way.

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1.     Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key action.

The empty bleachers provided multiple opportunities for Sinatra to be “backed into a corner”.

The viewer had plenty of time to absorb the personal battle of compliance vs resistance Sinatra portrayed  (even though the scene is fast paced) because of the shot sequences…he’s cornered here…there is singing…he is cornered there…there is singing.

 

 

2.     It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing.

I find it is the MUSIC that preps us for the singing sequences as much as anything. The musical score reminds me of what you might hear in a cartoon. It was like sneaky little tip toes! Add to that the back and forth dance steps of avoidance and we are all set for what is going to ensue. The empty bleachers become the stage and the “chase” begins…the timing of the music being the highest indicator of the pace the actors will take. Usually the soloist will lead and the musicians follow…in this instance it seemed to be, to me, the opposite. There was an air of anticipation created by the music.

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

Wider and full-body shots are used to display the choreography/larger movements.  Tighter close-ups (3/4 shots) are used to focus on the intimacy she is trying to force him into.

  1. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

There is a fanfare-type of musical intro that plays as they enter the scene.  The "keep-away" they play only heightens the action and thus, the music.  As he runs into the bleachers, she actually shouts, "Hey!" almost as a cue to the orchestra, and the song starts.  No dialogue is used as it is clear through their facial and body language what each thinks of the other.  As the music builds, either a kiss or a song is up next.

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1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

This is actually a cute song and the choreography perfectly matches the words to the song. This must have taken a lot of time to plan and execute. I still don't see how she made that run up those bleachers in that long dress. 

2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

I think this segue works better than others because there is so much action and the lyrics of the song are specific. 

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